“An organization to be known as the ‘Daughters of Hawaii’ was formed November 18, (1903) by Mrs. Emma Dillingham. Mrs. Sarah Colin Waters, Mrs. Lucinda Severance, Mrs. Ellen A. Weaver, Mrs. Annie A. Dickey, Mrs. Cornelia H. Jones and Miss Anna M. Paris.”
“Its object is ‘To perpetuate the memory spirit or old Hawaii and to preserve the nomenclature and correct pronunciation of the Hawaiian language.’”
“No one is eligible to membership who was not born in Hawaii of parents who came here before 1860.” (Hawaiian Star, December 7, 1903)
“The society, ‘Daughters of Hawaii,’ aims to number among its members, those who take an interest in the legends, traditions history and scientific discoveries relating to our native land.”
“Age seems to have a fascination with all who desire to trace an ancestry or recall historic events. Those who interest themselves along these special lines, find to their surprise, that according to the researches made by students of languages, customs and general evolution of races, the Hawaiian stands pre-eminent among the Polynesian people.”
“Not only have they no superior in the Pacific, but through the East Indies, on to the Malay Peninsula, in the vast country of India, and even to Arabia are there traces of their long descent.”
“Words, customs, legends leave no doubt of this fact. In the far time of their “beginning the ancestors were of white complexion, but climatic conditions, and inter mixture of bloods produced many variations during the centuries that followed.”
“It is the intent of this society to search the pages of the past, and glean all possible information relative to the long procession of events which have resulted in the Hawaiian of today. It is impossible to give even a synopsis of these possibilities in these few remarks, but the amazing genealogies of the Hawaiian families will support these intimations.”
“Our society is still young. Not a year has passed since we first met, a little band, as Daughters of Hawaii. The need of some fitting recognition of our birth-right in this fair land …”
“… a something that should redeem from oblivion a past swiftly fleeting, unique in its charm and teeming with memories almost sacred – had long been felt by some of us. It needed the supreme moment to give it life.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, November 26, 1904)
In addition to their group meetings, with music and reading historical accounts, the Daughters placed plaques and included historical stories of interest in the local newspaper. There are early interest in the Pali at Nu‘uanu.
That expanded into other areas in Nu‘uanu … A notice in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser (November 11, 1890) noted that the government Water Works department purchased Hānaiakamalama (Queen Emma Summer Place) for $8,000.
It was acquired “for the special purpose of a site for establishing (water system) filter beds, and a distributing reservoir for the city, which was looked upon then as one of the much-needed public works recognized, as a public necessity by the then administration.”
“The scheme then under consideration and practically settled upon was part of the plans in connection with the storage reservoir above Luakaha, for the increased capacity of the Nuʻuanu system.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, April 30, 1906)
The water works plan waned and thoughts of a park at the site were considered; there was, reportedly, a proposal to tear down the house and put in a baseball diamond.
However, “Governor Carter has expressed his disapproval of the retention of the Queen Emma property in Upper Nuʻuanu valley for park purposes in a letter to the secretary of the Improvement Club in that district, which passed resolutions urging that that be done.”
“I beg to say that I do not approve of the setting aside as a public park of the Hānaiakamalama premises, for the following reasons: First. Public parks are for the relief of thickly populated districts, where the congestion is such that the residents do not have breathing spaces … “
“… Second. The taxpayers are contributing at present about all they can stand and this is not sufficient to properly take care of all those areas that are already parked.” (Carter, Pacific Commercial Advertiser, September 6, 1906)
On May 12, 1906, The Pacific Commercial Advertiser noticed, “there will be sold at Public Auction … the following certain portions of land situate in the District of Kona, Island of Oahu, TH: … The land known as ‘Hānaiakamalama’ or the ‘Queen Emma Place’ (upset price of $10,000, possession given September 1, 1906.)”
Hānaiakamalama (Queen Emma Summer Palace) was saved from demolition by the Daughters of Hawaiʻi. Almost immediately, the newspaper announced, “Rules and regulations bearing on Hānaiakamalama, the Nuʻuanu home of the late Queen Emma, were adopted at a meeting on Wednesday of the Daughters of Hawai‘i, which society now has charge of the home.” .” (Honolulu Star Bulletin, October 19, 1916)
In addition to Hānaiakamalama, the Daughters own and maintain Kamehameha III’s birth site at Keauhou Bay, Kona. Through an agreement with the State of Hawaiʻi, the Daughters use and maintain Huliheʻe Palace in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.
Shortly after King Kalākaua finished building ʻIolani Palace in Honolulu (1882,) he purchased Huliheʻe from Bernice Pauahi Bishops’s estate in 1885 and turned Huliheʻe into his summer residence.
He completed some major renovations so that the palace would more closely resemble the modern structures he saw during his travels. He stuccoed the entire lava rock exterior and plastered over the koa-paneled walls. He felt that the palace was outdated and that these renovations were necessary so that Hawai’i could portray itself to the world as a modern society.
The same year he finished renovation to Huliheʻe (1887,) Kalākaua, under threat of force, signed the ‘Bayonet Constitution.’ The King spent the majority of his time at Huliheʻe Palace after he signed the new constitution.
He continued to make improvements to Huliheʻe while living there and had a telephone line installed in the palace in 1888, which was one of the first telephones on the island of Hawai’i. He continued to entertain foreign visitors at the palace.
Kalākaua died in 1891 and his wife, Queen Kapiʻolani, inherited the palace. Kapiʻolani resided at Huliheʻe throughout the period of the subsequent overthrow.
Upon her death in 1899, the property went to her nephews, Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole and Prince David Kawānanakoa. Fifteen years after the Princes inherited the palace they sold it to a wealthy woman, Mrs Bathsheba Alien, for $8,600. (She died just one month after the transaction.)
For years the property sat vacant and eventually fell into a state of disrepair. In 1925, the Territory of Hawaiʻi purchased the property then turned it over to the Daughters of Hawaiʻi to run it as a museum (which they continue to do today.)
All of these sites are worth visiting and the Daughters of Hawai‘i is worth supporting.
Today, membership is open to any woman who a) has a direct lineage to, or b) has been legally adopted by, a resident of Hawai‘i in or prior to 1880, without restriction as to race. In 1986, membership to the Daughters of Hawai‘i opened and expanded with the Calabash Cousins.
My mother was the great-great granddaughter of Hiram Bingham; she was a Daughter. One of the photos is her Daughters feather lei (Daughters wear white mu‘umu‘u and feather lei.) (The lei was the thing of hers I wanted when she passed away, I am glad my sisters let me have it – I had it framed, it has a prominent place in our home.)