“Kamehameha Girls School Last Night – The first commencement of the Girls’ School took place in Kaumakapili Church last night before an audience of something like 2,000 people, the largest number ever gathered together in the native place of worship.”
“This very generous attendance showed the interest that the people of Honolulu have in the work that is being done by Miss Pope and her corps of worthy assistants.”
“Miss Pope’s work with the girls cannot be too highly praised, and she and her assistants may feel justly proud that they have sent forth into the world Hawaiian girls who are eminently capable to take their places as trainers of the young Hawaiians.” (Hawaiian Gazette, July 6, 1897)
“These are the young ladies of the school who graduated this year: Lydia Aholo, Julia Akana, Kalei Ewaliko, Miriama Hale, Lewa Iokia, Helen Kahaleahu, Elizabeth Kahanu, Malie Kapali, Hattie Kekalohe, Elizabeth Kaliinoi, Keluia Kiwaha, Julia Lovell, Jessie Mahoahoa, Elizabeth Waiamau, and Aoe Wong Kong.” (Kuokoa, July 2, 1897)
Ida May Pope was born in Crestline, Ohio July 30, 1862 to Dr William and Cornelia Waring Pope. She was the third child among seven.
Though her father was a doctor, he also co-patented the Franz-Pope device “to provide an improved mechanism for taking up the slack of the yarn, which occurs in knitting the heels and toes of stockings.” (Franz and Pope)
Ms Pope “was a graduate of Oberlin University and for many months held a responsible position in one of the educational institutions at Columbus supported by the State of Ohio.”
Then, “in August 1890, Miss Ida M Pope left for Honolulu to accept a position in the Kawaiahaʻo seminary. This talented young lady is one of the most efficient teachers ever raised in this community.”
“Miss Pope remained a teacher in the seminary one year. The gentlemen in charge of the seminary appreciated her faithful efforts and appointed her principal of the institution.”
In 1893, Miss Pope was granted a vacation to visit some of the best industrial schools on the continent and was given authority to employ seven young ladies to assist in Kawaiahaʻo Seminary. The education work made rapid progress and the seminary was so successful that it was determined to increase the corps of teachers and add an industrial department to the work.
“Among the seven teachers employed are three well known to the citizens of this community, who left yesterday afternoon with Miss Pope. These are Miss Bertha Sears, Mrs Ida Sturgeon and Miss Jennie Denzer. … They will sail from San Francisco on August 17 and reach Honolulu August 24.” (Bucyrus (Ohio) Journal; Hawaiian Gazette, August 29, 1893)
Then, on December 19 1894, the second stage of establishing the Kamehameha Schools was accomplished when the Kamehameha School for Girls was begun. The site was on the makai of King Street opposite the campus of the then school for boys (across from what is now Farrington High School.)
The first principal of the school was Ida May Pope; she was a strong-minded, energetic Midwesterner who picked her own teachers; the first, like her, were all single women from the mainland.
“Pope set a tone to discipline the Hawaiianness of her girls. ‘Constant and consistent restraint is the way to control the careless, joyous, happy-go-lucky nature of the Hawaiian.’” (Broken Trust)
“The object of the school is to furnish a carefully arranged, practical education to Hawaiian girls of thirteen years of age and over, qualifying them for service at home, for wage-earning in some handicraft, or as teachers in the government schools. The number of pupils is limited to eighty.” (Pope; The Friend)
The school has offered two courses—an English and a Normal course. The schoolroom work includes drill in the common branches, algebra, Hawaiian and general history, literature, elementary science, embracing physiology, botany, zoology, chemistry and physics.
We hope to see a fruit orchard, where the mango, orange, lime, papaya, and pear will flourish, and a garden that will supply vegetables for the table and flowers in abundance.”
“We cannot make farmers of Hawaiian girls, but we can train them to beautify their homes and supply their tables with flowers, fruit, and vegetables raised by their labor; and we can give them an insight into the keeping and caring for well-ordered homes and grounds.”
“The general housework of the school – cooking, laundering, and the care of public and private rooms – is done by the pupils. Games—tennis, croquet, basket and tower ball, afford ample relaxation and recreation. Mondays are holidays. Saturday evenings the pupils gather in the assembly hall or gymnasium for literary or social entertainments.” (Pope; The Friend)
Pope was referred to by the girls as Mother Pope or Mama Pope. During the last few years of her life, she also took on personal responsibility for a young child. The girl, Gladys, was the only daughter in a household with five older sons. Pope took Gladys as her hānai daughter (we knew her as Gladys Brandt (1906-2003.))
Miss Ida May Pope died on July 14, 1914, while on a teacher recruiting trip. “The death of Miss Pope is an irretrievable loss to the Kamehameha Schools and to the Hawaiian race.” (Albert F Judd)
“She gave herself to the cause of mothering Hawaiian girls, so many of whom had no real mothers. In this service she never spared herself and to it she sacrificed her life.” (LC Hudson)
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