The Daughters of Hawai‘i

Founded in 1903 by seven women who were daughters of American Protestant missionaries. Born in Hawai‘i, they were citizens of the Hawaiian Kingdom before annexation, and foresaw the inevitable loss of much of the Hawaiian culture. They founded the organization “to perpetuate the memory and spirit of old Hawai‘i and of historic facts, and to preserve the nomenclature and correct pronunciation of the Hawaiian language.”

The Daughters of Hawai‘i was one of the first organizations in Hawai‘i to recognize the importance of historical preservation. Since the early 1900’s it has been distinguished for preserving the Queen Emma Summer Palace in Honolulu and the Hulihe‘e Palace in Kailua-Kona, restoring them with original royal furnishings. The Daughters continue to operate and maintain these palaces as their principal activity.

The Daughters of Hawai‘i is a nonprofit corporation managed by a volunteer board of trustees. Membership is open to any woman who is descended from a person who lived in Hawai‘i prior to 1880. A support group, Calabash Cousins, is open to any man or woman who is interested in furthering the purposes of the society.

The Daughters of Hawai‘i was founded in 1903 by seven women who were daughters of American Protestant missionaries. They were born in Hawai‘i, were citizens of the Hawaiian Kingdom before annexation, and foresaw the inevitable loss of much of the Hawaiian culture. They founded the organization “to perpetuate the memory and spirit of old Hawai‘i and of historic facts, and to preserve the nomenclature and correct pronunciation of the Hawaiian language.”

Hānaiakamalama, now known as the Queen Emma Summer Palace was the “mountain” home of Queen Emma Na‘ea, wife of Kamehameha IV. She had inherited it from her uncle, John Young II, son of the famous advisor to Kamehameha I, John Young I. Queen Emma used the home as a retreat where she could escape from the oppressive heat of Honolulu into the coolness of Nu’uanu.

The Queen Emma Summer Palace was acquired by the Daughters of Hawai‘i in 1915, narrowly avoiding the demolition of the house and construction of a baseball field on the grounds. The Territorial Government granted the Daughters the use of the home and 22,750 square feet of the grounds as long as the home was used and maintained as a museum.

Having acquired and restored Hānaiakamalama, the Daughters set about to save Hulihe‘e Palace in 1924. The Palace was in ruins. The grounds were so overgrown that the house could not be seen from the road. In 1925, the Territorial Legislature purchased Hulihe‘e and set it aside for the Daughters to use and maintain as a museum. When the Daughters finally took over Hulihe‘e in 1927, there was little interest in historic preservation in the islands. At this time, the Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company began to formulate plans for an oceanfront hotel in Kailua-Kona. They decided that the Hulihe‘e grounds was the most desirable location in Kailua-Kona and at once began to pressure the Daughters to relinquish Hulihe‘e. The ladies held firm and because of their spirit, the State of Hawai‘i has an important educational museum and Kailua-Kona still has some open waterfront. Hulihe‘e Palace was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.  Queen Emma Summer Palace is also on this National Register.

The Daughters of Hawai‘i also own and maintain the site of Kamehameha III’s birth at Keauhou Bay, Kona.

In order to be a member of Daughters of Hawai‘i, a woman must be directly descended from a person who lived in Hawai‘i prior to 1880. Membership is presently about 1,250. The Society has been assisted since 1986 by a support group known as the Calabash Cousins. Membership to this group is open to anyone interested in supporting the Daughters’ purposes. Currently, there are approximately 450 Calabash Cousin members.

Membership benefits include:

  • FREE admission to both Queen Emma Summer Palace and Hulihe’e Palace
  • 10% off Gift Shop purchases
  • Mailings of the Daughters of Hawai‘i newsletter
  • Notifications and invitations to special events held at the Palace(s)
  • Access to all membership programs (lectures, classes, etc.)

…and, of course, the knowledge that YOU have contributed to the preservation of the Hawaiian culture and language!