The Daughters of Hawai‘i was 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 society “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 1900s it has been distinguished for preserving Hānaiakamalama in Nu‘uanu, commonly known as the Queen Emma Summer Palace, and 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, and owns the birth site of Kamehameha III at Keauhou Bay, Kailua-Kona.
Today, the Daughters of Hawai‘i is a nonprofit corporation with a volunteer Board of Directors overseeing the management and operation of the two Palaces. Membership is open to any woman who is descended from a person who lived in Hawai‘i prior to 1880. In 1986, membership was expanded with the introduction of Calabash Cousins, to include any man or woman who is interested in furthering the purposes of the society.