Dr. Sandra Bonura

Queen Liliokalani - The Picture of Grace

This "ULU" quilt was made sometime before 1914 by the girls of the first Kamehameha School and given to Ida Pope. It is now housed in the Lyman Museum. Thank you Barbara for displaying it for my talk. What a blessing!

What a beauty!

Herald June 2015

Thank you Office of Hawaiian Affairs for supporting this November 2014 event!

Hilo, Hawaii LYMAN MUSEUM June 2015

HAWAIIAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY - Iolani Palace speaking engagement

Ida May Pope: Haole Mother in Hawaii 1862-1914

Honolulu Book Festival 2013

The Class of 1904

Pope Hall

Ida May Pope, Katherine Pope and Lydia K. Aholo in Hana, Maui 1902

"Dear Charlie" (from Carrie Winter , 1890-1893 Honolulu to Boston)

1890 Honolulu by Barron Storey for Sandee Bonura

Aloha, I'm Sandee!

American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands: The Letters of Carrie Prudence Winter 1890-1893 Book Release - Native Books in Honolulu - First signing, September 2012

An American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands Earns AAUP Outstanding Rating

Each year the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) compiles its University Press Books for Public and Secondary Schools Libraries, a bibliography of titles submitted by member presses as a tool for collection development. The books are rated by committees of public and secondary-school librarians from two divisions of the American Library Association.

In the 2013 collection, An American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands: Letters of Carrie Prudence Winter, 1890–1893, received a top “Outstanding” rating. As defined by the selection process, Outstanding titles have “exceptional editorial content and subject matter. They are essential additions to most library collections.”

Reviewer’s comments:

" The use of Carrie Prudence Winter’s original letters is what allows this book to become a rare primary source on topics such as: women missionaries, the last days of Hawaii’s monarchy, and a long-distance 19th century courtship. Ms. Winter’s use of language paints a compelling picture, engaging a reader’s imagination while they learn of a world few knew so intimately.”—Stacey Hayman

An American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands also was also one of three finalists in the biography category of this year’s San Diego Book Awards.

At her death in 1914, one alumna sobbed:

She gave the best part of her young life to develop in the Hawaiian girls a character of true womanhood. She was a woman of dignified, businesslike personality; firm yet kind, leading a life of true self-denial, sincerity, and all that makes a life of noble Christianity. She was a teacher, a principal, and above all, a mother and there is in the heart of every true Kamehameha girl a great “ALOHA” for her.

Ida May Pope c 1880
Miss Ida M. Pope:

You came to our Islands at a time
When we needed you the most—
When women were thought to be
Some lesser creature.

You raised us out of ignorance and superstition
Into our rightful places in the sun.
You were our teacher, counsellor, doctor,
Confidante, friend, and
A Mother-away-from-home.

You taught us a lesson
We’ll never forget:
To think on things that are true and honest,
Just and pure,
And of good report.

You taught us always to uphold
The principles of Womanhood.
You taught us to love and befriend,
To clean, to feed, to help.
You made us Women.

1954 Kamehameha School for Girls class project

University of Hawaii Press, 2016

Lovely! Note Princess Kailauni's image worn around the neck.

Lyman Museum, Hilo Hawaii June 2015

tells Aholo’s story in an article titled “Lydia K. Aholo—Her Story, Recovering the Lost Voice,” written with Sally Witmer, in the 2013 issue of The Hawaiian Journal of History (volume 47).

The Queen and Lydia K. Aholo

The Hawaiian Historical Society members and friends heard the story of a remarkable woman who lived for more than a century and knew Queen Lili‘uokalani “as the only mother I had.” The woman—Lydia K. Aholo—was the subject of an illustrated talk presented by Sandra Bonura at the Society’s membership meeting on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at the Kana‘ina Building (Old Archives Building) to a standing-room-only crowd.

Lydia Aholo was born February 26, 1878, in Lahaina, Maui, to Luther Aholo, minister of interior during the reign of Kalākaua. He had earlier represented Lahaina in the legislature and served as postmaster general. Her mother, Keahi, died shortly after Lydia’s birth, and she became the hānai daughter of Queen Lili‘uokalani. She was reared in the royal household, attending Kawaiaha‘o Female Seminary, Kamehameha School for Girls, and Oberlin College, where she studied music. She discussed her life with the queen and at school in oral history interviews with Helena Allen in 1969. She died at the age of 101 on July 7, 1979.

Sandra Bonura -An American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands: Letters of Carrie Prudence Winter 1890-1893. This book includes love letters by a Kawaiaha‘o Female Seminary teacher to her fiancé that were found in a forgotten attic trunk. During her research for the book, Bonura located the taped interviews by Lydia Aholo and facilitated their return to Hawai‘i, where they are now held at Kamehameha Schools Archives.


An Archival Trip to Hawaii Posted on November 20, 2013 by Archivist Barbara Austen

The Connecticut-Hawaii connection is still going strong. My post about Cooke’s letters home led to correspondence with a descendant of Cooke, which led to correspondence with scholars of Hawaiian history and educators in both Connecticut and Hawaii. The archivist at the Kamehameha Schools, Stacy Naipo, and her assistant Candace W. Lee , have offered to have their library assistants, their partners at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and college interns transcribe Amos’ letters for us (and them). This will be a great help since some of Cooke’s letters contain sentences and phrases in Hawaiian, which I would never understand. I have also made contact with a descendant of Henry Obookiah’s family, the person who brought Henry back to Hawaii for reburial, and a scholar in California, Sandee Bonura, who is writing about education in Hawaii and is interested in Amos Cooke. The circle widens

Governor Abercrombie holding rough draft of American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands

Queen Emma Day at the Palace October 2013 with my favorite "Daughter" Sally

BIO: Dr. Sandra Bonura is a southern California counselor educator whose longstanding love of Hawaii and people's stories were immediately engaged by the discovery of Carrie's letters and the characters and events they brought to life. Her efforts to find the long-inaccessible reel-to-reel taped recollections of Lydia Ka'onohiponiponiokalani Aholo, the hanai daughter of Queen Liliuokalani, and return them to the state are a permanent contribution to Hawaiian history. As someone who herself likes to disconnect from technology and reflect, Sandee believes that old-fashioned correspondence prove that the lost art of letter writing should be revived. She just finished writing about the indomitable Ida May Pope, the first principal at Kamehameha School and her influence on the Hawaiian Girls during the turn of the 19th century, especially Lydia Aholo.

An American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands: Letters of Carrie Prudence Winter,

Brief Description of "American Girl"

When twenty-three-year-old Carrie Prudence Winter caught her first glimpse of Honolulu from aboard the Zealandia in October 1890, she had "never seen anything so beautiful." She had been traveling for two months since leaving her family home in Connecticut and was at last only a few miles from her final destination, Kawaiaha'o Female Seminary, a flourishing boarding school for Hawaiian girls. As the daughter of staunch New England Congregationalists, Winter had dreamed of being a missionary teacher as a child and reasoned that "teaching for a few years among the Sandwich Islands seemed particularly attractive" while her fiancé pursued a science degree.
During her three years at Kawaiaha'o, Winter wrote often and at length to her "beloved Charlie"; her lively and affectionate letters provide readers with not only an intimate look at nineteenth-century courtship, but many invaluable details about life in Hawai'i during the last years of the monarchy and a young woman's struggle to enter a career while adjusting to surroundings that were unlike anything she had ever experienced.

In generous excerpts from dozens of letters, Winter describes teaching and living with her pupils, her relationships with fellow teachers, and her encounters with Hawaiian royalty (in particular Kawaiaha'o enjoyed the patronage of Queen Lili'uokalani, whose adopted daughter was enrolled as a
pupil) and members of influential missionary families, as well as ordinary citizens. She discusses the serious health concerns (leprosy, smallpox,
malaria) that irrevocably affected the lives of her students and took a keen (if somewhat naive) interest in relaying the political turmoil that ended in the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the U.S. in 1898.

The book opens with a magazine article written by Winter and published while she was still teaching at Kawaiaha'o, which humorously recounts her journey from Connecticut to Hawai'i and her arrival at the seminary. The work is augmented by more than fifty photographs, four autobiographical student essays, and an appendix identifying all of Winter's students and others mentioned in the letters. A foreword by education historian C. Kalani Beyer provides a context for understanding the Euro-centric and assimilationist curriculum promoted by early schools for Hawaiians like Kawaiaha'o Seminary and later the Kamehameha Schools and Mid-Pacific Institute.

69 illustrations 316 pp. August 2012 Cloth - Price: $39.00
ISBN: 978-0-8248-3627-6


When Ida May Pope died unexpectedly in the summer of 1914, it was front-page news in virtually every publication in Hawaii. Remembered as Mother Pope, this gentle-but-tough Midwesterner was deeply mourned. It has been said that more people are affected by teachers than by any other occupation. Ida Pope lived her life with a passion of someone who believed this. With strength and perseverance, she led by example, and paved a way for Hawaii’s daughters to seek their own fulfillment. Her eulogist told the assembled mourners, “Someone should write the biography of Miss Ida Pope. It would make interesting reading.” A century later, here it is. May it tell her story honestly and lead us to press forward with the same passion and zeal. I first discovered the indomitable Ida May Pope while reading antique love letters that had been retrieved from a steamer trunk found in a forgotten California attic. The trunk was crammed with century-old photographs, rare artifacts, and letters about life, love, politics, and education in nineteenth century Hawaii. The letters were from Carrie Winter, a Connecticut teacher who journeyed to Honolulu with Ida Pope. Each letter chronicling her three years with with Ida has been preserved in its original postmarked envelope. They were systematically transcribed, edited, researched and published in An American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands: Letters of Carrie Prudence Winter (1890–1893) . As my research continued, the name, “Miss Pope” kept appearing in multiple collections of the era. I soon found myself intrigued by this woman, who inspired and motivated a multitude but had been historically ignored. “Light in the Queen’s Garden” chronicles the life of Ida Pope, a transformational type of leader in any era, who was handpicked to establish the Kamehameha School for Girls. This institution was established in 1894 by the estate of Princess Pauahi, the last of the royal Kamehameha line, and dedicated to the education of girls of Hawaiian ancestry. When twenty eight year old Ida left Ohio, to accept a “temporary” teaching assignment in Honolulu, she couldn’t have imagined it would become a lifelong career of service to Hawaiian women. Nor could she have envisioned she would become closely involved in the greatest political turmoil the Hawaiians had ever experienced. Ida’s personal impressions of King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani, her interactions with members of the group who overthrew the monarchy, and her account of the days leading up to the Revolution and long after, give an insider’s perspective on crucial events in Hawaiian history. Ida was present during the life celebrations of the last king of Hawaii, and then his sad death rituals. She then had the extraordinary opportunity to travel with the last queen of Hawaii on her controversial visit to the “leper colony” on the Island of Molokai. Liliuokalani’s adopted daughter, Lydia Kaonohiponiponiokalani Aholo, was placed in her care and Ida played a significant role in mothering Lydia and shaping her future, especially during the years the queen was involved in the fight to restore her kingdom. Ida Pope’s firsthand account of the years that brought her pupils into womanhood during the annexation of their kingdom tells an important story about the Hawaiians and a rapidly changing world. Ida often portrayed her pupils as struggling under the weight of conflicting expectations imposed on them by the swiftly changing economy. To that end, she worked relentlessly to maintain relationships with important islanders, both Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians who could help young women advance in their society. Nowhere is this more evident than in her cordial but sometimes tense working relationships with two of the most influential and complex figures in Hawaii, the affluent Charles Reed Bishop and Queen Liliuokalani. As she worked with forces like the queen and Charles Bishop, Ida in turn became a force shaping society for future generations of Hawaiian women.
Over a week-long period in September 1969, Helena Allen recorded Lydia Aholo's oral history on one reel-to-reel magnetic tape. She later transferred this approximately three-hour tape onto individual cassettes. Allen also returned to Maunalani in January and June of 1970 to record “Miss Lydia’s” dictation by hand. Back home, Allen began compiling notes for the book with the focus on Lydia Aholo with the working title A Queen’s Daughter and then a few years later changed it to Through the Eyes of Love. In the late 70s, the title and direction changed to The Spirit of Liliuokalani: Queen Born out of Time and once a publishing contract with the Arthur H. Clark Company was secured; it was changed to its final title. Lydia would never read the book as she had hoped because she died three years prior to its 1982 release. This 37 page article unfolds the "real" Lydia using both the tape recording and the transcript.

by THERESA WALKER Published: Dec. 27, 2010

The scene plays out in Sandee Bonura's imagination like the opening of a Hollywood movie.
Carrie Prudence Winter, all of 23, steps off a steamship docked at the bustling Honolulu harbor. The year is 1890 and Carrie, a proper example of prim Victorian womanhood, is fresh out of college and in Hawaii as part of a three-year assignment to teach at the Kawaiaha'o Seminary for girls.
A scene from the Kawaiaha'o Seminary for girls in the 1890s where missionary teacher Carrie Prudence Winter, taught. Winter, 5,000 miles away from home and her fiancé, taught at the school during the most turbulent time in Hawaii's history. Carrie was 5,000 miles away from home and walking into the most turbulent time in Hawaii's history.

Bonura, a professor at Chapman University and co-author of a book based on more than 100 handwritten letters Carrie sent overseas to her fiance, imagines Emma Watson from the "Harry Potter" films playing the young schoolteacher.

Over the two years spent bringing Carrie Winter back to life, they've been encouraged by Hawaiian scholars to keep going. Carrie was a Connecticut Yankee in the court of Queen Lili`uokalani, Hawaii's last monarch. The young teacher witnesses the tumultuous events that in 1893 led to the Queen's forced removal from her throne and the establishment of a provisional government backed by predominantly American planters and businessmen.

"Her letters are vivid," Bonura says. "She will put you right on a dusty street in Honolulu in 30 seconds."
That story was buried for decades inside a trunk hidden in the attic of the Berkeley home that she and Charles Kofoid shared. During a roofing project in 2008 to prepare the house for sale, several trunks were found behind a support wall. Carrie's letters, written in tiny script on both sides of thin, delicate paper, were carefully stored in envelopes amid 100 years' worth of dust and dead insects.

The letters, along with rare photos, a botany collection, student essays and more, are housed in the Scripps archives, a small part of 40 cubic feet of Kofoid's legacy.

Many of the seminary girls were orphans or from poor families and attended the school with the financial help of Queen Lili`uokalani. Carrie's descriptions of the punishments doled out to the girls moved Day and Bonura to tears and anger. Discipline included whippings or being locked in a closet for such cultural infractions as speaking the Hawaiian language or dancing the Hula.