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Biography on John Dietrich Spreckels (1853-1926) 

 He lived by this axiom: "Dream big and do even bigger."   

John D. Spreckels Left, son John "Jack" Spreckels Jr. and Adolph B. Spreckels on right. Note the Royal Hawaiian Band in back with Ukuleles. 



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 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. As she worked with forces like Queen Liliuokalani and Charles Bishop, Ida in turn became a force shaping society for future generations of Hawaiian women.



Hawaiian women


Missionary teacher

Queen Liliuokalani


CHAPTER - 1: Ida's Heritage



This chapter traces Ida's heritage back to Pope's first Plymouth Colony ancestor, Thomas Pope.  It covers her formative years and takes her through her time at Oberlin College.  It ends with her acceptance of a teaching position from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) to teach in a boarding school in Honolulu, the Kawaiahao Seminary for Girls





Kawaiahao Seminary

Thomas Pope


Plymouth Colony


CHAPTER - 2: The Extraordinary 19th Century


This chapter places Pope in her 19thh century era and presents the major themes including immigration, westward expansion, the rise of industrial America, the growth of political democracy, women's rights, temperance, public education, slavery, the Civil War, and more. The 3 periods of time, early, middle and late 19th century shows women's advancement in the educational arena and their "call to teach."  The histories of Mount Holyoke and Oberlin are succinctly offered.

Pope arrived in Honolulu after the mission schools run by missionary teachers like the Cookes had closed. The harsh methods of teaching the kingdom's royal children in the Chief's Children School in the first part of the century by untrained missionaries were contrasted with Pope's cohort. Even so, few American teachers fared well in Hawaii. The Western expatriate community was insular, and male compatriots proved as challenging as they were supportive.


Chiefs Children School

Civil War

Mount Holyoke


Amos & Juliette Cooke


CHAPTER - 3: Kawaiahaʻo Seminary, Acorn to Oak 


This chapter offers the storied history Kawaiahaʻo Seminary and its unique partnership between the missionary community and the Hawaiian monarchial government.


Kawaiaha'o Seminary

Hawaiian monarchial government


CHAPTER - 4: Ida to the Kingdom (1890-1892­­)


This chapter describes the grueling journey to Honolulu from Chicago and Pope's first impressions of Honolulu including the missionary community and the royal family.  It covers Pope's first hand account of King Kalakaua's death rituals and funeral. It leads into the ascension of Queen Liliuokalani to the throne. 




Hawaiian Royalty


Missionary community


CHAPTER - 5: Miss Pope in Charge


This chapter shows how Pope switched the outdated missionary curriculum to a progressive model to ensure meaningful employment for the girl's future. She also instates teacher training for advanced pupils. Pope deals with several unqualified and unfit teachers.  The queen, while ruling her kingdom, moves into an administrative type of role in the school to support both an elevated education and behavioral issues amongst the pupils. The queen's frequent attendance at the school is astonishing. Feeling that the school never had a better leader, Charles Bishop, with the queen's endorsement, offers Pope the esteemed position of founding principal for the soon-to-be-built new school for native Hawaiian girls, Kamehameha School for Girls.



Teacher Training

Unfit Teachers

Charles Reed Bishop

Kamehameha School for Girls



CHAPTER - 6: Pilikia


The transition from traditional Hawaiian to Western culture was a harsh and abrupt one for pupils and this chapter presents vivid examples of the dramatic clash of cultures. As stressful as the school environment could be for the students, it was at least equally so for the young teachers, who, like their pupils, had to adapt to an environment for which nothing in their home or college experience had prepared them. Trespassing, burglaries, student rebellion, illness, pagan gods, tragedies, violence, and betrayal were constant sources of anxiety for the teachers.



Culture Clash

Harsh Discipline

The Toll on Teachers




CHAPTER - 7: Off to Molokaʻi with the Queen (1892)

In 1865, the Hawai'i legislature passed the Act to Prevent the Spread of Leprosy that made isolation enforceable by law. Hundreds of acres on Moloka'i were secured for segregation. Queen Liliuokalani, in one of her first royal acts, despite numerous criticisms and concerns over risking her personal health, went to Moloka'i to see her afflicted subjects. Pope was invited by the queen to accompany her so that quarantined school pupils could be consoled. A lengthy letter written by Pope includes first hand impressions of the victims, Father Damian and Marianne Cope offers an intimate view of this historical occasion.



Father Damian

Hansen's Disease


Marianne Cope




CHAPTER - 8: Prayer & Politics: The Revolution of

This chapter covers the days before, during and after the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani and the Hawaiian monarchy. Pope was an eyewitness to the turbulent events and a riveting diary by teacher Lilla Appleton reveals what the occupants of Kawaiaha'o Seminary were experiencing during the revolution in a day by day account.



Coup de etat







CHAPTER - 9: Endings: Kawaiahaʻo Seminary


This chapter shows the decline of Kawaiaha'o Seminary, a representation of the old alliance between the monarchy and missionaries to promote the education of Hawai'i's daughters. The school could not survive without the queen's personal and financial support in the days of the Provisional Government under Sanford Dole.  The Hawaiians show their outrage at its impending closure in primary source documents. Pope is slandered in the newspapers along with the queen and it causes a temporary rift in their personal and professional relationship. Pope takes to the newspapers to support the queen.


Provisional Government

Kawaiahaʻo Seminary's Demise


Sanford Dole


CHAPTER - 10: Beginnings! Kamehameha School for Girls

It was the beginning of the end of the Hawaiian monarchy the year the Kamehameha School for Girls came into being with Pope at the helm. Hawai'i had officially become a Republic. Sanford Dole and the provisional government declared Hawaiian independence and gained U.S. recognition on July 4, 1894. The scope and sequence of the curriculum, the building, the rules, the staffing are all covered. The queen was shunned at the official opening to the outrage of the Hawaiian community. Pope knew her pupils would be emotional and confused over the recent state of events when they arrived for school under the American Flag. With no other choice, this chapter reveals what she did to calm their fears and



American Flag


Republic of Hawaii

Teaching Staff



CHAPTER - 11 – The Foundational Years


Pope's first year presented a mixture of challenges that required much of her. Her dual allegiance—to her native Hawaiian pupils and her missionary benefactors—was a tension that would persist throughout her career. January 1895 Lili'uokalani was charged with treason and imprisoned in 'Iolani Palace. With their queen in custody, Pope had to keep a more watchful eye on the psychological states of all of her pupils, ever loyal to the monarchy.  The entire community was quarantined due to the Cholera outbreak affecting school operations. Her first graduates hit the job market and Pope asserts herself with Charles Bishop and the school trustees.

Queen's Arrest

Queen's treason

Cholera quarantine


CHAPTER - 12- Outside the School Gates: Pālama Settlement


In addition to her educational duties, she moved into roles that maximized the natural born leader she was. This chapter covers Pope's conception/creation of a social settlement in the downtrodden Palama neighborhood of Honolulu. Pope collaborated with Chicago social worker Jane Addams and clearly saw how the settlement model could be replicated as a solution to the dire health conditions of Palama. A mission-centered community complex, named Palama Chapel under the auspices of Central Union Church was created. Pope worked tirelessly to organize a library, Bible studies, medical care, childcare, kindergarten and social clubs for the community. The social center became a "laboratory" for her pupils to learn both teaching and nursing skills. In 1906, Palama Settlement became a chartered, independent, nonsectarian organization


Jane Addams

Social Settlement

Pālama Chapel

Palama Settlement

The Free Kindergarten Association


CHAPTER - 13: Turbulent Ending of the 19th Century


In 1898, a series of explosive events led to the U.S. declaring war on Spain.  A multitude of soldiers were in the port when the news came that President McKinley had signed the resolution annexing Hawai'i. Frances Parker, visiting the school, witnessed Pope's private rebellion, by asking girls to boldly sing their kingdom's patriotic songs in their native tongue while their Hawaiian flag was removed.

Annexation was a divisive issue at the school; it placed Pope on one side and the parents on the other. Pope, while deeply sympathetic to the plight of the country and the Hawaiian culture she had come to love, was well aware that this year of annexation, she would need to teach her girls more than history or literature; she would have to teach them to be Americans in Hawai'i. Like the girls, Pope had torn allegiances and conflicting emotions, but it would be up to her to motivate the girls, despite their collective sadness over the demise of their sovereign nation.




Hawaiian Flag Removal

President McKinley

Frances Parker


CHAPTER - 14:  Up and Away in the New Century


 By the time the twentieth century rolled around, few places on earth had changed so completely as the Hawaiian Islands. In the midst of educating her pupils for the radical pace of modernization that was rushing Honolulu forward, Pope had a startling revelation. As time-honored Hawaiian traditions were subjugated under the transformations, she realized her pupils had been deprived of their culture and that she had, unwittingly, been a participant in this. Almost as an apology, Pope went into the new century at full steam, making sure Hawaiian girls knew they had a distinct cultural identity, one that must be acknowledged, respected, and enabled to flourish in the midst of the Americanization of the islands. At Kamehameha, Pope was an activist, complaining to the trustees that not enough was being done, but abroad, she acted as an ambassador for the school and the success of its programs. The more Pope wrote, and traveled throughout America, and visited educational intuitions, the more people heard about the Kamehameha School for Girls. She was proud that influential people began to look to her school as a prototype. Pope was invited to join an organized tour group of American educators in the spring of 1906 on a grand European tour.





Cultural Identity

European Voyage


CHAPTER - 15: A Dream Realized: Home For Working Girls


Pope circumvented Charles Bishop and successfully founded three boarding houses in the community for her working, unmarried graduates who had no homes to return to. Hundreds of young women eventually moved into the home, where they could work in the day and then return to the familiar atmosphere they had known for their entire childhood, only now living independently. In 1912, the Ka'iulani Home for Girls was chartered and funded by the Ka'iulani Trust with money by Charles Bishop's purse, who saw the success of Pope's ventures and desired to keep it perpetually running.


Charles Bishop

Ka'iulani Home for Girls

Ka'iulani Trust



CHAPTER - 16: Taking Honolulu By Storm!


Throughout her tenure at Kamehameha Schools, Pope continued her graduate work at the University of Chicago. Pope spent three separate semesters learning the latest educational methods from the most progressive leaders of the time in order to elevate education in Hawaii. She also traveled throughout the United States to consult with the brightest minds in the budding vocational education and social change movement. In turn, the movement's leaders visited her. She was able to use her experiences to facilitate the first social survey of Honolulu, which contributed to the overhaul of labor laws, vastly improving working conditions for Hawaiian women.

In 1910, Pope attended the first National Conference on Vocational Guidance in Boston. Educators, social workers, and corporate figures from 45 cities met to discuss how to improve the lives of immigrants by making sound vocational choices. Conference presenters and attendees included Jane Addams, Homer Folks, G. Stanley Hall, George Mead, Henry Metcalf, and Edward Thorndike. Pope joined these pioneers in the field of education and sociology for two days of stimulating discourse that ultimately ignited a national interest in public school career guidance. Pope advocated for a vocational bureau in Honolulu until her death.


University of Chicago

Honolulu Social Survey

Feminist Agenda

Vocational Guidance


CHAPTER - 17: The Changing Hawaiian Islands


Ida Pope's firsthand account of the years that brought her pupils into womanhood during the loss of their kingdom tells an important story about the Hawaiians and a rapidly changing world. Pope fought vigorously for her pupils and alumnae as she saw them struggling under the weight of conflicting expectations imposed on them by the swiftly changing economy. To that end, she worked relentlessly to provide opportunities that would help her young women advance in their society.

Pope devised a unique plan, establishing three different options for her graduates; the Honor and Trust Fund, the Kamehameha Alumnae Loan Fund and Relief Fund. Her alumnae could now cover their teacher and/or nursing training in higher education and pay back the money once they were working. History reveals the success of these funds.

To keep close tabs on her graduates, Pope developed an alumnae association and constitutionally aligned it with the progressive General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC). Founded in 1890, the nonpartisan, nondenominational organization was dedicated to empowering women. In Pope's forty-eighth year of life, one of her alumna gave her a child to raise. Gladys was given in the hānai tradition to Ida May Pope at age four. Gladys Brandt grew up to be a fierce defender of Hawaiian traditions and the Historic Hawai'i Foundation recognized her as a "living treasure."



Alumnae Association

Gladys Brandt

Honor & Trust Fund

Kamehameha Alumnae Loan Fund

Relief Fund



CHAPTER - 18: Last Aloha to Mother Pope  (1914)


When Ida May Pope died unexpectedly from a stroke while visiting Chicago in the summer of 1914, it was front-page news in virtually every publication in Hawai'i.  Headlines proclaiming the death of "Mother Pope" caused a wail from island to island. The grief expressed spanned class and culture. Memorials were given on every island and covered extensively in newspapers. Her alumnae created The Ida M. Pope Memorial Scholarship Fund and to date, thousands upon thousands of Hawaiian women have acquired a college education through this fund. When women finally did get voting rights on August 26, 1920, Kamehameha graduates across the islands made the news when they competed with each other to earn the distinction as " first in line" to register. Alice Stone Blackwell reported to the American press that Hawaiian women, who had been disenfranchised by the United States, were taking back the positions they held in "the days of the monarchy." Ida created a cohort of firebrands.



Ida M. Pope Memorial Scholarship Fund

Alice Stone Blackwell

Light in the Queen's Garden: Ida May Pope, Pioneer for Hawai'i's Daughters, 1862–1914 is an historical account of a woman from the heartland of America who landed in the Kingdom of Hawai`i at the end of the 19th century. When young Oberlin graduate, Ida Pope accepted a "temporary" teaching job in a boarding school for Hawaiian girls, founded by American missionaries and led by Queen Lili'uokalani, 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.


Newly discovered primary sources are used to flesh out and enliven the historical account of the 1893 Hawaiian Revolution that happened literally outside the school's windows. A day-by-day accounting of the events surrounding the coup d'état through the eyes of Pope's young pupils is offered for the first time. Lili'uokalani's adopted daughter's long-lost oral history recording, many of Pope's teaching contemporaries' unpublished diaries, letters, scrapbooks and photos tell a story that has never been told before.


Towering royal personages in Hawai`i's history, King Kalākaua, Queen Lili`uokalani, Princess Ka`iulani and others, appear as Pope sheltered Hawai`i's daughters through the frightening and turbulent end of their sovereign nation. Pope was present during the life celebrations of the king, and then his sad death rituals. She then had the extraordinary opportunity to travel with the queen on her controversial trip to Kalaupapa's "Leper Colony" to visit Saint Marianne Cope and afflicted pupils.


Pope became a source of inspiration for Hawai`i's educational leaders and with the endorsement of Lili`uokalani and Charles Bishop, established the Kamehameha School for Girls in 1894 funded by the estate of Princess Pauahi Bishop, the last of the royal Kamehameha line. Pope furthered her own education with courses at the University of Chicago. Inspired by John Dewey and others, she shaped and reshaped Kamehameha's curriculum through a process of conflict and compromise. Fired up by the era's doctrine of social and vocational relevance, she adapted the curriculum to prepare her students for entry into meaningful careers. Lili`uokalani's daughter, Lydia Kaʻonohiponiponiokalani Aholo, was placed in the school and Pope played a significant role in mothering and shaping her future, especially during the years the queen was fighting to restore her kingdom.  


As Hawai`i moved into the 20th century under a new flag, Ida tenaciously confronted the effects of industrialization, the growing concentration of outside economic power and worked tirelessly to attain social reforms to give Hawaiian women their rightful place in society. But, the male-dominated society and their Victorian view of the female role sought to thwart her efforts. Undaunted, Pope, the pragmatic activist, achieved on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, what other extraordinary women like Jane Addams, Ida Tarbell and Lillian Wald did concurrently in her homeland.

Light in The Queen's Garden: Ida May Pope, Pioneer for Hawaii's Daughters

In the darkest era of Hawaiian history, the queen gave her people a garden as a sanctuary, a safe gathering place when it was illegal for them to gather in public . This event coincided with the Ida’s opening of the Kamehameha School for Girls in 1894. The garden’s name, Uluhaimalama, allegorically translates “as the plants grow out of the dark into the light so shall light come to the nation. ” For many Hawaiian girls, the school was their “Uluhaimalama,” and Ida Pope was the bright shining light in that garden. Her legacy as a guiding light for Hawaii’s daughters may be seen in this poem, penned by the renowned Mary Dillingham Frear:


How many darkened ways her presence lightened
In days of yore!
What cheerless hearts her courage brightened!
Still ring the echoes of her children’s laughter.
God help the helpless ones and frightened
To whom she held a torch-lit door
And guide them feebly, feebly, groping after Her—
Gone before

Light in The Queen's Garden: Ida May Pope, Pioneer for Hawaii's Daughters

The Lovely teachers of Kawaiahao'o Seminary in the 18880's. They were feisty!




Dear to the heart of the royal family, particularly Queen Lili'uokalani, was a nineteenth century girls' boarding school, Kawaiaha'o Seminary. It stood for a half century where the stately red-bricked Mission Memorial Buildings in downtown Honolulu are today. The Hawaiian Evangelical Association created today's landmark in 1915 to commemorate the arrival of the American Protestant missionaries in 1820. However, there is no memorial plaque among the tranquil shaded green lawns that point to the historical significance of the school that existed there first. United by the shared conviction that the education of Hawaiian girls was vital, an extraordinary partnership developed between the Hawaiian monarchy and the missionary community relative to Kawaiaha'o Seminary. The relationship was so significant that when the annual examinations of the school on June 2, 1888 took place, the Hawaiian Legislative Assembly adjourned specifically so that nobles and representatives could attend the public exhibition of ninety-three pupils. Observing were The Royal Highnesses Princess Likelike, an alumna, her daughter Princess Ka`iulani, and the Minister of the Crown ....

Ida Pope’s first graduates (Kamehameha School for Girls) holding their cherished diplomas in 1897. On the top bannister from left to right:Kalei Ewaliko (Lyman) (1879-1959) Louise Aoe Wong Kong (McGregor) (1881-1969) Elizabeth Waiamau (1877-1913) Harriet “Hattie” Kekalohe (Hanakahi) (1876-1910) Lydia Kaonohiponiponiokalani Aholo (1878-1979) Elizabeth “Lizzie” Keliinoi (Keawe) (1877-1915) Below the bannister, left to right: Keluia Kiwaha (Kini) (1878-1916) Jessie Mahoahoa (Horner) (1878 –1902) Julia Lovell Kahaunani Imaikalani (Bowers) (1878-1938), Helen Kahaleahu Kalola (Kinney) (1879-1920), Miriam Agnes Hale (Auld) (1877-1939), Lewa Kalai Iokia (1874-1913), Elizabeth “Lizzie” Holoaumoku Kahanu (Gittel) (1878-1932) Julia Mahealani Akana (Tavares) (1878-1919) Malie Kapali (Trask) (1876- 1919)
Ida May Pope's Quilt now housed at the Lyman Museum in Hilo.

Bonura 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 is the co-author of 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.

Kawaiha'o Seminary pupils 1891, photo by Lilla Appleton