From Our Files: May

Our History

In 1888, King Kalakaua issued a royal charter, commissioning a magazine. Then titled Paradise of the Pacific, this publication became HONOLULU Magazine, making it the oldest magazine west of the Mississippi.


“The palace that was once the home of kings and queens, the heart of social and political life, continues in its role as the center of the hub in territorial business and political life,” writes Paradise of the Pacific. Iolani Palace is the seat of Hawaii’s government and is known as the executive building, the Capitol building and the legislative building. Joseph B. Poindexter, the current governor, has his offices in the northern mauka corner on the second floor—formerly the royal bedroom. The palace underwent some renovations but remained the headquarters of the government and housed many offices until 1969, when the current Capitol was constructed and a major restoration project returned the palace to its former glory. It reopened in 1978.


Except for the color of the border, the cover of the May issue is identical to the cover of the April 1929 issue—a Japanese tea house painting by Ethel S. Gripper.


A “nightmarish world, distinguished by economic and social collapse, is imminent within the next 100 years if limits to population and industrial growth are not enforced before this decade is over,” reads an article by Pat Gee. People are afraid of an Orwellian 1984, but opinions on what to do vary. Futurist James Dator and environmentalist-historian Gavan Daws disagree in their beliefs—Dator thinks overpopulation is overdramatized, and Daws believes doomsday has arrived—while UH science professor Jan Newhouse (shown above) packs his bags to “start a ‘new world’ with a group of selected people and the help of natives who already live on some ‘secret meadows,’ located on 18 South Pacific atolls.” In 2014, a recent NASA-funded independent study proclaims civilization as we know it will probably collapse within the next few decades.


HONOLULU looks forward to the return of some of Father Damien’s bones to Molokai more than 50 years after they were removed. Father Damien passed away in 1889 after spending 16 years caring for patients of Hansen’s disease and was buried in Kalawao, where the original colony of patients lived before moving a few miles to Kalaupapa. Against the wishes of the patients, his body was dug up in 1936 and transported to Belgium, his birthplace. “We couldn’t do a thing,” says Kenso Seki, an 83-year-old man from the original settlement. Though the relics were supposed to return this month, it won’t be until Father Damien’s beatification in June of 1995 that the bones of his right hand will return to Kalawao to be placed back in his empty grave.

Covers from 1924, 1934, 1964 and 1994

Learn more about the evolution of covers in Honolulu Magazine and Paradise of the Pacific: 125 Years of Covers, available at