The History of Hawai‘i From Our Files: Gov. Farrington Talks Politics in 1921

HONOLULU Magazine emerged from predecessor Paradise of the Pacific, which began in 1888, fulfilling a commission by King Kalākaua. That makes this the oldest continuously published magazine west of the Mississippi with an enviable archive worth diving into each month. Here’s a look back at August 1921.

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The inauguration of Territorial Gov. Wallace Rider Farrington, a multifaceted endeavor that overshadows most modern-day political ceremonies in Honolulu, merits extensive coverage in Paradise.


The journey begins with a Matson steamer carrying him home from the U.S. mainland, where, as as an executive at The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, he was promoting the Press Congress of the World, which was about to be held in town. The Royal Hawaiian Band plays dockside and he receives “a vociferous greeting from the members of the Honolulu Ad Club, of which he is perpetual vice-president and which owes its success very largely to his untiring efforts.” But much more impressive than his ad buddies were the greetings of citizens and cultural groups awaiting him on the steps of ‘Iolani Palace.


“Upon the steps themselves in serried ranks were grouped one hundred Hawaiian ladies under the direction of Princess Kalanianaole and as the new Governor commenced the ascent a touchingly beautiful Hawaiian song broke with impressive harmony from those hundred throats. The Governor paused as though in surprise, but quickly recovered himself and continued to the head of the steps.” The day was filled with flowers, revelry and effusive optimism for a bright future.


Still, Farrington offered a pragmatic summary of his intended policy at a luncheon thrown by the Ad Club that day: “I have no political promise to fulfill, no political bargains to honor and not a single enemy to punish.” This all gives new insight to a man we recall these days more for the high school and highway that bear his name.



August Fof Covers


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