In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Foreword  Providing a Context for An American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands C. Kalani Beyer An American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands provides a means for the reader to understand the history of Hawai‘i from the perspective of a teacher who was born in the United States who moved to the Islands to teach Hawaiian girls for three years. Contextualizing this history helps the reader understand the experiences Carrie Winter shares, including her work with Hawaiian girls, the political atmosphere, and her social outings with other prominent citizens of Hawai‘i. More successfully than most non-western societies during the nineteenth century, Hawai‘i was transformed into a modern nation and education played a primary role in this outcome. The Hawaiian Islands were brought into the Western orbit in 1778, when James Cook made contact with the archipelago. Between 1778 and 1820, when the missionaries arrived, Hawaiian society was already being transformed by the collision of external and internal forces. The most important change was precipitated by the death of Kamehameha, the figure who united the Islands into one kingdom, leading to the entire religious system rapidly dissolving. Even before the dissolution of the ancient religious system, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), an interdenominational religious body whose membership was predominately Presbyterian and Congregational, had sent the first company of missionaries to Hawai‘i. Upon their arrival on March 30, 1820, the missionaries learned of the downfall of the ancient religious system and were convinced that they had received God’s grace, preparing the way for their “laboring in the field” of Hawai‘i. In 1810, the ABCFM was established according to the principles of cooperation and non-sectarianism, self-governing missions, and evangelism. The Board was organized to assign missionaries, individuals who were determined to become missionaries and individuals who had declared their willingness to prepare themselves for mission work (Anderson 1862). In 1860, Rufus IX X  AN AMERICAN GIRL Anderson, ABCFM’s senior secretary, stated that there were two essential qualifications for a missionary: consecration and common sense. Patricia Grimshaw (1989) stated that both the men and women who were sent as missionaries to Hawai‘i were prepared by their education, work experience , sense of calling, and adherence to American values. The men were well-educated graduates of a variety of institutions predominant in New England . Congregationalists and Presbyterians by affiliation, they usually came from areas in which farming was the principal livelihood. They were from the middle class and their lives were marked by familiarity with a variety of skills and by hard work, self-denial, thrift, and initiative. The women of the mission were efficient and versatile. From rural middle class backgrounds, they were adaptable, skilled and willing to work to fund their own education, and were unaccustomed to leisure or comfort. A substantial number of these women received their training from the female seminaries emerging during the first half of the nineteenth century. When the daughters of these missionaries or new recruits from the United States took over the education of Hawaiian females during the last forty years of the nineteenth century, many more were trained in female seminaries. As Miss Winter’s letters indicate, many of her colleagues at Kawaiaha‘o Female Seminary were graduates of Oberlin College. While Oberlin College was not a female seminary, its curriculum included manual labor and manual training with a strong Christian education, so the Hawaiian Mission eagerly sought its graduates. The Hawaiian community was in a vulnerable stage of transition when the missionaries arrived in 1820. The missionaries believed that they could win “the spiritual allegiance, the hearts and minds, of the inhabitants” (Grimshaw 1989, xviii). Between 1820 and 1844, twelve companies of missionaries were sent to Hawai‘i, 71 women and 66 men for a total of 137 members. Thirtyseven were ordained ministers; 59 were wives of the men; 24 were teachers (12 were single women and the other 12 were spouses chosen for their ability to teach), 4 were administrators, 1 was a farmer, 2 were mechanics, and 4 were printers. Between 1854 and 1894, the ABCFM sent 5 additional ministers as the need arose.1 The ABCFM ended the Sandwich Islands Mission (SIM) in 1863 and the Hawaiian Evangelical Association (HEA) took over its labors. Those missionaries who remained, along with their children continued to convert Hawaiians to Christianity and also to an American culture. Thirty-five missionary couples stayed their entire lives in Hawai‘i and...


Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.