Obituaries in Hawaii's Newspapers

People may think obituaries mostly aim to record the deaths of people in the community, but these news articles also summarize and celebrate these people's lives. 

Obituaries can provide biographical information:

Age and cause of death
Surviving relatives
Plans for funeral services and burial or cremation
Place of birth
Family background (e.g. marriage)
Membership in clubs or civic organizations or churches
Military record
Quotations from people who knew that person

However, read obituaries with skepticism. Older newspapers may not objectively report facts, sometimes writing positively. Other times, newspapers may make clerical errors, due to deadline pressures.

Newspapers covering large areas (e.g. cities and states) cover only a few notable people for obituaries. However, newspaper covering smaller areas, such as small towns, may publish obituaries about any resident.

Hawaii's newspapers have documented and summarized the lives of prominent community members, including business people, government officials, members of the Hawaiian Monarchy, socialites, religious figures, humanitarians, and other influential people. They include King David Kalakaua, Claus Spreckels, an influential man in Hawaii's sugar industry, and Father Damien, a Roman Catholic priest who cared for the quarantined leprosy victims on Molokai. 

To find obituaries in Hawaii's newspapers, search on the Chronicling America website and browse the microfilm Index to obituaries published in Hawaii's newspapers, 1836-1950 (MICROFILM S00418) at Hamilton Library.

The following are links to some of the obituaries of prominent people in Hawaiian history in Chronicling America:

Rev. Hiram Bingham - Missionary

"Hiram Bingham Is Dead"
The Hawaiian star, November 2, 1908, SECOND EDITION, Image 1

"Rev. Hiram Bingham Dies in Baltimore Hospital"
The Hawaiian gazette, November 6, 1908, Page 6

"The Memorial Sermon for the Late Rev. Dr. Bingham"
The Hawaiian gazette., November 13, 1908, Page 4, Image 4

Sybil Mosley Bingham - Missionary

"Death of Mrs. Hiram Bingham after an Illness of Ten Years"
The Hawaiian gazette., November 20, 1903, Page 3

"Women Laud Life of Micronesian Missionary: Tributes to the Memory of the Late Mrs. Hiram Bingham by the Woman's Board of Missions"
The Hawaiian gazette, December 4, 1903, Page 2

Princess Bernice Pauahi Paki Bishop

"Death of Hon. Mrs. C. R. Bishop"
Pacific commercial advertiser., October 21, 1884, Page 6

“The Late Mrs. C. R. Bishop”
The Hawaiian gazette, October 22, 1884, Image 2

Abigail Kuaihelani Campbell
"Death of Mrs. Campbell-Parker at the Hospital"
The Hawaiian gazette, November 3, 1908, Page 3

Archibald Scott Cleghorn
"Death Came Last Night to Governor Cleghorn at His Home at Ainahau"
The Hawaiian gazette, November 4, 1910, Page 2

Saint Father Damien (Jozef De Veuster)
"Father Damien Dead: the Famous Leper Priest Goes to His Long Home--Sketch of Life by Charles Warren Stoddard"
The Hawaiian gazette, April 23, 1889, Page 7

"Father Damien: the Leper Priest Passes to His Long Rest"
The Daily bulletin, April 20, 1889, Image 2

Theophilus Harris Davies - Guardian of Princess Kaiulani
"Mr. T. H. Davies: Sad News of His Sudden Death in England"
The Hawaiian gazette, June 3, 1898, Page 4

John Owen Dominis - Prince Consort and Island Governor

"Death of H. R. H. the Prince Consort"
The Hawaiian gazette, September 1, 1891, Image 1

"Died Suddenly: His Royal Highness John O. Dominis, Prince Consort, Died"
The morning call, September 6, 1891, Image 3

"A Second Sorrow: Death of His Royal Highness, the Prince Consort"
The Daily bulletin, August 28, 1891, Image 3

Queen Emma (Emma Kalanikaumakaamano Kaleleonālani Naʻea Rooke)
"The Late Queen: a Biographical Sketch"
The Daily bulletin, April 27, 1885, Image 3

John Ena
"Honorable John Ena Dies in Los Angeles: a Former Inter-Island President and Capitalist"
The Hawaiian Gazette, December 14, 1906, Image 3

Charles Furneaux
"Charles Furneaux, Who Came Here Thirty-five Years Ago, Claimed by Death"
The Hawaiian gazette, November 11, 1913, Page 6

Robert Robson Hind
"Death of Robert Hind, Pioneer of Kohala: Story as Told by One of His Old Neighbors and Friends"
The Honolulu Republican, December 3, 1901, Page 6

Princess Kaiulani (Victoria Kaʻiulani Kalaninuiahilapalapa Kawēkiu i Lunalilo Cleghorn)
"Day of Sorrow: All Grieved to Learn of Kaiulani's Death"
The Pacific commercial advertiser, March 7, 1899, Image 1

"The Call of Grim Death"
The Hawaiian gazette, March 14, 1899, Image 1

King David Kalakaua (David Laʻamea Kamanakapuʻu Mahinulani Nalaiaehuokalani Lumialani Kalākaua)
The Hawaiian gazette, February 17, 1891, Image 7

"Kalakaua Dead: the King of the Hawaiian Islands Dies in San Francisco"
The appeal, January 24, 1891, Image 2

Queen Consort Kalama Hakaleleponi Kapakuhaili, wife of Kamehameha III

The Sandwich Islands: Death of Queen Kalama”
The evening telegraph, October 17, 1870, Page 5

Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole
"Prince Kalanianaole Is Dead: Beloved Prince of Hawaii and Delegate to
Congress Passes Away at Waikiki Home"
The Garden Island, January 10, 1922, Image 1

King Kamehameha III
"Death of the King!: Kamehameha IV Proclaimed"
Polynesian., December 16, 1854, Page 126, Image 2

"Obituary [Under Special Authority]"
Polynesian, January 06, 1855, Page 138, Image 2

King Kamehameha IV, Alexander Liholiho
"Death of His Majesty Kamehameha IV!"
The Pacific commercial advertiser, December 3, 1863, Image 2

King Kamehameha V, Lot Kapuaiwa
"Death of the King"
The Pacific commercial advertiser, December 14, 1872, Image 2

Prince Albert Kamehameha
“Death of His Royal Highness, The Prince of Hawaii”
The Pacific commercial advertiser, August 28, 1862, Image 2

“Death of H. R. H. Prince Albert of Hawaii!”
Polynesian, August 30, 1862, Image 2

Queen Kapiolani (Esther Kapiʻolani Napelakapuokakaʻe)
"In the Fullness of Years: Death of Queen Dowager Kapiolani"
Austin's Hawaiian weekly, July 1, 1899, Page 3

"Passing of the Queen Dowager"
The Hawaiian gazette, July 5, 1899, Image 1

"Queen Dowager Kapiolani Passes Away: Death Came at 8:45 This Morning---Peaceful Ending of a Well Rounded Life"
Evening bulletin, June 24, 1899, Image 1

Princess Virginia Kapooloku Poomaikelani: October 2, 1895 (Queen Kapiolani's younger sister, Governor of Big Island, and descendant of Hawaiian chiefs)

“Laid to Rest”
Hawaiian gazette, October 4, 1895, Page 8

Prince David Kawananakoa (David Laʻamea Kahalepouli Kinoiki Kawānanakoa Piʻikoi)
"Death of Prince David Kawananakoa Yesterday: Was Heir Presumptive of the Throne of Hawaii"
The Hawaiian gazette, June 5, 1908, Page 2

Princess Ruth Keelikolani (Ruth Luka Keanolani Kauanahoahoa Keʻelikōlani)
"Death of Her Highness Princess Ruth Keelikolani"
The Daily bulletin, May 28, 1883, Image 2

Queen Liliuokalani
"Queen Who Wrote Famous 'Aloha' Passes to Her Rest"
The Tacoma times, November 12, 1917, Page 5

Jack London - Writer
"London Died as He Was Creating Hawaiian Novel: Gifted Author Expressed 'Fond Belief All Hawaii Would Like Book'"
Honolulu star-bulletin, November 23, 1916, 2:30 Edition, Image 1 & 2

"Jack London"
The Maui news, December 1, 1916, Page 4

King William Charles Lunalilo
"The Death of the King"
The Pacific commercial advertiser, February 7, 1874, Image 2

Claus Spreckels - Businessman
"Claus Spreckels, the Sugar King, Is Dead"
The Hawaiian gazette, December 29, 1908, Page 3

"Former Sugar King Spreckels Dead"
Evening bulletin, December 26, 1908, 3:30 EDITION, Images 1 and 4

Jules Tavernier - Artist
"Jules Tavernier: Sudden Death of the Celebrated Artist and Painter"
The Hawaiian gazette, May 21, 1889, Page 4

"Tavernier Dead!: Jules Tavernier, the Famous Artist, Found Dead in His Room--Some Particulars of His Life"
The Daily bulletin, May 18, 1889, Image 3

Dr. Georges Phillipe Trosseau
"Dr. Geo. Trousseau Dead"
The Daily bulletin, May 5, 1894, Image 2

"George Trousseau: A True Friend of Hawaii has Gone to Rest"
Hawaii holomua = Progress, May 5, 1894, Image 2

Robert William Kalanihiapo Wilcox - Politician
"Robert W. Wilcox Dead: Well-Known Home Ruler King Passed Away Quietly at His Home in the Presence of His Wife and Children"
The Hawaiian gazette, October 27, 1903, Page 2

Alexander Young
"Death Calls Alexander Young: Honolulu's Most Widely Known Citizens Answers the Final Summons"
The Hawaiian gazette, July 5, 1910, Page 3

- Alice Kim


Kelley, Harold H. In Search of Your Family Tree. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1977. Print.

Hough, George A., III. News Writing. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1988. Print.