When twenty-three-year-old Carrie Prudence Winter caught her first glimpse of Honolulu from aboard the Zealandia in October 1890, she had “never seen anything so beautiful.” She had been traveling for two months since leaving her family home in Connecticut and was at last only a few miles from her final destination, Kawaiaha’o Female Seminary, a flourishing boarding school for Hawaiian girls. As the daughter of staunch New England Congregationalists, Winter had dreamed of being a missionary teacher as a child and reasoned that “teaching for a few years among the Sandwich Islands seemed particularly attractive” while her fiancé pursued a science degree. During her three years at Kawaiaha’o, Winter wrote often and at length to her “beloved Charlie”; her lively and affectionate letters, excerpted in An American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands, selected and edited by Sandra Bonura and Deborah Day, provide readers with not only an intimate look at nineteenth-century courtship, but also many invaluable details about life in Hawai’i during the last years of the monarchy and a young woman’s struggle to enter a career while adjusting to surroundings that were unlike anything she had ever experienced.
September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3627-6 / $39.00 (CLOTH)
Sandra Bonura will give a talk on the surprising discovery of Carrie Prudence Winter’s correspondence and photos and share additional insight into the lives of the students and teachers at Kawaiaha‘o Female Seminary during the turbulent years of the overthrow: Sunday, September 23, 3-5 pm, Native Books/Na Mea Hawai‘i, Ward Warehouse. Light refreshments will be served. A limited number of books airflown for this event will be available.