Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hawaii in the Mid-19th Century

Hawaii has, and always will have, a special place in my heart. It might seem strange to someone who loves history and is excited about moving from California to Michigan because there will be more, older history. But despite its reputation as a tropical paradise, Hawaii has a fascinating and heartbreaking history of its own.

My own personal history involves 13 straight years of visiting the islands. This year, I get a special opportunity to walk in Waikiki's Independence Day parade... with Civil War reenactors! Yep, that's right, there's Civil War reenactors in Hawaii! Who knew?!

This means that I will be bringing an 1860s outfit with me and wearing it in the parade. Which begs the question, what will I wear?

Even though I didn't get around to posting pictures of it, I did indeed make and wear my teen style sheer dress for Greenfield Village. However, in light of my engagement, I feel much too old for it now! So I've been perusing images for inspiration on how to remake the dress (I have lots of left over fabric for this express purpose). I had originally thought I would just make undersleeves to baste in, but I no longer want the open neckline.

Then a thought struck me-- why not look at images from Hawaii in the 1860s? Because believe it or not, they didn't go around wearing grass skirts and mu'u mu'us all the time. After the missionaries started coming in the 1820s, many Hawaiians adopted western clothing. The kings, queens, princes, and princesses of Hawaii were arrayed just as beautifully as their European counterparts.

What follows are some really beautiful images of Hawaiian royals in the 1860s (and earlier), including the picture I've settled on for re-doing my teen sheer. Enjoy!

File:Liliuokalani in 1865.jpg

File:Victoria Kamamalu in dress.jpg

Design for the new sheer. Queen Emma.


Anonymous said...

I recently listened to an episode of a podcast called "Stuff You Missed in History Class" about how Hawaii became part of the United States. It was fascinating! I knew nothing about Hawaiian history so it was all new to me. I hope you take pictures during your trip, I'd love to see them!

Nereida said...

A really interesting information. A trip to Hawai alwaya sound great but you add a possibility to attent to a reenacment event it's perfect.

I hope you really enjoy the trip.


Time Traveling in Costume said...

What an elegant lady Queen Emma is. And it has some fun trim on it too. This sounds like such a fun trip!
I was looking at a sheer brown floral cotton voile at a local Yardage Town yesterday and was trying to talk myself into buying it but if it had been any other color than brown.....