Hui Hānai Publishes Queen Lili‘uokalani’s Personal Diaries, Edited and Annotated by David Forbes

—Never Before Published Personal Journals of Queen Provide Intimate View Into Life During Historic and Turbulent Times—

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Hui Hānai announced today that it has published The Diaries of Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii, 1885-1900. Penned by the eighth and final monarch of Hawai‘i, edited and extensively annotated by historian David Forbes, and in collaboration with Barbara Pope Book Design, the book is the definitive volume on the private writings of Queen Lili‘uokalani. It will be available for sale through University of Hawai‘i Press beginning in May 2020. Funding for the project was provided by Lili‘uokalani Trust.

“Hui Hānai is proud to be publishing this landmark work,” said Diane Peters-Nguyen, president of Hui Hānai. “It will, for the first time, allow readers to experience the journey of an amazing Hawaiian leader during one of the most complex and politically charged eras in Hawaiian history. In this book, we are able to explore her daily life with the intimacy usually reserved for a close family member or friend. This is a riveting book, reminding us that the lessons of the Queen’s inspiring leadership continue to be relevant for Hawai‘i and Hawaiians today.”


Several of the Queen’s personal diaries included in this collection were among the papers seized from Washington Place and confiscated by the Republic of Hawaii officials in 1895, leaving Lili‘uokalani without access to them when she wrote Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen Liliuokalani (annotated by David Forbes and published in a new edition by Hui Hānai in 2013) which recounts the story of her life leading up to her overthrow in 1893. Four years after the death of the Queen in 1917, these diaries were turned over to the territorial government and are now held by the Hawai‘i State Archives.

From mundane, often charming details about quotidian life such as disbursing $2 to a member of her household named Manaiki for chicken feed, to her tireless efforts in Washington, D.C. for justice, this meticulously annotated collection of the Queen’s personal writings provides a researched and authoritative perspective on a well-known story. This comprehensive view into the private thoughts and actions of Lili‘uokalani’s life as heir apparent and monarch is the masterwork of noted historian David Forbes. His research for the transcriptions and annotations spanned a decade.

David Forbes is an internationally recognized historian whose earlier work includes the four-volume Hawaiian National Bibliography 1780-1900 (University of Hawai‘i Press and Hordern House, 2003) as well as numerous books, essays, monographs, and catalogues. The Forbes Collection in the Hawai‘i State Archives includes his transcriptions and notes regarding significant documents of the Hawaiian kingdom’s last royal family.

Barbara Pope has been editing, designing, and producing illustrated books and graphics for thirty-five years and has received numerous local and national design and production awards. Principal of Barbara Pope Book Design and a founding partner of ‘Ai Pōhaku Press, Barbara produced in partnership with Hui Hānai The Queen’s Songbook (1999) and Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen Liliuokalani (2013).

Hawai‘i State Archives, Bishop Museum, and Louise Koch Schubert generously provided David Forbes with access to the diaries and related documents and photographs within their collections. Jason Achiu and Puakea Nogelmeier provided assistance with Hawaiian-language translation.

Hui Hānai, a private, non-profit organization, was established in 1969 to assist in carrying out the objectives of Lili‘uokalani Trust and to perpetuate the memory and legacy of the Queen and her accomplishments. The organization produces and disseminates educational materials and information about Queen Lili‘uokalani, her era in Hawaiian history, and the social process of the Hawaiian people. Just over a year ago, in collaboration with noted filmmaker Edgy Lee, Hui Hānai produced a new feature documentary entitled Reflections of Our Queen, which aired on Hawaii News Now and debuted with screenings at various locations. Other books published by Hui Hānai include the Nānā I Ke Kumu series (Volumes I and II), The Queen’s Songbook, and Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen Liliuokalani.

The Diaries of Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii, 1885-1900

Publication date: April 30, 2020

576 pages, with 98 text illustrations

ISBN 978-0-9887278-3-0

Hardback, $40

Distributed by

University of Hawai‘i Press

Contact: Carol Abe,




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