Museum hosts ‘An American Girl’


On Monday, May 20, at 7 p.m., the Lyman Museum will host a special lecture and book signing for “An American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands: Letters of Carrie Prudence Winter, 1890-1893,” recently released by the University of Hawaii Press.

The book reveals what life was like for a young female teacher in Honolulu during the final years of the Hawaiian monarchy.

“An American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands” includes the letters — recovered from a long-forgotten attic space — of 23-year-old Carrie Prudence Winter, a missionary-teacher who arrived at Honolulu’s Kawaiaha‘o Female Seminary in 1890. Her narrative now has a wider audience, thanks to educator Sandra Bonura and retired archivist Deborah Day, who painstakingly transcribed and researched the letters and related documents for this remarkable book.

Written to her fiancé overseas, Winter’s letters give an intimate look at 19th-century courtship in America. They also detail firsthand accounts of teaching and living with Hawaiian boarding students, exploring the islands on horseback, and navigating the shoals of 19th-century Honolulu society.

In addition to her book discussion, Bonura will share excerpts from an oral history by Lydia Aholo, Winter’s pupil and a hanai daughter and namesake of Queen Lili‘uokalani. She will also present a 100-year-old recording of the Queen’s “Aloha ‘Oe” performed by seminary students during Winter’s tenure. A book signing with Bonura will follow.

Copies of “An American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands” are available for purchase in the Lyman Museum Shop. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for evening public programs, which cost $3.

 

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