Background Sources for Hawaii

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This entry was originally written by Dwight A. Radford for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the Hawaii Family History Research series.
History of Hawaii
Hawaii Vital Records
Census Records for Hawaii
Background Sources for Hawaii
Hawaii Maps
Hawaii Land Records
Hawaii Probate Records
Hawaii Court Records
Hawaii Tax Records
Hawaii Cemetery Records
Hawaii Church Records
Hawaii Military Records
Hawaii Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Hawaii Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Hawaii Immigration
Ethnic Groups of Hawaii
Hawaii County Resources
Map of Hawaii


  • Beechert, Edward D. Working in Hawaii: A Labor History. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1985. This is a comprehensive overview of the working conditions of Hawaii with an emphasis on the last 200 years.
  • Forbes, David W. Hawaiian National Bibliography. 4 vols. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1999–2003. These volumes are encyclopedic in scope, listing printed material on the development and history of Hawaii. Each volume is divided by time frame: vol. 1: 1780–1830; vol. 2: 1831–1850; vol. 3: 1851–1880; vol. 4: 1881–1900.
  • Handy, E. S. Craighill, and Mary Kawena Pukui. The Polynesian Family System in Ka-’u, Hawaii. Rutland, Vt.: Charles E. Tuttle Co., n.d. This book is valuable for the study of native Hawaiians. It provides an account of old-style Hawaiian life based on the recollections of living informants.
  • Kuykendall, Ralph S. The Hawaiian Kingdom, 1778–1854: Foundation and Transformation. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1966. Volume 1 of a three-volume definitive history of the Hawaiian Kingdom covers the beginning of Hawaii and the European discovery of the Islands. The Hawaiian Kingdom, 1854–1874: Twenty Critical Years. Volume 2 of this definitive history of the Hawaiian Kingdom covers the middle period of the kingdom’s history, between the close of the reign of Kamehameha III and the accession of Kalakaua. The Hawaiian Kingdom, 1874–1893: The Kalakaua Dynasty. Volume 3 of the definitive history of the Hawaiian Kingdom deals with the reigns of Kalakaua and Liliuokalani, the expansive reciprocity era, and the downfall of the monarchy.
  • Lind, Andrew W. Hawaii’s People. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1971. This volume focuses on the life and immigration of ethnic groups in Hawaii and the native Hawaiians. Education and assimilation of the diverse Hawaiian communities is also featured in this work. The first two chapters recount the history and facts of several groups.
  • Osorino, Jonathan K. K. Dismembering Lahui: A History of the Hawaiian Nation to 1887. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2002. Taken from legislative texts, contemporary newspapers and from historians’ research, this volume documents the period that took Hawaii from a traditional subsistence economy to a modern nation.
  • Norkyke, Eleanor C. The Peopling of Hawaii. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1989. This work includes statistical tables demonstrating the rise of the various ethnic groups within the state and their history.
  • Pukui, Mary Kawena, Samuel H. Elbert, and Esther T. Mookini. Place Names of Hawaii. Honolulu: The University of Hawaii Press, 1974. This excellent work is a glossary of important place-names in Hawaii. These include 4,000 names of valleys, streams, mountains, land sections, towns, villages, and Honolulu streets and buildings.
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