hamm : surf riding in hawaii, 1899
Margerita Arlina Hamm : Surf Riding in Hawaii, 1899.
Margherita Arlina Hamm (1867–1907) was among
the earliest American female journalists, and perhaps the
first one to cover a war from the front lines.
She was also a prolific author of popular books, especially
relating to travel and famous people.
Hamm was both an active suffragette, and a supporter and
defender of American overseas imperialism/colonialism at the
time of the Spanish–American War, which she covered.
wikipedia: Margherita Arlina Hamm
Note that America's New Possessions and Spheres of
Influence (1899) has an illustration, Hawaii.Kanaka
Aquatics, not available online.
In April 1899, The New York Times noted works by Margherita Arlina Hamm:
Bird Lore, ... Cloth, $1.25.
HAWAII, U.S. A. ... Fully
CHAPTER IV. HAWAII OR THE SANDWICH
The northern side receives more rain than the southern, and
the southern more wind. In the center of each island,
especially on the hills and in the mountain passes, the cool
breeze seems actually chilling, although the thermometer shows
that the temperature is nowise different from that of more
Under these favorable auspices human comfort attains a
maximum; but little clothing is required and the dangers and
diseases incidental to extreme heat or extreme cold are
No Hawaiian has ever experienced the weather changes so
familiar to Ameri
cans, who dwell upon the Atlantic Coast or in the great
It is just as easy and safe to live out-of-doors as it is
beneath the roof.
The hammock is everywhere, and the veranda, with its
easy-chair, rattan lounge and bamboo couch, is universal.
The men wear light woolen, linen and cotton suits, and the
women equally light and porous attire.
The native women use the holoku, which resembles a
dress once popular under the name of the Mother Hubbard.
It is not a graceful gown, but it is exceedingly comfortable
and convenient. It is nothing more nor less than a long robe,
like a nightgown, with a full yoke.
It falls so far in the back as to give the effect of a train,
and it is so loose that it conceals any angularity of the
As a matter of fact, there is no necessity for concealment.
I have seen several thousand Hawaiian women and not one was
The most slender was as round and plump as the proverbial
partridge, and from that they ascend into larger and larger
masses of healthy, and somewhat superfluous flesh and blood.
The women of our own race yield to the charm of the climate
and fall quickly into Hawaiian ways.
Many use the holoku as a house frock, others the
graceful Japanese kimono, while nearly all modify the
style of New York and Paris so as to give some freedom to the
muscles and tissues within.
The standards of education and intelligence are quite high.
Of the Hawaiians eighty-four per cent can read and write, and
of the half-breeds ninety-one percent; of the Americans
eighty-two per cent; of the British, ninety-five per cent; of
the Japanese, fifty-four per cent; of the Chinese, forty-nine
per cen., and of the foreigners born in Hawaii sixty-eight per
The large number of illiterates is due to the many sailors,
stowaways and beachcombers that drift to the port of Honolulu.
At the same time it must be admitted that public education
under Hawaiian rule did not receive the attention which it
does in America and England, and which it will receive
hereafter under the existing administration.
Of the many Hawaiian cities and towns Honolulu, the capital,
is the only one of great importance.
It is situated on the Island of Oahu, and is of extraordinary
The harbor is a roadstead and not a bay, so that the prospect
to the inhabitant is a broad expanse of the blue Pacific.
A large part of the shore is a coral beach, which expands to
the east of the city into the:famous place known as Waikiki,
said to be the most beautiful bathing resort upon the globe.
The water is never cold, and is as warm in winter as in
The surf is handsome and almost devoid of any under-tow.
There is no sewage and no flotsam and jetsam.
The only thing ever thrown up by the sea is a dead fish or a
small bunch of seaweed.
The city is built upon a small plain, which ascends into
hills, and these into a noble line of mountain
The leading buildings are the government building, which was
formerly the palace of Liliuokalani, the Hawaiian Hotel, the
Royal Hospital, and the Bishop Museum.
This museum is of exceeding interest and value. It was founded
in 1889 by the Hon. Charles R. Bishop, and was endowed
sufficiently to insure its preservation through the coming
The building is appropriately made out of blocks of dark lava.
It would be somber in appearance, but the surface is so richly
draped with vines and flowers that only here and there can one
catch sight of the stone beneath.
The main hall, when I visited it, was finished with native koa
There are several rooms and a picture gallery.
In addition there are a great hall with storerooms, a library
room and a reference library
It is already well supplied with collections of various
classes of objects.
It is intended to show every bird, insect, animal, fish,
shell, coral, plant, flower, soil, rock and seaweed which
grows in the archipelago or in the waters round about.
In addition there is a collection devoted to the archaeology
and history of the Hawaiians, as well as a collection
illustrating the development of every industry.
There are hundreds of wooden bowls, dishes, plates and other
receptacles, ranging from a poi bowl, nine feet in
circumference, down to the little handleless cups used by
children and babies.
There is a series of articles representing the fish in- (page
58) dustries, including nets, seines, traps, fishhooks, bits
of tortoise shell, mother-of-pearl, fish scales and fish
One section is devoted to native toys and games, surfboards
for the water, Ihes or war spears, ulus or
huge balls, feather cloaks, stone tools, stone hammers and
toboggans for hill sliding.
Other sections are set aside to Maori implements and
The Fiji islanders have a section to themselves, Micronesia
has another, as have New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the
The Anaconda standard. (Anaconda, Mont.) 1889-1970,
September 24, 1899, Morning, Image 3
Image and text provided by Montana Historical Society; Helena,
Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84036012/1899-09-24/ed-1/seq-3/
A LAND OF PERPETUAL SUMMER
Points Out a Way for Americans to Enjoy the Greatest
Beauties of Nature's Most Attractive Season
Mid-Winter Bathing Parties.
the Sunday Standard.
Now that the summer season is over here it is comforting to
Americans to know that when they get rich enough to extend the
season and indulge in a second 'summering there is an ideal
spot that for beauty and attractiveness surpasses any holiday
resort in the world.
Waikiki beach, which I have Just visited, is the Mecca of
every resident in Honolulu and of every visitor from the
It has no counterpart upon the globe.
Alongside of it Coney Island, Long Branch, Rockaway, Newport,
Bar Harbor and Nantucket are utterly insignificant.
The great roadstead south of the Island of Oahu is traversed
by an irregular coral reef which prevents the larger billows
of the ocean from reaching the land.
Between this submerged reef and the shore the water is
practically a superb lagoon, clear, clean and warm.
The bottom is hard sand made from the erosion of coral rocks,
lava and other volcanic substances, which compares well with
famous white beaches of the Mediterranean.
The slope is gradual, and nowhere are there pits and hollows
or undertow in which the unwary bather or the ignorant visitor
risks life or limb.
The shore line extends for miles and was originally dotted
with many villages.
Of these Honolulu and Waikiki were the two most important.
Waikiki was the more beautiful, but Honolulu was the more
practical because the channel in front of it which leads to
the ocean beyond was broader, deeper and safer than all the
Thus Honolulu grew while Waikiki remained stationary.
Long ago, before the wharves and piers were built, the beach
was as attractive as that of Waikiki, but commercial
necessities have played havoc with its original loveliness.
Sheds, battered hulks, shipyards and storages have utterly
changed its character and made it as dull and prosaic as the
average seaport the world over.
The village has become a great city and its population, native
and foreign, now patronize Waikiki, which is practically a
suburb and a pleasure resort of the community.
No matter how approached, Waikiki is of extraordinary beauty.
Back of it are high mountains completely covered with
To the east the beach terminates in a massive bluff known as
Diamond Head, which is really the place where the mountains
themselves go down into the sea.
Between the mountains and the shore are fields, splendid
forests, cottages, mansions, flower gardens and marvelous
lawns, beautiful roads, thatched cottages and a strange
mixture of the civilizations of the temperate and tropical
The beach itself lies a polished white floor never less than a
hundred yards wide and beyld it is the lagoon, whose color
varies from minute to minute according to the time of the day,
the cloud in the heavens and the winds, which ripple its
The physical configuration of the place is unique.
The high mountain wall stilts off the winds and storms of the
north and catches two-thirds of the rain which is brought down
by the atmospheric currents from far off seas.
The rain fall on the north side of the hills is usually twice
what it is on the south side.
Not that the benefit of the rain is lost, because much is
deflected by the chasms and valleys and flows southward in
rills and streams unnumbered.
The dews are remarkably heavy, so that there is never any need
of water so far as the vegetable world is concerned.
Everything grows in astonishing profusion.
On the other hand, the very formation prevents the collecting
of water in pools and the decay of organic matter.
There is no marsh nor wet land, no malaria, and none of the
living forms which abound under these conditions.
This applies to all of the Islands.
There are practically no reptiles and very few insects, birds
or mammalia which are found in marshy habitats.
The drive from the city to the beach I shall never forget.
It is along a road equal in beauty and excellence to the
magnificent thoroughfares of the national capital.
But the few trees and the little yards and parks of Washington
would not altogether equal the vegetable wealth of the grounds
of a single merchant In Honolulu.
Palm, banyans, bamboos and Norfolk pines are so numerous as to
make veritable living walls on either side of the road.
Every here and there is a break in the foliage, through which
the passerby obtains glimpses of wonderful attractiveness.
At one point it is a vista of mountains, at another it is a
long expanse of gardens gleaming in floral color, at a third
it is a tunnel in checkered light and shade between the trunks
of mighty trees festooned together by trailing vines, while a
fourth gives a long avenue through trees and flowers, ending
in the bay and the ocean.
When you arrive at the beach there are always people upon the
sand and on the water.
The Hawaiians are true amphibla.
Left to themselves they would spend as much of their active
Iife in the water as on the land.
The Europeans who have settled there have unconsciously
contracted the same habits, and the cleanly Japanese practice
in Hawaii what they do in their own empire.
This love of the sea manifests Itself in many curious ways.
Very often at balls and receptions the guests will re pair to
the bedrooms of their host's residence at Waikiki, there
clothing, put on bathing suits and, by the light of the moon
or stars, run over to the beach and race the night muoiral
with splashing laughter and conversation.
Bathing parties, swimming parties, surf-board parties, canoe
parties and fishing parties are as much a feature of social
life in Honolulu as are dinners and receptions in the colder
climes of America and England.
Everybody goes in swimming once a day.
About one-half the people go in twice a day, while an
appreciable number seem to regard the mermen and the mermaid
as their model, and indulge in aquatic pleasures more often.
The swimming is very much the same as on the beaches in our
country, but there are differences which are soon recognized,
all of which are in favor of the paradise of the Pacific.
Thus the air is never cold nor the water either.
The lagoon formation makes the water near the land still
warmer than that of the tropical ocean outside.
In winter the water seems warmer than the air, and the air
itself is at a temperature where superfluous clothing may be
omitted with delight.
In summer the water is a trifle cooler than the air, but is
never chilly enough to make the lips purple or to produce that
unpleasant symptom of discomfort, goose flesh.
It is always deliciously tepid.
Some fashion has invaded Waikiki, and here and there one can
see bathing suits which would be a credit to Narragansett pier
On the other hand the average past is not entirely forgotten.
Sturdy young natives may be occasionally noticed floundering
in the water in a condition of beauty unadorned, while In the
time both natives and foreigners yield to the temptations of
swimming with the body unhampered by woven tissues.
Of course everybody swims.
The very air invites the bather to use her muscles.
The surf is never strong enough to terrify you or to shock
nervous organizations, and neither air nor water produce the
chill which sends bathers flying to the shore.
Here the natives show their matchless natatorial skill.
They swim with a grace and abandon and strength that are ever
They float in seeming sleep up on the wave, they imitate the
swimming motions of every animal and indulge in freakish modes
of propulsion that are grotesque one moment and graceful the
Sometimes they imitate the seal.
All that you see is a cluster of motionless heads and long
blue black hair gleaming with the sunlight reflected on its
wet surface. Or they may play dead, when to your horror and
half amazement, a dozen well built men and women will suddenly
cease all movement and float along face down upon the bosom of
the ocean, looking for all the world like the dead of some
storm or accident at sea.
There can be no doubt that the wonderful physique of the
Hawaiian is largely due to the swimming habits of the race.
The broad chest, the great expansive power of the lungs, the
superb shoulders and arms are the resultof centuries of
swimming and floating.
If you compare the natives and foreigners in the waters of
Waikiki you see at a glance that the Kanaka is more buoyant
and floats higher out of the water than the Caucasian.
He swims faster without losing his wind, he stays longer under
the water when diving and he performs more aquatic feats than
the men of other races.
MARGHERITA ARLINA HAMM.
Geoff Cater (2016) :
Margherita Arlina Hamm : Hawaii, 1899.