The February 1924 edition of The National Geographic Magazine was wholly dedicated to “The Hawaiian Islands” and included a photograph captioned “Thirty-Two Girls, Each of a Different Race and Racial Combination, All Attending Kawaiahao Seminary, Honolulu: A Striking Illustration of the Mixture of Races That is Taking Place in Hawaii.”
Notes & Queries: The Hawaiian Journal of History, volume 53 (2019). https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/41515
An Inquiry Into Kawaiaha‘o Seminary’s “Melting Pot” Photograph Published in The National Geographic Magazine in 1924
The photograph, one of a series, was taken about ten years earlier on the steps of the Kawaiaha‘o Girls’ Department on the campus of Mid-Pacific Institute by teacher, Roselle F. Faast. Widely distributed in Hawai‘i, the photo was used in The National Geographic Magazine and at least one other image in the series was distributed by Mid-Pacific under the heading of “The Melting Pot” or “The ‘Melting Pot’ of Many Nations” accompanied by an index card which identified the girls by number and their racial and ethnic backgrounds or nationalities.
Beginning with the photographs’ very first publication, the identities of the girls pictured in the series were never included in the descriptions. The images of these 32 girls, as a group or in subsets, were numbered and labeled with descriptions of their “pure” and “mixed” heritages and would appear in newspapers, journals, official reports, and academic writings over the ensuing 100 years. The photographer, the girls photographed, and the school could hardly have imagined the far-reaching distribution, well beyond the boundaries of Hawai‘i, that the photographs would ultimately have or the varied narratives and meanings that would be attached to the images.
The full article can be accessed online at https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/41515
With the publication of this article, the names of these girls are reunited with the image.
|Olsson||Miriam||South Seas (Nauru) – Norwegian||28|
|Pena||Anita Annamaria||Spanish-Porto Rican||30|