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The Hawaiian Archipelago

Isabella L. Bird

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ly self-sustaining, but contributes $1200 a year to foreign missions, and the latter, though very old and frail, the indefatigable head of an industrial school for native young men.  Their houses combine the trimness of New England, with the luxuriance of the tropics; they are cool retreats, embowered among breadfruit, tamarind, and bamboo, through whose graceful leafage the blue waters of the bay are visible.  Innumerable exotics are domesticated round these fair homesteads.  Two of “Father Lyman’s” sons are influential residents, one being the Lieutenant-Governor of the island.  Other sons of former missionaries are settled here in business, and there are a few strangers who have been attracted hither.  Dr. Wetmore, formerly of the mission, is a typical New Englander of the old orthodox school.  It is pleasant to see him brighten into almost youthful enthusiasm on the subject of Hawaiian ferns.  My host, a genial, social, intellige. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This has been quite interesting so far. Isabella Bird was headed to California from New Zealand in 1873, when the leaky steamboat she and her fellow passengers had boarded nearly sank. When they stopped at Hawaii, then an independent country, most of them disembarked. She had stopped over to help a

Isabella L. Bird was one of those intrepid solo women explorers of the 19th century. Her Six Months in the Sandwich Islands: Among Hawaii's Palm Groves, Coral Reefs and Volcanoes was published in 1874. Bird spent most of her time on the islands of O'ahu and Hawai'i, making shorter visits to Maui and

Isabella Bird was an extraordinary woman and perhaps one of the best known British female solo travellers of the Victorian era. To explore and achieve all that she did during a time where it wasn't 'proper' for women to do such things, especially on their own, makes her experiences even more compell

Works from the 19th century can be difficult to read due to dense, repetitive prose and the repulsive attitudes of the time. Bird is a woman of her period, yes, and her biases are pretty clear up front, but she is a complex, fascinating person who would be remarkable even in our time. This is a woma

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