Hawaiians at Harvard, 1908 / 2014.

A Letter From Lands Afar

Cambridge, Mass.,
Nov. 4, 1908.

My beloved father;

For a long time now I have not received a letter from you, and I assume you are in the midst of political battles. I am very interested in the results of the election over there, and I hope very much that you were elected. Please, papa, tell me what became of the elections there. There was not much of great import in the elections here being that it was known in advance that Taft would come out as the new President of America. Taft was elected victoriously, and he was far ahead of his fellow candidates, and maybe you all have heard before the arrival of this letter of mine.

The parade of the Republicans on this past Friday before election day was one of the grandest seen here in the town of Boston. Thousands of students from the colleges joined in this parade, and students from our school, Harvard were out first leading the parade, and I was one among the students marching in this parade beyond compare. We were dressed in crimson caps of the college of Harvard with the school uniform, and each student held a candle in his hand, and the old town of Boston glowed red in its light. The candle-light parade was 11 miles long. We marched on the streets of town, and when we arrived before the Governor, we removed our crimson caps and gave our greetings to the Governor. This was a great parade indeed, and everything went well. It was a Republican Governor that was elected yesterday.

This past Sunday, I saw a great parade of the members of the Catholic faith marching on the street. There were 42,000 who joined in this parade, and there were many bands playing. The newspapers of Boston stated that there were over 600,000 people standing on the sides of the street watching this parade of the Catholics.

This past Saturday, our school challenged Brown College at football, and our school won, Harvard 6, and Brown 3. There were perhaps 20,000 spectators who went to the game.

I am being asked to join the school club, and this club has yearly dues. Also I was asked to join the Christian Endeavor [Ahahui Hooikaika Pono Kristiano]. There are fees to join, and I became a member because of their enthusiasm with me. However father, I am thinking about the money that I need here in this foreign land. It is demoralizing to think about what we lack, and I thought about coming home, but I thought of you, my “determined parent,” and I decided to persevere through the cold and the troubles of pursuing an education. I am progressing in my studies, and I have no worries there. But I cannot look for a job right now because I have loads of homework, and I want to show the instructors that “I, the Hawaiian, will not fall behind the haole boys.”

My first year was my most troublesome, and I am a bit more used to the cold of this land.

I have a lot of things that I lack, but you taught me, dear father, to persevere.

I have much aloha for my home and parents, but am separated by the many miles.

Much aloha to my ohana and friends from home. Much aloha, my dear parents, and may God guide and bless you all.

Your loving son,


[Check out this cool story that appeared in Civil Beat this morning. Students at Harvard today are getting inspiration from a letter found in the Hawaiian-Language Newspapers by another Hawaiian who studied at the same institution more than a hundred years ago! …The “Jack” here, is presumably John Rollin “Jack” Desha, son of the editor of the Hoku o Hawaii, Steven Langhern Desha.

Here is by the way, another Hawaiian at Harvard in 1914, Alsoberry Kaumu Hanchett.

It is unfortunate that the issues of Hoku o Hawaii prior to 1917 (11 years worth) are not available online.]

(Hoku o Hawaii, 11/26/1908, p. 2)

He Leta Mai ka Aina Mamao Mai

Ka Hoku o Hawaii, Buke III, Helu 31, Aoao 2. Novemaba 26, 1908.


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