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'Iolani School Archives: Did You Know?

The ‘Iolani School Archives collects, organizes, preserves and provides access to historical records of ‘Iolani School.


The ‘Iolani School Archives collects, organizes, preserves and provides access to historical records of ‘Iolani School.

The Youngest Bunch

Kindergarten was introduced with the class of 1960 in school year 1947/48 (Ala Wai Campus).


Beginning in 1917, school colors were blue and white.
This changed to red, black, and white when we joined the Interscholastic League in 1936.

A Fond Farwell

The Class of 1953 was the last to graduate from Nu'uanu Campus.

A New Beginning

The Lower School opened at Ala Wai Campus in November 1946.

Gotta Eat!

The Student Center was completed in May 1959.

Imua article: Shiny New Student Center Has Many Catchy Features
Imua Iolani, May 15, 1959.
(Publication title did not use diacritics at the time.)


The Archives has school newspapers as far back as the 1920s, but no issues from the 1930s.

Stamp of Approval

Elements of the school seal:

  • The Bishop hat, also known as a miter.
  • The keys in school seal are a stylized version of St. Peter's Keys.
  • The cross is a stylized Canterbury Cross representing the Bishop's office of the Anglican Church.

A version of the coat-of-arms design was adopted by the first Anglican Bishop of Hawai'i, Thomas Nettleship Staley.

Heart of the School

St. Alban's Chapel is situated at the heart of campus between the Upper and Lower schools.

  • Construction 1954
  • Consecrated on Oct. 3, 1954
    (See "Iolani Chapel Consecrated," Hawaiian Church Chronicle, Oct. 1954, page 3)
  • Jan. 25, 1995 K-12 service blessing the koa wood pews and stained glass
  • Stained glass and koa work- in honor of Rev. Coon
  • Koa provided by the C.Q. Yee Hop family from Yee Hop Ranch
  • Stained glass designed by Mrs. Joanne Coon and Mr. and Mrs. Randall L. Chun
  • The chapel on the previous, Nu'uanu, campus was also named St. Alban's
  • Named in recognition of the the first martyr of the English Church


An Episcopal school from its founding, 'Iolani became an independent school in 1942.

(Click to enlarge clip.)

The Gates of Time

The gates seen in this photo (circa 1947) of 'Iolani's Nu'uanu Campus
are the same gates at the present day Lower School Autoline.

                'Iolani School Nu'uanu Campus front gates.

After being found at a private residence,
they were moved and dedicated at the Ala Wai Campus in 1991.


'Iolani School traces it's beginnings to 1863; but, there were no graduating classes before 1917.
Click on the below images to enlarge and read remarks from the 1924 annual,
the first yearbook to be published.

                  1924 yearbook image 1.                               1924 yearbook image 2.
Ka Moolelo O Iolani, 1924, "Alumni," pages 52-54.
(Publication title did not use diacritics at the time.)

Living At School

'Iolani School had boarders through the 1959/60 school year.
Was exclusively a day school for school years 1960/61 - 2017/18.
The boarding program relaunched in school year 2018/19.

Special Delivery!

In former years, teachers were shipped to O'ahu on Matson liners.


'Iolani was founded as an all boys school. The implementation to coeducation was gradual.

  • Coeducation began in Fall 1979 (school year 1979/80).
  • Grade 7 (class of 1985) is the youngest coeducational grade at onset in SY 1979/80.
  • 1982- two girls appear in the class graduation photograph.
  • 1983- First large group of girls appearing in class graduation photograph.
  • Fall 1985 (SY 1985/86) girls began entering kindergarten.
  • First Daughters of ‘Iolani = class of 1998

Let's play!

The One Team Fieldhouse was completed Summer 2005.
The purpose was to have a covered play area for students.

Fun by any other name... Fair

The 'Iolani Fair started in 1948 as the Fun Festival and has gone by a few names:
It was called Fun Festival in 1948 - 1949.
It was called Carnival in the 1950s - 1980s.
As of 1990 it is called Fair.
Themes were introduced in the 1990s.

In the early days funds were raised for the Building Fund.
Now funds raised support student travel initiatives.
Always good times!

Inquiring Minds

The Archives' collection of the 'Iolani School Bulletin begins in April 1960.

"Maybe we should save that..."

The school's Archives program was started in the late 1970s by a school librarian.

A Growing Legacy

Various religious figures participated in a tree planting ceremony on the nascent Ala Wai Campus during the 58th Episcopal General Convention in 1955.
(See the below attached documents for more information.)

Hawai'i hosting the convention was notable because of the lack of segregation laws
which prevented a diverse gathering from occurring in the continental U.S.
(Hawai'i was a U.S. Territory at the time of the Convention.)
For more information about the Convention, please see the
Hawaiian Church Chronicle, September 1955 issue.
Hawaiian Church Chronicle, October 1955 issue.

  • "A Guide to the Flora of 'Iolani School's Upper Campus," March 2014
    Created by the Biology students of Ms. Ono and Mr. Warehime. Regarding Ala Wai Campus. Available for viewing in the 'Iolani School Archives.

                Content disclaimer

For More Information

The trivia appearing on this page were taken from various sources in the 'Iolani School Archives. For more information, schedule an appointment to conduct your research. Please note the Archives' open hours on the Welcome tab of this guide.

© The researcher assumes all responsibility for complying with libel, privacy, and copyright laws.