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'Iolani School Archives: History in Context

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

Where does it fit in...

We often consider certain aspects of history in isolation. This page lists major moments in the history of 'Iolani School side-by-side with World history.

'Iolani History

October - Arrival in Honolulu of Missionaries of the English Church, establishment of the Hawaiian Reformed Catholic Church (HRCC).

January - School begins under the jurisdiction of the diocese known as the Hawaiian Reformed Catholic Church

Diocese name change to the Anglican Church of Hawai'i.

The American Episcopal Church assumes jurisdiction of the diocese and school.

1917 - 1920

  • 1917 - 1918
    A number of faculty and students were enlisted in military service of the United States and Allied Forces.
    Sometime between August 1917 - October 1918, faculty and students spent a vacation working the fields on Kaua'i as part of the government homefront initiative known as the U.S. Boys' Working Reserve.
  • 1917 - 1920
    Period of financial instability.
  • 1920
    The Hawaiian Church Chronicle gives updates on parishioner and school struggles with influenza:
    "Iolani escaped having a hard time. The boys who came down were sent to the Pa Ola Day Camp and all returned in good condition."
    "The Priory and Influenza," Hawaiian Church Chronicle, vol. XII, no. 10, March 1920, p. 9.
    Regarding Bishop Restarick:
    A severe attack of influenza last March with a near approach to pneumonia left him weak and depressed and he entered into correspondence with the Presiding Bishop... in regard to the matter of retirement, with the result that he has tendered his resignation to the House of Bishops..."
    Hawaiian Church Chronicle, vol. VIII, no. 4, September 1920, p. 3

December 7 - The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor results in the temporary closure of the school, and a reduction of both staff and students upon reopening.

1960s - 1970s
News of the conflict in Vietnam is reported through the viewpoint of faculty and students who participate in political rhetoric.

September - Coeducation begins with the 1979/80 school year.


  • March 16
    'Iolani School campus suspension of academic activities due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. (SY 2019/20)
  • June 6
    Class of 2020 Commencement is held on the baseball field with a drive-in style set-up; graduates are able to accept diplomas on-stage while immediate family watch from a parked vehicle.
  • September 21
    Campus reopens for academic activities. Significant social distancing measures in place such as changes in campus walking patterns; spaced desks; outdoor "classrooms" under tents; hand-washing and hand sanitizing stations; mandatory personal protective equipment: masks and shields; and more (SY 2020/21).


  • January
    'Iolani School Faculty and Staff become eligible and begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations under 1b: Frontline Essential Workers status of the State's vaccination plan.
  • February
    'Iolani School attains C.L.I.A. Lab Certification and permit to work with State Clinical Labs enabling the school nurses to conduct rapid COVID-19 testing on-campus.
  • April
  • May
    • 'Iolani students as young as 12-year-old become eligible and begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations under the FDA newly expanded emergency authorization.
    • 'Iolani School hosts another on-campus vaccination clinic in cooperation with Safeway.
  • June 5
    With the majority of faculty, staff, and senior class students vaccinated, the Class of 2021 Commencement is held with immediate family members sitting on the baseball field to witness graduates accept diplomas on-stage and shake hands with Head of School Timothy Cottrell.


  • August 23
    'Iolani begins the SY 2022/23 with masks optional.

World History

1861 - 1865
American Civil War

January 1 - Emancipation Proclamation

January 17 - Illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai'i

July 4 - The Republic of Hawai'i is established.


1914 - 1918
World War I

1918 - 1919
Influenza pandemic of 1918-19.

1939 - 1945
World War II

December 7 - The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl harbor results in United States entry into WWII.

1954 - 1975
Vietnam War

August 21 - The State of Hawai'i is established.

The first World Conferences on Women organized by the United Nations.

December - Reports of "viral pneumonia" in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China become known (World Health Organization, 6/29/2020 Statement). This would lead to what is now known as the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) global pandemic.




For More Information

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