World War II in ’Iolani School Archives
Like many institutions, ’Iolani School was heavily effected by the December 7, 1941 Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent United States entry into the Second World War. The school, then located at Nu’uanu Avenue and Judd Street, was closed, military nurses took over space on campus, trenches were dug around the school, and parts of the campus were transformed into air raid shelters. In February 1942 when the school reopened it was without the high school department and about half the staff. Many of the staff and older students devoted themselves to the war effort or in support of their families. The rest of the high school students had to find other schools in which to finish their education; only a group of seniors remained to be tutored by a faculty member and earn their diplomas. They had a graduation ceremony punctuated with patriotic symbolism and songs, but there were no more graduations for the duration of the war. The Fall Semester of 1942 saw the addition of ninth grade, and one grade each year thereafter until the high school department was restored. The following are resources found in the ’Iolani School Archives related to life in the school during the WWII era.
Other resources in the ’Iolani School Archives
Related Online Collections
Related Archival Collections Beyond ’Iolani
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Subject guide compiled by Georgina Tom, Archivist, 2017; updated 2020.
Note: Materials contain graphic information and images.
The events of December 7, 1941 had a profound effect on the 'Iolani School community.
Video: 47 seconds
The narration is a reading of student work appearing in the 1942 yearbook, Ka Moolelo O Iolani.
Created by the 'Iolani School Archives using collection material.
From WWII era student publications...
"Do you know your air raid and gas alarm instructions"
"Bring your gas mask to school every day."
"We attained manhood on December seventh,
and have put away childish things."
Henry Saaga (1926-1945) was one of many 'Iolani students who felt the call to service. The above video was recorded where his name now appears on the Tablets of the Missing, Normandy American Cemetery.
Video: 2 minutes 41 seconds
*K-12 classroom opportunity suggestion (teaching with primary sources):
An age appropriate, document based question regarding the patriotic aspects of the program.
A digital project launched in May 2018 commemorating Victory-in-Europe (V-E) Day with the goal of making a large collection of WWII records widely available.
Records include uncensored soldier commentaries about military service and wartime experiences which were collected by the US Army Research Branch during the war.
Virginia Tech | National Archives | Social Science Research Council | University of Virginia.
Funded in part by: National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
Project includes, Series:
Opinion Surveys Relating to the Morale of U.S. Army Personnel, 8/19/1947 - 10/15/1947
from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Record Group 165:
Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs, 1860 - 1952
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Update from the National Archives Catalog Newsletter- May 14, 2020:
“Over 65,000 pages of reflections on war and military service written by World War II soldiers in their own hands have been transcribed and annotated...
“Look for the next phase of the project in 2021, as they launch an open-access website with all these intimate, now-readable wartime documents. Learn more at: https://sites.google.com/vt.edu/theamericansoldier/home”
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