David Forbes, and independent scholar, is regarded as an expert on the bibliography of Hawaii. Forbes' numerous publications include his Hawaiian National Bibliography, 1780 – 1900 ; Treasures of Hawaiian History; and Encounters with Paradise: Views of Hawaii and its People 1778-1941.
In Haste with Aloha: Letters and Diaries of Queen Emma, 1881–1885
This ambitious volume assembled by scholar David W. Forbes features a collection of ninety-two previously unpublished letters, as well as excerpts from two diaries, written between 1881 and 1885 by Hawaiian royal consort Queen Emma Kalanikaumaka‘amano Kaleleonālani Na‘ea Rooke. In Haste with Aloha illuminates the last five years of the Queen’s life and makes available an important record of royal social life and customs in nineteenth-century Hawai‘i. Much of her earlier correspondence has been published in two books by the late Alfons L. Korn: The Victorian Visitor: An Account of the Hawaiian Kingdom, 1861–1866 and News from Molokai: Letters between Peter Kaeo and Queen Emma, 1873–1876.
In her letters, almost all of which were written in English, Queen Emma provides a rare account of ali‘i (royal) perspective, endowing modern readers and researchers with insight far beyond the limited available documentation of public speeches or printed statements. Besides the nuanced behaviors of correspondence between Queen Emma and her recipients, there is much to be considered and analyzed in her descriptions of ali‘i, many of them relatives to Queen Emma as a descendant of Kamehameha I, including Bernice Pauahi Bishop and Ruth Ke‘elikōlani. With few comparable Hawaiian historical primary resource texts in print, this book makes accessible a preserved and treasured collection of documents drawn primarily from the Hawai‘i State Archives, along with diaries in Bishop Museum Library and Archives. Fully transcribed and with annotation by Forbes, editor of the monumental four-volume Hawaiian National Bibliography and annotator of Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen Liliuokalani, this text sheds light on the lives of Hawai‘i’s ruling class in the decade leading up to climactic political transition.