Island History

Though she passed away two years before I arrived on Kaua‘i, the legacy of Mabel I. Wilcox, affectionately known as “Miss Mabel,” lives on all across Kaua‘i.

The focal point of the Grove Farm Museum on Nawiliwili Road in Lihu‘e is the place she called home for much of her life, until the end.

She is responsible in part for establishment of both Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and Wilcox Memorial Hospital, was a nurse, and cared enough for the health of the people of Kaua‘i to make house calls on tuberculosis patients when making such house calls required great effort.

In addition to her public-health work, she also donated a sizable collection of books to what is now the Lihu‘e Public Library.

At the time of the donation, the collection amassed by her and sister Elsie H. Wilcox was considered the finest private collection of Hawaiiana known to exist.

Dr. Barnes Riznik, once director of both Grove Farm Museum and the sister Wai‘oli Mission House Museum Hanalei, has put pen to paper to ensure her legacy will last for generations to come with his new book, “Mabel Wilcox, R.N. Her Legacy of Caring.” Coming off an extremely successful first book-signing session during the Grove Farm Museum 25th anniversary celebration last month, Riznik, now of Massachusetts, is again going to sign copies of his book.

Kaua‘i Historical Society leaders are coordinating the event Feb. 12 beginning at 1 p.m. in the living room of Gaylord’s Restaurant at Kilohana Plantation in Puhi.

Wilcox died in 1978 at the age of 96.

Call 245-3373 for more information.

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