Edward Joesting, the Author of “Kauai: The Separate Kingdom”

  • Edward Joesting is author of “Kauai: The Separate Kingdom.”

Born in Minnesota and educated at Pomona College, California, Hawaii bank executive Edward Joesting (1925-1986) was the author of the book “Kauai: The Separate Kingdom,” published in 1984 — a history of Kauai encompassing the time of pre-Western contact through to the end of the Hawaiian Monarchy in 1893.

Joesting’s title reflects the historical fact that Kauai, along with its satellite island of Niihau, was unique among the Hawaiian Islands in that retained its independence as a separate kingdom for centuries, until 1824, when Kauai was ceded to the Kingdom of Hawaii upon the death of Kauai’s King Kaumualii — 29 years after Kamehameha I had conquered the other Hawaiian Islands by military force.

Joesting said that “the idea (for the book) began in 1974, when I got a call from Juliet Rice Wichman, a major supporter and benefactor of the Kauai Museum. She asked me to come to Lihue and discuss the writing of a book about the island of Kauai. Her help continued throughout the life of the project and the book is dedicated to her. I was surprised to discover that there was quite a bit to work with. Most of it, however, was contained in private sources. I knew that I’d be spending a lot of time on original research.”

Much of Joesting’s research was accomplished at the Hawaii State Archives, the Bishop Museum, the Hawaiian Historical Society, the Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society, the Kauai Museum and the University of Hawaii.

He also spoke with numerous old-time Kauai residents and visited many historic Kauai locales.

When his research for each day was finished, he would return home to his book-filled Honolulu apartment, sit in a comfortable chair and write his drafts in longhand on ruled pads before transferring them to his typewriter.

He was a perfectionist, who insisted on revising his manuscripts over and over again, if necessary, until he was completely satisfied.

Among Joesting’s other books are “Hawaii — An Uncommon History,” and “Hawaii — A Pictorial History” with O. A. Bushnell and Joseph Feher.


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