Alatau T. Atkinson

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Alatau Tamchiboulac Atkinson
Alatau T. Atkinson2.jpg
Territory of Hawaii
Superintendent of Public Instruction
In office
September 6, 1900 – April 1905
GovernorSanford B. Dole
Republic of Hawaii
House of Representatives
In office
February 16, 1898 – July 7, 1898
PresidentSanford B. Dole
General Superintendent of the Census
In office
Inspector General of Schools
In office
Kingdom of Hawaii
Inspector General of Schools
In office
In office
Personal details
Born(1848-11-16)November 16, 1848
DiedApril 24, 1906(1906-04-24) (aged 57)
Resting placeOahu Cemetery, Hawaii.
Spouse(s)Annie Humble
MotherLucy Atkinson
FatherThomas Witlam Atkinson
Alma materRugby School

Alatau Tamchiboulac Atkinson (November 16, 1848– April 24,1906) was the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Territory of Hawaii, and Inspector General of Schools under the administrations of Kalākaua, Liliʻuokalani and Sanford B. Dole. A journalist and newspaper owner, he is believed to have been one of two authors of satirical works lampooning Walter Murray Gibson's cabinet regime under Kalākaua.


He was born in the small town of Kapal in the Kazakh steppes of Central Asia, to British explorers Lucy Atkinson and Thomas Witlam Atkinson, and spent the first ten years of his life in Siberia, Central Asia, and St Petersburg. After his father's death in Kent, England when Alatau was ten years old, a public fund-raising appeal by Sir Roderick Murchison, President of the Royal Geographical Society, helped finance Alatau's education at Rugby School. After a brief career in Russia as Secretary of the Turko-Russian boundary commission, he changed careers to become a writer for the British newspaper the Newcastle Courant. He briefly held a teaching career in England at Durham School.[1]

Hawaii's school system[edit]

An 1854 treaty for Hawaii's annexation to the United States had been submitted to Kamehameha III, but he never signed it. During the 1863–1872 reign of Kamehameha V, the Hawaiian language was still the predominant communication in Hawaii's schools. Increasing exposure to the outside world was being brought by the sea trade, missionaries, and foreigners operating sugar plantations in the islands. In 1867, a proposed reciprocity treaty, tax relief for sugar planters, had gotten as far as the United States Congress, but was defeated in the Senate.[2]

Atkinson was offered a position by Bishop Thomas Nettleship Staley in 1868, to become instructor and principal at St. Alban's College in Pauoa, Hawaii. He left England together with his wife Annie (nee Humble) and his daughter Zoe in 1869 for the long sea journey to Hawaii. St. Alban's would later merge with ʻIolani School.[3] Atkinson would later also be given charge of the Fort Street School.[4] He believed that fluency in a common language used by the outside world was a vital tool for the coming generations of Hawaiians. It became his life's career to convert Hawaii's schools into using English as the predominant language.[5]

In 1887 he was appointed Inspector General of Schools for the Kingdom of Hawaii. He served in that position under both Kalākaua and Liliʻuokalani. He remained in that position under Dole during the Republic of Hawaii. When Hawaii became a territory, Atkinson was appointed Superintendent of Public Instruction.[6][7]

Elected representative[edit]

Atkinson represented the Fourth District of Hawaii in the Legislature of the Republic of Hawaii for the February 16 – July 7, 1898 session.[8] Hawaii was annexed by the United States on August 12 1898.[9]


Atkinson was editor of the Hawaiian Gazette, and was president of Hawaiian Star Newspaper Association.[7][10] He and/or Vice Chamberlain Edward William Purvis are to believed to be the authors of The Grand Duke of Gynbergdrinkenstein, a 3-act burlesque originally published in 1886 as a satirical jab at Kalākaua's cabinet under the helm of Walter M. Gibson.[11][12] The character of Herr Von Boss was believed to be wealthy sugar baron Claus Spreckels. A second version was published in 1887 as The Gynberg Ballads. British Commissioner James Hay Wodehouse believed the satire rang true to the king's cabinet under Gibson, and made sure numerous officials in London received copies.[13]

Government reports[edit]

  • Atkinson, Alatau T. (Alatau Tamchiboulac) (1896). "The Hawaiian Islands, their resources, agricultural, commercial and financial. Coffee, the coming staple product". Honolulu, Hawaiian Gazette co – via Internet Archive.
  • Atkinson, Alatau T. (Alatau Tamchiboulac) (1897). "The Hawaiian Islands, their resources, agricultural, commercial and financial". Washington, D.C., Gibson Bros., printers – via Internet Archive.
  • Atkinson, Alatau T. (Alatau Tamchiboulac) (1897). "Report of the general superintendent of the census, 1896". Honolulu, Hawaiian Star Press – via Internet Archive.

Personal life[edit]

Atkinson married Annie Humble in England in January 1868. They sailed to Hawaii in 1869, by way of Panama and San Francisco.[14] He died April 24,1906 as a result of a series of strokes after a lengthy illness.[15] Upon his death, all schools were closed in his honor.[7] Atkinson Drive in the Ala Moana area of Honolulu is named for him.[16] Annie Atkinson died of pneumonia in 1911.[17]

The couple had four daughters and three sons:

1. Zoe Lucy Sherrard Alatau Atkinson (1868–1940) was their only child born in England; all her brothers and sisters were born in Hawaii. She became a teacher at the Royal School in Hawaii. Zoe married scientist Robert Cyril Layton Perkins in 1901, and the couple permanently moved to England after their wedding.[18]

2. Alatau Leonard Charles (Jack) Atkinson (1871–1927) was appointed to the US presidential cabinet post of Secretary of Hawaii in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt. During an extended absence of territorial governor George R. Carter, Jack Atkinson became Acting Governor of the Territory of Hawaii. As a youth, he enlisted in the Honolulu Rifles. A graduate of Yale Law School and the University of Michigan, he maintained a law practice in Honolulu, and was active in the Republican Party. He married Ina Marie Taft of Chicago in 1921.[19]

3. Edith Kapiolani (Lani) Atkinson (c. 1871– 1959) married British naval officer Captain Frederick Kenrick Colquhoun Gibbons in 1895 and permanently relocated to England.[20]

4. May (Maisie) Kathleen Atkinson (1874–1923) married Arthur M. Brown in 1897, future high sheriff of the Territory of Hawaii.[21]

5. Molly (Ethel Mary) Alatau Atkinson (1875–1931) married Samuel Gardner Wilder Jr. in 1896.[22]

6. Robert Witlam Atkinson (1877–1939) was co-founder, along with Walter F. Dillingham, of Hawaiian Dredging. In 1907, he married Helen (Nellie) Kitchen and was widowed in 1917. Two years later, he married her widowed sister Alice Mackee Kitchen Schultz. His wives were granddaughters of sugar planter James Makee.[23]

7. Kenneth Alatau Atkinson (1885–1953) relocated to New South Wales, Australia where he spent the rest of his life in a variety of occupations.[24]



  1. ^ Lockley, Fred (May 11, 1930). "Romantic Story of Honolulan". The Honolulu Advertiser at Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read
  2. ^ Kuykendall 1953, pp. 37, 209–224.
  3. ^ "History Timeline | 'Iolani School". February 6, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  4. ^ Warren, Grace Tower (September 21, 1957). "Kamaaina Kolumn by Grace Tower Warren -". Honolulu Star-Bulletin at Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read
  5. ^ "A. T. Atkinson And His Life Work". The Hawaiian Star. April 30, 1906. p. 4, col. 1. Retrieved October 30, 2018.; "English Language in Hawaii". The Chester Advertiser at February 18, 1899. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read
  6. ^ "Atkinson appointed Inspector General of Schools". The Hawaiian Gazette at August 2, 1887. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read
  7. ^ a b c "Alatau Atkinson Died Early Today". The Evening Bulletin at April 24, 1906. Retrieved October 26, 2018.Free to read
  8. ^ Lydecker 1918, p. 247.
  9. ^ "The Events In Order:Chronology of Annexation in 45 Paragraphs". The Hawaiian Gazette. August 16, 1898. p. 3. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  10. ^ "Hawaiian Gazette masthead". September 7, 1886. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read
  11. ^ Atkinson & Purvis 1886.
  12. ^ Atkinson & Purvis 1887.
  13. ^ Kuykendall 1967, p. 346.
  14. ^ "Kazakhstan Connection". Images of Old Hawaiʻi. December 16, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  15. ^ "The Sudden Death of Alatau T. Atkinson". The Honolulu Advertiser at April 25, 1906. p. 5. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read
  16. ^ "Ulukau: Place names of Hawaii: Atkinson. Drive, Ala Moana, Honolulu, named for A.T. Atkinson". October 28, 2018.
  17. ^ "Death Calls Mrs. Atkinson 1911". Evening Bulletin at May 1, 1911. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read
  18. ^ "Zoe Atkinson appointed teacher at the Royal School 1888". Evening Bulletin at September 11, 1888. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read; "A Wedding at Waialua, Zoe Atkinson and RCL Perkins". The Hawaiian Star at October 5, 1901. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read
  19. ^ "Atkinson named for Secretary of Hawaii 1903". The Baltimore Sun at December 2, 1903. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read; "A. L. C. Atkinson Confirmed". The Honolulu Advertiser at December 18, 1903. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read; "Atkinson Returning 1905". The Hawaiian Star at June 19, 1905. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read
  20. ^ "Capt. and Mrs. Gibbons Mark Golden Wedding 1945". Honolulu Star-Bulletin at October 13, 1945. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read; "Mrs. F. K. C. Gibbons Dies, 1959". Honolulu Star-Bulletin at March 10, 1959. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read; "Captain Frederick Kenrick Colquhoun Gibbons". Retrieved October 30, 2018.; "Edith Kapiolani Atkinson". Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  21. ^ "Mrs. Arthur M. Brown Killed Self, Official Statement Shows". Honolulu Star-Bulletin at August 21, 1923. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read; "Mrs. Arthur M. Brown Dies Suddenly At Her Waikiki Beach Home, 1923 -". Honolulu Star Bulletin at Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read; "Tied by Hymen's Fetters, marriage of May (Maisie) Atkinson and Arthur Brown 1897". The Hawaiian Star at August 17, 1897. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read
  22. ^ "Swell Mid-Summer Wedding in Yellow". The Hawaiian Gazette at July 24, 1896. p. 4. Retrieved October 30, 2018.; "Molly Wilder Will 1931". Honolulu Star-Bulletin at July 6, 1931. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read; Hawaiian Historical Society. Genealogical series. no. 1-3 ... T.H. p. 8.
  23. ^ Taylor, Clarice B. (April 19, 1949). "Little Tales All About Hawaii". Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read; "Robert Witlam Atkinson dies 1939". The Honolulu Advertiser at December 25, 1939. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read
  24. ^ "Kenneth Atkinson Is In Timber Business in New South Wales, 1928". Honolulu Star-Bulletin May 22, 1928. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read; "Kenneth A. Atkinson Dies in Australia 1953". Honolulu Star-Bulletin February 4, 1953. Retrieved October 30, 2018.Free to read
  25. ^ "McKinley High School". National Register of Historic Places. US Dept. of the Interior. Retrieved October 30, 2018.


External links[edit]