John Dominis Holt is recognized as one of the leading voices of the mid-century “Hawaiian Renaissance.” Descended from Hawaiian royalty and European ancestors, Holt navigated the competing claims of pedigree and genealogy in postcolonial Hawaii, once declaring, “I am, in depth, a product of Hawaii—an American, yes, who is a citizen of the fiftieth State, but I am also a Hawaiian; somewhat by blood, and in large measure by sentiment. Of this, I am proud.” His monograph On Being Hawaiian (1964) contributed to an understanding of Hapa-Haole (white and Hawaiian ancestry) identity and the potential of the multiethnic Hawaiian community. 

Holt’s creative works include the play Kaulana Na Pua—Famous Are the Flowers: Queen Liliuokalani and the Throne of Hawaii (1971), the novel Waimea Summer (1976), and the short story collections Today Ees Sad-dy Night and Other Stories (1965) and Princess of the Night Rides and Other Tales (1977). He also wrote about the history of Hawaii in works such as Monarchy in Hawaii (1971), The Art of Featherwork in Old Hawai’i (1985), and his own life story, Recollections: Memoirs of John Dominis Holt, 1919-1935 (1993). 

Holt was publisher of Topgallant Publishing Company, a trustee of the Bishop Museum, and an avid supporter of Hawaiian writers, artists, and culture. He died in 1993.

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