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In 1897 Lucy Ward helped found the Hawaiian Humane Society

Jul 08, 2015

Lucy Ward: A Champion of Honolulu’s Animals

'O Ke'alekūpuna ke kilo, nāna nō e kuhikuhi nei i ke ala e naue aku ai.

The pathways once traversed by our ancestors are the same paths that we should follow toward success. Just as Victoria Ward cared for her beloved land, so to do we; following in her footsteps to preserve her unique heritage.

Join us for Ward Wednesdays - a time where we recount the stories of old and immerse ourselves in the history of Victoria Ward and her 'ohana.

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It doesn't take more than a quick stroll through Honolulu to understand that the Ward 'ohana has strong ties to this island. In the mid 19th century, CP Ward, a native of Kentucky, immigrated to Hawai'i and married Victoria Ward, who was born and raised in Nu'uanu and traced her lineage back to the missionaries and TK. By any definition, the Ward 'ohana was influential in shaping the city of Honolulu we've come to know and love. But in addition to the large economic and political plays the family made, there are a myriad of other contributions that resonate today. Among them is the Hawaiian Humane Society, which was championed by Lucy Ward.

One of seven sisters, and daughter of the aforementioned Victoria Ward, Lucy is credited with steering the Hawaiian Humane Society early on its formation in the early 20th century. Undeniably beautiful with a tough-as-nails attitude and an unyielding passion for animals, Lucy was truly a sight to be seen in the city. Her prowess was simply the stuff of legends. From 1913 to 1932, Lucy served officially with the Humane Society, first as humane agent—technically an officer of the law—and later as the organization's executive director. Literally armed with a pistol, a bullwhip, and a badge, Lucy tirelessly fought for neglected or mistreated animals. Horses, dogs, sheep and a variety of other abused animals fell under her protection. In fact, the Ward family's passion for animals ran so deep that the first Hawaiian Humane Society was built on land donated by Victoria Ward.


Today, the Hawaiian Humane Society upholds Lucy Ward's legacy by carrying for Hawaii's animals in need.

Photo courtesy of the Hawaiian Humane Society.


According to the book Poi Dogs and Popoki (written by George Engebretson) which outlines the history of the Hawaiian Humane Society, Lucy's presence and commitment to the animals, and wayward citizens, of Hawai'i was immeasurable.

"Lucy made her rounds on horseback—and later in her Model T—rescuing injured cats and dogs and checking dray animals for abuse, hauling young girls out of bars and dance halls at all hours of the day and night," wrote Engebretson. "She was a familiar sight around town—dressed in her straight-brimmed sailor hat and shirtwaist dresses, sweeping into the police station to bring charges against violators, into the grand jury room to help prosecute them, into the newspaper offices to report on some recent injustice. By her tireless efforts show won countless converts to the cause of animal and child welfare."


Theodore Kelsey, who photographed Hawaiians with their favorite animals in the early 1900s, snapped this image of an elderly man with his four-legged companion.

Clearly, they broke the mold when they made Lucy Ward. She was so beloved by her colleagues and the people of the city that when she first talked of retirement in 1925, the mayor's office received a petition with more than 500 signatures requesting that she continue on in her position at the Humane Society.

Although Lucy passed away in 1954 at the age of 80, the marks she made on the city, animals, and people of Honolulu were truly indelible. Nearly 100 years since she helped found the Hawaiian Humane Society, Lucy's compassion and commitment to Hawai'i's animals still resonates. Today, in addition to creating a pet-friendly environment throughout our grounds, Ward Village's support of the Hawaiian Humane Society endures as we continue to work with the organization on their Santa Paws project each holiday and support their annual Pet Walk at Magic Island every October.

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