Chief Justice William S. Richardson Archival Collection

This 2 minute video provides a brief overview of the series arrangement of Chief Justice William S. Richarsonʻs archival collection, and a tutorial on how to use the Omeka database search engine to find information.

Public Launch of the Chief Justice Richardson Archive

The launch of Chief Justice (C.J.) William S. Richardson's archive took place on Thursday, May 5, 2022, from 3:30-5:00 pm. The video (1 hour and 30 minutes) provides an overview of the finding aid and explains how to search the collection. It is then followed by a Q and A discussion with the Richardson family and Law School faculty about historical materials in Chief Justice Richardson's archive.


This collection of papers was created or accumulated by Chief Justice (C.J.) William S. Richardson during his personal life and career in the U.S. Army, the Territorial Government Legislature, the Democratic Party, the Hawaiʻi State Judiciary, Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estates, and as founder of the Law School at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Custodial History

The Richardson family donated this collection to the Ka Huli Ao Center for Native Hawaiian Excellence Archives under Avis Poai. It was transferred to the UH School of Law Library in 2020 for processing, preservation, storage and access. 

Biographical Information

Based on biographical document in archive entitled "William Shaw Richardson."

Personal Background 

Born: December 22, 1919; Honolulu, Hawaiʻi
Death: June 21, 2010
See Biographical Timeline.

Children: Corrine K. Wolfe (Mrs. Stuart Wolfe); Barbara Philips, Attorney at Law (Mrs. Gary Phillips); William K. Richardson, Attorney at Law, and President of HMS Hawaiʻi


  • Aliʻiolani School
  • Roosevelt High School 
  • University of Hawaiʻi -Mānoa (1941) - Bachelor of Arts, Business and Economics
  • University of Cincinnati, School of Law (1943) - Juris Doctor, Law


United States Army

  • Platoon Leader, 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment, Philippines, World War II
  • Commissioned in The Infantry School at Fort Benning Georgia in 1944
  • Assistant Staff Judge Advocate, Armed Forces Middle Pacific, 1946

Professional and Business Affiliations

  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Hawaiʻi State Bar Association, President (1961); Member
  • National Association of Chief Justices of U.S., Chairman (1971); Member of Board of Directors
  • National Center of State Courts, Member of Board of Directors
  • Native Hawaiian Bar Association, Member (1993-?)
  • Bishop Street Funds (First Hawaiian Bank), Director (1993-?)
  • P&C Insurance Company, Inc. Director (1994-?)

Work Experience

  • Attorney, Private Practice (since 1946)
  • Chief Clerk for the Territorial Senate of Hawaiʻi (1955-1959)
  • Chair of the Democratic Party (1956-1962)
  • Hawaiʻi Delegate to the National Democratic Convention (1956, 1960)
  • Elected Lt. Governor of the State of Hawaiʻi (1962)
  • Appointed the 16th Chief Justice of the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court from (1966-1982). See Landmark Opinions and Decisions.
  • Served as Trustee and President of the Board of Trustees of the Kamehameha Schools Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate (1983-1992)

Community Service

  • Epiphany Episcopal Church, Senior Warden (25 years)
  • Child & Family Services, Member of Board of Directors
  • Hawaiʻi Heart Association, President
  • Organized & submitted Legislative testimonies in support of a Law School in Hawaiʻi (1969)


  • In 1983, the University of Hawaiʻi Law School was renamed the William S. Richardson School of Law


To access any information in this archive, please visit the Access page for details.  This collection currently provides access to the metadata about the collection. Digital files are currently being scanned for upload. Not all digital files will be publically available due to copyright and sensitive information. 

By contacting the Archives Manager with the title and identifier of desired items, it is possible to receive digital copies of any information in this archive. Also, by setting up a Research Account, it is possible to access digital files that are both public and private.  

Finding Aid Narrative

The series arrangement of this collection aimed to structure boxes and their contents according to the chronology of Richardson's life and career. However, upon examining the contents of each boxes, it appears that the materials span various time of his life, and weave between personal and professional content.  This could be the nature of Richardson's own filing system, as he would accumulate and file things as they occurred in his daily life that intertwined his personal and professional duties. Or, the organization of materials in documents and boxes could have been shifted around in the movement from his office, to family, to Ka Huli Ao, and to the Law Library. This outline below reflects an attempt to a thematic organization. Utilizing the search engine could bring up relevant items through using keyword search terms. Register to set up a researcher account for searchability of private and public records. Or for assistance, contact the Archives Manager with your research question.

Series 1: Family History

This series provides information on Chief Justice Richardson’s ancestors, early life, education, and the political campaigns he engaged in before achieving his government positions. There is also information about other stages in his life, such as his retirement.

This box includes Richardsonʻs vital records, ancestral genealogy, family records, educational history, and personal correspondence with various organizations, institutions, and campaigns he was involved in.

This box includes information on his Bishop Estate retirement speeches, education at the Roosevelt High School, University of Hawaiʻi, and University of Cincinnati.

Series 2: Military & Government Service

This series is about Richardson's experience serving in the U.S. Military with the 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment. Then after his discharge, he became a Chief Clerk for the Territorial Senate of Hawaiʻi (1955-1959).  He became the Chair of Hawai’i’s Democratic Party (1956-1962).  He served as the President of the Hawai’i State Bar Association (1961-1962). This series also includes Richardson’s passage of the Bar, different organizations he participated in, his speeches, and his campaign for Lt. Governor in Hawai’i in 1962. There are informations and speeches during his appointment as Chief Justice from 1966-1982, as well as some correspondence and remarks in the founding of the University of Hawai’i School of Law.  Throughout these positions, he was in correspondence with various ethnic, cultural, political, economic interest constituencies.

This box includes information on his military experience with the 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry regiment; his experience working in Hawaiʻiʻs Territorial government legislature; and the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi. It also includes his attorney registration records and other government records.

This box contains information on Richardsonʻs admission to the Bar and his participation in the legal profession in Hawaiʻi.  It includes records and correspondence of various cultural heritage, government, corporate, and military organizations.  

This box contains information regarding his government work with  the Governor Burnʻs legislative program and Richardson's role as Lieutenant Governor. It also contains information regarding Hawaiian Homelands, speeches, Democratic Party electoral and voting information, campaign material for John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. There is information on his work with the U.S. Army Friendship Missions.  Lastly, various news and organizational publications regarding Richardsonʻs candidacy are included. 

This scrapbook is a collection of newspaper articles relating to Richardson on international affairs, the Democratic Party, voting, the military, Haleakala, hotels, holidays, travel, education, cultural events, cultural exhibits, Native Hawaiian people, multi-ethnic people of Hawai'i and campaign events in different islands.

This box contains C.J. speeches from 1977-1992 documenting his ideas during his appointment as Chief Justice,  appointment/retirement as Bishop Estate Trustee, and the opening of the University of Hawai'i School of Law. There are speeches to specific individuals, educational institutions and organizations. There are also comments about Statehood, Hawaii laws, land use, the judiciary, the bar association, cultural heritage preservation, Native Hawaiian rights, Filipino veterans, senior citizens, religion, police, South Pacific Judges, fraternal organizations and masons.

This box continues with speeches regarding the University of Hawaiʻi Law Review, Native Hawaiian Royalty, sacred burial sites, and Hawaiian Kingdom government buildings. It also includes information on economic change, Native Hawaiians in government, traditional arts, education, police enforcement, oceanography, astronautics, Pacific Island issues, environmental conservation. Remarks also directed to specific organizations such as Shriners and Boy Scouts/Eagle Scouts.

Series 3: The Judiciary

This series pertains to when Richardson worked in the Judiciary as the 16th Chief Justice for the Hawai'i Supreme Court.  This includes newspaper articles about the work he did within the Judiciary, reports, office documents, correspondence, speeches, and opinions. He engaged in projects with the National Center for State Courts, Native Hawaiian issues, Hawaii Judiciary Center, and international projects.

This box includes correspondence during Richardson's appointment in the Judiciary. He drew from his relationships during his military service to build with the Filipino community and leaders. He also promoted legal education to young people.  He examined the structure of Hawaiʻi's judiciary and courts and engaged in various family court, conservation, property, criminal, trust laws. There are articles on judicial selection and views on Richardson. There are information regarding the cultural exhibits, health care, church, military, agriculture trade, energy.  There are some records from his position as Lieutenant Governor of Hawaiʻi.

This box includes court documents, government position information, clerks. It also includes news, correspondence from various constituent organizations across Hawai'i and also his alumni networks.

This box includes cases, constitutional articles, attorney general, National Center for State Courts correspondence, legislative appointments, conference of judges, Private Adjudication Center, and opinions of William S. Richardson in Hawaiʻi Reports.  The box also includes newspapers and newsletters regarding CJ Richardon's judicial position. There is information from the Hawaiʻi Visitor Bureau regarding pageants, and Hawaiian and Pacific cultural heritage information such as pictures of Iolani palace, Lahaina Restoration Foundation, Queen Emma Summer Palace, and the Pacific Rim Foundation. There are some speeches at conferences related to Native Hawaiian Bar Association and Native Hawaiian Law.  There are pictures of individuals.  There are information and correspondence to various constituencies, individuals, organizations, and leaders in the community.

This box contains correspondences and recommendations for judicial selection; more work on the National Center for State Courts; decisions regarding wills, trust, and taxation.  There is information related to Native Hawaiian Rights, land tenure system, cultural practices, and managing coastal zones.  There are correspondences and speeches at various conferences, including 1962 inaugural remarks.

This box contains newspaper articles regarding judges and politicians. There is also information about a Justice Award. There are records related to the Judiciary History Center and its relationship with Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate. There is interest with cultural heritage preservation.  There are records related to the University of Hawaiʻi School of Law inauguration and Law Review.

This box includes correspondence from international connections, Who's Who, Hawaiian cultural celebrations and organizations.  There are records related to UH Law School faculty and law school commencement, the Amy C. Richardson Memorial Fund, as well as Roosevelt High School.There are recommendations and correspondence regarding the Air Force, UCLA student strike, Hawaiʻi Visitor's Bureau, health care, banks, and ethnic organizations.  There is mention of the Burns Oral History Project Phase II.

This box contains correspondence regarding judicial, legal topics, Native Hawaiian rights, government officials, and the Bishop Estate Trusteeship.  There is information about the Republic of Kiribati, Christmas Island, Chinese, Japanese, and Filipinos. It also includes information related to the Law School, UH Volleyball, various athletic, arts, cultural, and family organizations.

Series 4: Research on Native Hawaiian Issues

This series pertains to Richardson's research and advocacy on Native Hawaiian issues and rights, such as through the judiciary, court cases relating to water, corporate plantations, Lahaina, Hawaiiana, Native Hawaiian Study Commission, and Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate. It also includes some information regarding the William S. Richardson School of Law, through documents engaging with the former Dean Larry Foster, and the Amy C. Richardson Scholarship Fund focusing on legal research pertaining to Native Hawaiian rights and issues.

This box includes historical information on places of Hawai'i, Native Hawaiian ali'i (royalty), their genealogies, and biographies; political history of Hawai'i, Bishop Estate trustee, water, ocean, geothermal legal information, the nature conservancy; financial information, wills & testaments, court cases regarding Housing Finance and Development Corporation, Cazinha estates, recreational or celebratory information such as Law School Graduation, The Gospel, Club Day, and the Young Iron Dukes.

This box contains information during Richardson's tenure as a Bishop Estate trustee; illegal activities regarding the Bishop Estate, such as legal records, trustee papers, financial information, newspaper articles; research on Native Hawaiian rights and political history, community education programs, and the Lunalilo trust. It also contains information from his judiciary position such as a proposal for the state court system and the Hawaiʻi Reports. There are publications related to poetry, the Hawaiʻi Bar Journal. There are also information related to the University of Hawaiʻi, the Law School, the Alumni, and Punahou school. There is information about Judge Simeon Acoba, and the Democratic Party.

This box contains information on the Bishop Estate history, the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the origins of the Estate by Frank E. Midkiff, and the cultural roots. There is information on conventions on these issues, the writing by Randy Roth on the Bishop Estates regarding conflict of interests. There is research on the Land Reform Act, Judge Lum's remarks on the Bishop Estates and other issues.

This box contains research on land and water management, such as by Cooper and Dawes and Williamson Chang.  There are various water cases.  There information on the Burns Oral History Project and Carol S. Dodd who would write a history about Richardson called The Richardson Years.

This box contains information on the case Reppun v. Board of Water Supply. But it also includes miscellaneous information regarding school events, conferences, newspaper articles on Richardson's court, Hawaiian issues, the Philippines, the health of Mrs. Amy Richardson, and fraternal and masonic organizations that Richardson was a part of. There was correspondence with congressional officials, judges, state employees, chief justices, the bar association, schools and community organizations. There were also awards to Richardson for his work as a judge.

This box contains newspaper articles about Richardson's role in water rights cases, such as the McBryde ruling and other supreme court cases. It also includes some cultural, historical research about Pacific Island culture and Polynesian islanders. There is information on Native Hawaiian research awarded by the Amy C. Richardson award, attempts to restrict Native Hawaiian rights legislation, Native Hawaiian political history, ceded lands, the Campbell Dynasty, and nationhood.

Series 5: Oral History Testimonies for a Law School for Hawaiʻi

This series relates to Richardson's work advocating at the Hawai'i State Legislature to release general funds to develop a Law School in Hawai'i.  The oral history recordings below document various testimonies that Richardson organized for the creation of the Law School in Hawai'i, as well as the documentation of counter-arguments. More archival materials on the history of the William S. Richardson School of Law can be found in the Law School History Collection.

Series 6: Photos and Memorabilia

This series consists of memorabilia documenting William S. Richardsonʻs accomplishments throughout his career. It includes some books on the Hawaiian Monarchy, photo albums of his family. Richardson had an ancestor who served as a legal advisor during the Hawaiian Kingdom, in Lahaina. This series also includes some of his appointment books, which can portray some of his daily activities during certain years of his life, Rolodex that shows his contacts, as well as more albums and books that he kept in his office. Read a LibGuide that has more information about Newspaper Article coverage and Journal Publications about him.

Photos and albums pertaining to career as Chief Justice, guestbook, family pictures from athletic events and gatherings, weddings, Ohio University. Newspaper articles regarding Richardson's accomplishments; Hawaiian Homesteads; Prince Kuhio; Liliʻuokalani Trust; Hawaiian youth; problems facing the Native Hawaiian community, Kamehameha I, places such as Iao Valley, Kauwiki Hill, Honaunau, Lahaina; the Royal Guard; wearing lei; tapa; Washington Place; a speech on The Hawaiian Government and Politics.

This box contains booklets about Kawaiahaʻo Church and the
National Conference of Chief Justices, Bench and Bar. Photographs of Richardson in judicial robes, in his younger age and later in his career, in the supreme court, at the law library, with the 1962 Democratic Team, head shots, black and white photos, Jesssup team; photos of Ricahrdson from the Chinese Bicentennial Commission and as Trustee of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate; group photos from the 1940s-1950s; Richardson at a graveyard, birthday party, Law School events, South Pacific Judicial Conference, UH athletic events, at Mount Rushmore, receiving awards, Hilton Hawaiian Hotel; portraits of Governor John Burns; thank you cards from various individuals and organizations; Ramsey sketch of the law school; family photos; landscape photos.

Appointment book for Judges that Richardson used to write notes or to schedule appointments.

Rolodexes including the business cards and contact information of Richardson's social and professional colleagues and networks. It also incudes his monthly schedule planners and appointment books where Richardson noted upcoming activities or deadlines.

Books regarding Hawaiiana, Hawaiʻi Reports: Opinions of Chief Justice Richardson, Administration of Justice Task Force Reports, Curtis Piehu Iaukea, Aliʻiolani Hale, Hawaiian Monarchy Bench & Bar, Legal Education in Hawaiʻi, Roosevelt High School, Punahou School, Baldwin High School, and the Honolulu Magazine.

Awards and Memorabilia regarding Historic Hawaiʻi Charter Membership Club, Richardsonʻs iconic accomplishments, Medals of honor, birthday cards.  Travels to Taipei, Tahiti. Newspaper articles regarding Kamehameha finances, resorts, correspondences, resolutions, University of Hawaii School of Law.

Memorabilia of Richardson engaged in public talks and roundtables, birthday party, postcards, commencement ceremony, photos in the Philippines, Maui, photos of political officials, military. Judiciary annual reports, accomplishments, acts written, remarks, Aliʻiolani Hale, Iolani Palace.  Newspaper articles about Richardsonʻs appointment, the Law School, the University of Hawaiʻi, cases,  memorandum about the "Richardson Years" by Carol Dodd, correspondence regarding interview transcription, Filipino veteran film, Richardson family. 

Newspaper articles regarding the Statehood generation, Hawaiian Sovereignty, labor contracts at hotels, athletics, health, Mauna Kea, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, political/court appointments.

Series 7: Audiovisual Media

This series is composed of media about Richardson's family, the Law School, Hawaiian Kingdom and State of Hawaiʻi government history, court research, Filipino veterans advocacy, and Bishop Estate.

  • Box 1

Color slides, film, VHS, cassette tape, photograph negatives, and text regarding Governor John Burns, David Malo, Williamson B.C. Chang and the Richardson family.

Audiovisual and mixed media regarding the judiciary, Bishop Estate, Kamehameha Schools, Hawaiian royalty such as Princess Pauahi Bishop, National Center for State Courts, American politicians John F. Kennedy, Democratic Party, Statehood and Hawaiian Sovereignty.

Other Resources

Woods, Roberta.  William S. Richardson, An Annotated Bibliography: Biography. University of Hawaii School of Law Library LibGuide.

PBS Hawaiʻi. William S. Richardson: Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox. YouTube, January 6, 2009,

Other Archival Repositories that have information related to William S. Richardson.

Other Library resources about William S. Richardson.


This project received funding from the Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities. The physical and digital processing of this collection could not have been completed without the assistance of University of Hawaiʻi School of Law Library Public Service Department staff Abigail Lazo, Dominique Tosatto, Ellen Hughes, Geoffrey Teocson, Kristian Lazo, Darrius Dacquel, Susan Chon, Hunter Kam and Cong Nguyen.  The archival processing was supervised by Evening Supervisor & Archives Manager Ellen-Rae Cachola.