Judge Samuel P. King Collection Finding Aid

Made possible with funding support from the Hawaii Council for the Humanities.

Custodial History

The William S. Richardson School of Law Archive received donation of papers, scrapbooks, and memorabilia from the family of Samuel P. King in 2012. Two more boxes of Judge King’s Speeches were donated in 2013. The collection was archivally processed from 2011 to the present with the help of archivists Ellen Chapman, Kelsey Domingo, Ellen-Rae Cachola and librarian Vicki Szymczak. We offer special thanks to Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities for their funding support.

On May 30, 2019, the majority of audiovisual materials of Samuel P. King were donated to ʻUluʻulu Audiovisual Archive located at UH West Oahu for long term preservation.

Physical Description

The papers consist of a total of fifteen series that are further divided into subseries and sub-subseries that document Judge King’s personal, political, and military life. The original boxes were highly organized; boxes were labeled so that the various series were easy to identify.

The material was largely in good condition--only a small fraction of the material was highly acidic or damaged. Items that were in binders were removed. Staples, paper clips, and rubber bands also did minor damage to certain material.  Some were largely removed. Newspaper clippings were yellowed but in decent condition.

Biographical Information

Here are some biographical and chronological information of Samuel P. Kingʻs life and accomplishments.

1916 Born in Hankow, China

1937 Received B.S. from Yale University

1940 Graduated with an L.L.B. from Yale Law School

1942 Started a private law practice in Washington DC

1942-1946 Joined US Navy as Japanese Language Interpreter

1944 Married Anne van Patten Grilk

1946-1961 Started private practice in Honolulu, Hawaii

1946-1967 Navy Reserves

1956-1961 District Magistrate for the City and County of Honolulu

1961-1970 Appointed by Governor William F. Quinn to First Circuit Court of Hawaii

1966-1970 Appointed Judge to the Family Court of Hawaii

1970 Ran as Republican candidate for Governor and lost to incumbent John A. Burns

1970-1972 King returns to private law practice

1972 Served as Judge on the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii

1974-1984 Serves as Chief Judge

1984-2010 Senior status

2006 Coauthored Broken Trust with Professor Randall Roth

December 7, 2010 passes away


Scope and Content


Series 1: Family Papers Box 1, Box 2, Box 3, Box 5, Box 5.1Box 6
This series consists of correspondences, receipts, legal documents, photographs, and other documents regarding the King family as well as information about King’s genealogy. Documents of interest are correspondences and receipts dating the late 19th and early 20th century created by members of the King family and correspondences of Samuel Wilder King. Inclusive dates are 1820s until 2003; bulk dates are from 1896-1899 and 1941-1942.

Series 2: Education, Box 1, Box 2
This series consists of documents revolved around King’s education. In the Punahou subseries, there are correspondences, photos, publications, and programs from various Punahou events along with newspaper articles regarding King. Both the Yale University and Yale Law School subseries contain correspondences and documents regarding Yale alumni and reunions. This series also contains King’s bar application.

Series 3: Personal Files, Box 1, Box 2, Box 3
This series contains correspondences, publications by Judge King, publications solely about Judge King, documents regarding Judge King’s biography and background, applications, Judge King’s resumes, awards, recognitions and general documents about his life.

Series 4: Board Games, Box 1, Box 2
This series is comprised of photos, correspondences, newspaper articles, notes, and general information regarding the board games Go and Chess. Judge King was an avid player of the Asian board game Go.  These documents reflect his passion and interest in the game. A majority of the material in this series are from the 1960s.

Series 5: Travel, Box 1
Judge King was well travelled and it is reflected in the documents he kept. Correspondences, receipts, itineraries, and travel brochures of both personal and business travel are included in this series. There are documents regarding travel to Europe, parts of Asia, Chicago, and Seattle.  A majority of the dates of this material are 1977-1981 and 2000-2004.

Series 6: Military Service, Box 1
Sam King joined the Military in 1942. He was a Japanese language translator for the United States Navy from 1942-1946, then in the Naval Reserve from 1946-1967. This series is comprised of memorandums, forms, and applications regarding King’s military service as well as documents regarding the attack on Pearl Harbor. Documents of interest include General Orders from the Military Government after the attack on Pearl Harbor and King’s reflection “Life after Boulder” detailing his time as a Japanese translator for the Navy. Bulk dates of this collection are 1941-1946.

Series 7: Events, Box 1, Box 2
Dates: 1963-2010
Judge King attended many events throughout his lifetime--awards ceremonies, presentations, lectures, seminars, conferences of the professional and personal capacity. The documents of this series are correspondences, invitations, programs, publications, and photos for various events Judge King attended. The series is organized by event name in alphabetical order.

Series 8: Governor Campaign, Box 1, Box 2
Dates: 1959-1970
Judge King ran for Governor as the Republican candidate with running mate Ralph Kiyosaki in the 1970 campaign. King ended up being unsuccessful in his bid for governor. Nonetheless, this material in this series remains a significant piece of Hawaii’s legal history because they demonstrate the politics of that era.  Correspondences between King and politicians or influential individuals, letters of support, newspaper articles regarding the campaign, and speeches given by Judge King are preserved in this series. Multiple copies of promotional materials such as bumper stickers, pamphlets, flyers, and cards are also collected. Certain artifacts relating to his campaign are housed in the Artifacts Series and include homemade campaign hats and political cartoons from the time period. Bulk dates of this collection are from 1969-1970.

Series 9: Judgeship, Box 1, Box 2, Box 3, Box 4, Box 5, Box 7, Box 8, Box 9
This collection includes information on Judge King's judicial career.  It includes items on his appointments and cases he presided over, administrative files, judicial selection/committees/ethics/statistics/family law, the Pacific Institute of Judicial Administration, Ninth Circuit Judicial Court documents, judgeship celebrations and ordained marriages.

Series 9.1: South Pacific Judicial Conference, Box 1, Box 2, Box 2.1Box 3
The South Pacific Judicial Conference (SPJC) was a series of conferences that sought to build a network of judges across the Pacific Islands in order to build stronger judicial systems within the region.

Series 10: Speeches, Box 1, Box 2
Dates: 1933-2010
Judge King gave many speeches and presentations throughout his life to organizations, societies, clubs, schools, and graduates. This series consists of transcripts of his speeches as well as correspondences, invitations, programs, or general information about the function he presented his speech at. The speeches are organized chronologically by year.

Series 11: Subject Files, Box 1, Box 2, Box 3
This series is composed of papers of the various organizations or institutions Judge King was a part of or interested in. Documents consist of correspondences, newsletters, and brochures.  The subseries is alphabetized according to the sub-subseries title.

Series 12: Research, Box 1 , Box 2, Box 3, Box 4, Box 5, Box 6
This series features materials that Samuel P. King researched, drafted or communicated with to co-author the book Broken Trust: Greed, Mismanagement & Political Manipulation at America's Largest Charitable Trust.  It also includes materials on the topics of Hawaiian Sovereignty, Mahele/Land Rights, Kaho'olawe, Kaho'olawe Court Cases and indigenous rights topics.

Series 13: Photographs, Box 1
In this series are various photographs from Judge King’s life. Of interest are a series of photos taken at the press conference where Judge King announced his run for Governor.

Series 14: Artifacts
This series contains artifacts found in Judge King's possession, such as judicial robes, awards, letters, gifts, certificates, political cartoons/drawings, resolutions, photos, campaign hats and scrap books.

Series 16: Media
This series consists of tape recordings, tape cassettes, DVD’s, film reels and audio reels that mention, document, or interview Judge King. There are also floppy disks that contain drafts of his writings.

Access Restrictions

The materials are accessible in person at the University of Hawaiʻi School of Law Library. Please see the Access page for more information.

All of the papers are open for research, but some may be restricted due to personal information about individuals. Archives staff may redact documents out of concern for personal privacy.

Reference Code

These items are cataloged as the Samuel P. King Collection. Go to the index pages of each box in this collection to browse the records. Note the Box number and folder number to request access to them.