Zohmah Charlot[1]


Martin’s children[2]



6:34 pm, Feb. 11, 1968, Cobleskil,[3] NY

The Glow of the Cold Whiteness

or Shiny Reflection of Light on Snow

(trans. by Jean and 2nd by D. Kahananui)[4]


“All the time she raises complexities, that is her natural way.” 

Jean speaking of her in 1973. 


Kekoa Pakoa[5]

3 pm, April 6, 1969, NYC, Easter

The Warrior of Easter



Ka Malu O ka Aina[7]

Nov. 30, 1970, Honolulu

Peace in the Land


Kipa No Ke One A Ke Kai Ko‘o[8]

Mar. 30, 1972, 4 am, Honolulu

Hospitable the sand when the sea is rough

(Kee pan no Keone a Kay Kaie Ko‘o) 



Martin’s mural at Kaihi Intake Serv. Center & community correctional Facility, Wailua, Kauai[9]





Mrs. J. De Lecvona has Siqueiros portrait of Z.[10] 


Calvary Plot 67 Sec. 61 


Paredora: Lo que no mata en gorda.[11] 


Betty describing Jean as her student:

“Every day expects kiss, lei, red carpet, grade A!”[12] 


894404 code no. 


My little feathered muse!

(looking at painting) 

She is my muse, you are my amuse.[13] 


Coatlepew (coatlepayoo)

One who stamps on the snake.[14]


A dream I have very often that I am in a play with a large cast, only when I get on the stage I realize I haven’t read the lines.  I tell the other players to be nice to me, that I do not know what is happening. 



on Big Island

Priscilla writing to Kawena before going to France: “I miss you.  I am going to Disney Land and France.  When you get back to Waiahole, you will say, ‘Where’s Priscilla!  Where’s Priscilla!”  When I get back, you will say, “Here she is!”[15] 


“People mistake my drawings for something done casually.  I am never casual.” 

Jean looking at Mele cover copying a drawing he had made for them, instead copied as an allover design. 

Oct. 25, 1975[16]



He was telling stories about tradition of men’s clubs in England.  One was how they tried to rub each other verbally, taunting just to edge of anger. 

Peter said that we have similar in U.S., the Boy Scouts! 

He was angry. 


Russ said, when I told him about loaning my house and having a week of cruising, “You are made to be taken care of.” 



“Until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane.”

Jean describing himself covered with maile leis. 

Feb. 1976, AMFAC show[17] 


The only thing I put aside for a rainy day is my freshly washed car. 



“Amenable to promises and money against the good of the Island.”

Jean, describing a politician. 


Our family drum: Ki Pa A Laea.[18]

Named by John Ka‘imikaua.[19] 


Jean translated, “tuned to the mode of Laka” or “The strong resonance worthy of Laka.  To take the pitch.” 

He showed me, tapping on the rim and then hitting the middle of the drum––& the hula goddess. 


Ipopō Tamus

When Jean suggested the name Ipopō—Black Beloved, I said that was too big a name for a black kitten, so he said we will give a last name: Mr. Tamus.  Ipopō Tamus—get the joke? 



The joke Jean and John told us that arriving at Atchison by train, John was identified as the artist so Jean was free to paint. 



Ev’s joke: A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle. 


Peter’s ad:



Jane Giddings on Peter:

marvelous, gifted, resourceful.  People havn’t figured out how to use his qualities.  Island has not realized brilliance. 


Ron[20] about Jean at print dept.:

Students didn’t want to go back to classes.  No one moved.  Jean finally said, “Scram.”

When he walked in, had them all wrapped around his finger, is “the grand old man.” 


I don’t like that description.  Jean younger than anyone else I know, except Kipano. 



John had an encyclopaedia in Waiahole.  Not the one he took from me, the one given by Pope in Chicago for the writing Jean did. 



[1] These notes are found in Zohmah Charlot’s loose-leaf address book, now in the Jean Charlot Collection, Hamilton Library, University of Hawai‘i.  Edited by John Charlot and Janine Richardson. 

[2] Martin and Susan Charlot asked Jean to give Hawaiian names to their children.  Jean did so in the traditional way, by dreaming the names.  A name composed for an unknown person is found on a loose sheet in the Jean Charlot Collection:


Heaven’s song full of peace flowing out through the heart of God

through the heart of Mary

(who gathers the notes and sings to us a lullaby)

Charlot also composed names for places.  For instance, he named the home of a friend after the white Hawaiian owls that could be seen there: Kea ka pueo lele i ka pō uli “White is the owl flying in the dark night.”  Charlot found my own version—Kea ka lele pueo i ka pō uli—too much.

[3] Cobleskill. 

[4] Dorothy Kahananui (1919–1996) was a music educator and choral director who taught at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa from 1957 to 1982. 

[5] Kekoapakoa.  Pakoa is a specifically Roman Catholic Hawaiian-Christian term.  Charlot also translated the name, “the warrior of peace.” 

[6] blend is manuscript in DZC’s hand.  It may be describing the name as a blend of Hawaiian and Christian. 

[7] Kamaluoka‘āina “The peace of the land.”  Charlot said that he gave the name in the hope that it would bring peace to Martin’s family. 

[8] Kipanōkeoneākekaiko‘o.  Charlot also translated, “The rougher the sea, the more hospitable the sand.”  The idea is that the sand absorbs even the roughest waves.  The fourth line of this section is DZC’s attempt at a pronunciation guide. 

[9] The Kaua‘i Intake Service Center, Līhu‘e, Kaua‘i, and the Kaua‘i Community Correctional Facility, Līhu‘e, Kaua‘i. 

[10] Illustrated in Portrait of a Decade 1930–1940: David Alfaro Siqueiros, 1997 (Mexico, INBA, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes), 154.

[11] “What doesn’t kill you, makes you fat (engorda).”  Paredora is unidentified.

[12] Betty Tseng Yu-Ho Ecke taught Chinese art and the University of Hawai‘i and was an artist Charlot admired and wrote about.  When he decided to stay in Hawai‘i in 1949, Charlot was enthusiastic about the idea of studying Chinese art and language and began to audit Ecke’s course.  He told me he had to leave because she was so “rough.”  When I asked for an example, he said that once when he tried to copy the Chinese characters of a name, Ecke looked at what he had done and said, “That not great master.  That noodles.”  She told him he was too old to learn Chinese. 

[13] This typed version seems condensed from a handwritten one in this set of notes:

Jean: My little feather Muse.

(looking at painting)

Come in, you are my muse.

Z: I am your muse!

J: She is my muse.  You are my amuse!


[14] Charlot had or was given the idea that the word Guadalupe of Our Lady of Guadalupe might have been a misunderstanding of an original Náhuatl, given in the text (either from Aztec religion or Genesis 3:15).  However, the foremost Náhuatl expert, Frances Karttunen wrote me:

 I don’t think this is plausible.  Guadalupe is the name of a town in Spain, and the word derives from Persian.  It’s possible that in Mexico it has been folk-etymologized on the model of coatlicue, which means “her skirt is snakes.”  You can see how the fact that the B.V.M. stands with her foot on a serpent would lead one to try this, but epew/epayoo is meaningless in Náhuatl.


[15] Priscilla was the daughter of John Charlot, and Kawena the daughter of Martin Charlot.

[16] For the cover of the November 1975 edition of  Mele (a journal of international poetry), Charlot had drawn a portrait of Rafael Arévalo Martínez which Mele’s editors had reworked into an allover design: six repeated portraits on the cover and the subject’s name.

[17] A retrospective exhibition of more than eighty of Charlot’s paintings drawn primarily from private collections in Hawai‘i was held February 6–13, 1976, at the Amfac Center Plaza.  The exhibition marked three major events in Charlot’s life:  his seventy-eighth birthday, the publication of Peter Morse’s Jean Charlot’s Prints: A Catalogue Raisonné, and Charlot’s  receipt of  the Order of Distinction for cultural leadership in the visual arts granted by the Hawai‘i State Foundation for Culture and the Arts. 

[18] Kīpāalaea “The high and low note of Laea.” 

[19] John Ka‘imikaua (1958–2006) was a chanter, drummer, hula master, and friend of the family. 

[20] Ronald Kowalke (born 1936), printmaker and professor of art at the University of Hawai‘i.