50 Objects

Cafeteria Punch Card (1954)

By Lynne Gartley ’74 Meyer and Joyce Salmon

Punch cards like this one from the 1980s will bring several generations of Punahou students back to their lunchtime meal at Dole Hall. While a noontime meal has been a daily practice since the first Punahou students hung their dinner pails in a closet adjoining the schoolroom, it was not until January 10, 1916 that boarding and day students could enjoy a hot lunch together. The school’s cafeteria fare was originally offered to wean students from the peanut and soda wagons that had been an institution at Punahou’s lower gate for years. Students would soon flock to Dole Hall at “seemingly Olympic speeds” with cafeteria tickets and cards in hand to purchase food as comforting as caramel cuts, as tasty as rice and gravy, and as sweet as the honey from the Punahou Farm. The Snack Bar and breakfast service would follow in 1947. Today more than 3,700 cafeteria servings are issued each day under the watchful eye of Marcia Barrett ’74 Wright, Punahou’s 13th and longest-serving director of food service.

Cafeteria card of Rosalyn S.M. Won ’90, dated 5/28/1982

When school lunches were made available to Punahou day students, a new accounting system had to be implemented. Tickets covering $5.00 worth of lunches were used first, but replaced by coupon books in 1932. Punch cards, like Rosalyn Won’s ’90 pictured below, were first issued in 1954 in $10 increments. In September 1985, cashiers began charging lunches to student IDs, which are tracked and billed monthly to student accounts.

Plain Living and High Thinking

Crowded into wagons and hugging books and slates, nine children crossed the dusty plain and passed through the campus gates. Upon entering the schoolroom they hung their tin dinner pails in the adjoining closet. It was the first day of instruction at Punahou School – July 11, 1842 – and lunch was on the daily schedule.

While the children certainly looked forward to their noontime meal, Principal Daniel Dole considered the eatables inconsistent with “plain living and high thinking.” Observing the cookies and other delicacies that one small hungry boy was caught taking from the tin dinner pails, he warned that:

The vital principle which ought to reside in the brain is called away … to assist in … digestion and no mental energy is apparent. Let a mother send a child to school with a basket of food sufficient for a laborer’s dinner, and she must expect nothing else than the return of her child at night with no increase of intellectual wealth.

Dole made sure that his boarding students did not suffer the diversion of their mental energy through the school’s fare. With a weekly food budget of fifty cents, Mrs. Rice found the school table “never satisfactory … No fresh vegetables could be had much of the year … was there ever such a luxury as string beans?”

It took time before the diet improved:

The one servant, the Chinese cook, made the bread and churned the butter. In 1874 Punahou obtained all the firewood necessary for the kitchen stove from the algarroba trees on the place. There were bananas the year around and plenty of milk from the cows. The menu for breakfast consisted of cereal, hash or steak, and taro; for luncheon, bananas, bread and butter, milk, and every Saturday baked beans and fruit; for dinner, soup, meat, mashed potato, simple pudding and breadfruit. Mrs. Lily Lydgate (1878) Cooke says that after each meal all the butter found on any plate was carefully scraped off with brown sugar and saved for making gingerbread.

Baleful Influences

Day students continued to bring home lunches and ate them at various spots around campus.

We took our own lunch when I was there. People who ate in the Hash House were the boarders, of course. You see, the girls lived at Castle Hall, and the boys at Rice Hall, and Dole Hall was the Hash House. That was for the boarders, so we day people ate our lunch that we had brought with us from home, out on the steps and so forth. (Rosamond Swanzy 1914 Morgan)

They didn’t have cafeteria lunches at that time. It was just for the Hash House kids. And we’d sit out on the grass, under the trees, to have our lunch. And there was always a great trading off of sandwiches – meat sandwiches were at a premium; peanut butters were a drug on the market; egg sandwiches went pretty well. But we never ate the balanced things our mothers sent us to school with. We got what we wanted to eat as best we could from trading. (Dora Cooke 1924 Derby)
A Chinese pushcart as pictured in the May 1914 Oahuan.
Students supplemented their meals with food purchased from the candy and soft drink carts located in the immediate vicinity of schools throughout Honolulu – including Punahou. William P. Alexander (1912) remembered it well: “We had this two-wheel little wagon down here at Wilder and Punahou and they sold soda pop and candy and all different Oriental crack seeds and things of that nature and that’s where we went and spent our pennies.” The cart offerings, while attractive, were seen as a “baleful influence” upon the students, as reported in The Friend:

Standing near the school gates will be seen one or more candy and soda water stands, from which Chinamen of benign countenance dispense their sweets to a swarm of boys and girls … [who] on drawing nearer [are found] drinking, smacking their lips, sucking their sticky fingers and talking to each other with mouths half full. With stomachs thus polluted and their mind’s keen edge already turned these pupils take up their studies in the early morning; at recess, instead of rushing out for healthful sport, again they hang around the candy stand; at noon likewise … Given a permanent candy stand at the school gate and the debauchery of the child’s mind is well nigh inevitable.

Newspapers denounced the vendors and wrote that mothers would:

be justified in basing a strong complaint. Much of the candy, while toothsome and alluring to the eye, is manifestly unwholesome. Certainly its condition is not improved by its proximity to the dust-swept street. There is no attempt apparently to sterilize drinking glasses or the mouths of soda water bottles.

The concern of the Punahou mothers was palpable. During the first meeting of the Punahou Mothers’ Association (a precursor to the Parent Faculty Association) in November 1915, the “need of a luncheon cafeteria was shown by rather large figures.”

A Lunch Plan

Responding to the mothers’ concern, the Punahou Trustees accepted a “Proposition to Serve Cafeteria Lunches at the Punahou Boarding Department” because “many patrons desire for their children a sanitary preparation of lunch material to replace the ill-prepared and dust contaminated substitutes for food offered by the candy cart.”

A cafeteria lunch plan would debut January 10, 1916:

A standard lunch to cost fifteen cents and extras at five cents each.
A lunch to serve teachers, boarding and day students alike.
To be prepared to serve lunch to a minimum of 200 and a maximum of 300.
Stanley Livingston as caricatured in the February 1916 Oahuan.
Students would pay for their meals with $5.00 lunch tickets. Sittings were offered at 12:10 for the preparatory school and at 1:10 for the academy.

As was done since the very first day of school, the lunches would be served in Dole Hall. The original Dole Hall was a wing of the School’s first construction, the adobe “E” Building, which stood from1842 – 1907. The second was located between Rice and Castle Halls and stood from 1907 – 1952. Today’s Dole Hall was installed at its present location in 1952 and expanded in 1986 with a second floor.

It was from Dole Hall that Stanley Livingston, director of the boarding department (1915 – 1916) hoped that the attractive food that would be offered that would “do away largely with candy and soda water cart evil.”
Fall 1918 cafeteria instructions to parents with menu. Source: Griffiths scrapbook

A Mixed Plate

While the number of lunches served later exceeded projections, eating a healthful diet remained problematic. The Mothers’ Association reported that, “the most popular articles of diet … are the snail and doughnut, most small boys and small girls, too, having one in each hand as they come out from lunch.” By 1924 cafeteria tray inspections were implemented to ensure that pupils could no longer “get away with lunches composed of pie and baseballs (pastries), or equally unbalanced combinations.”
May Worthington served from 1919-1928 as Punahou School’s first Dietician and as a boarding department Matron.
It was not that the school failed to provide healthy selections. Fresh eggs and honey were brought from the Punahou Farm. Vegetables and pastry were prepared in the school kitchen. “There was the choice of two kinds of salad, soup, vegetable or milk; two kinds of vegetables; at least cake, fruit or ice cream. There is milk from the farm to drink, and crushed orange juice.”

But, while the parents may have applauded the offerings, students responded differently. Peggy Hockley (1928) Kai remarked that she didn’t remember what she ate except “it wasn’t much good – but in those days, you know, kids weren’t so fussy because the food at home wasn’t that good either. You know the supplies were so limited. I can remember the food we used to have when we lived on the plantation – oh it was so limited!”
In 1939 she published Sally and Her Kitchens, a young adult career book that described her work at Kawaiahao Seminary for Girls and Punahou. Among the book’s featured characters is Ah Mon, who served as Punahou’s head cook for 37 years.
Other students liked some of the food, especially offerings that were unavailable or even forbidden at home. Irmgard Hormann (1933), who “couldn’t stand” the liverwurst sandwiches she carried from home, craved the cafeteria’s rice and gravy “…because we had nothing but boiled potatoes at home. The only food I got was pretty German and so we had boiled potatoes every night instead of rice. Boiled potatoes. We had rice only occasionally. So once in a while I would have some money and I’d buy rice and gravy and the salad was half a banana with mayonnaise on it and some walnuts.”

Eppy Cantlay (1944) Kerr had the same craving: “I would have my two scoops of rice and gravy. My mother had a fit when she found out what we were eating for lunch.”

Ka Punahou summed up the love for the fare when it wrote: “As long as [the] ‘caf’ has existed there has been rice and gravy and it has been the most popular dish up there. Ask Ah Mon [Punahou’s head cook c. 1900 – 1937], who was seen the other day giving Paully Schattauer five big scoops of rice, and gravy on every one of them.”

To encourage healthy eating, a 1932 change was implemented. Elementary children would receive a 10-cent plate lunch offering a “well chosen assortment, with a small desert such as cookies. Milk and ice cream extra.” Nina Brown (dormitory assistant, dietician and director of the dining room 1919 – 1941) remembered

A plate. Little deviled eggs or … whatever they had. And milk for five cents. … these little bottles. And we had a supervisor. One of the teachers would come over from kindergarten and see that they ate it or that one kid didn’t give this kid all the eggs, because they don’t like them. You eat it or else.

Depression Innovations

In 1932 coupon books replaced the lunch tickets. These were believed to be “more convenient” for their allowing “the student to tell more easily his supply is running low.”

By 1934 these books purchased more food as the Depression-era prices were lowered. Rice and gravy sold for three cents, double orders for five cents. A “luncheon period” was also introduced from 9:45 to 9:55 a.m. during which milk and sandwiches were served. (In 1946 a choice of fruit juice would replace the milk because Pediatrician Dr. Joseph Palma said that children who drink it during the morning might have a bad effect on their appetite for lunch.)
Na Opio 1950 picture of students – see names – at juice time.
A 1936 “Traffic Code for the Cafeteria” was published that encouraged students to “stay in the line next to the wall inside the dining room,” “not sit on window sills,” and “avoid loud talking, singing and fooling.” Two-time violators were brought before the Student Council and faced possible censure by Mr. Slade. (1920 – 1949 teacher, principal, and dean)

Systems were also implemented to speed up service. Double lines were instituted in 1937 where “tickets A- to M- [were] filled at the door on the Castle Hall side; tickets M- to Z- on the Rice Hall side.” Students were to leave by the center door to avoid confusion with those coming in the sides. While the breakdown of the “adding machine” contributed to the confusion for the system on its first day, the food was served quickly and the line moved faster. But a new complaint arose: “Even if one can walk up to the cafeteria with ‘the apple of one’s eye,’ the two must separate and go in different lines.”

Growing enrollments and crowding motivated the development of a separate dining room for elementary children upstairs in Dole Hall. The cream colored walls, tables inlaid in green linoleum, masonite finished counters and chairs of matching brown formed “a very effective dining room for the younger children.” In her 1938 annual report, Principal Mary Winne (1898 – 1941) praised the change as a big step forward while noting that, “We haven’t attained our ideal atmospheric conditions in the problem of table manners, etc. as yet but we are on our way to greater improvement.”

War Time

With the coming of World War II, and the lease of the campus to the Army Corps of Engineers, Punahou relocated to the Teachers College at the University of Hawai‘i. The junior and senior Academy now shared the Hemenway Hall cafeteria with University students. Poi was the most popular food and students appreciated being able to “get all the pop and candy they want” at the soda fountain.

Elementary students were served on the lanai of the Castle Memorial Building under the watchful gazes of elementary cafeteria mangers Fujie Enomoto (1942 – 1944) and Janet Miwako Kuwahara (1944 – 1945).
Marjorie Akwright , Director of Food Service 1945 – 1949, 1950 – 1951. (1952 Na Opio)
Throughout the war the cafeteria would be challenged by the lack of staff. Even with the doubling of salaries by conflict’s end, help was unreliable and untrained. It was only with the assistance of faculty and students, some as young as eighth grade, that cafeteria service could continue.

Beyond the Lunch

After the war, Punahou hired Marjorie Arkwright who, by 1947, instituted breakfast service, installed a dishwashing unit that reduced cleaning time from three hours to one, and opened a Snack Bar to serve sandwiches, soft drinks and ice cream. The cafeteria now also catered faculty teas, O-Men dinners, school dances, Lokahi meetings and other school events.
Katherine Early Krest, Food Service Director 1953-1963. (1962 Na Opio)
Miss Arkwright would drive change through her master’s thesis, “Equipment Selection and Layout Designs for Food Service at Punahou School, Honolulu.” Not only would her work earn her a M.S. in Institution Management from Iowa State College, but it provided the operational basis for the 1952 Dole Hall, the first school facility to be designed and built solely as a school cafeteria.

Seating in the main dining hall would accommodate 400 students, an elementary dining room 300 students and the P.C. Jones faculty dining room 50. The facilities were cheerfully decorated with redwood interiors, colored cement, and folding tables and chairs. Sound ducts for movies and a public speaker system would make the space an ideal setup for school dances and parties.

Trash Wars

Despite the upgraded facilities the students did not treat them well.

“Punahou may have the finest lunch facilities in the Islands, but it certainly has the messiest,” says Student Body President Cliff Maesaka ’55, “and students … find enough paper left over after dumping their rubbish on the floor to throw over the wall on to Middle Field.” … Academy students should … dispose of trash in proper places.
Snack Bar (1952 Na Opio)
Students were warned “if you carelessly leave a paper on the table or maybe forget to push your chair in you might be wiping tables, picking up papers, or sweeping the floor for a week.” In an effort to minimize the mess, campus eating was restricted to Dole Hall from 1955 – 1968.

The litter problem became chronic. Ka Punahou described Snack Bar tables “heaped high with trash … an overturned soda … the remains of a hot dog with ketchup and mustard …” Declaring the problem to be of “epidemic proportions,” the administration opted for a more drastic measure:

We have stopped selling cans, cups and drinks, but garbage continues to be left on the ground, on benches, everywhere. Having tried many alternatives, we have resolved after warning students for one week, to close the Snack Bar November 21.

The student Senate considered the action and, when the majority of interests showed no concern about the closure, concurred with an extended closure. The facility would remain closed until school reopened in 1978. Suffering from the loss of sales, the cafeteria budget showed a $12,000 deficit that year.

Can you tell them what to buy?

Sharing the litter headlines was the “burning question” of junk food.
Minnie Marciel, Director of Food Service 1963-1977.
Director of Food Service Minnie Marciel (1963 – 1977) stated that she did not like to see students buy such items especially given a large array of offerings such as orange juice, granola bars, milk and fruit but admitted that “they buy what they want, you can’t tell them what to buy.”

After Marciel retired, cafeteria management fell to ARA Services.

Its manager was Gail Mowat ’59 “Tita” Lyons. Serving until 1989, she was the first Punahou alumnus to serve as Director of Food Service.

ARA was hired to stem the cafeteria’s regular operational deficits. But this did not happen. The school ended its contract with the company in May 1980 but retained Lyons and made her “fully part of the Punahou family.”
Gail Mowat ’59 Lyons, Director of Food Service 1977 – 1989. (Na Opio 1977)
The burning question of healthy food continued. A Punahou Health and Safety Committee formed and ignited a push towards a decaffeinated Punahou in 1983. Root beer, Sprite and orange soda would remain but Coca-Cola was removed from the Snack Bar menu.

Lyon’s successor, Marcia Barrett ’74 Wright would embark on a mission to serve low fat meals and high fiber foods. She added fish to the menu, stopped deep fat frying, and substituted yogurt and “light” mayonnaise in salad dressings.

Wright would caution that, while she could prepare junior school meals that met nutritional guidelines, the various Academy meal choices posed a nutritional problem. She could introduce “healthier” chicken and turkey, but would the students eat it?
Marcia Barrett '74 Wright
Like Stanley Livingston one hundred years ago, Wright acknowledges that the “baleful influences” still compete for a student’s attention: “As much as most kids proclaim they want to eat healthy, the taste is not always there. They want something that they’ll enjoy eating, and that usually takes precedence over something that’s strictly good for you.”

Punahou’s chili is a favorite that has stood the test of time. Not only is it a regular menu offering, it’s standard fare for popular events such as the Flaming “P.” Here, for the first time, is this comfort food recipe available to make in a home kitchen.

4 tablespoons onion chopped fine
1 clove garlic
1 pound Ground Beef
½ tsp salt
Water to cover meat
2 pc bay leaf
2 tsp chili powder
1 can (12oz size) tomato sauce
¼ cup catsup
1 can (11oz) kidney beans
½ can (11oz) ground tomatoes
Put oil on bottom of pot to just coat, put onion and garlic in sautée just until tender.
Add ground beef and cook till done. Add salt
Put water in to just barely cover meat. Let simmer for a minute
Add bay leaf and chili powder, stir and let simmer for 5 minutes
Add tomato products and kidney beans. Stir and let come to a boil, stirring occasionally so that the product does not burn at the bottom
Turn down heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. Just watch so product does not keep boiling and burn the bottom. Stir occasionally.
Serves about 4 – 5 people


Alexander, Mary Charlotte and Charlotte Peabody Dodge. Punahou: 1841-1941. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1941.

Punahou School Oral History of Rosamand Swanzy Morgan (1914).

Punahou School Oral History of Dora Cooke Derby (1924).

The Friend. Feb. 1914: 30.

“School Notes.” Oahuan. Nov. 1915: 18.

“The Candy Stands Again.” The Friend. Dec. 1910: 1I.

“The Candy Stand.” The Friend. Oct. 1910: 4.

The Friend. Nov. 1915: 260.

Minutes of the Trustees of Oahu College. 23 Dec. 1915.

Catalogue of Oahu College: 1916-1917: 63.

“Events.” The Friend Apr. 1916: 114-115.

“Mothers’ Association: Snails and Dounuts Popular.” Ka Punahou. 8 Feb. 1921: 3.

“Mothers’ Association Formed.” The Friend. Mar. 1924: 61.

Banks, Charles Eugene. “Punahou Turns to Feeding Bodies As Well As Minds In Dole Hall Cafeteria.” The Honolulu Advertiser. 17 Feb. 1929.

Punahou School Oral History of Peggy Hockley Kai. (1928)

Punahou School Oral History of Irmgard Hormann (1933)

Punahou School Oral History of Eppie Cantlay Kerr (1944)

“Feed Bags.” Ka Punahou. 19 May 1936: 2.

Punahou School Oral History of Nina T. Brown.

“Punahou Cafeteria Announces Lower Schedule of Prices.” Ka Punahou. 20 Sept. 1932: 3.

“Mrs. A.C. Brown, Head of School Cafeteria, Announces Lower Food Prices At Dole Hall.” Ka Punahou. 13 Feb. 1934: 1.

“School Provides Short Recess for Luncheon.” Ka Punahou. 23 Oct. 1934: 1.

“Nutrition.” Punahou Lokahian. Apr. 1946: 2.

“Cafe Rules Revised by Traffic Officers Before Thanksgiving.” Ka Punahou. 8 Dec. 1936: 3.

“Cafeteria Head Publishes Rules: Asks Student Cooperation With New System at Dole Hall.” Ka Punahou. 2 Nov. 1937: 1.

“New System at Café Proves Fast—Adding Machine Breaks Down.” Ka Punahou. 16 Nov. 1937: 1.

“Elementary Has Own Cafeteria: Dole Hall Adds New Unit For Use of Younger Children.” Ka Punahou. 5 Oct. 1937: 9.

Punahou Elementary School Annual Report: 1937-1938.

“New Cafe Food Popular with Kanes and Wahines.” Ka Punahou. 10 Feb. 1942: 2.

“Hardest workers on campus found at soda fountain.” Ka Leo. 22 Dec. 1942: 2.

Punahou Elementary School Report of the Principal: 1943-1944.

“Cafeteria Has New Washer.” Ka Punahou. 18 Nov. 1947: 2.

“Snack Bar Open To Relieve Mob In Pun Cafeteria.” Ka Punahou. 16 Dec. 1947: 1.

Annual Report of the Business Manager [Anson Hines] to the President and Trustees of Punahou School: 1946-1947.

“Gym Building Will Feature Versatile Uses.” Ka Punahou. 18 Mar. 1952: 1.

“Famed Landmark At Punahou Demolished.” Honolulu Advertiser. 30 June 1952.

“Memorial Center Mess.” Ka Punahou. 8 Dec. 1954: 2.

“New Janitor Corps To Invade Dole In War on Rubble.” Ka Punahou. 10 Mar. 1954: 1.

Tomlehr. “Snack Bar Saga.” Ka Punahou. 16 Nov. 1973: 1.

“Snack Bar Stops Serving Students.” Ka Punahou. 18 Nov. 1977: 1.

Peggy Garties. “Senate Continues Snack Bar Shutdown.” Ka Punahou. 2 Dec. 1977: 1.

Todd Shigekan. “Students Earn Another Try.” Ka Punahou. 13 Jan. 1978: 2.

Shawn. Bolan. “Cafeteria Comes Up Short.” Ka Punahou. 8 Sept. 1978: 1.

Debbie Sarason. “Junk Food At Punahou Now A Burning Question.” Ka Punahou. 2 Apr. 1976: 6.

Joy Murakami. “Cafeteria Management to Change.” Ka Punahou. 4 March 1977: 1.

Carla Yee. “Cafeteria Changes Planned.” Ka Punahou. 9 May 1980: 2.

John Swanson. “Cola Controversy Rages.” Ka Punahou. 7 Oct. 1983: 2.

Linda Moriarty. “Barrett dishes up meals for munchers.” Currents. Oct. 1989: 3.

Jean Muraoka. “Cafeteria accomodates student dietary concerns.” Ka Punahou. 16 Mar. 1992: 6.

Pacific Commercial Advertiser 1/8/16 p. 1

Punahou School oral history of Carlos Rivas and Lydia Sutherland Young, p. 8
©2022 Punahou School. All Rights Reserved