On my way from Kahului to Iao Valley one Sunday last December, I passed by Bailey House Museum and made a mental note of visiting when it’s open the rest of the week. Before I got the chance to do so, I met the author of a new book about Edward Bailey. The 352-page hard-backed illustrated biography is the first to be written about the man, and it’s literally hot off the press, after a twenty-year labour of love.
As I leaf through this beautifully bound book, I see an important part of the history of Maui unfold. My eyes are drawn to chapter ten — “Wailuku, My Happiest Year.” In 1840, 26 year old Edward Bailey moved there from Lahaina with his wife and two sons. Rather than reading the book, I find myself flipping through the glossy pages and admiring the paintings of Bailey and hand-written letters. I taste the curiosity that led the author on her 20-year expedition to write and publish this book.
A recently ordained Episcopal priest who has previously served as trustee and president of the Maui Historical Society, Linda McCullough Decker became curious about Edward Bailey when she started volunteering at the Bailey House Museum in 1989. Who was this missionary who had nothing written about him except his obituary? He and his wife Caroline were an attractive couple with 5 sons. Researching Bailey’s life was, according to Decker, like “working a jigsaw puzzle with tweezers.”
Linda Decker will be signing her new book “Edward Bailey of Maui” on Tuesday 15th March 2011 from 5 to 7 pm at the Bailey House Museum. Address: 2375-A Main Street, Wailuku, HI 96793. Admission to this event at the museum is free.
There will be refreshments, speeches, and music. Dutch classical guitarist Robert Bekkers will play a new guitar built by Linda’s husband John Decker followed by vocal music performed by the Kaahumanu Society.
For more information about the book signing event, the book, or the museum, visit the Bailey House Museum website, Edward Bailey Book Site, Book Signing and Celebration on Maui Calendar, and Maui Historical Society.