Forty Years of Star Island Newsletters

Before the recent holiday break we sent our latest winter newsletter to the printer. This newsletter will be arriving in your mailboxes before the end of the month. As we prepared the masthead of this latest newsletter, which involves figuring out roman numerals once a year, we discovered that we’ve hit a milestone — 40 years of the Star Island newsletter. To celebrate this achievement, we’re providing you a look back at our newsletters from the very first one in 1975 to our soon to be mailed one of 2015. The newsletters have changed visually over the years, but each represents the same island we all hold so dear.


Fall 1975

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The first newsletter starts with a welcome from Board President Roland Greeley and this remark: “We sincerely hope that the content will prove to be so informative and interesting that you can overlook the informal appearance.”

The newsletter also includes information about the new music building, a report on sewage disposal, gifts received, registration rules, and conference news among several other topics.


Fall 1977

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The Fall 1997 newsletter opens with a eulogy for the recently passed Lyman Rutledge. The essay includes this sentiment: “And the miracle was that, even as the decades passed, he remained as young in spirit as those young people with whom he had shared his inspiration.” Fred McGill wrote those words.

The newsletter also includes information about recent gifts, the new Star Arts conference, and construction updates.


Winter 1984-85

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News of Anthony Codding succeeding Jim Smith as Manager of Star Island opens this newsletter. Minutes from recent Board Meetings include the news that the bookstore had another banner year. And Canadians can donate to Star Island.

A few pages into this newsletter is the excitement of Star Island’s first computer — an IBM-XT. The article, written by Executive Secretary Brenda Kaubin, is not without its emotion, but the hurdle of a new peice of technology is something understandable.

We can’t pass the opportunity to encourage you to read the rather suggestive call for Pelican applications found on page 5.

This may be our favorite old newsletter


Fall 1988

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The first page of this newsletter includes words from Board President Bob Hargrove who writes of many accomplisments from the recently concluded summer season. Of particular note is a sprinkler system completed under the guidance of Dick Case and the Technical Committee.

More news includes a Celia Thaxter vase donated to Vaughn, a profile of Mel Gulbrandsen, and remembering Ginny McGill.


Fall 1993

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Lindy Anderson’s Letter from the Board President starts by exclaiming about the new tennis courts, and concludes with news that Dave and Edith Pierson will be cutting back on their responsibilities.

This newsletter includes several eulogies, including one for Robert “Bobby” Wharem who served as the Island Engineer and Winter Caretaker before the Piersons. Wharem was remembered for his bravery including saving a youth swept out to sea and rescuing a minister from drowning.


Winter 1995

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The front page of this newsletter is full of information, a departure from past newsletters which generally only held a note from the Board President. News on the front page includes information about three winter caretakers sharing time throughout the 1995 winter, a lease agreement with Cornell University for the Shoals Marine Laboratory, and the need to purchase a new incinerator.

The second page of this newsletter features the usual letter from the Board President. Richard Howe was then serving in that position. He writes of the importance of supporting the Star Island Annual Fund, and how such support is able to provide Star Island with the capital to complete projects like the installation of a waste water treatment facility and other needed facility upgrades.

And, in announcing Memorial Day Weekend day visits, we find out that boat fares were once $5 per adult.


Fall 2011

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This newsletter features a quite different look and feel to it. When the first newsletter was printed, the Board President remarked on its “informal appearance,” but now the newsletter displays hallmarks of a professional publication. Clearly the beneficiary of a style guide, this and later newsletters tend to rely more on stories and annecdotes than just the news. Also a departure from past newsletters, this one features a note from our Chief Executive Officer.


Winter 2015

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Our latest newsletter again offers a dramatic change in appearnce. Now printed in full color, and on a glossy stock, the newsletter continues to provide important news and annecdotes. This newsletter delivers the first official news of Star Island’s working solar array, which is currently providing power to the island. The theme for this newsletter was sustainability, and it’s highlighted in several ways: the solar project, the island gardens, the commitment of a Shoaler departing our staff, and the work of one particular committee working to sustain the island’s facilities.