Secret Society on Star Island- the Dawn Birds & Lyman V. Rutledge

I recently received a research request to get a copy of a symbol.  As it was described I believe it is the symbol of the Dawn Birds, a secret society on Star Island, drawn by Lyman V. Rutledge.

A description of the Dawn Birds from Frederick T. McGill’s book Something Like a Star p.45- 46:

          [Lyman] it was, beyond all others, who opened our eyes to the beauties of the islands.  In fact, he opened our eyes quite literally when he lured us from our beds, led us out to East Rock before sunrise, and let us watch with him the birth of a new day…..

Lyman watched the sunrise, but he watched us younger Shoalers too; and if, the first time out, we kept our tongues from wagging and let our appreciation show in quiet attentiveness, he might invite us to join the society of Dawn Birds- a secret and very special flock of sunrise watchers whose company he found congenial.  To be tapped for this fraternity was a high honor; and ever since, for the Dawn Birds, the sun has come up in an aura of poetry and glowing memories.

The star-shaped symbol scratched above the door of the Parsonage and on a cement block in the interior of Parker Memorial is the emblem of the Dawn Birds.  Still another signature disappeared in the great storm of 1978 which ripped the concrete capping from a large area of the pier.

There are many places where the symbol can be found.  As Fred mentions, it is above the door of the Parsonage:

As well as in Parker with initials and a date:

It can be found in at least two of Lyman’s published books, here in Earth Music p.7:

As well as in In Pursuit of Reality; Star Island Reveries p.1:

We even have a booklet of the secret society and some of its members.  I’ve digitized it for you, but don’t tell anyone. (wink, wink)

Lyman Rutledge was a lot of things to the Isles of Shoals and the people who came here, but one of the things I admire most is his role as a historian.  He wrote Isles of Shoals in Lore and Legend, and also a 6 volume omnibus edition of the same name, a greatly expanded version which I’ve read cover to cover twice.  There are only a handful of copies, as it was never published, and Vaughn Cottage is lucky enough to have one of them.  I found this response by Lyman to a research request he received as historian, and as I found it while doing this research I wanted to share it:

And if you’ve come this far with me through the post, you may want to know more about Lyman Rutledge.  I found in our archives this eulogy written by Dana McLean Greeley for Lyman V. Rutledge, given at a memorial service in Portsmouth, N.H., October 8, 1977:

We also have this framed poem with the symbol on it:


7 thoughts on “Secret Society on Star Island- the Dawn Birds & Lyman V. Rutledge

  1. Congratulations on this blog. I loved your piece on Lyman Rutledge. I never new about the “symbol”-more Star Island mystery! I’ll be a regular

  2. Pingback: Town of Gosport Crest | Vaughn Cottage

  3. Pingback: Lyman V. Rutledge’s memorial service at Star’s memorial garden | Vaughn Cottage

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