The Star, courtesy of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society's archives.
In 1938, playwright Thornton Wilder first published his famed play, Our Town. And in June of that year, a young journalist named Grady Clay, Jr. published the first newspaper on and about our town of St. Simons Island.
Born in Atlanta and with a Journalism degree from Emory, the 22-year old Clay arrived on St. Simons and began publishing The Star. In his inaugural edition on June 17, 1938, Clay stated, “We want to give you an original newspaper, full of interesting bits of information you can’t get elsewhere; we want to tell you in crisp, interesting fashion, what’s going on, who’s on the Islands and how to enjoy yourself a little more.”
The Star was a summer-only newspaper, published weekly from June through Labor Day, and provided an accounting of news about St. Simons and Sea Island–from sports stories and business topics to editorials and the islands’ social scene. Clay issued his four-page newspaper during the summer months of 1938 and 1939 only. He served in World War II and went on to achieve national prominence for his editorial work in the field of landscape architecture and urban planning. Clay died in March of 2013.
This month’s image depicts the front page of the June 29, 1939 edition of The Star. Originals of all the newspapers’ editions were donated to the Coastal Georgia Historical Society in 2012 by Grady Clay, Jr. and are housed in the Society’s archives.