NC Literary Hall of Fame



Daughter of the Dawn: a Child of Hilton Head Island, 1950-1956 by Avary Hack Doubleday

Mountain Arbor Press/BookLogix
$19.95, paperback
ISBN 978-1-63183-539-1
July, 2019
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from

"Daughter of the Dawn shines a light on a fascinating period of Hilton Head Island's colorful history. But this is no ordinary history. Avary Doubleday is an artist with words, and the picture she paints for us is glorious, vivid, memorable. She was a child when her father moved the family to Honey Horn Plantation on the island. It was a time when cows wandered into backyards. Marsh hens cackled all day. Copperheads sunned in the road. 'Currents and ebbing tides left behind deep slews' in which children played, 'little ponds warmed by the sun.' If you've ever visited Hilton Head, if you live (or lived) there—if you simply enjoy good writing—you'll love this book."
—Judy Goldman, author of Together: A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap

"Daughter of the Dawn gives readers a glimpse into a little-known part of Hilton Head Island's history—long before its name became synonymous with beaches, resorts, and tourism. Avary Doubleday shares her personal experiences of growing up on the island and gives those of us who never experienced it a chance to slip back into time to imagine a period before traffic lights, resort hotels, or even a bridge from the mainland. Her vivid recollections of her home, Honey Horn, will help us share its past with visitors for years to come."
—Natalie Hefter, Vice President of Programs, Coastal Discovery Museum, Hilton Head Island

"Opening with a moving poem covering a wide spectrum of 'I am…'—from 'silver sunlight' to 'sea oats and sand dollars,' Avary Hack Doubleday ends her seductive introduction with 'I am from the Island.' Indeed she is.

"From 1950 when her father moved his young family to Honey Horn Plantation, Doubleday describes her childhood and growing years on the sparsely populated island of Hilton Head in the years before there was even a bridge. After the purchase of a little over 8,000 acres for timber, her parents began to see new directions of progress for the island and had a strong hand in its progress.

"Avary Hack Doubleday is truly a Daughter of the Dawn. From her years spent in the wilderness of unpopulated beaches, adventures in the woods, long horseback rides, essentially a childhood in Paradise, Doubleday introduces us to the people of the Island before its development—people of the earth and the open skies. In the process of her story, by the time she leaves for college, her parents’ vision for the island has greatly shifted the idyllic landscape of her childhood. The island has become idyllic for many others, but its essential wildness is now tamed and groomed.

"Though meticulously checked against memories from others and documented facts, Daughter of the Dawn remains a memoir, an engaging telling of one child’s memories from the early days of Hilton Head Island—memories evocative for many of us of life more open, free, and connected to the earth—along with the changes that make it such a different place today. And who best to share those memories of an island 'growing up' than one who shared that growing up herself."
—Diane C. McPhail, author of The Abolitionist’s Daughter

This memoir covers early years of Avary's growing up on the Island. Fred and Billie Hack moved their family to Hilton Head in 1950, when Avary was five years old. Until 1956, the only connection to the mainland was by boat, or beginning in 1953, a regularly scheduled ferry. When Fred Hack and his associates purchased the first large tracts of land, the Island lacked electricity, telephones, doctors, and most other modern conveniences. Billie cooked on an iron woodstove and used an icebox for refrigeration—which had a large block of ice in the upper compartment to keep food chilled.

Avary and her brothers, Frederick, two and one half, and Byron, born in 1952, lived a free and wonder-filled life close to nature. They played in the creek behind their house, rode horses, occasionally went on family outings to the beach, and attended a one-room school. Reflecting back over these years, Avary was struck by how much the Island had changed from the 1950s until her nieces grew up on the Island forty years later! She felt it was important to record her memories so that they could know how their father, Frederick, and she had grown up.

From the age of five, Avary Hack Doubleday lived with her family on Hilton Head Island, where they were one of the few white families who were permanent residents. Following a career in accounting and finance, she has enjoyed volunteering, reading, traveling, birdwatching, and writing. She and her husband now split their time between Highlands, North Carolina, and Greenwood, South Carolina.

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