ACT I: “Campbell’s… more than just soup” slideshow
We sincerely thank the 80 or so hardy history buffs and lovers of Campbell’s Soup nostalgia who sat in chairs, sat on the floor, and stood (some with obstructed views), to hear Marisa Bozarth as she chronicled the history and development of Campbell’s Soup Company.
The turnout for Tuesday night’s program sponsored by the Historical Society of Riverton took us off-guard, so we apologize to several folks who looked at the overflow crowd and left.
ACT II: Reception at the former Campbell home
After the engrossing slide show, the meeting carried over next door to the home of Jan and Dennis DeVries who graciously showed us the former home of Joseph Campbell.
A splendid dining room table centerpiece of carnelian-red and white flowers in a vase surrounded by cans of tomato soup reinforced the theme of the evening.
The delicious desserts and confections arrayed there fueled animated conversations about how much folks enjoyed the well-researched topic and Marisa’s buoyant delivery.
Our hosts, Mr. and Mrs. DeVries, doubled-down on the evening’s refrain and carried out the Campbell’s Soup motif by hanging a portrait of the home’s early owner in the kitchen area next to a framed print of a soup can and an illustration of a Campbell’s Kid.
A soup tureen filled with fresh tomatoes, a Campbell’s coffee table book, a Campbell’s recipe book (doesn’t everyone have at least one in their kitchen?) and actual cans of tomato soup consummated the theme.
Marisa wrote later, “It was wonderful! Everyone was so welcoming and I loved getting the opportunity, not only share the Campbell’s story with everyone, but also to talk to so many people afterwards!”
She is so right.
This important aspect of our meeting helps to carry out the Society’s several-fold mission to bring together those people interested in history, to increase awareness of our heritage, and to continue to expand our knowledge of the history of the area.
Our current membership of fewer than 100 households is at a historic low. We need your support in the form of membership dues and donations to underwrite our efforts to bring such programs to the public.
ACT III: History is the topic of conversation
Another side benefit to having people with a common interest in history assemble together is the networking, or sharing of information, that often happens.
Given the thousands of local people over the years whose farm products supplied the plant or whose labor produced soup, it comes as no surprise that a few in the group either worked there themselves or had a family member employed.
One woman volunteered that she has photos of the old Campbell Experimental Farm in Cinnaminson I can scan.
It turns out that one of our members had first-hand experience with working on local farms growing and delivering tomatoes, and another worked for a time in the Camden plant. Look for more about their anecdotes in another post if I can twist their arms to be interviewed.
Maybe we can get Susan Dechnik to reveal the recipe for her Campbell’s Tomato Soup Cake.
Epilogue: Please tell your Campbell’s story
If you have another memory of Campbell’s from back in the day, please contact us through the form below so that we may add your voice to this collaborative effort that is rivertonhistory.com.
Marisa may have to add another slide or two to that PowerPoint. – JMc
PHOTOS BY SUSAN DECHNIK AND JOHN McCORMICK