We’re positive – our fragile history is worth preserving

It took a while, but one of our articles in The Positive Press, Regina Collinsgru’s long-running free monthly community newspaper that used to be distributed to riverfront towns in Burlington County, recently resulted in the sale of a mug.

A couple of weeks ago Elizabeth from Riverside called me to ask if we still had mugs available. In preparing for a move to Florida she came across a clipping she had saved from an old issue of The Positive Press that pictured some of our mugs that feature historic scenes of the area.

Riverside mug

I just delivered her mug to her and she was delighted to have a souvenir of Riverside to take with her.

The Positive Press, June 2016

The exchange reminded me how much I have been missing that undeservedly defunct newspaper.

True to its name, The Positive Press printed news stories and human interest articles with an upbeat perspective, often with a nostalgic aspect.

“News about YOUR neighborhood” was Regina’s motto.

Will Valentino’s popular “Back In Time” articles always illuminated a little known chapter of Palmyra’s rich history with stories about Lena Blackburne, the originator of baseball’s famous rubbing mud, and Titanic survivor Adolph Weikman.

Despite increasing its circulation about four-fold from 5,000 in 1995 to 19,000 in 2013, increased costs and undercutting competition from corporate-owned periodicals caused Regina’s one-woman publishing house to close, I believe, at the end of 2015. rev. 2-1-2021: end of 2017

The demise of that fine publication and the loss of all of the history contained in it is a somber reminder of how easily local lore can be lost.

If the Society had not preserved to microfilm hundreds of old Palmyra and Riverton newspapers in the 1990s, we would not have been able to offer the digitalized files on our website in 2012. (See our Historical Newspapers tab)

Where else would one find gems like these?

Ok, so some of this did not make the national news, but these local publications chronicled the area’s everyday news, big and small, momentous to the mundane.

Imagine the irreplaceable loss to posterity if all 100 of Betty Hahle’s “Yesterday” columns appearing in back issues of the Gaslight News were deleted from our website.

Or if this website ceased to exist?

In the long run, the Historical Society of Riverton will only survive if it has the active support of the community which it serves or it will suffer the same fate that befell The Positive Press.

Even though The Positive Press is no longer in business, I found only 24 issues (about ten percent of the 20-year run) still alive on the world wide web. Better look sooner rather than later in case they disappear. rev. 2-1-21: The internet caught up with us and the links below no longer work. See Regina Collinsgru’s comment below this post.

The Positive Press: November 2013

The Positive Press:    October 2013 

The Positive Press: September 2013

The Positive Press:      August 2013 

The Positive Press:          July 2013

The Positive Press:        June 2013 

The Positive Press:          May 2013

The Positive Press:        April 2013

The Positive Press:      March 2013

The Positive Press: February 2013 

The Positive Press:  January 2013 

The Positive Press: December 2012 

The Positive Press: November 2012

The Positive Press:  October 2012

The Positive Press: September 2012

The Positive Press:      August 2012

The Positive Press:          July 2012

The Positive Press:        June 2012

The Positive Press:          May 2012

The Positive Press:        April 2012

The Positive Press:      March 2012

The Positive Press: February 2012

The Positive Press:  January 2012

The Positive Press: December 2011

Your membership in the Society or donation will ensure the survival of this growing virtual repository of our treasured past.

Published by

John McCormick

Teacher at Riverton School 1974-2019, author, amateur historian, Historical Society of Riverton Board Member 2007-2023, newsletter editor 2007-2023, website editor 2011-2023

3 thoughts on “We’re positive – our fragile history is worth preserving”

  1. 2/1/21

    What a shock and pleasant surprise to come upon this today! Thank you so much for your very kind words about The Positive Press. My last issue was actually the December 2017 issue. It was a very hard decision to make but I retired and moved to the shore where I am happy to say I am just plain enjoying myself with no stress and no deadlines for the first time since 1979!

    Every past issue of the paper was given to Alice Smith of The Riverside Historical Society. They are housed in their offices in Riverside.

    Thank you for remembering me.

    Regina Collinsgru

    1. Regina!
      It’s great to hear from you. I revised the post to show that the last issue was in 2017 and that our links no longer work – dammit. It’s good to know that Riverside has those back issues, tho’.
      Stay safe. Thank you for publishing our articles over the years.
      Warm regards,
      John McCormick

    2. John. Palmyra was one of the towns that was fortunate to be included in Regina’s expansion of The Positive Press you referred to in your article. My history article “ Back In Time” closed down with the final issue of another paper THE TOWN NEWS published by Patty McConnell . Regina whose presence with THE POSITIVE PRESS cannot be underestimated , came to me and asked me o continue writing the column for her newspaper. I remember we debuted the home delivery of the paper with a 2 part cover story on Palmyra’s Titanic Barber , August Weikman. The was cover designed to look like parchment with the words “ Hello Palmyra” below the article welcoming the town to the paper. It’s hard to imagine that the Positive Press was delivered free to all addresses in Palmyra with more issues dropped off to local businesses. I am grateful to her because she gave a new home for my “ Back In Time “ articles and I celebrated my 10th anniversary writing it shortly before the paper published its final issue in 2017. It was during my six years in The Positive Press and Reginas’s guidance and unwavering support the article was allowed to evolve and blossom and was expanding into wider historical arenas when it came to an end. I am happy to say that after a four year sabbatical the “Back In Time” articles have once again regenerated and have begun a “new era “, (no pun intended) with The Palmyra Sun . In the interim , I created the Facebook page for the Palmyra Historical Society and having resigned in 2020 just as Covid was creeping into our lives , I must say this new chapter was a most unexpected lease of new life. So , as difficult as it was , I rebranded the article with a new name “ Blast From the Past” and moved forward into a new future. The town needs it. Kristen Dowd , my new editor has been very welcoming and supportive and I am happy to be telling stories once again. After all , “we are all stories in the end. “ We just have to make it a good one !

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