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.
I just delivered her mug to her and she was delighted to have a souvenir of Riverside to take with her.
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.
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.
Your membership in the Society or donation will ensure the survival of this growing virtual repository of our treasured past.