Ain’t We Got Fun? The 2023 History Writing Prize Question

Huge crowd at the Yacht Club, c1920s (colorized)

Ain’t We Got Fun?: The 2023 History Writing Prize Question


Scene on the boardwalk and Beach, Stone Harbor, NJ Aug 15, 1927
The New Era, Aug 27, 1920, p2

The Historical Society of Riverton (HSR) is awarding a cash prize of $500 for a 1500 word essay that answers a question about Riverton’s history. The winning entry will be featured on Noteworthy essays that do not win the primary prize may also be published on the HSR’s website. Essays will follow MLA guidelines for published works (see below).

The Question: What did Rivertonians do for fun 100 years ago?

Our gang on the 600 block of Irish Row in Riverton, c. 1928
Pictured are (left to right) three McDermott brothers—Bill, Paul, and Carl— also, Les and Joe Yearly, and Ducky Spear
Golf c1926, RoR frame 40600 screenshot

In your essay, discuss the ways people entertained themselves in the 1920s. How and with whom did they socialize? Where did they go to have fun when they weren’t working? What social, political, economic, and technological changes were happening nationally and in this region that affected what people did for fun in the 1920s?

Where to start?

Keating’s Drugstore  c1924
McAllister Victrola ad, The New Era, Nov 29, 1923, p2

Our website includes many photographs and articles on Riverton’s history that may help inform and illustrate your essay. The HSR has many issues of historic Riverton-area newspapers digitized and available online at:

Who may submit an essay?

Broadway Palace ad, The New Era, Jan 18, 1923, p5
Broad Street, Palmyra, NJ

Any high school student living in Riverton may apply.


1925 Palmyra Riverton Twilight League
Charles A. Wright, ferry starts, Courier-Post, 03 May 1922, p18

Essays and questions related to the prize should be submitted to HSR’s Membership Chair, Heather Huffnagle, at, (856) 505-7087.

Review Committee

Riverton Golf Club
Riverton Country Club dance ticket

The Review Committee will be comprised of HSR Board Members and professionals among its membership with education and/or experience in historical research, education, and writing.


Entries will be accepted until May 15th. Awardees will be contacted on May 31st.

General Guidelines for Submissions

Yacht Club illustration from Reddy by Mary Biddle Fitler, 1929

MLA Paper Format General Guidelines
• Use standard 8.5 x 11 white paper.
• Number your pages.
• 1-inch margins (all sides)
• Readable font
• Double-spaced
• Indent new paragraphs.
• Only one space between sentences

MLA cover page includes a few things like:
• Title of your paper
• Your name
• Your email
• Your school’s name

What should an MLA paper look like?
An MLA paper has a standard look for every page, including 1-inch margins, a readable font, a running header including your last name and page number, and author-page in-text citations. At the end of your paper, you will include a works cited with a list of all the sources used in the paper.

Click here for PDF files: History Writing Prize, 2023 and Guidelines,HSR Essay Contest 

The HSR’s History Writing Prize debuted last year and was won by Palmyra High School senior Ben Small. The winner of this year’s award will be recognized in a ceremony in Riverton Park on the 4th of July.

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

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