• Gabriel Donio

Do you have more treasures for The Gazette archive?


Top: Hammonton High School's yearbooks from 1981 and 2020. Bottom: St. Joseph High School's 1976 yearbook; St. Joseph Academy's 2020 yearbook. (THG/MarySusan Hoffman)

I want to thank everyone who has donated Hammonton-oriented memorabilia (or “Hammontoncana”) to The Gazette during our nearly quarter-century of existence.


We have a large archive of Hammonton items. It’s not quite the size of the warehouse where they put the Ark of the Covenant at the end of the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it’s getting there. As always, we are happy to take your artifacts from Hammonton’s 150-plus-year history. Contact Gazette Editor-in-Chief Gina Rullo anytime at grullo@hammontongazette.com or by calling (609) 704-1940 to set up a time to drop off your artifacts.


If you’re seeking examples of the artifacts I’m speaking about, go to page 27 and flip through the latest “Historic Treasures from The Hammonton Gazette Archives” special supplement. We’ve run several of these pullouts before, with different items from our archives. This week’s features a “Back to School” theme since the first day of school is coming soon.


In the special supplement (in addition to non-school items), you’ll see images of a commencement program, a plushie Blue Devils mascot, student newspapers, reunion photos and, of course, yearbooks.


A note about yearbooks: We have the largest combined collection of yearbooks from Hammonton High School and St. Joseph High School in town. We are still searching for a couple of years to fill some gaps in our archive’s yearbooks collection. If you have the following years, we would appreciate you giving them to us:


HHS yearbooks needed: 1930, ‘31, ‘33-‘35, ‘37-’41, ‘45, ‘47, ‘48, ‘54, ‘61, ‘66, ‘92-’94, ‘97, ‘98, ‘00, ‘01, ‘03. SJHS yearbooks needed: 1957, ‘59, ‘62, ‘69, ‘70, ‘72, ‘73, ‘75, ‘78, ‘90, ‘91, ‘94, ‘96-‘05.


We’ve done several of these special supplements, which are laid out beautifully by Gazette Lead Graphic Designer MarySusan Hoffman. I usually pick out the items. Going through the archive to select memorabilia for the supplements is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job. I love history, particularly Hammonton history, so whether it’s a varsity football jacket from 1955, a bottle from the 1800s, a newspaper from the 1950s or an item promoting a business from the 1970s, there is always something that catches my eye and makes it into one of our special sections.


Readers have told me that these sections are among their favorites. Hammontonians have great pride in their town, and many of our readers are graduates from one of the two high schools, worked in one of the many local businesses, or have a connection to the items from the archives published in the special supplements like the one in the paper this week.


Each of these items has a story. We’ve heard directly from the people who stop by the offices of The Gazette with their artifacts. They sit with us for a while and tell us about the item. It’s always an honor to hear what they have to say. Our collection is filled with the history of the town, donated to us by the people of the town.


How did this large archive of The Gazette’s come into being? It started small, in the early days of the paper. At some point the readership decided that since we printed articles regarding history and historical photographs, donating historical Hammonton items to us simply made sense to them. We certainly appreciated that view and continue to appreciate the donations.


Our feeling about the importance of maintaining The Gazette archive and publishing articles, photographs and special supplements based on the historic items in it can best be summed up by the late astronomer Carl Sagan:


“You have to know the past to understand the present,” Sagan said.


Indeed.



Gabe Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.