About Camden History
This site is largely the life’s work of Phil Cohen. Phil spent — and continues to spend — more than 20 years writing dvrbs.com. dvrbs.com is/was Phil’s calling and there is no denying that he has documented the largest historical site on Camden, NJ. The feat is truly impressive.
With that in mind, his site has fallen out of standards and the site is not mobile friendly. The expenses are high for Phil, running the site out of his house, so we are looking to build a site for years to come. The goal is to share history of an amazing city with a rich history of people and events for generations to come. As we move along in time, we have a lot that future generations should be able to look up and research. This is simply one of those sites. It is free to browse and will remain so.
It is worth calling out that the articles presented and transcribed on the pages do not use language that we find acceptable in today’s society. While we are empathetic to cultural groups, ethnicity, and how we approach inclusive conversation today, we are not going to hide or edit old articles just because they are now considered offensive. History is history and while we wouldn’t walk around using the language now, it doesn’t change that we once did. Celebrating our historical successes is equally as important as recognizing where we can improve. If we suppress history, we cannot learn from it. This is not a political statement and should not be construed as such. To that end, the articles are shown and transcribed in their original form as per the applicable time period.
This site is using newer technology. We tried writing a number of different CMS’s and none really met our needs in the way that we wanted to. We tried writing one in ReactJS and that offered a lot of features at the cost of needing to write every page from scratch — equally as time consuming as the incredible work that Phil had done. Ultimately, we came to our solution and it seems to be working well… so far.
In addition, we are using Tesseract OCR to help transcribe every newspaper article for better searching and reading. Even with OCR, this is incredibly time consuming. Also, it should be noted that transcriptions are best effort. I do my absolute best to ensure that they are accurate and there is also a lot of data to process. As such, there may be errors in transcriptions. Help is welcome!
Additionally, any PDF’s on the site, for example, City Directories, are all searchable. This is a new feature that we implemented on the large documents — those that won’t be transcribed or have some other detail that makes it difficult to implement or removes historical context.
So, we’ve settled on our features and are working to make the site a bit more dynamic, mobile friendly, and use more of the current web standards than have been used previously.
All of this work comes at a cost. It will take time to migrate this all over, as it’s being done by hand. Please bear with us and look for regular updates.
Aren’t you just stealing Phil’s work from his site?
This site combines sources — much of it is the work that Phil did. Other sources are local historians, and still others are new contributions not seen anywhere else, including my personal collection from my family’s long history in Camden. However, regarding the question, I will let Phil answer this in his own words:
No man owns history, therefore you should feel free to use anything in this web site for any purpose you see fit. The only important thing is that knowledge be preserved, made accessible, and passed down to future generations. This site is not for profit and proud of it, for to claim title to and profit from the actions of those long gone seems to, at best, bogus, and at worst, immoral. If left to the greedy, there would be no public domain – Constitution and the Bible would be the property of an individual, institution, or corporation.Phil Cohen, www.dvrbs.com