As a fourth generation Roxborough resident, Donna Marie Persico couldn’t resist preserving the Roxborough Review Archives when the opportunity was presented to her by former Roxborough Review Editor, George Beetham. “Most of the photographs found in the Archives were rescued from a dumpster" said Donna as she explained what horrible condition the Archives were in upon receiving them. Donna has been voluntarily organizing and digitizing the Review Archives since 2012 in hopes of preserving a piece of Roxborough’s history.
“We need to find a home for history in Roxborough,” said Donna as she told me her goals for the Review Archives over the next five years. “In five years I see the Review Archives being ran by sharp young professionals and being involved with the community and local high school."
While finding a permanent home where residents and students can visit and volunteer is at the top of her list, Donna also hopes to become a federal non-profit and to receive funding to start more community projects centered around Roxborough’s rich history.
“We need to find a home for history in Roxborough”
The Review Archives would not exist without its dedicated volunteers. Donna serves as the administrator, digitizing the archives while updating the Review Archives website and Facebook page, volunteers Paul Tinneny and Judy Harvey work to identify individuals in the photographs, pairing them to corresponding news stories. The Review Archive currently has its first intern, Julie Baker who is a sophomore at Science Leadership Academy, Beeber. Donna is very happy to have Julie interning at the Review Archives and hopes to have more bright young people helping out in the near future.
Housed on the 3rd floor of the Roxborough Memorial Hospital Nursing School are the neatly organized Archives. Peter Adamo, CEO of the Roxborough Memorial Hospital has been kind enough to allow Donna and her team use the space as a temporary home for the Review Archives. The space houses bound editions, photos of local residents dating back to 1909, high school yearbooks, varsity letters and other artifacts that have been donated by longtime Roxborough residents over the years.
The amount of history being stored in these two rooms is extraordinary. As I flipped through an edition from the 1950’s I was blown away by how much history lay within the pages. From the type of news to the hand drawn illustrations and ads, there was so much to learn about Roxborough and that era from viewing just one newspaper. Donna and Judy laughed as they compared stories they have read over the years while digitizing the archives. After this memorable experience I understood why Donna is so passionate about finding a permanent home for the Review Archives that would serve as a resource for the community and Philadelphia.
“The Review Archive focuses on preservation of what news was”
The volunteers of the Review Archives continue to diligently work towards preserving Roxborough’s history and sharing it with the Roxborough community. The Review Archives is not a historical society, the Review Archives focuses on preservation of what news was. For more information on the Review Archives please visit www.reviewarchives.org or their Facebook page.