About Robin Van Auken

I’m Robin Van Auken, a writer and a public archaeologist. Most days I work on writing, and I've authored more than a dozen books. Topics range from nonfiction history to fictional novels. I teach American Archaeology at Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA, and direct multi-year, public archaeology projects, working with hundreds of students and volunteers, and educating thousands of visitors. I also teach Communications/Media Writing at Lycoming College, and direct its summer youth program, Lycoming College for Kids and Teens. With my husband, Lance Van Auken, I operate Hands on Heritage, a consulting firm that helps its clients discover, explore, celebrate and share their cultural heritage through a variety of unique projects. Offering a range of historical research and interpretive services, we can help you tell your story in the format that suits your needs, while adhering to the highest standards of historical practice.

Small Changes Ripple Outward

I spent a delightful 12 minutes today watching a Ted Talk by Shawn Achor, a psychologist who teaches about positivity and its effect on happiness. Shawn Achor(Photo courtesy Alexismbr, Wikimedia Commons) Not only did I laugh most of the the time, but I was inspired to pause the video (so yes, it took [...]

Kitchen Sink Bars

I like the portability and stability of Lara Bars when I'm in the field. They hold up well in the backpack, and they're not outrageously expensive. They are a treat, however, and when I'm shopping, I'm already spending more than most people because I'm choosing organic, whole foods. I'm not shopping for candy. But when I get a [...]

Williamsport: Boomtown on the Susquehanna

Williamsport: Boomtown on the Susquehanna (Robin Van Auken and Louis E. Hunsinger, Jr., Arcadia, 2003) This book relates the history of Williamsport, as well as many towns and boroughs of Lycoming County. Williamsport, a struggling frontier village that grew into a town with a taste for success, eventually molded itself into a magnetic and vibrant [...]

The Story of Little League Baseball®

Play Ball! The Story of Little League Baseball By Lance and Robin Van Auken Play Ball by Robin Van Auken Play Ball! The Story of Little League® Baseball is the remarkable story of Little League® Baseball, from the first diamond in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to the playing fields of the world. On any given spring [...]

Little League Baseball World Series

The Little League Baseball World Series (Robin Van Auken, Arcadia, 2002) This book is a photographic companion book to Play Ball! The Story of Little League Baseball (Penn State University Press 2001). It profiles more than five decades of the World Series. In 1947, when the first Little League Baseball World Series was played, there [...]

Lycoming County’s Industrial Heritage

Lycoming County's Industrial Heritage (Robin Van Auken and Louis E. Hunsinger, Jr., Arcadia, 2005)  This book reviews Northcentral Pennsylvania’s rich industrial history, first in lumber and then in manufacturing. After the Lumber Boom, many company towns collapsed. Boards of trade were created to entice manufacturers to the region. During the first half of the twentieth [...]

Muncy Postcard History Series

Muncy (PA) (Postcard History Series) (Robin Van Auken, Arcadia, 2006) Muncy Postcard History Series by Robin Van Auken examines the small river town of Muncy, Pennsylvania. Founded shortly after the French and Indian War, Muncy was the earliest European settlement in the West Branch Valley of the Susquehanna River. By 1769, land speculator Samuel Wallis [...]

Kickstart Your Writing with a Retreat

Crystal Lake Lodge I've been on a hiatus from my fiction writing career. It wasn't intentional; I let other tasks and chores get in the way, and failed to prioritize. My writing is important, and if I want to wrap up my current series and move onto the next one, I need to [...]

Crash Site Remains Worst Airline Disaster in Lycoming County History

Allegheny Airlines Flight 371 crash site One man's quest to memorialize the victims of the worst airline disaster in Lycoming County history, the crash of Allegheny Airlines Flight 371 on Bald Eagle Mountain, is coming to an end. The crash site has received designation from the Commonwealth as an official archaeological site. In addition, [...]

Just Below Your Feet

Just Below Your Feet is Stephanie Bowen, right, and Sara Griggs A year ago, during American Archaeology Field School, one of my students asked about Cultural Resource Management in Pennsylvania. I told her about CRM and about PA Act 70, which has devastated professional archaeology in the Commonwealth, and encouraged her to research [...]

Ricketts Glen State Park

Ricketts Glen State Park in Benton, PA, is a haul up to the top of a mountain, but it's worth it!

Market Square: Postcards of Yesteryear

This postcard gallery  is from the collection of Richard and Miriam Mix, authors of "A Bicentennial Postcard History of Williamsport."  You may send one of these postcards via email to your friends and family, sharing your enthusiasm for local history. Simply click on the link beneath the card of your choice and "send as e-card." [...]

Grant Supports World of Little League ®

Pennsylvania Historical Museums Commission Grant Supports World of Little League ®   Language professionals are among those who teamed up with the World of Little League® Museum and Official Store for the audio tour guide project that is now available in eight languages. The interactive, multilingual audio tour guide is among the most recent attractions at the [...]

Birthplace of Little League Baseball® Listed in National Register of Historic Places

Birthplace of Little League Baseball® is on the National Register of Historic Places | PlayBallBook.com Birthplace of Little League Baseball® Listed in National Register of Historic Places As the celebration of the 75thAnniversary of Little League® comes to a close, the organization’s first home, Carl E. Stotz Field at Memorial Park in Williamsport, [...]

Lights, Action, Camp!

Lights, Action, Camp! Camping in the dark isn't fun. Sure, you have a fire, but when you're sitting around the campsite, especially if you have a canopy or awning, a string of lights not only increases visibility, it creates ambiance. Now, we're not full-time RVers with a awning; we're part-time campers with a [...]

Crash Potatoes

Crash Potatoes I know, they're completely unacceptable when you're living the Paleo lifestyle, but they're okay on special occasions when you're adhering to the Primal lifestyle. Crash Potatoes are cooked potatoes that are smashed, drizzled with a bit of olive oil, sprinkled liberally with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, then topped with [...]

Grub Hub Camp Kitchen

Grub Hub Outdoor Camping Kitchen If you're in the market for a camp kitchen, you should be looking at the Grub Hub Outdoor Camping Kitchen. This amazing, patented contraption is easy to setup and is packed full of features. The price isn't for the faint of heart -- it retails on the manufacturer's [...]

Paleo Carnitas and Plantain Tortillas

I tried a recipe from my newest Paleo cookbook purchase, the The Zenbelly Cookbook: An Epicurean's Guide to Paleo Cuisine, and even though it didn't look like the lovely lavendar tortilla in Simone Miller's outstanding new book, it turned out okay. Actually, my tortillas were downright awesome. The recipe is simple: plantains, bacon grease, eggs, [...]


Kabobs with a honey-mustard dipping sauce. I love my Shish Kabob Set. It has simplified life and added a yummy dimension to my cooking repertoire. It isn't that time consuming and the ingredient list is simple -- boneless (organic) chicken thighs, Mayan onions, peppers and mushrooms. I cut the thigh into chunks about [...]

Primal Pizza

One of the things most people miss when launching the Paleo Lifestyle is pizza. I searched the Internet and tried various recipes for pizza crusts, and several were alright. Then I discovered Against The Grain Pizza Shell, a frozen pizza crust at my grocery store, and it's been my go-to crust for several months. The [...]