Lance and Robin Van Auken

I’m Robin Van Auken, a writer and an archaeologist, living in the Pennsylvania highlands. I write books on historical topics, and I write novels. My nonfiction books focus on local history and baseball. My novels (sometimes using the pen name Madeline Sloane) are romantic adventures, thrillers and mysteries.

I’m also a freelance media consult and historic project specialist, working solo or with my husband, Lance Van Auken. Our combined background is in education, anthropology, communications and sports management.

Local History

If you enjoy Pennsylvania history, feel free to explore my local history books. I’ve co-authored several books with my husband, Lance, and also with our friend, Lou Hunsinger Jr. We have an assortment of narrative and photographic books I’m happy to share with you, including my tribute to Grit: America’s Greatest Family Newspaper and Play Ball! The Story of Little League Baseball®.

Operated by Robin Van Auken, Hands on Heritage Co. helps its clients develop a variety of products including exhibits, interpretive panels, signage, promotional material, Internet websites, mobile apps,  and books (digital and print).

Other services include archival searches, investigating census records and other documents, and interviewing people about their knowledge of the past (oral history). If you have an interesting company or family history, or would like us to help you compile your family’s, your company’s, or your town’s history into a book, please contact us for a quote.

We have experience in developing print books, eBooks, websites, mobile sites,  photo scrapbooks, video scrapbooks, multimedia projects, brochures, pamphlets, and manuals. We are “digital archaeologists” and enjoy working with and preserving old photographs.  Contact us for a free consultation and quote today. Click here to visit HOH >>>

News of Yesteryear (formerly Historic Williamsport) is a web site by Robin Van Auken dedicated to educating and entertaining visitors of all ages with stories and illustrations of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and its surrounding towns.

Throughout the years, many interesting stories about the people and places of Williamsport and Northcentral Pennsylvania have been published. Many are reprinted here, with permission from the Lycoming County Historical Society, the James V. Brown Library, Little League Baseball, Inc., the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, and various individuals. We hope you enjoy your visit. Click here to visit NYY >>>

Robin Van Auken’s Books

Free Novel!

Read West Wind for FREE!

Would you like a free novel?

If you’re a fan of romantic fiction, I have a free book available that introduces my series, When Love Speaks. Check out my romantic novel West Wind.

Fate calls heiress Sabrina Windham to her grandmother’s hospital bed where she hears a confession of betrayal and death. Sabrina learns of another, heartbreaking family legacy: the Zephyrus. Built by Don Windham and Derek West, the classic sailboat is lost to time.

Download West Wind
Robin Van Auken books

Williamsport Sun-Gazette: A Pictorial History

To honor the City of Williamsport’s Bicentennial, the Williamsport Sun-Gazette produced a three-volume, pictorial history. Most of the images have never been published in book form. Primary resources are Grit, Williamsport Sun, Gazette and Bulletin and the Williamsport Sun-Gazette archives.

Robin Van Auken’s Blog

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 […]

The Paleo Mom’s Approach

Missing something? Crackers, crepes, pancakes and other goodies? The Paleo Mom has a wonderful book, The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body, available on Amazon and the secret ingredient is plantains.

While you’re there, pick up her new […]


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. […]

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 […]

It’s Not Easy

I’m not going to lie to you. Going Paleo isn’t easy, and it isn’t cheap. But, it’s the most important thing you can do for yourself and your family, and you can start doing it right now.

My journey begin in […]

Simple Salad

It’s not difficult to stick with the Paleo Lifestyle (and Primal) when you have so many foods available, and simple recipes like the salad above. Keeping quality ingredients on hand is key, and keeping your imagination stimulated with reading recipes, […]


I love the sweet and salty taste of homemade granola, and every so often I make a batch. I can’t have this stuff in my house all the time or I’d never lose weight.

The beauty of granola is the mish-mash […]

Weapon of Love

I discovered an interesting newspaper article from 1918 on the subject of women spies, and thought it might be fun to share with readers of my blog.

While transcribing the article from the scanned (public domain)  newspaper, I couldn’t help but […]

Play Ball! Little League Playoffs Unite Families

A reporter spent the day at day at a North Carolina Little League Baseball field during the playoffs. She spoke with parents and coaches, asking how they keep up with the “hive of activity” the tournaments cause, writing about it […]

Play Ball! Little League Shouldn’t Inspire Fear

I read  a Times Herald column by Jeff Edelstein, “When it comes to 5-year-old Little League baseball, I was 100 percent wrong,” and it summoned memories of steamy summer days at Cross Bayou Little League, in Largo, Fl. I can sympathize […]

Outdoors with Jerry Zeidler

I first met Jerry Zeidler while on assignment for the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. At the time, he was a  Pennsylvania Wildlife Conservation officer and I visited his office for background on an article. We chatted and became friends, not only because of […]

Now He Can Sleep

I mentioned in a previous post that I love my Cabela’s mesh chair, but my husband can’t nap in them as I can. At 6′, he’s too tall. His head presses onto the frame, making him uncomfortable if he tries […]