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Jacob Mark Frey Papers

Identifier: SC MS 0068

Scope and Content Note

Collection of letters, 27 postcards, 17 photographs, books, newspaper clippings gathered by J. Mark Frey, related to Lehigh University, Lehigh YMCA and Chinese students, and Bethlehem Steel Corporation and correspondence on behalf of the Bach Choir while Frey was the Choir manager.


  • 1916-1942
  • Majority of material found in 1919


Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Biographical Note

Jacob Mark Frey was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1880 and died in 1958. He was the son of George Adam and Louisa Christiana Frey as one of six siblings and three step-siblings from his father’s first marriage. From 1915-1920 he was the General Secretary of the YMCA at Lehigh University. His duties (identified from the documents in the collection) included a weekly class on Christianity with the Chinese students at Lehigh and “Americanization” classes with immigrants employed by Bethlehem Steel Co., which were taught at the Quinn School in South Bethlehem to assist them in attaining citizenship or ability to comprehend English language. He served as Camp Secretary in the U. S. Army Ambulance Camp (later Camp Crane) in May 1917. In June 1917 he assisted with the 2nd Artillery at Camp Wanamaker and the 30th Engineers camp in Philadelphia, Pa. Later he trained men for the Army at Northfield, Massachusetts. He was with the regular U.S. Army Infantry as they came back from Mexican border and went to Gettysburg, Pa. At Gettysburg, Mr. Frey wrote military English for illiterate soldiers, also taught French to the troops. He started Camp Coppée in May 1918 at Lehigh University for the university engineering students and was involved with all Y.M.C.A. activities for the camp until October 1918 when he became secretary for the S. A. T. C. (Student Army Training Corps) at Lehigh from October 1, 1918 thru the influenza epidemic to the close June 30, 1919. He represented the Y.M.C.A. Lehigh University program in offering Christian programs for the students especially the foreign students and also aided in citizenship programs for the workers at Bethlehem Steel. During this time he also was director of colleges and universities for a student friendship fund. During the entire period of World War I he rendered special services to the War Work Council department of the East. In 1920 he made his second trip to Europe [first trip was in 1914] visiting England for the Boy Scout jamboree in London, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland attending the World Students’ Christian Conference at Beattenberg, Switzerland and Brussels for the Olympics. During this time abroad he visited American troops at Coblenz and continued on to visit relatives in Paris. He resigned from Lehigh around 1922 and had a Packard automobile dealership in Quakertown. He also worked for the Pennsylvania Power & Light Co. In the early 1920s he met his wife, Miriam, thanks to the Bethlehem Bach Choir Festival at Lehigh. They had two children: Charlotte and Bobbie. Frey sang in the Choir and was involved with business affairs for the Choir as manager. After living in Quakertown and Germantown for some years, they moved to Carlisle, Pa. according to the World War II Draft Registration Card 1942 information given when he was 61 years old. Mr. Frey’s granddaughter, Nancy A. Tiley, has informed Special Collections that she intends to write a biography of Mr. Frey.

References: Newspaper article: “How They Make Citizens in South Bethlehem”. Philadelphia North American or The North American (Philadelphia). Sunday May 20, 1917


1 Linear Feet (2 boxes)


Collection of correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings gathered by J. Mark Frey, related to Lehigh University, Lehigh YMCA, Chinese students, Bethlehem Bach Choir and Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Frey was the secretary of Lehigh YMCA and involved with Americanization and naturalization classes for Bethlehem Steel’s immigrant workers and an enthusiast of the Bethlehem Bach Choir.

The collection provides a valuable picture of one employee’s life at Lehigh University in the early 20th Century.

Organization of the Content

Letters, postcards, newspapers and clippings are organized in chronological order within the folders. Books and photographs are cataloged and shelved separately.

Other Related Finding Aids

Lehigh Christian Association, Lehigh YMCA Collection

Acquisition Information

Original donation by Carolyn Kenworthy, 1991 [Folders marked 0068.01.01 to 08]. A second donation was made by granddaughter Nancy A. Tiley February and March 2016 [Folders 0068.01.09 – 0068.01.14]

A third donation was made to Lehigh Special Collections by Dickinson College in Autumn 2016 because of its specific content about Frey and the Bach Choir [Items in Box 2]

Related Material

Lehigh Freshman Handbooks, 1890-1964 (early handbooks were published by Chrsitian Association, then Lehigh YMCA)

Separated Material

Photographs, prints and books filed separately.

Jacob Mark Frey Papers
Ilhan Citak
November 23, 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 1992: Finding aid first version created
  • 2010-11-23: Published online, DACS template applied
  • 2016-11-16: Revised
  • 2017-11-06: Updated on ArchivesSpace
  • 2002: Converted to MS Word – DACS template applied

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)