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Preston A. Lambert Papers 1884 - 1927

Identifier: SC MS 0183

Scope and Contents

The collection contains 23 letters, six envelopes, 11 invitations/notices, three postcards and three newspaper articles.


  • Creation: 1884 - 1927


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

The subject of this collection, Preston Albert Lambert, was a much beloved professor. At his sudden untimely death in 1925, he was the longest serving professor at Lehigh University. He entered Lehigh in 1879, graduated as a member of the Class of 1883. After graduation he spent a year studying in Germany and returned to Lehigh in 1884 as Instructor in Mathematics. In 1889 he began graduate studies at Lehigh and received his Master degree in 1891. Lambert worked in nearly every position imaginable being Instructor of Mathematics from 1884 to 1892, at which time he was elevated to the position of Assistant Professor of Mathematics until 1906. During this period he held the position of Secretary of the Faculty in 1900 and 1901. From 1906 on he was a Professor of Mathematics. He became head of the Conference Department in 1908, an evening school for students have difficulty with their studies, and head of the Mathematics Department about 1923. Lambert was a well-known professor. He authored many papers published in such distinguished journals as that of the American Philosophical Society along with a book on differential calculus. He did much for the University devoting his splendid mind and tireless energy entirely to working for the University welcoming Henry Drinker as president of the University and instrumental in recommending President Charles Russ Richards upon Drinker’s resignation. He was solicited to promote Andrew Carnegie to become university president. He was beloved by thousands of his former students for his sage counsel and keen perception which influenced the students to be considered a personification of Lehigh’s scholastic standard. When the students became alumni, they even more appreciated the undying loyalty and unflagging interest that Lambert maintained for Lehigh as Lambert continued to maintain contact with many of his former students. His sudden death shocked the Lehigh family when his body was found in the Monocacy Creek. Although Professor Lambert had not been feeling well, perhaps due to his diabetic condition, he had gone for his usual Sunday walk on the afternoon of February 15, 1925 along the Monocacy Creek and the railroad track of the Lehigh and New England Railroad. His wife contacted the police when he had not returned home by 5:30 p.m. His body was found Monday morning near Illick’s Mill on the Monocacy Creek after a group began searching the creek with grappling hooks. At the time his untimely death was mysterious but was considered accidental due to his diabetic condition - a possible dizziness reaction to his insulin treatment or the vibration of a passing train causing him to slip on the icy bank of the creek. His life of service to the University was an inspiration to everyone of Lehigh. He was buried in Nisky Hill Cemetery, Bethlehem, PA. He was survived by his second wife, Alice (nee Knauss), and five children, three sons all Lehigh alumni - Preston A., Jr. (’12), Kenneth A. (’16), Ralph A. (’25) and two daughters - Bessie and Gertrude. Mrs. Lambert died in 1942 and also was buried in Nisky Hill Cemetery.


1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



These papers reflect an era of formally engraved invitations, letters of appreciation among faculty, students, university presidents and alumni and general camaraderie. Interesting historical notes are stated in some of the letters in the exchange between a faculty member and three University presidents.


The collection of letters and ephemera is in chronological sequence from earliest date 1881 to latest date 1942 which marked the death of Mrs. Alice A. Lambert, Professor Preston A. Lambert’s second wife.

Related Materials

Brown and White, v. 30, n. 4, 1923, “Preston Lambert Serves Longest.” Brown and White, v. 32, n. 33, 1925, “Professor Lambert Meets Sudden Death” Lambert, Preston A. 1902. Differential and integral calculus, New York: Macmillan, 245 p. Lehigh University. 1925. Alumni Bulletin, v. 12, n. 5, February, p. 16. Lehigh University. 1925. Alumni Bulletin, v. 12, n. 6, March, p. 19.

Eleanor Nothelfer
September 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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)