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John Weldy Wasco Documents

Identifier: SC MS0148

Scope and Contents

The years covered are from 1901 to 1968. The collection contains personal identity documents such a baptism certificate, military papers, family photographs, property leases, property taxes, income and business sale taxes. There is much printed and published material related to the druggist trade, religious booklets, as well as personal notations about a variety of things written on cigarette cartons – many of the notations have been photocopied and indicate a wide range of interests. The notations and Lehigh University Library Circulation Desk request cards indicate that he used the Lehigh University Library to research his wide interests in chemistry, local history, the Cryllic alphabet, engineering, science, fertility, religion, literature. This collection’s main theme seems to be an individual’s personal notes in his attempt at self-education utilizing Lehigh University Library. An oral recollection from one of the long time Chemistry professors indicates that Mr. Wasco attended a pharmaceutical accreditation course at Lehigh University. Professor J. J. Chessick of the Chemisty Dept. at Lehigh University apparently gave him guidance as there are some brochures addressed to Prof. Chessick included among Mr. Wasco’s notes.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1920 - 1965

Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research. Please inquire about copyright information.

Biographical / Historical

The creator, a druggist in south Bethlehem, was professionally known as John Weldy Wasco, license No. 48 03105. His place of business was at 843 E. 4th St., Bethlehem. He was born April 24, 1901 to Martini Vasko and Susanna Jensik? his legitimate parents in Slatington, Pennsylvania . He was baptized as Joannem? Vasko in Lehighton, Pennsylvania March 28, 1903. He apparently never married. During the 1920s he served in the merchant marine in various capacities as deck boy, oiler, able bodied seaman, yeoman. In 1926 he worked for the American Merchant Lines on the S/S American Trader as an oiler. Later served on various lightships: Ambrose, Nantucket Light, Dover Pilot Station. He enlisted in the U. S. Naval Service in 1942 and was discharged from the Naval Reserve as a Pharmacist Mate Second Class November 24, 1944. On his discharge papers he is listed as having no schooling and no certificates. He lived in Allentown, Pennsylvania at 396 Union St. during his time in service. This address seems to have been the parental home. In the 1950s, he owned several properties in Lehigh County. These properties included 2945 and 3019 Parkway Boulevard, Allentown; Mountain Park Road, Salisbury Township; 3108 College Heights Blvd, S. Whitehall Township; 3012 Gordon St., Allentown. He began a lease on the property at 843 E. 4th St. and 847 E. 4th St. in Bethlehem, Northampton County on September 1, 1952 where he had his drug store. Earlier he was a druggist at 9th and Chew Streets. Allentown. His death is thought to be sometime in 1968. Based on the huge amounts of written notation he appears to have been an obsessive, frugal, compulsive note taker making notes on the blank backs of such items as cigarette cartons and form letters. Having no apparent formal education, he was an avid reader and made notes of whatever he read. Also, he made notes of his experiences in the merchant marine and notes of quotes, riddles and song lyrics.


4 boxes

6 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The contents were compiled presumably by Chris Juliard and Robert Martin in 1972-1973, according to Marie Boltz, Special Collections assistant who acknowledged the collection January 23, 1990. It is uncertain just why Lehigh University acquired the material except that the compilers apparently were Lehigh alumni: Christine Juliard ’73 and several Robert Martins presumably Robert J. Martin, MS’73 is the one in the right time frame.

An attempt has been made to sort like material together in the sequence it was delivered to Lehigh’s Special Collections. Marie Boltz referred to Mr. Wasco as a “character.” In the attempt to catalog the cigarette carton material, the entries are listed by what appears at the top of the blank side of the cigarette carton and the sequence it occurs in the numbered folder. It is unknown who numbered the folders.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The material apparently compiled in 1972-1973 by Chris Juliard ‘73 and Robert Martin (possibly Robert J., MA’73). Accepted into the Lehigh University Library January 23, 1990 by Marie Boltz, the Special Collection’s assistant.

Existence and Location of Originals

Lehigh University, Linderman Library, Special Collections

John Weldy Wasco Documents
December 13, 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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)