Asa and Sarah Packer Golden Wedding Anniversary Album, January 23, 1878
Scope and Contents
The Asa and Sarah Packer Golden Wedding Anniversary collection is composed of an impressive wedding album (68 gilt edged unnumbered pages) measuring 40.5 x 33 x 11.5 cm containing black and white photographic portraits of the anniversary couple on the frontispiece, a sample of the reception invitation, and original letters of reply submitted to the organization committee, social calling cards, a newspaper sketch depicting the social event and poetry written for the occasion. The Packers’ two sons served on the committee and collected the letters to enter into the album. There is one unrelated item found in the Album. In the sample of the invitation envelope is enclosed a social card announcing Lucy E. Packer’s affiancing? or wedding? with G. B. Linderman on August 21, 1856. Lucy, the Packer’s oldest child, had died in 1873 and was not present at the anniversary reception but it is supposed that the inclusion of the Lucy Packer social card was to indication acknowledgement of her spirit.
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
According to library records, the donor of the album, Robert E. Wilbur indicated that the album was a gift from the sons of Asa and Sarah Minera (Blakslee) Packer. The sons, Robert and Harry Packer, served on the reception committee and compiled all the replies and congratulations, etc. sent for the Golden Wedding anniversary and created the album as a gift to their parents. The reception committee was composed of James I. Blakslee, Harry E. Packer, G. B. Linderman, Robert Lockhart, Robert A. Packer, Charles O. Skeer, E. P. Wilbur, and Robert H. Sayre. The wedding reception was held in the Asa Packer Mansion on Front Hill, Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, January 23, 1878, afternoon and evening. The guests were transported free on the Lehigh Valley Railroad to Mauch Chunk. It was the greatest social event the Lehigh Valley had ever seen. The wedding couple had been married 50 years previous in Dimock Four Corners, Susquehanna County. The Packers came to the Lehigh Valley when it still was wilderness, established their family in Mauch Chunk as well as businesses in canal boat building and coal hauling, merchandising, pioneering railroad building. The Packers had seven children: Lucy Packer Linderman (1832-1873), Catherine Packer (1836-1837), Mary Packer Cummings (1839-1912), Malvina Fitzrandolph Packer (1841-1841), Robert Asa Packer (1842-1883), Gertrude Packer (1846-1848) and Harry Eldred Packer (1850-1881). Only Lucy gave Asa and Sarah grandchildren: Sallie Linderman Wilbur, Robert Packer Linderman, and Garrett B. Linderman (Jr.) – who lived to maturity, and two died as children: Asa Packer Linderman and Harry Packer Linderman. The Packers were prominent citizens of the area having supported the building of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and established Lehigh University among their many philanthropies. The elaborate 50th wedding anniversary festivities were meant to impress people with the great accomplishments of the couple and their social status.
1 volume (41 x 36 cm (shelved flat))
Language of Materials
This is one of the few artifacts that exist at Lehigh of Asa Packer, Lehigh University’s founder. The album is a fabulous record of who was who during the Packer Family’s lifetime. The album reflects the importance and wealth that Asa and Sarah Packer had acquired during their life being with virtually only their own fortitude, hard work, and entrepreneurial endeavor.
Collection is composed of the most important artifact, the 50th Wedding Anniversary Album. There are related items composed of a souvenir guest souvenir booklet given to those attending the anniversary reception which is a gold printed publication measuring 19.5 x 15.5 x 1.0 cm and a 1997 master’s thesis written by Craig Wilson Van Blarcom analyzing the social importance of the occasion.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
According to a bookplate inside the front cover, the donor of the album was Robert Eldredge Wilbur (LU Class of 1904) who gifted Lehigh Library with the book March 1, 1932. There is an accession number 156715 assigned beneath the date. Presumably the printed booklet “Golden Wedding” was also presented at the same time.
Existence and Location of Originals
Lehigh University, Linderman Library, Special Collections
There are four boxes of material in SC MS 0058 with material arranged by suitable size in suitable boxes that are related to the Album but did not come into the archives at the same time.
- Bethlehem (Pa.)
- Lehigh University
- Lehigh Valley Rail Road
- Linderman, Garrett B.
- Linderman, Lucy Evelyn
- Mauch Chunk (Pa.)
- Nineteenth century industrialists
- Nineteenth century social customs
- Packer Family
- Packer, Asa, 1805-1879
- Packer, Sarah Minerva (Blakslee)
- Railroad president
- Wedding anniversaries
- Asa and Sarah Packer Golden Wedding Anniversary Album – January 23, 1878
- Ilhan Citak and Eleanor Nothelfer
- February 27, 2013
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA