Flisher - Leibfried Families Collection
Scope and Contents
The collection consists of an assortment of Lehigh memorabilia and Bethlehem’s prominent families, as well as family photo albums created by John E. Leibfried when he went out West on a surveying job. This job is captured in his photographic albums and some of his diaries. There are 332 photographs, 10 diaries, 3 photograph albums, 3 business ledgers for Leibfried and Luckenbach business and assorted booklets. The collection largely reflects the Leibfried family. An interesting side note is Mr. Leibfried’s medical experience in 1903-1904 with a bone filon? [felon] to his thumb and its treatment by Bethlehem doctors and the diverse hours the doctors treating Mr. Leibfried were available to see their patient in their offices or at his home.
- 1812 - 1967
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Collection is open for research.
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Biographical / Historical
Leonard Hawkins Flisher was a Bachelor of Arts student graduating in Lehigh’s Class of 1934. Mr. Flisher came to Lehigh from Oakville, Connecticut after attending Watertown High School. During his student days in Bethlehem he was a postulant at Leonard Hall and on graduation from Lehigh went on to study for the Episcopal ministry at the General Theological Seminary in New York City. During his student days in Bethlehem, he met Mildred Louise Leibfried, who was a student at Moravian College for Women. Mr. Flisher and Miss Leibfried married and had a daughter, the donor of this collection - Susan Flisher Mau.
It is her family’s ancestors - the Luckenbachs - that are prominent in Bethlehem history. The Lehigh Class of 1900 student providing the larger portion of this collection - John Edward Leibfried is her father. His mother was a Luckenbach
John Edward Leibfried (1879-1968), the son of L(evin) F. (b.1841) and Martha Jane (Luckenbach) Leibfried, was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. L. F Leibfried and M(aurice) C. Luckenbach were in business together as indicated by the business ledgers included in the collection. They apparently had a carriage livery business and served as executors of the J. Edward Luckenbach estate. The Luckenbach family feature quite prominently in J. E. Leibfried’s diaries as some members lived in the Denver area. Also it is C. A. Luckenbach who sold land to Asa Packer in 1853 possibly the original land where Packer established Lehigh University.
Before entering Lehigh University Class of 1900, John Edward Leibfried attended Moravian Preparatory School.. At Lehigh Mr. Leibfried studied analytical chemistry, did not participate in Lehigh activities according to the Epitome of 1901 but must have had a keen interest in Lehigh sports and drama as he noted in his diaries attendance at these activities after his graduation. As the diary entries indicate on graduation from Lehigh he had employment in a series of companies related to the cement industry. His first job was in Reading, Pennsylvania with possibly the Reading Iron Works, a branch of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad. The Reading Iron Works was the first iron forge to install electric cranes [which possibly motivated his interest to visit in 1901 the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York - where electricity was first used to light an expo and visit the electric power plant on the Niagara River (see Album 1).] He was at the exposition when President William McKinley was assassinated dedicating the Tower of Light and viewed his body lying in state according to his 1901 diary entry. In 1902 Mr. Leibfried briefly takes a job in Goshen, West Virginia (see photo album 1) and thereafter a job in Nazareth, Pennsylvania with PCC [Portland Cement Company?]. It is during 1905 that he contacts Mansfield Merriman, professor of civil engineering at Lehigh asking to enter the summer surveying class in preparation for a surveying job that takes him out West (see photo albums 2 and 3) with headquarters in Denver, Colorado where he works for several years traveling around the West troubleshooting cement plant operations. With this job he goes to Chicago to work at the Armour Institute and return to Bethlehem to attend several Lehigh Alumni Days events. It is in Denver that he meets at a dance the young lady that eventually becomes his wife, Louise Menefee (d. 1974). Louise was from Sedalia, Missouri. They are the parents of Mildred Louise Leibfried who eventually married Leonard H. Flisher whose daughter Susan donates this collection and informed Lehigh of her Colonial connections to Bethlehem.
As indicated in his diaries, J. E. Leibfried enjoyed the theater, was active in various fraternal organizations such as the Masons and Shriners and enjoyed sports especially canoeing. His diaries indicate that he kept detailed account of his money - received and expended. While out in the West he invested in mining claims and Denver city real estate. The diaries end in 1911 having spent time in Sedalia on his return to Bethlehem. By 1912 he has returned to Bethlehem and becomes a sales agent for Simple Oil Engine company. He was associated with his father for many years in the insurance and real estate business and involved for 50 years with the West Bethlehem Savings and Loan Association serving in various capacities and eventually became its president prior to retirement in 1967. It is through Mildred (Leibfried) Flisher that the donor of this collection connects ultimately to the Bethlehem Colonialist John Heckewelder through her family’s Luckenbach connection. John Heckewelder (1743-1823) was a Moravian missionary who studied the language, manners and customs of the Native Americans especially the Delawares. He was a member of the American Antiquarian Society and the American Philosophical Society. His daughter Susanna married a Luckenbach.
2 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Lehigh University Class of 1934 and 1900, the Flisher and Leibfried Family collection of memorabilia. Also included are photographs from the Luckenbach Families with whom the Flisher and Leibfried Families are related and photographs taken by John Edward Leibfried Class of 1900. This collection comprises mostly diaries and photographs from the Leibfried Family rather than the Flisher Family.
The arrangement is by format with Lehigh University related material taking priority and subsequently attempts made to identify the family photographs and record the diaries in chronological order.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Original material was donated by Susan Flisher Mau on September 7, 2021. Susan indicated the ancestry of her family to that of the Heckewelder and Luckenbach families through marriage of Susanna, a daughter of John Heckewelder, to a Luckenbach. Both these families are prominent in Bethlehem colonial history.
- Flisher - Leibfried Families Collection
- Ilhan Citak and Eleanor Nothelfer
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA