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South Bethlehem Historical Society Collection

Identifier: MS0250

Scope and Contents

The collection contains 754 items. The collection was inventoried by Tiffany Fish-Watts and Beverly Hoover in 2012. Includes glass bottles with names of South Bethlehem companies and pharmacies, Bethlehem Steel Corporation material such as newsletters (1948-1990), booklets, telephone books (1956, 1966), annual reports (1946, 1959, 1964), the Loop course booklets, a few letters (V.J. Passetti, and H. J. Miller, general managers BSC), medallions, sashes and uniforms from various fraternal associations (American Legion, Lincoln Gesang Verein) but especially the Hungarian associations (South Bethlehem, I. Magyar, T.E.S. S.C.E., Kapisztrani Szt. Templom Esbetegs Egylet, So. Bethlehem, PA.), a box of cigars, commemorative stoneware, sports gear such as cleat shoes, sports jersey and even blood stained sports pants, church memorabilia, approximately 335 postcards and 78 photographs (donated to SBHS by Howard Ginder, Lehigh Class of 1919) featuring views of old Bethlehem and South Bethlehem, three reels of film, books and a few maps.


  • Creation: 1865 - 2023

Biographical / Historical

The South Bethlehem Historical Society ( was incorporated in 1985 by Joan Campion, Adrienne Redd, F. Szabo, John W. Trotter, Jr., Bernice Trotter and Helene Whitaker. Its purpose is to preserve and make known the second chapter of Bethlehem’s history (1850 - ) by focusing on individuals, ethnic groups and material evidence which helped make possible the industrialization of South Bethlehem. South Bethlehem began in 1848 when the Moravians sold 274 acres of farmland to investors who resold them as building lots. By 1855 Asa Packer had laid tracks of his Lehigh Valley Rail Road along the Lehigh River, bringing coal from Carbon County to markets in New York and Philadelphia. Industries rapidly grew with the Pennsylvania and Lehigh Zinc Company in 1853 and the Saucona Iron Company in 1857. By 1865 South Bethlehem became a borough. Charles M. Schwab headed the former Bethlehem Iron Company in 1906, renaming it the Bethlehem Steel Corporation and was instrumental in uniting the two Bethlehems as one city in 1917. A Lehigh University alumnus, Archibald Johnston (Class of 1889), was elected the first mayor in 1918.


50 Linear Feet (~35 boxes)

Language of Materials



A diverse collection of documents, publications, photographs, oral history recordings, memorabilia representing the socio-econonmcal, educational, cultural and artistic developments of various ethnic groups that made possible the industrialization of South Bethlehem. Some examples are the large collections of vintage Bethlehem postcards and photographs of depicting buildings that do not exists anymore. Also included in the collection are items representing Bethlehem Steel Corporation, St. Luke's Hospital, various ethnic fraternal organization items, church histories, businesses, and Lehigh University.

Custodial History

South Bethlehem Historical Society collection transferred to Special Collections in April 30, 2012. Materials from Lillian Horvath were delivered by Prof. Kim Carrell-Smith, August 10, 2012.

Related Materials

There are many collections and publications relevant, most notibly: Rodale, Inc. Archives -- Jeff Parks Papers -- Anna Pongrascz Papers -- City of Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority Collection -- City of Bethlehem Housing Authority Collection -- Bethlehem Police Department Records -- Lehigh Pocono Committee of Concern LEPOCO Archives, 1965-2000s -- Godfrey Daniels Archives

In Progress
Tiffany Fisk Watts -- Beverly Hoover (initial inventory and database) -- William Ying - Eleanor Nothelfer (first draft finding aid)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the South Bethlehem Historical Society Repository