Beyond Steel: An Archive of Lehigh Valley Industry and Culture highlights the Lehigh Valley’s development from the mid nineteenth-century industrial ascendance of the region through the late twentieth century.

Managed by Lehigh University, the site contains letters, books, maps, reports, essays, photographs, video documentaries, and oral histories from the archives of Lehigh, local partner institutions, and individuals.  These materials will aid researchers in understanding the industries in the Valley, the lives of railroad barons and steel titans, and the experiences of workers and families that helped shape the landscape and culture of the Lehigh Valley.

At the center of the Valley and, in many ways a driving force in the study of industrial dominance and decline, is the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. With the company’s shift from iron rails to an emphasis on battleship armor plate and large naval guns, the company became quite profitable and, by the early twentieth century, was the area’s major employer. Still others worked outside of the framework of Bethlehem Steel and helped shape the landscape and culture of the Valley.

Visitors to the site can search across all materials, browse by topics,  or browse within our curated collections.  Many of the site’s topics are by accompanied essays.  Because of their diverse contents, some materials appear in multiple topics and/or multiple collections.

In 2005 and 2006, Lehigh University’s Library and Technology Services received federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds administered by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries awarded by the Pennsylvania Historical Commission for the initial site.  Over the years, the project has received additional funding from both internal and external sources.  More about this funding can be found in Collections.

Faculty Advisors & Contributors

  • Kim Carrell-Smith, Lehigh University
  • Stephen H. Cutcliffe, Lehigh University
  • Roger Simon, Lehigh University
  • John K. Smith, Lehigh University
  • David Prentice, Infrastructure Victoria
  • Philip Scranton, Rutgers University

Project staff

  • Julia Maserjian
  • Rob Weidman

Research, Metadata, Scanning

  • Natalie Balizuik
  • Adam Bentz
  • Mardesse Clark
  • Christopher Dougherty
  • Jared Green
  • James Higgins
  • Michael Keeports
  • Andrew Krause
  • Andrew Stahlhut

Logo designed by James Talarico