Coal & Canals
The late eighteenth century discovery of coal in northeast Pennsylvania was a driving force in the United States’ Industrial Revolution.  Delivering coal to growing markets was first achieved through horse-drawn wagons, but the development of canals and mule-drawn horses greatly increased speed and time to market.  The items (company records, photographs, postcards, drawings, maps, and oral histories) date from the early nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century.  For more on the history of coal and canals, read “Coal, Canals, and the American Industrial Revolution: 1790-1840” essay.
Many mid-nineteenth century regional rail carriers moved anthracite coal from eastern Pennsylvania and then expanded to passenger lines.  The construction of major highways and the United States’ reliance on the convenience of the automobile saw a decline in passenger lines.  By the 1970s, only freight lines remained in operation.  The items (reports, maps, pamphlets, and photographs) reflect the history of this industry from the early nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century. For more information on transportation, see “Ties That Bind and Conduits of Change: Transportation Networks In the Lehigh Valley”.
Iron & Steel
Rich natural resources, transportation networks, and ingenuity combined to make the Lehigh Valley a competitive force in the nation’s iron and steel industries. The items (books, letters, reports, maps, photographs, and oral histories) reflect the history of these industries from the early nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century. To learn more about the history of Bethlehem Steel, see the “Iron and Steel” essay.
Home to rich limestone reserves, Lehigh Valley companies produced more than half of the Portland cement from 1871 until 1907 and remained a major supplier for nearly 150 years.  The items (minutes, books, articles, and drawings) represent this history from the late nineteen century through the early twentieth century.  To learn more about the cement industry, see “The Cement Industry of the Lehigh Valley”  essay.
By the late nineteenth century, the Lehigh Valley was the home of cigar factories and silk mills.  Automation, large tobacco companies and the Great Depressions combined to usher in the decline of the cigar factories. With its production of predominantly weaving mills that made products for the New York garment trade, silk mills survived into the  twenty-first century. In 1923, the Dixie Cup Company moved from New York City and, after World War II, experienced manufacturing expansion in United States. The items (photographs, books, reports, and oral histories) represent the history of these industries.  For more about the silk industry, see “If Looms Could Speak: The Story of Pennsylvania’s Silk Industry.”  To learn more about the history of Dixie Cup, see “Hugh Moore Dixie Cup Company Collection, 1905-2008.”
The Lehigh Valley is situated on the ancestral lands of the Lenni Lenape people.  In the early eighteenth century, Europeans settled in the valley and, over time, immigrants from North and South America, Western Asia, and between states and territories.  The items (reports, photographs, and oral histories) reflect the history of immigration and migration through the mid-twentieth century.
Protestant Moravians settled in the Lehigh Valley in 1741.  As towns and cities began to dot the landscape, industries emerged in need of labor from local residents and new immigrants.  By the nineteenth century, many new places of worship emerged to accommodate the growth in population and offered services in many languages. The items (maps, books, pamphlets, photographs, and oral histories) reflect the religious history of the region from the mid-nineteenth through late twentieth century.
The Lehigh Valley’s rich musical tradition dates back to the eighteenth century.  This section of site holds materials from the Bach Choir or Bethlehem and Martin Guitar and include photographs, letters, books, and ephemera. These items date from the early nineteenth through the early twentieth century.
These nineteenth century through the twentieth century items (pamphlets, photographs, and postcards) in the section contain information on parades, parks, fairs, baseball and soccer teams, clubs, theatres, and activities along the Lehigh River.
After the fraudulent Walking Purchase of 1737 and the subsequent sell and transfer of land to Europeans, the towns of and Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton were settled.  With the development of numerous trades, factories, and iron and steel and the need for laborers to fill positions within these industries, immigrants settled in the Lehigh Valley where they built homes, religious structures, and stores.  LIke many U.S. cities, neighborhoods were often formed based on language, country of origin, and proximity to employment. The items (oral histories, pamphlets, maps, post cards, and photographs) in this section speak to these trends.
Municipal Government
Two counties (Northampton and Lehigh), three cities (Allentown, Easton, and Bethlehem), and multiple municipalities make up the Lehigh Valley region.  The items (photographs, reports, books, postcards, oral histories, and maps) in this section span the mid-nineteenth through the mid-twenty first centuries.  For background of the Lehigh Valley’s response to the 1920s prohibition, see “The Lehigh Valley During Prohibition” essay.
Health & Healthcare
With a growing population, the Lehigh Valley opened hospitals in Allentown, Easton, and Bethlehem by the late nineteenth century.  In 1872, in response to the Valley’s growing workforce and accompanying on-the-job injuries, St. Luke’s Hospital was the first hospital in the region to open. The Hospital’s annual reports from 1874 to 1932 can be found on this site, as well as other items related to healthcare.  For information on how the region responded to the 1918 Flu Pandemic, see the “Lehigh Valley Public Health and the Great Influenza Epidemic of 1918: Enduring Lesson or Forgotten Episode” essay.
The Lehigh Valley’s early education dates to the mid-eighteenth century.  By the mid-nineteenth century the Valley was home to two institutions of higher learning.  Today the Valley is the home of 10 colleges and universities.  The materials (postcards, photographs, books, and oral histories) in this section contain information from the mid-nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries.