September 23, 2021

Tales from the Archives: “You’d Better Clean Your Plate”

This article comes out of a multi-year effort to index the “vertical clip files”—which are articles and pictures cut from newspapers and other sources over the past 100 years or so, lovingly saved by our wise predecessors at the library—that take up many long drawers in the Bethlehem Room. From time to time as we […]

Local History
July 21, 2021

Check out our historical Musikfest display!

We here at the Bethlehem Area Public Library are overjoyed to see the return of Musikfest again this year! In celebration we put together a small display using local history materials from the library archives and items on loan from Information Technician Mary Catherine Bluder, who also created the display. From pins to postcards to program […]

Local History
March 1, 2021

100 Years…100 Yearbooks

In celebration of Liberty High School’s 100th graduating class in 2022, the Bethlehem Area Public Library is creating a digital archive of LHS Yearbooks. “We at BAPL want to give LHS alumni and their families a glimpse into Bethlehem’s past,” says Reference Librarian Matthew Rothfuss, the project’s lead. “By digitizing LHS yearbooks we aim to […]

BAPL News, Local History
June 30, 2020

Historical Newspapers at

BAPL’s online archive of local newspapers has gotten a facelift! The Morning Call and Express-Times have long been available through, but as text-only. Now the online version of recent years (2018-present) is a full replica of the actual print newspaper. By following the link through the library’s homepage, you can search and view full color photos, as […]

Local History
April 13, 2020

This week in 1884

Elizabeth Saraceno from BAPL South Side has finding lots of gems while researching local history at the library. Check out this article from 1884. That’s 136 years ago! The “local record” column includes observations such as “Country roads are again in a passable condition,” “Youthful spring appears in an overcoat and gum boots,” and “Straw […]

Local History
April 3, 2020

Jackie Mitchell threw herself into history on April 2, 1931

BAPL is digging deep in the archives for some historical “Throwback Thursday” posts (#tbt). This first one tells the story of the great Jackie Mitchell, who made history on the baseball field and even once came to the Lehigh Valley! Read about her history-making performance on April 2, 1931, as well as her appearance at […]

Local History
March 25, 2020


Historic Maps of Bethlehem The Bethlehem Area Public Library is a great source for old artifacts on the historic town of Bethlehem, PA. Some of the most interesting artifacts that the library has (which anyone can access for study and/or leisure) are maps of the town of Bethlehem from the bygone years of 1873, 1886, […]

Local History
March 24, 2020

Today in Bethlehem History: March 24, 1941

On March 24, 1941 a four-day steel workers’ strike began in Bethlehem. Workers walked out of factories, massive demonstrations were held, and tensions rose. A famous photograph captured an image of a car that been overturned in the tumult. See pictures, newspaper articles, and more from BAPL on the 1941 strike at the link below, […]

Local History
February 12, 2020

Finding Your Roots at BAPL: Feb 26

Enjoy a screening of an episode from the PBS series “Finding Your Roots,” followed by an opportunity to research your own family tree at the library. Held in the Cohen Room at the Main Library. This event is presented in conjunction with PBS39. Please register for the event with PBS39 here. BAPL MAIN LIBRARY Wednesday, February […]

BAPL News, Local History
September 26, 2019

The stories of local residents who served in World War II

We are proud to announce a major upgrade to a one-of-a-kind local resource. Check out BAPL’s World War II database, where you can find over 12,000 entries on local service people from WWII. This collection includes the many accounts in The Bethlehem Globe-Times published during the war. Many articles are light-hearted, highlighting neighbors and friends […]

BAPL News, Local History
August 16, 2019

This Summer in Bethlehem History (Laros Silk Mill 1919)

  This summer marks 100 years of the opening of the R.K. Laros Silk Mill. The official date of the founding of the first mill is recorded as July 1, 1919. The first mill was established in the Miller Heights section of what is now Bethlehem Township. Other mills were later built on Broad St. […]

Local History
May 30, 2019

Learn More About Robert Pfeifle and Bethlehem’s Other Mayors

We were happy to see news of a plaque dedicated to Mayor Robert Pfeifle yesterday! The plaque went up in the Greenway near the place where he lived on the City’s South Side. Mayor Pfeifle certainly had an eventful tenure, serving as the City’s Mayor for five consecutive terms (1930-1950) through an era that saw […]

Local History
May 28, 2019


As Martin Tower came down this month, our librarians put together a display of materials from the time when it was just going up. An article from Bethlehem Steel’s company newsletter announcing the plan in 1969 is below. Can you believe the company headquarters almost moved to New York?! This article is from BAPL’s local […]

Local History