June 30, 2020

Historical Newspapers at BAPL.org

BAPL’s online archive of local newspapers has gotten a facelift! The Morning Call and Express-Times have long been available through bapl.org, 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
April 8, 2019

On this Date in Bethlehem History: April 8, 1857

There are a number of important dates that one could celebrate as the beginning of Bethlehem Steel. There’s the ground-breaking in 1860, the opening of the first blast furnace in 1863, and the day it became the Bethlehem Iron Company in 1861. But before that, a small company called Saucona Iron Company was officially chartered  […]

Local History
February 8, 2019

BAPL as a Fallout Shelter

Tyler Gordon is a local college student, historian, photographer, and collector of relics from the The American Civil Defense Association (TACDA). During the mid-20th century, especially at times of increased Cold War tensions, civil defense was a major concern for the United States. The country was preparing for nuclear war and TACDA was active in […]

Local History
February 5, 2019

Oral History Project (BAPL is famous)

If you follow the American Library Association on Twitter or religiously read American Libraries magazine, you already know this. (And if you don’t, what are you even doing with your life??) BAPL was featured in these prestigious places! The story is about the good work Rayah Levy is doing collecting stories of ‘the Black experience […]

BAPL News, Local History
January 31, 2019

#OTD (on this date) Jan 31, 1901: Bethlehem Free Library Opened to the Public

Check out this article from The Bethlehem Globe regarding a momentous event in the history of Bethlehem way back in 1901. – February 1, 1901 FREE LIBRARY Was Opened to the Public Yesterday Afternoon. The newly established free reading room and public library located in Colonial Row, South Main street, Bethlehem, was opened to the […]

Local History