This article comes out of a multi-year effort to index the “hanging clip files”—which are articles and pictures cut from newspapers and other sources over the past 130 years (give or take), 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 go through this trove of local information we’ll feature an interesting article to let people know what kinds of things are hanging out in our local history archive.
“Voros Lukacs: Pioneer Polar Trail Blazer”
Bethlehem Globe-Times, April 5, 1938
South Bethlehem has always been lucky to have many immigrants with fascinating personal histories, and there might not be any more interesting than that of Voros Lukacs. Bethlemites of the early 20th century would know Lukacs as the proprietor of a candy and tobacco shop on Third Street, where he received his multitude of friends from his days at the Steel as a laborer in the No. 2 machine shop.
But before coming to our little town, Lukacs took part in the famous—and famously failed—Baldwin Ziegler Polar Expedition of 1901-02. The obituary in our files gives many fascinating details of his adventure as a crewmember, including some close calls in storms and hunting walrus. Also included are two pictures of Lukacs on shipboard.
Lukacs’ early years sound like something out of a Jack London story: working in a shipyard in Norway, as a pump machinist in Brooklyn, working his way back to Europe on an ocean liner, taking in the Paris World’s Fair, then home to Budapest until Baldwin requested his services for the expedition.