Lehigh Valley Industrial History Collections


Lehigh University (Lehigh) and the National Canal Museum (NCM) will partner to catalog a selection of collections documenting the material culture, canal-related businesses, and heavy industries established along the navigable rivers in the Lehigh Valley of eastern Pennsylvania from the middle of the 19th century to the 1990s. Research materials were collected with the intention to promote the appreciation, preservation and restoration of American industrial history in canal-served sites in the United States. Topics include the steel and iron industries, as well as the transportation networks driven by the growth of railroads and canals. Scholars researching economic history, history of science and technology, and the American industrial age would find value in these collections. Included in the NCM’s collections are corporate records of the Crane Iron Works Company, the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and Bethlehem Steel Corporation, as well as the personal papers of such pioneers of industry as Robert Sayre and John Fritz. The NCM’s collections contain film, video cassettes, audio tapes, slides, photographs, architectural and engineering drawings, and manuscripts. Lehigh will also catalog from its own collections a series of architectural drawings from the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



  • Lois Black

Collection Size

1680 linear feet

Date Range

1839 - 1994

Geographic Scope

The collections address industry in the Lehigh Valley of eastern Pennsylvania, including the metropolitan areas of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton.