Remembering the First Founder’s Day

On October 17th Lehigh will be celebrating its 136th Founder’s Day with a ceremony at 4:00 pm in Packer Memorial Chapel.

Founder’s Day is a long celebrated tradition.  Its first celebration came the same year as the death of the University’s founder, Asa Packer. On June 18th, 1879 alumni Rossiter W. Raymond addressed the Alumni Association of Lehigh University.

The keynote speech celebrated Packer’s legacy.  Rossiter pronounced, “Whereas, By the death of the Hon. Asa Packer the Lehigh Valley has lost a citizen, to whom it owes, more than to any other man, its present development and wealth, and the Lehigh University has lost a friend who held it ever close to his heart…”  and continued, “…It is also fitting that we should give expression to the admiration which we feel for his character as a man, for the life which he lived, and for the good which he did ; and that we desire to render him just praise…”

Packer was a skilled businessman who made his fortune in the railroad industry and then founded Lehigh University with a portion of his wealth.  Rossiter’s speech moves on to the obstacle of defining success in our lives.  You can read this inspiring address given on our first Founder’s Day in its entirety:


Cover of Rossiter W. Raymond’s first Founder’s Day address


American Iris for Norman Merriman


Hidden in plain sight beneath the Drown Hall patio is a small plaque among the irises that offers remembrance for Norman Merriman. Merriman was the youngest of the five children of Mansfield Merriman, a well-known professor of Civil Engineering at Lehigh University from 1878 to 1907.



Norman Merriman graduated from Lehigh in the Class of 1905 and went on to find his own financial accounting firm, Merriman, Bannister, & Co. He died in his office in 1944. Next time you walk around campus, look around for what you may find could be a little piece of history on the ground, in the flower beds, under your feet…





“How to tell the age of a river”

Have you ever wondered how to tell how old the water is… in your glass, on a river bed? Lehigh Libraries’ shelves are full of books like this one and many others that can teach you extraordinary skills!

Richmond E. Myers. Lehigh Valley: The Unsuspected. The newspaper writings of Dr. Richmond E. Myers as published in the Bethlehem Globe-Times and the Allentown Sunday Call-Chronicle from 1955-1972. Easton (Pa.) : Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society,  1972.


Title page of Lehigh Valley: The Unsuspected


“instructions” on how to tell the age of a river, in this case Lehigh River



Lehigh’s Library Guides Get A Fresh Look

The Lehigh Libraries are pleased to announce a new version of our library guides. The guides now have a modern interface that is compatible with mobile devices. In addition, the subject librarians have freshened up the content in order to showcase the libraries’ broad range of resources and databases.

Faculty who are interested in tailored course guides should contact their subject librarian.

Next time you get stuck in your research, take a look at a library guide and let a helpful librarian show you the ropes!


Freshmen Rally


Class of 1972 members at the Freshmen Rally with dinks and corncob pipes, 1968.












Lehigh in “The Blue and White”

A passage from an article in the June 1914 issue of The Blue and White, “published bi-monthly by the pupils of the South Bethlehem High School, South Bethlehem, Pa.”:

“Down on the Canal job at Panama, in the mines of and forests of Canada and Mexico, in the Orient, in South Africa, and in many other remote place of the earth, says an article in a recent number of The College Magazine, “groups of young engineers are looking ahead, planning and dreaming of a great trip home in 1916. Then they hope to join the ranks of certain captains and lieutenants and corporals of industry who will come out from the big plants and offices of the United States to invade Lehigh Valley. Besides these technical graduates there will be a smaller but important representation of arts and Science men -men who have been successful in the professions in business and teaching. The great time toward which all of them are looking is the jubilee anniversary of their Alma Mater –Lehigh University.”

by Homer Bachert, Class of 1914, South Bethlehem High School (Lehigh Class of 1920, Electrical Engineering)


Cover of The Blue and White, June 1914


“A Declaration”

In honor of this July 4th weekend, Special Collections would like to share one of the earliest printed appearances of the Declaration of Independence from The Pennsylvania Gazette, July 10, 1776 issue, published by Ben Franklin, the legendary printer, the signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Happy 4th of July!


penn-gazzette-02  penn-gazzette-03


The Fahy Bridge: The New “New Street Bridge”


Fahy Bridge construction, 1970


The Fahy Bridge (The Philip J. Fahy Memorial Bridge) that connects South and North Bethlehem replaced the “old” New Street Bridge in 1970. This photograph from the Lehigh Alumni Bulletin (Volume 58, No.1, October 1970) shows the construction of the new Fahy Bridge and the destruction of the New Street Bridge over Lehigh River.


Welcome Lehigh Alumni!

Class of 1914 graduated a century ago in June 1914 and the Brown and White cover the graduation by putting the class photo on the front page and cordial editorial.


Class of 1914 at Packer Hall entrance



The editor of the B&W welcomed Lehigh Alumni to the campus with these words: “College Spirit is the name commonly given to this almost indescribable loyalty which expresses all that an institution means to one. If the graduates have not got this how can it be possible for the large classes of undergraduates to get it? But the Alumni do have it and their coming back at this time is proof of it and also is a means of demonstrating it to those attending college. 

The Alumni are the moving force of a college”

Forty-nine years later some members of the Class attended “All Class Reunion” that was honored Lehigh’s 100th Anniversary in June 1965.



Class of 1914 at Centennial Reunion, 1965




This weekend Lehigh is celebrating the graduation of the Class of 2014 and remembering the great Class of 1914!

Welcome Lehigh Alumni!


My “Special Collections” Education

by Devin Bostick, Class of 2014


Digitizing Lehigh-Lafayette 100th Game Booklet for a library patron

Since I started working in Special Collections in the fall of 2011, I have gained a great deal of experience related to research for digitization projects, camera imaging and editing in Photoshop, library collection and material organization using Omeka, and library exhibit display and presentation.  Through my experience in Special Collections, I have digitized hundreds of images ranging from book pages to maps and Lehigh alumni photograph albums.  I have had the privilege of seeing up close the progression of Lehigh’s history as related to its campus buildings, student organizations, sports teams, Lehigh/Lafayette games, and graduation and reunion ceremonies.  Towards the end of my Lehigh career and particularly my senior year, I frequently look back with nostalgia at my own experience at Lehigh, and my experiences in Special Collections have affirmed the fulfillment and satisfaction of so many other past Lehigh students shown in its records.   To name a few specifics, I have learned about the scientific and engineering laboratories of Lehigh, famous alumni and their many achievements, the passing of important faculty and the significance of their past work on Lehigh’s future, the work of talented and driven Lehigh doctoral students, Lehigh’s history as recorded through the eyes of the Brown and White, changes to the Epitome and Lehigh’s course catalog over time, and more humorously the extent to which older alumni at class reunions compete with each other for most ridiculous costume by dressing up like astronauts or clowns.  That last one will give me some ideas for Halloween in future years no doubt.

In addition to increasing my appreciation for Lehigh and all it has provided me in terms of education and personal growth, my work at Special Collections has allowed me to learn so much about the effective operation of a high-tech camera and about digital image editing, which can serve me well in the future. I enjoyed learning how to troubleshoot the camera and became an expert on how to operate it when problems occurred. I have also learned how to manage and standardize digitization projects encompassing the collaborative work of several others, create and organize hierarchies and logical progressions for items displayed in Special Collections online exhibits, create folders and holding devices for damaged rare materials, and develop descriptions for the Special Collections physical exhibits and display cases in Linderman Library.


Digitization is finished and the file delivered. Another patron is happy.

Special Collections contains a fascinating plethora of rare and old books, maps, journals, and manuscripts showcasing Lehigh’s history.  It allows students to study original materials first-hand and identify intriguing pieces of history only found through diligent and perceptive research.  I will miss many of the life lessons and experiences I have gained from working in Special collections, and I hope the department can continue on an upward path of growth and expansion for the educational and cultural enrichment of Lehigh University and the broader community.

Sages of the Pages