From its humble beginnings in 1741 as a Moravian settlement to its modern status as the heart of the thriving Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem has carefully preserved its past. It is a city of about 75,000 that shines as brightly as its huge electrical star atop South Mountain. The Moravian influence remains strong, but traditions from many lands have joined in making the city a “melting pot” of cultures.
Bethlehem Branch History
|1929||Officially recognized by AAUW on April 4 with 55 members|
|1931||Study groups organized|
|1934||Co-founded Children’s Theatre; support continues through 2001|
|1940s||Provided child care nursery during World War II|
|1946||Sponsored city-wide art contest|
|1954||First scholarship of $300 given to female graduate of Bethlehem High School|
|1962||Began one-on-one tutoring program for elementary students|
|1963||First annual Book Fair held|
|1966||Published a college guide for high school students|
|1987||Presented “Women’s Work, Women’s Worth” lecture series|
|1988||Formed inter-branch committee on women’s economic issues|
|1992||Established program of community grants|
|1992-99||Supported Math Con, an annual math fair for middle school girls|
|1995||Introduced local educators to Educational Foundation’s Gender Equity Model|
|2001||Branch has 123 members and offers 8 study groups|
|2002||Fortieth annual Book Fair proceeds continued Branch’s support of education for women and girls by adding to the $270,000 in scholarship monies awarded since 1963|
|2004||Bethlehem Branch celebrates 75th anniversary|
|2007||Bethlehem Branch and community volunteer workers at the 45th annual Book Fair celebrate surpassing the $500,000 mark in total money raised for scholarships to local women and girls|
|2008||Bethlehem and Allentown Branches join together to present Let’s Read Math program in Bethlehem Area School District, to be continued as service learning for the branches|
Branch History Preserved
Joan Jones’ living room has become a part of history – branch history that is.
Joan served as chair of the yearlong 75th anniversary celebration of the Bethlehem Branch AAUW in 2004. In addition to making the table favors for our spring inter-branch luncheon she volunteered to collect all the news articles, photos, brochures, and certificates and assemble an anniversary album.
As she examined boxes of notebooks, slides, journals, and scrapbooks detailing the long history of our branch, she became increasing concerned about the deteriorating state of the materials. With the board’s encouragement and a reasonable budget, Joan single-handedly began to restore the scrapbooks using museum quality papers, top loading acid-free plastic sheet protectors, and archival mounts. She discovered that the biggest enemies of paper are scotch tape and paper clips.
The staff of The Mail Connection on Route 191 next to Josh Early Candy Store has helped by copying every page of the four scrapbooks Joan has finished to date. Joan then carefully rechecks for accuracy when the pages are returned to her.
Using archival materials guarantees that our AAUW history will survive for decades to come. Joan reports she has only brushed the surface of the restoration project (there are 8 more albums to tackle). If you enjoy scrapbooking and would like to help, please call Joan at 610-867-0151.