About Us


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.