Guide to Bethlehem history (version 2)

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“Without a shared history, we are not a true community.”

Gadfly needs a list of resources for people interested in doing Bethlehem Moments, but, in general, we simply need a handy guide to resources for anybody studying Bethlehem history.

Gadfly knows that many followers are much more knowledgeable about Bethlehem history than he is, and thus this is an invitation to contribute suggestions for additions.


Guide to Bethlehem History

Craig Atwood, Community of the Cross: Moravian Piety in Colonial Bethlehem (2012)

Bethlehem of Pennsylvania: The First One Hundred Years, 1741 to 1841 (1968)

Bethlehem of Pennsylvania: The Golden Years 1841-1920 (1976)

Kate Carte Engel, Religion and Profit: Moravians in Early America (2009)

Katie Faull, ed., Moravian Women’s Memoirs (1999)

Mark C. Iampietro, “Then & Now” Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Mark C. Iampietro and John Marquette, Tamar Bair’s Bethlehem: The Colonial Industrial Quarter

Joseph Levering, A History of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1741-1892 (1903)

Richmond Myers, Lehigh Valley: The Unsuspected (1972)
The Richmond Myers papers are in the Moravian Archives

Richmond Myers, Sketches of Early Bethlehem (1981)
The Richmond Myers papers are in the Moravian Archives

Jeffrey A. Parks, Stronger than Steel: Forging a Rust Belt Renaissance (2018)

Kenneth F. Raniere, Karen M. Samuels, and the South Bethlehem Historical Society, South Bethlehem (2010)

Karen M. Samuels, Legendary Locals of Bethlehem (2013)

Kathleen Stewart, ed. Bethlehem (1997)

John Strohmeyer, Crisis in Bethlehem: Big Steel’s Struggle to Survive (1994)—by-john-strohmeyer

Chloe Taft, From Steel to Slots: Casino Capitalism in the Postindustrial City (2016)

Kenneth Warren, Bethlehem Steel: Builder and Arsenal of America (2009)

William C. Weiner, Jr. and Karen M. Samuels, Bethlehem (2011)

William C. Weiner, Jr. and Karen M. Samuels, Bethlehem Revisited (2014)

Bethlehem Digital History Project (Bethlehem Area Public Library and Moravian College)

Beyond Steel: An Archive of Lehigh Valley Industry and Culture (Lehigh University)

Local History Timeline (Bethlehem Area Public Library)

Still Looking for You: A Bethlehem Place + Memory Project (Lehigh University)

Globe-Times: Lehigh University

Morning Call: (see Gallagher for log-in)

Bethlehem Area Public Library

Lehigh University

Moravian College

Bethlehem Room (local history), Bethlehem Area Public Library

Moravian Archives, 41 West Locust, Bethlehem, PA 18018

Historical Societies and Organizations:

Bethlehem Historic District Association

Historic Bethlehem

Mount Airy Neighborhood Association

South Bethlehem Historical Society

Retail Book Store:
Moravian Book Shop, 428 Main St, Bethlehem, PA 18018

Unofficial historian:
Stephen Antalics: email Gallagher for contact info

A tip o’ the hat to Scott Gordon and Seth Moglen for suggestions for the original list.

Premier by local artist this weekend — don’t miss!

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hear Gadfly read Walt Whitman

There’s an original play premiering in Bethlehem this weekend.


Local talent.

Part of the IceHouse Tonight series.

Gadfly wants to begin to pay more attention in these pages to local arts and artists — the kinds of things that aren’t heavily advertised or covered in the local press and want and deserve our support.

What should he cover? Let him know.

And who is able to post substantively (not just performance info) on such events?

Frankly, the IceHouse Tonight series has not been on Gadfly’s radar. Maybe the same for many of you.

The Ice House is a beautiful venue, local treasure (and let’s take a moment to remember the great Charlie Brown).

Original work by local artist — always beautiful too.

“Jetblack Sunrise”
by Michael Fegely
8PM, Jan, 24-26
The Charles A. Brown Ice House
56 River St. (Sand Island)

Kathy Lauer-Williams, “Original play based on Walt Whitman’s poetry opens at Ice House.” Morning Call, January 21, 2020.

Allentown’s Michael Fegely has long been fascinated with the poetry of American icon Walt Whitman. His 2016 one-man play “Whitman by Fire” was based on Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”

Now Fegely is premiering a new theatrical interpretation of Whitman’s work in “Jetblack Sunrise,” which comes to Bethlehem’s Ice House this weekend and to Easton’s Nurture Nature Center in February.

In Behlehem, “Jetblack Sunrise” is part of the IceHouse Tonight series, and brings to life “the soaring, enigmatic work of America’s greatest poet.”

The intimate hour-long production is staged simply, and tells the story of a former soldier struggling to grasp his place in his country, his place among mankind, and ultimately his place in all of time.

The creators say they have developed a new way to communicate Whitman’s poetry to “unscrew the locks” and “embrace your soul” so that audiences embark on a brief odyssey of the mind — from the smallest blade of grass to the reaches of the cosmos — along the way finding their shared humanity, and awakening our familiar self in its immortality.

Fegely stresses that the performance is not a poetry reading of Whitman’s work. However, every line and word is drawn from an 1855 first edition of the poet’s “Leaves of Grass” and the 1856 poem “Song of the Open Road.” The title comes from a line in “Song of Myself,” one of the poems in “Leaves of Grass.”

Fegely and Amenda used lines and passages from the poetry to create an original active through-line that is brought to life on stage, while remaining absolutely true to the poet’s grand thoughts. They say in this way the audience “shares in the revelation of his vision as it is brought into the present to live among us.”

Bethlehem Moment: The Portuguese in Bethlehem

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Bethlehem Moment 19
City Council
January 21, 2020


Bethlehem Moment: 1860-1880, the Portuguese come to Bethlehem

Portuguese Heritage

Portuguese Heritage: Adding to the Fabric of South Bethlehem
by Armindo P. Sousa
“Southern Exposure,” Winter 2009

Dana Grubb reads selections from the above newsletter issue, compliments of the South Bethlehem Historical Society, in particular the late Armindo Sousa and Ken Raniere, who authored the newsletter.

“What more is there to ask?”

logo The Gadfly invites “local color” photos of this sort  logo

Grubb 1

Blessed when these creatures appear in the wild. Yes, I speak to them
reassuring that I mean them no harm.
Dana Grubb

Gadfly is reminded of Robert Frost’s “Two Look at Two”:

Love and forgetting might have carried them
A little further up the mountain side
With night so near, but not much further up.
They must have halted soon in any case
With thoughts of a path back, how rough it was
With rock and washout, and unsafe in darkness;
When they were halted by a tumbled wall
With barbed-wire binding. They stood facing this,
Spending what onward impulse they still had
In one last look the way they must not go,
On up the failing path, where, if a stone
Or earthslide moved at night, it moved itself;
No footstep moved it. ‘This is all,’ they sighed,
Good-night to woods.’ But not so; there was more.
A doe from round a spruce stood looking at them
Across the wall, as near the wall as they.
She saw them in their field, they her in hers.
The difficulty of seeing what stood still,
Like some up-ended boulder split in two,
Was in her clouded eyes; they saw no fear there.
She seemed to think that two thus they were safe.
Then, as if they were something that, though strange,
She could not trouble her mind with too long,
She sighed and passed unscared along the wall.
‘This, then, is all. What more is there to ask?’
. . . . . . . . . . .
It was all. Still they stood,
A great wave from it going over them,
As if the earth in one unlooked-for favour
Had made them certain earth returned their love.

ABE Awards for Touchstone Theatre’s Festival UnBound productions

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Huzzas, high-fives, hugs, handshakes, and honkings are in order for dramatic elements of Touchstone Theatre’s 10-day festival this fall that occasioned a near record 77 posts here on Gadfly.

Well done!

“The Secret” — the play about Bethlehem-born poet H. D. — returns to Touchstone April 2-5.

Paul Willistein, “14th annual ABEs Salute Lehigh Valley Stage: From plays to musicals, theater unbound in 2019.” Bethlehem Press, January 3, 2020.

Producer: Touchstone Theatre. “Festival UnBound,” the multimedia project two years in the making, produced some 20 events and ran 10 days in October 2019. The festival took a measure of Bethlehem’s southside 20 years after Touchstone’s landmark “Steelbouund” production when SteelStacks was a twinkle in the Christmas City star. It was a big year for Touchstone Theatre, which also produced a terrific 20th production of “Christmas City Follies.”

Play: “The Secret,” Mock Turtle Marionette Theater. The world premiere about H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Bethlehem native and poet, during “Festival UnBound” was part of “Finding H.D., A Community Exploration of the Life and Work of Hilda Doolittle,” a year-long series of events organized by the Lehigh University English Department, Bethlehem Area Public Library, the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center and Mock Turtle Marionette Theatre. Doug Roysdon, Artistic Director, Mock Turtle Marionette Theater, was chief writer of the multimedia performance that mixes narrative, song, music, poetry, puppets and actors. Script collaborators were Jennie Gilrain, William Reichard-Flynn, Aidan Gilrain-McKenna, Matilda Snyder, Kalyani Singh and Seth Moglen.

Original Play: “Prometheus/Redux,” Touchstone Theatre. “Prometheus/Redux” was the astounding opening work of “Festival UnBound.” “Prometheus/Redux,” commissioned for “Festival UnBound,” is written by Gerald Stropnicky, a founding member of Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, and directed by Christopher Shorr, Touchstone ensemble member and director of theater at Moravian College. Music is by Harry Mann. Images and footage from the Steelworkers Archives are incorporated into the work as is an image of the implosion of Martin Tower, former Bethlehem Steel Corp. headquarters.

Ensemble, Play: “Prometheus/Redux,” Touchstone Theatre. Touchstone Theatre cofounder and ensemble member Bill George returned as Prometheus. It’s 20 years after he left The Steel and now, instead of being chained to the ladle, he is bound to a hospital bed, suffering liver failure. The cast included former steelworkers, a county judge and members of previous generations of the Touchstone ensemble.

Festival UnBound
Closed but never forgotten