Firefighting in Bethlehem 1741-1917 – Talk and Book Signing


From the bucket brigades of the Moravians to the early municipal fire departments, learn how Bethlehem’s pioneering firefighters overcame daunting challenges with courage, ingenuity, and camaraderie. Local authors Chris Eline, Nancy Rutman, and Karen Samuels will discuss their book Firefighting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 1741-1917. Copies feature 200 extraordinary images of antique fire apparatus, firefighters, and more, and will be available for signing and purchase.

Books: $30
Talk is free with admission or $5 program only. Members free.

About the Authors

Chris Eline is a local historian and retired firefighter from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His passion and desire to learn more about the region's rich past has been foremost in his life. After serving in the U.S. Navy after high school, he joined the Bethlehem Fire Department. He quickly developed a reputation as the unofficial curator of artifacts and firefighting lore within the department. He managed a series of display cases in city fire stations, conducted research, and collected photographs, many of which are shown in this book. Eline resides in Bethlehem with his family and two dogs.

Nancy Rutman discovered an interest in American history as a teenager, during the nation’s bicentennial in 1976. Along with her parents, she began assembling a collection of historical postcards, books, photographs, and ephemera that tells the story of Lehigh Valley. The collection now numbers in the thousands. Rutman has presented programs on local history to many community groups and organizations. She has also designed two books on the history of Bethlehem: Tuned for Praise, about the Bethlehem Area Moravian Trombone Choir, and The Moravian Christmas Putz. She lives in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, where she works as a freelance copy editor and publication production specialist.

Karen M. Samuels is the author or co-author of seven books on the Bethlehem-area history and a Keystone Press Award–winning newspaper columnist. Samuels has appeared on television and radio to discuss her books and columns. She earned an advanced degree in local history from Oxford University. After retirement as a guidance counselor and an art teacher, Samuels became involved with the efforts to restore a one-room schoolhouse in Lower Saucon Township. In writing grants for funds to restore the structure, she found that she had a knack for historical research. Samuels now devotes full-time to studying the history of Lehigh Valley. She lives in an old stone farmhouse with her husband, John, and their two dogs.