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Oral History collection

Identifier: IAL

Scope and Contents

The IAL Oral History Program will utilize the very powerful tool of first-person narratives to chronicle unique aspects of industrial and business history from the firsthand perspective of those who lived it.

To do so, the IAL is conducting the following oral history projects:

The Bethlehem Steel Oral History Project

Through the firsthand accounts of top management and other key personnel at Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the Bethlehem Steel Oral History Project will chronicle the history, organization and management practices of one of America’s largest and most complex manufacturing operations of the 20th century.

A sub-theme of the Project will be to chronicle how extremely complex, fully-integrated steel manufacturing operations are organized and managed for optimal efficiency and profitability. To do this, the Project will focus on two of Bethlehem Steel’s major steel manufacturing plants on opposite ends of the steel historic timeline and continuum: 1) the Bethlehem Plant, in Bethlehem, Pa. – one of the country’s oldest and most historic steel plants, and 2) the Burns Harbor Plant, in Burns Harbor, Ind. – constructed and developed over the course of about a decade starting in 1962, Burns Harbor was the last fully integrated steel plant constructed on a greenfield site in the United States and the largest private construction project in the history of the United States to that time. Physically situated in the environmentally-sensitive Indiana Dunes, Burns Harbor is thought to be the only steel plant in the world surrounded on three sides by state and national parks.

Lessons in Business Leadership

The Lessons in Business Leadership Project will identify and interview key business leaders from a variety of industries to learn of their experiences and to gain valuable insights into the unique aspects of their lives and careers that

contributed to their success in business. Some of the interviews contemplated will be with employees or former employees of the following industries: banking and finance, industrial gases and chemicals, steel manufacturing, and more.

The R. K. Laros Oral History Project

The R. K. Laros Oral History Project is a collaboration between The R. K. Laros Foundation and the Industrial Archives & Library to memorialize and bring to life the extraordinary legacy and work of Russell K. Laros, the R. K. Laros Silk Company and the R. K. Laros Foundation in the Bethlehem, Pa. community.

The Project will seek oral histories from former R. K. Laros Silk Company personnel and their families, R. K. Laros Foundation Trustees past and present, and others in the community who may have experiences and memories that connect them to the Laros Silk Company, and or the Laros Foundation or family.

The objective of the Project is to document and preserve the Laros history and legacy in the Bethlehem, Pa. area and to make the recorded information gathered available to the public.


  • Creation: 2015-

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Online access to transcripts, video, and audio can be found at


33 Interviews

Language of Materials


Preservica Internal URL

Preservica Public URL

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Industrial Archives & Library Repository

18 West 4th Street
Bethlehem Pennsylvania 18015 USA