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Celebrating 125 Years: LVHN’s Recipe for Success Began With a Cookbook

Learn how sales of the Up-to-Date Cookbook played a role in opening Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–17th Street in 1899

Lehigh Valley Health Network’s foundation was firmly planted at the corner of 17th and Chew streets when Allentown Hospital, now known as Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–17th Street, opened in 1899. From its inception, the community played a tremendous role in LVHN’s mission to heal, comfort and care, and there were few community members more committed to ensuring Allentown Hospital’s success than the Ladies Auxiliary.

When Allentown Hospital, known today as Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–17th Street, opened in 1899, its mission was “the relief of human suffering by ministering to the wants of the sick and injured who may apply for such relief, without distinction of race, color, creed or condition.” This created the foundation for LVHN’s mission to heal, comfort and care for the people of our community.

The hospital’s founders were determined to open the hospital without debt, so the Ladies Auxiliary formed and got to work raising money almost immediately. The group’s efforts included a hospital fair at Allentown Market Hall, the current site of Allentown Symphony Hall. Admission was 5 cents with a chicken and waffle dinner for an extra charge.

Along with planning the fair, the group also got to work writing and selling the Up-to-Date Cookbook. In 1897 C.S. Reed, who owned the Grand Union Tea Company, offered to print 5,000 cookbooks for free.

Nearly 1,000 copies of the cookbook were sold.

By the end of 1898, nearly 1,000 copies of the cookbook were sold and the fair was a huge success. The combined fundraising efforts amounted to $3,856.36. This money, along with monetary support from the community and local businesses, ensured Allentown Hospital would open without taking on debt.

The Ladies Auxiliary continued selling the Up-to-Date cookbook after the hospital was built and opened. Money raised from those sales helped pay for supplies and furniture.


LVHN’s history

1897 cookbook

The Up-to-Date Cookbook

The cookbook is a small but important piece of LVHN’s history and provides a snapshot of life in 1897. It was digitized in 2011.

View the cookbook on LVHN Scholarly Works

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