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Lucy Packer Linderman

LucyThe oldest child of Lehigh founder Asa Packer, Lucy Packer Linderman grew up in Mauch Chunk, Penn. In 1856, Packer married Dr. Garrett B. Linderman, a physician who had come to town during the 1853 cholera epidemic. They had three children, Sallie, Robert Packer, and Garrett B., Jr. Linderman became involved in the coal industry and financial ventures of his father-in-law, giving up his medical practice.

Linderman was a major stockholder in the Bethlehem Iron Works. Since many of his business interests were in South Bethlehem, in 1870, the family moved to a Bethlehem mansion later occupied by Charles M. Schwab. Mrs. Linderman died in July of 1873. To honor Lucy’s memory, Packer gave Lehigh $500,000 for a library. Construction cost $101,000, leaving the remainder for endowment for the purchase of books.

Lehigh’s Board of Trustees, which included her father, brothers and husband, held a ceremony to dedicate the new library in 1877. Lucy’s daughter Sallie checked out the first book, a Bible. The building was presented to the university at the June commencement. Garrett Linderman remained a Lehigh trustee until his death in 1885. Both of Lucy’s sons were Lehigh graduates and served on the Board of Trustees. Her daughter married Warren A. Wilbur, a Lehigh trustee from 1908 to 1932. Her granddaughter married John A. Frick, class of 1903 and she was the mother of John A. Frick, Jr. Class of 1935 and the great-grandmother of Walter Frick Cox, Class of 1995.