Bethlehem photo-history book planned

Bethlehem will be the latest Capital District area to see its pictorial history included in the Images of America series of books, which are recognizable by their ubiquitous sepia-toned covers.

Town Historian Susan Leath has been gathering photographs and writing captions for the book since last summer, when she agreed to author the paperback with Arcadia Publishing.

It's definitely been a work in progress, she said. "I've always loved the old photographs, and people really enjoy the pictures I've put up at Town Hall."

Arcadia first contacted Leath when she assumed the position of town historian in 2007, but at the time she was wrapped up in Quadricentennial planning and couldn't commit to the project. Now, she's been able to take stock of what a photographic history of the town might look like, and to spend plenty of time with the town's archives and records of the Bethlehem Historical Association.

Leath has compiled about 170 pictures for the book so far (the publisher requires 180 to 240). She's still looking for new submissions, including pictures of houses along the Hudson, the North Bethlehem area and of Bethlehem Center in Glenmont. All pictures have to be pre-1960.

Besides compiling the dozens of photos, Leath has authored captions and introductions to the book's sections. She's divided it up by hamlet.

"When I think of Bethlehem, I think of all these hamlets and crossroads, and how it all weaves together to make the Town of Bethlehem," she said.

As author, Leath will draw royalties from the book, but she said she will donate them to the Bethlehem Historical Association.

It looks like the book could have an early October release, which would handily coincide with an historic photographs exhibit Leath has planned at the Bethlehem Public Library.

Other local areas with titles in the Images of America series include the City of Albany (with three different books), Schenectady, Niskayuna and Clifton Park.

Leath will this evening seek approval from the Bethlehem Town Board to use images in its archives for the book, a procedural matter.""

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