Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company, 1949-1955


The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company (LC&N) began mining and transporting coal from the Panther Valley in northeastern Pennsylvania in the 1820s. By the last quarter of the nineteenth century, it was among the half dozen major firms that constituted a cartel that set prices and production quotas and divided the market for clean-burning anthracite coal. When George Harvan returned from Japan in 1947, he took a job as a photographer with a local newspaper. In that capacity he snapped a picture of sitdown strikers coming out of a mine in 1949. Later he worked as a free-lance photographer for a public relations firm that handled the coal company's account. That work gave him access to mining operations and he began to document the last generation of underground mining in the anthracite region.