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Guide to the Brooklyn Bridge construction records 1977.259

128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Patricia Glowinski and Nicholas Pavlik

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 10, 2011
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 OCR'd from paper copy by Quinn Lai, September 2006. Revised and entered into Archivists' Toolkit by Nicholas Pavlik.  , November 1, 2011

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Roebling, Washington Augustus, 1837-1926
Title: Brooklyn Bridge construction records
Dates [inclusive]: 1873-1879
Quantity: 0.42 linear feet in one manuscript box.
Text [Box]: 1977.259 1 of 1
Call Phrase: 1977.259
Sponsor: This collection was processed and described as part of the project, "Uncovering the Secrets of Brooklyn's 19th Century Past: Creation to Consolidation," funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources, with additional support from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

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Historical Note

The Brooklyn Bridge is a steel suspension bridge that spans the East River connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City. Completed in 1883, the bridge was called both the East River Bridge and the New York and Brooklyn Bridge until 1915 when the name was officially changed to the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and was further designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972. The original designer of the bridge was John Augustus Roebling (1806-1869), a German engineer who immigrated to the United States in 1831. Roebling invented the wire cable which he would eventually incorporate into the design of the Brooklyn Bridge. Roebling's son, Washington Augustus Roebling (1837-1926), also an engineer, took over as chief engineer of construction following the sudden death of his father in 1869. In 1872, Washington Roebling fell ill with decompression sickness, acquired during the construction of the bridge, and never fully recovered. His wife, Emily Warren Roebling (1843-1903), was instrumental in seeing through the construction and completion of the bridge.


  1. Fletcher, Ellen. "John Augustus Roebling." In The Encyclopedia of New York City, edited by Kenneth T. Jackson, 1017. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press; New York: New-York Historical Society, 1995.
  2. Fletcher, Ellen. "Washington Augustus Roebling." In The Encyclopedia of New York City, edited by Kenneth T. Jackson, 1017. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press; New York: New-York Historical Society, 1995.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection consists of notes, letters, engineering computations, reports, specifications, inventories, and technical newspaper clippings, dated 1873 to 1879, all relating to the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. Also included are notes to Washington Roebling, as well as some items in his hand.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Roebling, Washington Augustus, 1837-1926

Document Type

  • Architectural records
  • Calculations
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Inventories
  • Reports
  • Specifications

Subject Topics

  • Bridges |z New York (State) |z Kings County |x Design and construction

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Buildings, structures, etc.
  • Brooklyn Bridge (New York, N.Y.)
  • Civil engineering |z New York (State) |z Kings County

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access note

Open to users without restriction.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Brooklyn Bridge construction records, 1977.259, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Other Finding Aids note

An earlier version of this finding aid, containing a complete container list, is available in paper form at the Brooklyn Historical Society. Please consult library staff for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of John Dunn, 1966.

Processing Information note

Minimally processed to the collection level.

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