Bring Emily Roebling to your Library, School, Senior Center, or Other Venue


She was called “one of the most noted women in the country” and “the most famous woman in New Jersey”…yet today few people even know her name!

On December 12, 1881, people in New York City would have witnessed a strange sight. High above the East River, a line of men in business suits were cautiously walking along a narrow path of wooden boards laid down across the open steel frame of a huge unfinished bridge. Strangest of all, the line was led by a woman, her long skirt billowing in the wind as she showed them details of the construction. When they reached the New York side, everyone toasted her with champagne. It was the first official crossing of what would be called the Brooklyn Bridge.

Many books and films have featured the Brooklyn Bridge and millions of people have crossed it. Built between 1869 and 1883, without modern machines or even electric light, it was the one of the most amazing technological achievements of its time. Yet few people know that a woman helped supervise much of its construction.

After her husband became bedridden, Emily Roebling became his liaison to the project – eventually communicating with the engineers and suppliers so well that it was rumored that she had become the Chief Engineer herself! Later she helped design the family mansion in Trenton, studied law, organized relief for returning troops from the Spanish American War, attended the coronation of the Tsar of Russia and even took tea with Queen Victoria…

Hear her tell her story.

Carol Simon Levin is a Youth Services Librarian at the Bridgewater Branch of the Somerset County Library. She is an experienced storyteller and a member of the New Jersey Storyteller’s Network and the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. She has always been fascinated by the history of technology and women’s history and is currently writing a book on Emily Warren Roebling.

She is happy to bring Emily Roebling to libraries, senior centers, historical societies, schools and other venues. The presentation includes a “lantern slide show” (PowerPoint presentation) and will be made in costume impersonating Emily Roebling or in street clothes as a straight lecture if preferred. If interested, please contact Carol Levin at: cslevin59 @ gmail (dot) com, 908 781-6041. The program can be tailored for children, teen, or adult audiences.

What people are saying about Emily….

“Thank you again for a wonderful program last night! I am still haunted by thoughts of Emily….you made her come so alive…..and I learned more about the Brooklyn Bridge than I thought I would ever know in my whole life!” — Nora, Ocean County Library

“Expertly relayed and lovingly portrayed.”

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for an extremely outstanding performance in your portrayal of Emily Roebling.    It’s not surprising that we received many complimentary comments about your exceptional knowledge of Emily and about the era in which she carried on to fulfill her husband’s dream project.    We heard remarks such as: “It’s amazing how she can remember all those facts and make her character so believable.” — Elaine and Phyllis, Warner-Lambert/Pfizer

“Fascinating story.”

“Knowledge of subject is told with great enthusiasm! Learned a lot! –J.P.

“Excellent Presentation!  Thanks!!” — N.C.

“Thanks so much for coming to NJDOT and informing us about our transportation/bridge building legacy.  Especially enjoy amount of illustrations, good detail and very nice presentation.” — L.R.

“Very interesting. What a fantastic woman!”

“Excellent presentation with lots of details. Very well presented.” –N.G.

“Excellent presentation and very informative.  She set the stage for all of us. I was fortunate to run over the bridge a few times during the NYC marathon.”– M.F.

“Wonderful Presentation!” — C.B. 

“Interesting and Informative.  Educational as well as entertaining — Thank you!” — L.S. NJDOT Library

“Thank you so much for this morning’s presentation. The presentation was informative, well thought out and entertaining. The 2nd graders really enjoyed your visit and they’ve been asking me follow up questions ever since–which I consider the best sign of learning. Thank you for your time and preparation, we thoroughly enjoyed meeting Emily!”
— Michele (Stevens Cooperative School)

If your venue is interested in previewing “Emily” prior to a performance, please contact me for a private YouTube link.

Picture Credits:
Emily with Bridge:, Catwalks:  Image courtesy Brooklyn Historical Society, Emily in Ballgown: Painting by Charles Emile Auguste-Carolus from the collection at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.  Carol Simon Levin as Emily:!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_650/092414-nn-roebling.jpg

Come see “Emily Roebling” at the Spirit of NJ History Fair


“Emily Roebling” will join  Clara Barton, George Washington and Walt Whitman Saturday, May 14th at the 12th annual SPIRIT of the JERSEYS State History Fair at Monmouth Battlefield State Park, Manalapan, NJ.  Come for historical reinactmentsas well as such  as 19th baseball, horse-drawn plowing demonstrations,  Phydeaux’s flying flea circus and period music.

This year there will be several Civil War themed programs to coincide with the exhibit of President Lincoln’s casket.  This replica casket will be on display in the park’s Visitor Center.  A local Civil War reenactment unit, the 14th NJ Volunteers, Co. H, will provide an honor guard for the casket and the Fort Delaware Cornet Band will perform music of the era on period instruments.  Darrel Ford, portraying Walt Whitman, will read his poem, “Oh Captain, My Captain”, a tribute to President Lincoln.  Kenneth Serfass , who will portray General Ulysses S. Grant, will reflect on his relationship and career with the late Commander in Chief.

There will also be a fictional U.S. Army radio and live show, “SPAM Time”, which is modeled on actual entertainment presented to U.S. military personnel from WWII to the Viet Nam War era.  A full day of pre-recorded and live musical entertainment will be presented.

It’s a fun-filled experience for the whole family! You don’t want to miss it.   For more information:

New Program Available Featuring Forgotten Female Flyers

Celebrate the 110th anniversary of the Wright Brothers successful airplane flight with a program celebrating forgotten female flyers.

Most people when asked to name early female aviators can name only one name — Amelia Earhart. She was a daring pilot, but the mystery surrounding her disappearance over the Pacific overshadowed and eventually erased any memory of her equally accomplished peers  — early aviatrices who defied gravity (and male disapproval) in flimsy airplanes, including:

  • Aida de Acosta, the girl from New Jersey about whom Alberto Santos-Dumont (a rival of the Wright Brothers) proclaimed  “Mademoiselle, vous êtes la première aero-chauffeuse du monde!” (“Miss, you are the first woman aero-driver in the world!”)
  • Elise Raymonde Deroche, a plumber’s daughter from Paris who became the first female licensed pilot in the world and who was presented as “Baroness de LaRoche” to Tsar Nicholas II after competing in an airshow in Russia.
  • Marie Marvingt, the only person (male or female) ever presented with a “Gold Medal in All Sports” by the French government who later invented the air ambulance service and was called by the American press, “the most extraordinary woman since Joan of Arc.”
  • Harriet Quimby, the self-made journalist who was the first woman to solo across the English channel (news of which was unfortunately overshadowed by the Titanic disaster.)
  • Katherine Stinson, the daring “Flying Schoolgirl” stunt pilot who regularly bested her male peers and who flew before the emperor and  50,000 people in her debut performance in Japan, or her sister Marjorie, known as “the Flying Schoolmarm” who trained much of the Canadian Royal Air Force for World War I.
  • Bessie Coleman, daughter of sharecroppers, who became the first African-American of either gender to get a pilot’s license and whose dream of an American flying school for African Americans enabled the training of the Tuskegee flyers.
  • Elinor Smith, who at age nineteen was named the “Best Female Pilot” by her peers (including Amelia Earhart) and who successfully flew under all four East River bridges in New York City (the only pilot ever to do so!)

Carol Simon Levin can tailor this program for adult, teen, or elementary-aged audiences  (and has a special offer for schools).  For more information: