Further Reading for Adults & Teens

On The Bridge:

The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough (Simon and Schuster, 1972, reprinted 1983.) The definitive book on the bridge.  Emily’s role is updated in his Brave Companions: Portraits In History (Simon and Schuster, 1992.) which has a chapter describing Washington & Emily’s partnership as well as mini-biographies of other exceptional, often little-known, men and women.

Chief Engineer Washington Roebling: The Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge by Erica Wagner (Bloomsbury, 2017) A new, authoritative and well-written biography that makes the case that Washington was far more than the executor of his father’s plans. Makes use of Washington’s manuscript biography of his father, thought to be lost until the 1980s when Donald Sayenga found it in the Rutgers University Archives and also articulates the frustration of not knowing exactly what Emily did since we have so few surviving documents by or about her (pp.xvi-xvii).

Art of the Brooklyn Bridge: A Visual History by Richard Haw (Routledge, 2008.) is a beautiful and exceptionally researched and well-written history of the bridge.  His The Brooklyn Bridge: A Cultural History (Rutgers, 2005.)  examines literary and social legacy of the bridge — positive and negative.

The Roebling Legacy by Clifford W. Zink (Princeton Landmark Publications, 2011.)  The definitive history of the family and the firm.

The Great East River Bridge, 1883-1983 by the Brooklyn Museum (Abrams, 1983.) This catalog from the centennial exhibition has extensive photographs, plus commentaries by David McCullough and others. Historic Photos of the Brooklyn Bridge by John B. Manbeck (Turner, 2009.) and A Picture History of the Brooklyn Bridge by Mary J. Shapiro (Dover, 1983.) are two additional photo-histories of the bridge accompanied by informative captions.

The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York by Peter J. Tomasi, illustrated by Sara DuVall (Abrams, 2018.)  This well-researched, beautifully-illustrated graphic novel effectively conveys the emotion and gravity of this tremendous undertaking.

On Emily:

Silent Builder: Emily Warren Roebling and the Brooklyn Bridge by Marilyn E. Weigold (National University Publications, 1983.) The thesis that validated Emily’s role in the bridge construction.   Second Edition, 2019 just published.

“Emily Warren Roebling and the Great Bridge”, Chapter six from Heroes of New York Harbor: Tales from the City’s Port By Marian Betancourt (Globe Pequot, 2016.)

“She Built the Bridge” from   Women of Steel & Stone by Anna M. Lewis. (Chicago Review Press, 2014.) (p.103-110)  Great interview with the author here.

Alva T. Matthews chapter “Emily W. Roebling: One of the Builders of the Bridge” in Women in Engineering: Pioneers & Trailblazers ed. by Margaret E. Layne (American Society of Civil Engineers, 2009.),  also in Bridge to the Future A Centennial Celebration of the Brooklyn Bridge ed. M. Latimer (New York Academy of Sciences, July 1984) (p.63-70)

Engineering Legends: Great American Civil Engineers: (32 Profiles of Inspiration and Achievement) by Richard Weingardt (American Society of Civil Engineers, 2005.)  Emily is one of only four women included.

“Emily Warren Roebling: An Unlikely Bridge Builder” from More Than Petticoats: Remarkable New York Women by Antonia Petrash. (Globe Pequot Press, 2001.)

Spider of Brooklyn Heights by Nancy Veglahn.  Historical novel portrays the roles of Emily and Washington in the building of the bridge. (Scribner, 1967.)

The Women Who Made New York by Julie Scelfo (Seal Press, 2016.) (p.31-33)

Other resources: RPI Archives Roebling Family Links.  Rutgers University Roebling letters (along with photographs, and her paper “A Wife’s Disabilities.”)


Brooklyn Bridge — narrated by David  McCullough & Ken Burns’ first PBS Documentary (PBS Video, 1981)
Modern Marvels: Brooklyn Bridge (A&E Home Video, 2005)
Seven Wonders of the Industrial World  (BBC Video,  2008)

Further Reading for Children:

Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge by Rachel Dougherty (Roaring Brook, c2019) 40 p. Author-Illustrator Rachel Dougherty tells the story of Emily Roebling’s role in the bridge in this picture book biography.

How Emily Saved the Bridge: The Story of Emily Warren Roebling and the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge  by Frieda Wishinsky and Natalie Nelson (Groundwood Books, c2019) 32 p. Whimsical collage illustrations combining contemporary photographs and blocks of color along with imagined dialogue speech bubbles accompany this picture book account of the bridge & the builder.

Brooklyn Bridge by Lynn Curlee. (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, c2001.)  35 p. Describes the planning, construction, and history of the Brooklyn Bridge, celebrated as one of the greatest landmarks of New York City.

The Brooklyn Bridge by Elizabeth Mann. (New York : Mikaya Press, c1996. ) 46 p. Attractive & detailed non-fiction description of the construction of the bridge and the many pitfalls encountered.

The Brooklyn Bridge They Said It Couldn’t Be Built  by Judith St. George (Putnam, 1982) 125 p. Though written for children, this is an extensively-researched account of the building of the bridge.

You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Brooklyn Bridge! : an Enormous Project that Seemed Impossible by Tom Ratliff ; illustrated by Mark Bergin. (Franklin Watts, 2010.)  32p. Irreverent cartoon-style but quite informative history.

Twenty One Elephants and Still Standing by April Jones Prince ; illustrated by François Roca. (Houghton Mifflin, c2005.) 32 p. The true story of  how P.T. Barnum and his twenty-one elephants paraded across the bridge to prove to everyone that the bridge was safe.  Twenty-One Elephants by Phil Bildner ; illustrated by LeUyen Pham. (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c2004.)  32 p.  Fictionalized but contains lots of fascinating details.

The Great Bridge. Cobblestone Magazine. March 2010. v.31. n.3.  48 p.  A one-theme issue magazine that includes articles, games, poems and suggestions for projects based on American History. Includes the article “The Right Woman at the Right Time.”

Similar Books about Enterprising Women in Other Areas:

Julia Morgan Built a Castle  by Celeste Davidson Mannis ; illustrated by Miles Hyman. (Viking, c2006.) 40p. K-6 Recounts the life of the architect whose projects included designing the Hearst Castle at San Simeon, California.

Marvelous Mattie : how Margaret E. Knight became an inventor by Emily Arnold McCully. (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, c2006.) 32 p. or  In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps it Up by Monica Kulling, Illustrated by David Parkins. (Tundra, c2011.) 32 p.  The woman who figured out how to make a machine that would make a flat-bottomed  paper bag and later became known as “the Lady Edison.”

Spic-in-Span: Lillian Gilbreth’s Wonder Kitchen by Monica Kulling, Illustrated by David Parkins (Tundra, c2014). A picture book biography of the first woman industrial engineer.

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark, Illustrated by April Chu (Creston, c2015.) 32 p. Gorgeous picture book biography brings to life the personality and amazing accomplishments of the astonishing 19th century female mathematician who conceived of the idea of computer programming long before there were even computers and is literally the “mother of computer science.”

Bridge Building Experiments

Bridges: Amazing Structures to Design, Build, and Test (Kaleidoscope Kids, c1999) by Carol A. Johman & Elizabeth Reith. Illustrated by Michael P. Klein.  A lively blend of science, history, and how-to instruction.

Bridges and Tunnels: Investigate Feats of Engineering with 25 Projects by Donna Latham, Illustrated by Jen Vaughn.  (Nomad, c2012)  Clear explanations of the physics accompany a variety of hands-on projects.

Build It! Activities for Setting Up Super Structures by Keith Good. (Lerner, c1999)  Includes easy-to-build designs for a beam bridge (with spaghetti trusses). drawbridge, arch & suspension bridges.


Emily Warren Roebling: Beyond the Bridge (NY Historical Society Women at the Center article contains links to many other pieces, including Emily’s 2018 NY Times obituary) The New York Times did not publish an obituary at the time of her death (though approximately 50 other papers did — these are collected in the papers at Rutgers.) However the Times did publish this May 23, 1883 page 1 article on her role the day before the bridge’s grand opening.

Brooklyn Bridge Construction: Overcoming the Odds

How Emily Warren Roebling helped save – and complete – the Brooklyn Bridge

American Society of Civil Engineers: Emily Warren Roebling

Scandalous Women: Emily Warren Roebling

BBC: A Marriage of Equals

Girls Succeed: Emily Warren Roebling

Common Core Connections: Engineering & Bridge Building Ideas

Engineer Girl: Emily Roebling

The Extraordinary Emily Warren Roebling

Mothers (& Fathers) of Invention

New York Public Library Historical Photographs of the Bridge

Emily Warren Roebling: Graceful Determination

Street in Brooklyn Getting Co-Named After Emily Roebling

A Quirky Ghost Story — Is that Emily Warren at The Bird & Bottle Inn?  There are people who believe that Emily Warren Roebling haunts a country inn in Garrison NY, near her old home town of Cold Spring.  Now called The Bird and Bottle Inn, it was once Warren’s Tavern and belonged to her great-grandfather.

Contemporary newspaper articles: 
NY Times 4/23/1883 “How the Wife of the Brooklyn Bridge Engineer Has Assisted her Husband” (pdf) original page
NY Times describing the opening ceremonies 4/25/1883 “Two Great Cities United” (no mention of Emily) (pdf)
NY University Women’s Law Class Graduation: Albany Law Journal (vol. 59, 1899) on the , mentioning Emily’s $50 prize for essay “What an American Woman Loses by Her Marriage to a Foreigner”  Triangle also mentions her essay “A Wife’s Disabilities” and the Trenton Evening Times publishes excerpts.

3 thoughts on “Bibliography

  1. Pingback: Brooklyn Bridge’s Opening Day May 24, 1883 | Peach Of A Patriot

  2. Pingback: Top 10 secrets of the Brooklyn Bridge | 6sqft

  3. Pingback: Opening Day May 24, 1883 BB | Peach Of A Patriot

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s