Bridge Builder in Petticoats: Emily Warren Roebling and the Brooklyn Bridge
A presentation by Carol Simon Levin
David Sarnoff Radio Club Meeting (via WebEx) January 18, 2022
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 one of the most amazing technological achievements of its time. Yet few people know that a woman helped manage much of its construction.
After her husband was 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.
At her death, she was called “the most famous woman in New Jersey” and “one of the most noted women in the country,” yet today almost no one knows her name!
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