Roebling Family & Business


View of the Brooklyn Tower and pedestrian walkway

This is a brief overview of some of the many archival collections and online resources which contain significant materials related in particular to John A. Roebling, his sons Washington A. (and wife Emily Warren), Ferdinand W., and Charles G. Roebling, bridge building (suspension bridges in particular), German-American immigration, and engineering data.


Please contact us to discuss your research needs or if you have questions regarding the resources listed below.

Manuscript Collections

Roebling Collection (MC 04) | Institute Archives and Special Collections at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute houses documentation and personal and professional activities of John A. Roebling and Washington A. Roebling, and the business activities of the John A. Roebling’s Sons Company.  The material dates from 1830 to 1926 with the bulk of the material dating from 1844 to 1883, the period of time when John A. Roebling and Washington A. Roebling were active in the design and construction of suspension bridges and the manufacture of wire rope.

Rutgers University | The Special Collections and University Archives holds two major collections of family papers, as well as business records of the John Roebling’s Sons Company (JARSCO).  Descriptive information is available online and in print; original materials are also available on microfilm.

Smithsonian Institution | Materials include the Niagara Falls Bridges Collection and records documenting Washington Roebling’s extensive mineralogy interests.  Online database available.

Bridge Documentation

Bridgemeister | An extensive, searchable online inventory of “mostly suspension” bridges.  Compiled by David Deneberg between 1998 to the present, the site includes photos, lists, bridge data, and a lengthy bibliography. | Started in 1999 by Jake Mecklenborg and concerns the history of and future plans for the city’s transportation infrastructure.This is a personal site and is not affiliate with any organization and does not endorse any current issue.

Digital Bridges | A fully searchable collection of thirty digitized American bridge engineering monographs, manuals, and documents dating from the 19th century.  Scanned from the Lehigh University Libraries’ Special Collections department in 2001-2002, the compilation includes several reports written by John A. Roebling, Washington Roebling, and others with whom they worked.

New York City Government | The NYC Department of Records and Information Services features images of a number of Roebling bridges; prints may be requested via an online order form.

Notman Collection | This McCord Museum database holds thousands of images and data pertaining to North America, including hundreds of bridge photographs.

Structurae | Nicolas Jansberg’s “international database and gallery of structures,” including images of Roebling bridges, biographical information, and links to a wide range of electronic resources.

Other Resources

American Memory Project (LOC) | Established in 1969, this collaborative effort of the National Park Service and the Library of Congress documents historic sites and structures related to American engineering and industry.   Historical and descriptive data, large format photographs, measured drawings, and field notes are all available online, including information pertaining to numerous Roebling bridge projects and industries.

Brooklyn Historical Society | Educational programming for K-12 grades, including classroom workshops and curriculum materials on the construction and impact of the Brooklyn Bridge.

German Historical Society: Immigrant Entrepreneurship | Collaborative research project Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present will sheds new light on the entrepreneurial and economic capacity of immigrants by investigating the German-American example in the United States. It traces the lives, careers and business ventures of eminent German-American businesspeople of roughly the last two hundred and ninety years, integrating the history of German-American immigration into the larger narrative of U.S. economic and business history.

Historic American Engineering Record (HAER, NPS) | The permanent collection of architectural, engineering and landscape documentation at the Library of Congress consists of measured and interpretive drawings, large-format black and white and color photographs, written historical and descriptive data, and original field notes. The collection captures the American experience through approximately 40,000 recorded historic structures and sites, from American Indian cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde to space-age technology at Cape Canaveral.

Roebling Museum | The Museum bridges a storied past to the present by providing exhibits and programs directed at the interests of the worldwide public while also serving as a valuable resource for school curriculum enhancement programs and academic research.