by Ashirah Newton
Aug 31, 2018

In the summer of 2018, Brooklyn Connections was delighted to have two of our student alumni join us as interns. Over the course of seven weeks, these interns learned about archival research and chose a topic of their interest to dig into in the Brooklyn Collection. They assembled their findings, and we're excited to share one of them with you on the Brooklynology blog!

Intern Ashirah Newton chose to learn about the Brooklyn Bridge, and her research included a book report on a new book in our collection: The Bridge by Peter J. Tomasi, illustrated by Sara DuVall. The following excerpts from her book report share a summary of how it helped her with her research.

Book Report: The Bridge
Author: Peter J. Tomasi
Illustrator: Sara DuVall
Date of Publication: 2018

Write a quick summary of the book: After John Roebling’s death in 1869, his son Washington took over the Brooklyn Bridge project. He experienced many hardships and it was finished in 1883 with his wife Emily’s help.

Cast of Characters:

John Roebling: Came up with the original blueprint of the Brooklyn Bridge in the 1850s, long before the actual construction began in 1869.

Washington Roebling: Son of John Roebling, who after his father’s death in 1869 assisted in carrying on construction of his father’s Brooklyn Bridge plan.

Emily Roebling: Helped her husband Washington carry out plans for the Brooklyn Bridge after Washington became unable to be physically present at construction of the Brooklyn Bridge because of caisson disease.

Who is your favorite character, and why?  Washington Roebling was my favorite character because he was confronted with the challenges of completing the bridge after his father’s death. He saw his dream of Brooklyn Bridge come true in 1883 after much hard work.

Where does this book take place? Brooklyn and New York City

When does this book take place? 1852 – 1883

What happens at the beginning of the book? In 1852, John Roebling sends Washington to Rensselear College in Troy, New York, where he studies engineering. Washington meets his wife Emily in 1863, and Washington’s mother dies the following year. Five years later in 1869, John Roebling dies of a foot infection.

What happens in the middle of the book? Washington starts construction of the bridge, after his father dies of a foot infection. He begins with the Brooklyn caisson of the bridge. Many workers are injured and die during the process of building this. In 1873, Washington becomes sick with caisson disease, and Emily steps in to help.

What happens at the end of the book? After all the construction, the Brooklyn Bridge was completed in the spring of 1883. Emily Roebling rode a carriage across the bridge and President Taft met with the Roeblings.

What was your favorite part of the book, and why? My favorite part was the end, when the bridge was completed. After all their hard work, Washington and Emily’s hard work paid off.
 

illustration of Brooklyn Bridge by Ashirah Newton
Illustration of the Brooklyn Bridge by Ashirah Newton

 

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