From 1872 to 1883, Emily Warren Roebling oversaw one of the greatest engineering triumphs in history - the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.
In 1869, Emily’s father-in-law, John A. Roebling, took on the immense task of constructing a bridge that would connect Brooklyn to New York. After his death, his son, Washington Roebling, took over as Chief Engineer. In order to help her husband, Emily started studying topics in civil engineering - math, strength of materials, stress analysis and cable construction. In 1872, her husband developed caisson disease which left him bedridden and partially paralyzed. In a determined effort to bring her late father-in-law and husband’s dream to fruition, Emily worked tirelessly to relay information from Washington to his assistants reporting on the progress of work on the bridge, eventually taking over most of the Chief Engineer’s duties (including day-to-day supervision and project management). For over a decade, she dealt with politicians, competing engineers and all those associated with work on the bridge where people believed she was behind the bridge's design.
Emily Warren Roebling (September 23, 1843 – February 28, 1903) helped forge a new path for women during a time when the idea of a woman being able to understand complex mathematics and science was unheard of.
She was the first person to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on May 24, 1883.
Emily passed away at the age of 59 as a revolutionary and one of the Chief Engineers of the greatest civil engineering accomplishments of the 19th century.
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