Is your library looking for a unique historical program celebrating
a little-known Jersey woman?
Invite "Emily Warren Roebling" to come for a visit!
called “one of the most noted women in
the country” and “the most famous woman in New
Jersey”…yet today few people even know her name!
12, 1881, people in New York City would have witnessed a
strange sight. High above the East River, a line of men in
business suits were cautiously walking along a narrow path of
wooden boards laid down across the open steel frame of a huge
unfinished bridge. Strangest of all, the line was led by a
woman, her long skirt billowing in the wind as she showed them
details of the construction. When they reached the New York
side, everyone toasted her with champagne. It was the first
official crossing of what would be called the Brooklyn Bridge.
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 the one of
the most amazing technological achievements of its time. Yet few
people know that a woman helped supervise much of its
After her husband became 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
Hear her tell her story.
Carol Simon Levin is happy to bring Emily Roebling to
libraries, senior centers, historical societies, schools and other
venues. The presentation includes a “lantern slide show”
(PowerPoint presentation) and will be made in costume
impersonating Emily Roebling (or in street clothes as a straight
lecture if preferred.) If interested, please contact Carol Levin
at: ...@gmail.com">csle...@gmail.com, 908
781-6041. The program can be tailored for children, teen, or adult
audiences. For more information: http://bridgebuilderinpetticoats.com/.
A preview video is available on request.
More Jersey trivia: Next week -- December 17th, 2013 will be the
110th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers' 1st successful flight of
a powered heavier than air aircraft, but did you know that a
Jersey girl flew a powered aircraft solo nearly six months before
Aida de Acosta from Long Branch, NJ was visiting Paris
during the summer of 1903 when she saw Alberto Santos-Dumont's
flying dirigible and asked him to give her lessons -- after three
lessons, she flew the craft solo for two hours and Santos-Dumont
declared, "Mademoiselle, vous ï¿½tes la premiï¿½re
aero-chauffeuse du monde!" ("Miss, you
are the first woman aero-driver in the world!") The
press did not, however, carry the news, as her father firmly
believed that a woman's name should only appear twice in her
lifetime...when she was married and when she died. (The story
came out years later after she was on her second marriage!)
Check out http://nobodyownsthesky.wordpress.com/
for stories of other early female aviators whose extraordinary
accomplishments were obscured by the fame (and mysterious
disappearance) of Amelia Earhart. (Incidentally, New Jersey also
played a role in Earhart's famous transatlantic solo flight -- she
flew her plane from Teterboro airport to Newfoundland before
embarking across the Atlantic.)
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