David B. Steinman
Papers, 1907-1960

Quantity: 4 Boxes (1.0 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Purchased by the New York State Library from Charles Apfelbaum, dealer, July 1991
Processed by: Fred Bassett, Senior Librarian, Manuscripts and Special Collections, January 1992

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Biographical Note:

David Barnard Steinman (1886-1960), engineer and bridge builder, was educated at the City College of New York, and Columbia University (Ph.D., 1911). The designer of many of the world’s most famous bridges, he taught at the University of Idaho, 1911-1915, before returning to New York to collaborate with Gustav Lindendahl in designing Hell Gate Bridge over the East River. In 1920, Steinman began his own consulting firm, and later, 1924-1945, worked in partnership with Holton D. Robinson. Other long-time associates included R.M. Boynton, C.H. Gronquist, and J. London, who became a full partner in 1960. Major projects of Steinman’s firm included the design and construction of the Mount Hope Bridge (Rhode Island), the Saint John Bridge (Oregon) and Mackinac Bridge (Michigan), and the reconstruction of the Brooklyn Bridge. Steinman was also an author of several books about bridge building and builders. His biography of John and Washington Roebling was critically acclaimed and the basis for a motion picture production by Irving Stone of Universal Pictures.

Scope and Content Note:

Contents include published articles and photographs of bridges designed by Steinman and associates, especially the Mackinac Bridge (Michigan), the Mount Hope Bridge (Rhode Island), the St. John Bridge (Portland, Oregon), and the reconstruction of the Brooklyn Bridge (New York, N.Y.); manuscript of The Builders of the Bridge: The Story of John Roebling and His Son (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, [1945]) and related correspondence from reviewers in the academic, engineering, and publishing communities. Also includes three letters from Irving Stone of Universal Studios concerning a film production inspired by the book. Other papers include Steinman's Columbia University course notebooks and his doctoral dissertation; reports on Hell Gate Bridge and other work he did while employed with Waddell & Son, an engineering consulting firm, from 1915-1920

Box and Folder List:

Box Folder Contents
1 1 Biographical and personal history.
1 2 Addresses (speeches) by David Steinman
  • “Great Bridges” Institute of Architects, N.W.W., 1924
  • “The Place of the Engineer in Civilization,” North Carolina State University, Raleigh, 1939
1 3-4 Bridges by Steinman, Boynton, Gronquist, and London Consulting Engineers, New York, N.Y., ca. 1960. This booklet features many of the bridges designed by Steinman and his associates.
1 5 Architecture and Design, D.B. Steinman, designing and consulting engineer, (Bridges), 1954.
1 6 Photographs of the ceremony commemorating the work of John A. and Washington Roebling, held on the Brooklyn Bridge, 1953
1 7 Mackinac Bridge Dedication Festival, 1958.
1 8 Mackinac Bridge, articles and commentary, 1957-1958.
1 9 Mount Hope Bridge, Rhode Island, photographs.
1 10 Saint John’s Bridge, Portland, Oregon, photographs.
1 11 Reconstruction of the Brooklyn Bridge, articles.
2   Typed manuscript of Steinman’s book: The Builders of Bridges: The Story of John Roebling and His Son.
2 1-2 Correspondence from many prominent engineers and scholars concerning the above-mentioned book. Also included are three letters from Irving Stone regarding a film production based on the book.
2 3 List of literary reviews of The Builders of Bridges: The Story of John Roebling and His Son.
3 1 Dissertation, Columbia University, 1910: “Determination of Maximum and Economic Spans for Suspension Bridges and Cantilevers.”
3 2 Suspension Bridges and Cantilevers: Their Proportions and Limiting Spans (New York: D. Van Nostrand Co., 1911). Published version of Steinman’s dissertation
3 3-5 Civil engineering course notebooks, Columbia College, 1907-1909
3 6 Computation tables
3 7 Problems in Physics: Derived from Military Situations and Experience (Washington, [D.C.]: War Dept. publication, ca. 1907).
4 1 Research paper, “Bridge Building: Ancient and Modern.”
4 2 Research paper, “Studies for an Inter-City Bridge.”
4 3 Report, Waddell and Son Consulting Engineer, 1917: Estimate of cost for bridge over the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Camden.
4 4 Report on the Hell Gate Arch Bridge over the East River in New York City
4 5 Fourth Report of the New Jersey Interstate Bridge and Tunnel Commission, 1913.
4 6 Poems written by David B. Steinman.
4 7 Notes and drafts of personal letters.
4 8 Honorary certificates.
4 9 Ephemera.
Last Updated: May 24, 2021