John Roebling Design drawing for the Brooklyn Bridge

John Roebling Design drawing for the Brooklyn Bridge


The 1867 drawing plan for the Brooklyn Bridge, as envisioned by John Roebling, is one of the most iconic images of the structure. Drafted by Wilhelm Hildenbrand, the massive x foot by x foot drawing depicts the full span of the bridge beautifully rendered in inks and watercolors. The drawing has only been publicly exhibited once, at the Whitney Museum in 1976 shortly after the collection of Brooklyn Bridge drawings was discovered languishing in a carpenters' workshop under the Williamsburg Bridge. A handful of the most spectacular of the drawings was treated by a conservator and put on exhibition by the Whitney. Given its large size and limited storage space, the John Roebling drawing has been stored rolled in the Archives ever since. Over time, condition problems have developed -- vertical cracks have formed along the length of the drawing, and the stiffness of the paper has made it extremely difficult to unroll without causing further damage. Conservation treatment would allow the drawing to be flattened and stablized, as well as fully re-lined to add much needed strength to the paper. A delicate and labor-intensive process on an item of this size, adoption would support the conservation treatment needed to allow the drawing to be made accessible once again.

This item has been adopted.

Adopted by:

  • Carol Willis