Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks


Richard L. Cleary (Author)


An account of American bridge design, from familiar monuments to modest structures that offer eloquent statements of problems solved.

Bridges are such ubiquitous features of the built environment that we cross most of them barely acknowledging their presence. Certain bridges, however, command attention: for their utility facilitating travel from here to there; for their size, setting, beauty, or historical associations. Ordinary or spellbinding, every bridge is a response to a problem—the spanning of a river or other obstacle, solved more or less elegantly. This visual sourcebook surveys American bridges from coast to coast in terms of four fundamental structural types (beam, arch, truss, and suspension) and the special category of movable bridges (swing, lift, and bascule) showing how similar structural ideas have been addressed by different designers, refined over time, and rendered in various building materials. A special feature is "A Call for Preservation" of the American bridge engineering heritage by Eric DeLony, formerly chief of the Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • April 2007
  • ISBN 978-0-393-73136-1
  • 8.9 × 11.4 in / 336 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“Every reader’s knowledge should be enhanced by this book….[N]o better detailed history of bridges since 1750.” — Construction History

“[F]ascinating.” — IA: Journal of the Society for Industrial Archaeology

“[A]nother example that the as-of-now published titles in the Norton/Library of Congress Visual Sourcebook series are a must have for architectural history buffs and barn, theater, canal, lighthouse and bridge enthusiasts alike.” — Traditional Building

“[T]his book will be an invaluable reference for architects, engineers and preservationists.” — Engineering News-Record

“[H]ighly recommended for any college-level collection strong in either engineering or structural art.” — California Bookwatch

“Another excellent production by the Norton/Library of Congress team.” — Transactions of the Newcomen Society

“[H]ighly detailed caption information…makes every turned page an opportunity for deeper understanding.” — Civil Engineering

“[A book] equally worth recommending to those who build and maintain bridges and to readers only interested in the history of engineering. Full of interesting stories more popular than scholarly in character?offering a rich picture of past years in the history of bridgebuilding in America.” — Geophysics

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