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In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators

October 26, 2020
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Mensch was inspired by Special Collections and University Archives' Roebling collection to create her recent book In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators.

Photographer and author Barbara Mensch will deliver the 34th annual Louis Faugères Bishop III lecture on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Mensch was inspired by Special Collections and University Archives' Roebling collection to create her recent book In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators (Fordham University Press, 2018). The lecture will be held online. Register at go.rutgers.edu/bishoplecture34.

Barbara Mensch has lived alongside the Brooklyn Bridge for over 30 years. She has photographed it at all times of day, all seasons of the year, from both inside and out. After years of living with the bridge, Mensch became fascinated by the people who designed and built it. She first visited Special Collections and University Archives in 2008, when she came to get some background for a portfolio of photographs of the bridge. This visit was the beginning of an amazing journey where she retraced the steps of patriarch John A. Roebling from his birth in Mühlhausen, Germany to his emigration to Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, through his career as a manufacturer of wire rope and builder of bridges. Ms. Mensch further explores the life of Roebling’s oldest son, Washington, who was ultimately responsible for constructing the Brooklyn Bridge after Roebling’s premature death. Suffering from caisson’s disease from spending time deep beneath the river bed, Washington relied on his wife Emily to oversee the completion of construction. Barbara Mensch will illustrate her talk with striking photographs, including some taken deep inside the bridge, as well as early design drawings by John A. Roebling from SC/UA’s collections.

Barbara Mensch is a fine art photographer and author who probes her subject matter with the curiosity and stamina of a detective. Her widely regarded images have been shown in galleries and published worldwide, and have been the subject of numerous articles, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Observer, and Time Out N.Y. Ms. Mensch has published two important books about the New York waterfront, South Street (2007), and The Last Waterfront (1985), about New York’s legendary Fulton Market, which she photographed under the scrutinizing eyes of both federal law enforcement and the organized crime community.

If you would like to purchase a pre-signed copy of Barbara Mensch’s book In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators, please contact Nancy Hunt at Barnes & Noble at (732) 867-0276 or AM660@BNcollege.com