Allen, Oliver E.
New York, New York
. New York: Atheneum, 1990. A general history of New York City which begins with an excellent description of New York Harbor.
Boorstin, Daniel J. and Brooks Mathers Kelley.
A History of the United States Since 1861
. Englewook Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1990. High school textbook for U.S. History II. Includes a separate chapter on urban growth at the end of the 19th Century.
The Great East River Bridge 1883-1983
. New York: The Brooklyn Museum, 1983 Published for an exhibition of that title, it includes articles on its history and role in American culture and is lavishly illustrated.
Cohen, Paul E. and Robert T. Augustyn.
Manhattan in Maps: 1527-1995
. New York: Rizzoli, 1997. A collection of maps mostly from the 17th and 18th Centuries which show the growth of the city from its founding.
. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 1997. A brief history of some of the worlds most important bridges in chronological order with excellent photographs. Includes two of the five East River bridges.
Foner, Eric and John A. Garraty, editors.
The Reader's Companion to American History
. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991. An excellent encyclopedia of American History. Includes useful articles on the iron and steel industry and on the Industrial Revolution.
The Historical Atlas of New York City
. New York: Holt, 1994. The history of New York told through maps and illustrations.
. (with David McCauley) 2000. One episode of the four part Building Big series. Overview of the major developments in bridge building in history. Describes all the basic bridge types.
. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000. The companion volume to the PBS video series. Excellent source for students to understand basics of bridge building.
The Great Bridge
. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972. An excellent and very readable history of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. Includes several pages of useful illustrations.
The Bridges of New York
. New York: Quadrant Books, 1977. The only book which includes histories of all five East River crossings as well as every other significant bridge in New York City. Descriptions of current conditions are somewhat dated.
New York: A Physical History
. New York: Atheneum, 1987. As the name implies, this history focuses on geography, architecture, and urban planning. It has an excellent chapter on the development of the city's transportation networks.
The following maps are located in the map room of Sterling Memorial Library at Yale. If you call ahead you can request permission to view most of the maps in the collection. Full size copies can be made for a charge of one dollar each. These can later be reduced at a copy shop to a size that can be transferred to overheads. All of those listed here came out of four folders of New York City maps of the 17th, 18th, and early 20th Centuries. For some I have the exact date and title, but for others I can only give a description and approximate date as the titles did not fit onto the copies.
"A Draught of New York from the Hook to New York Town," 1737. A nautical chart showing Upper and Lower New York Bay (inner and outer harbors). An excellent way to demonstrate the geographical reasons why New York early on was a successful port and a growing commercial center.
"A Plan of the City of New York," 1767. Shows the size of New York at the end of the colonial era. Includes the village of Brooklyn and the site of the first ferry before the age of steam.
"Commissioners Plan," 1811. New York's earliest attempt at urban planning. Indicates the prophetic vision that city leaders had early on of the explosive growth that was to come. It is a grid of streets that is almost devoid of anything but the practical concerns of the developer and speculator. One should note that Central Park was not yet part of the plan.
"City of New York," 1833. Shows the growth of the city in the early industrial era. Includes the portions of Brooklyn and Williamsburg that had developed as a result of the steam ferries.
"Topographical Map of the Cities of New York and Brooklyn," 1850s. Shows both cities at the time when the need for an East River bridge became acute. It clearly shows that growth from the original city center was as extensive in Brooklyn as it was in Manhattan.
Map of the vicinity of New York, 1990s (Title and date did not make it onto the copy). Shows the region after the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge, but prior to the completion of the other bridges. Useful for illustrating the need for a bridge to Williamsburg and for seeing the beginning of growth in Queens.
"Rand McNally & Co.'s New Handy Map of New York City," 1910. All the East River spans are here except for the Hell Gate Bridge. The city's transit system is represented including the new subway, the elevated lines and the regular railroad routes. Inset shows growth of greater New York.