Skip to main content

Engineering Field Books 1893-1910

Identifier: SC MS 0253

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of five field books ranging in date from 1893 to 1910. Only two of the booklets have clear ownership identified: Alexander Forbes Smith, Sr. (1862-1939) a Philadelphia architect and engineer, whose son and grandson were Lehigh alumni and Harry Samuel Walker who graduated from Lehigh in 1905 in mechanical engineering and worked for Bethlehem Steel Co.; the other three booklets have Department of Civil Engineering as identification containing names of known civil engineering faculty and students of the turn of the twentieth century era.

The first entry in SC MS 0253.01


The last entry in SC MS 0253.05.



  • 1893-1910
  • Majority of material found within 1901-1902


Conditions Governing Access

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

The most distinctive person involved in all five field books is Mansfield Merriman (1848-1925), as head of the civil engineering department, Lehigh University 1881-1907. Merriman came to Lehigh in 1878 as a professor in civil and mechanical engineering and left in 1907. His son Thaddeus (1876-1939) was a student in Lehigh Class of 1897. The dates of the Merrimans at Lehigh encompass the dates of the five books. Three of the books entail civil engineering instruction during Mansfield Merriman’s tenure at Lehigh especially his work in hydraulics. The Merriman father and son collaborated on the famous work “Treatise on Hydraulics” (1912). The Merrimans also had involvement in consulting in New York City engineering projects. Although Mr. A. F. Smith came from a Philadelphia engineering office, his work in New York City possibly crossed paths with the Merrimans during their New York City work as subsequently Mr. Smith’s son and grandson attended Lehigh. Mr. Walker, who studied mechanical engineering at Lehigh, also was exposed to Prof. Merriman’s instruction as he was a member of Lehigh Class of 1905 in mechanical engineering.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Interesting examples of engineering calculations and observations before the age of computers. Some books have calculations recording the Lehigh River flow and flood stages as well as New York City engineering works at the turn of the twentieth century.


The collection is arranged chronologically according to most prominent dates appearing in the field books.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Some of the field books were given to the Special Collections by the Civil Engineering Department, Lehigh University.

Related Materials

Bradford, William. 1888. “The Discharge and Mean Velocity of the Lehigh River at Different Stages of Water.” Thesis B799d Dufour, Frank O. 1896. “Design for Viaduct at Bethlehem, PA.” Thesis D311d Merriman, Thaddeus. 1897. “Observations and Formulas for the Magnetic Declination at South Bethlehem, PA….” Thesis M571o Walker, Richard Washington. 1884. Thesis Walker, Harry Samuel. 1905. “Tests of Power Plant at Dobbin’s Hosiery Mill at South Bethlehem, PA.” (title according to Course Catalog 1905-1906)


Engineering Field Books, 1893-1910
Ilhan Citak and Eleanor Nothelfer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)