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Howard Soule Jr. Civil Engineer

Identifier: SC MS0414

Scope and Contents

The collection contains estimates, proposals and designs for bridge projects in 19 New York towns, mostly in the vicinity of Syracuse, New York. The two folio volumes [one large, one smaller] are engineer’s bridge design notebooks most likely compiled in Syracuse, New York, c. 1871-1884 where the Howard Soule Jr. had his association; they consist of pencil sketches, entry notes and calculations with illustrations, estimates and costs. These two volumes document his estimates and proposals for bridge projects in at least 19 New York towns, most of them in the Syracuse area. Volume one measures 25 x 36 x 4 cm, has 287 numbered pages [pages used 1-37, 282-287; pages 19-30 separated from spine, pages 31-32 missing, end fly leaf has newspaper article on bridge bids] and 6 alphabetic Index pages [not used]. brown and tan speckled paper over board covers, binding in very poor condition, pages clean and good condition. Volume two measures 43 x 30 x 2.5 cm, very poor spine, boards totally separated with no paper cover, 42 hand numbered pages, the remainder blank, back fly leaf has glued down letter from Office American Sheet and Boiler Plate Company, Cleveland, Ohio, dated April 1869 and 7 loose sheets of paper with drawings and calculations.


  • Creation: 1829 - 1924
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1869 - 1884

Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research. Please inquire about copyright information.

Biographical / Historical

Howard Soule Jr. (1829-1924) was born in Sennett, Cayuga County, New York. The Soule Family had a long established homestead in Sennett going back to the early settlers of Cayuga County and Auburn, New York. Howard Jr. acquired his academic education in Auburn, New York. In his early career, he made surveys for railways from Auburn to Ithaca and Lake Ontario. During 1856-58, he was in charge of construction of the railroad from Auburn to Lake Ontario which eventually became a part of the Lehigh Valley Railroad system. Between 1847 and 1874 he was engaged on State canal projects beginning with the enlargement of the Erie Canal, subsequently being resident engineer on the Cayuga and Seneca Canal, Chenango Canal, Chemung Canal - all part of the Middle District of the State Canal System. He also made the surveys for the draining of Montezuma Marshes at Cayuga Lake. He served New York State as an Assistant Engineer, Resident Engineer and Division Engineer for the Middle District of the State Canal system ending service in 1874. From 1874 to 1876 he served as City Engineer of Syracuse. Afterwards for 12 years he was engaged in the contracting business designing and constructing iron bridges of the Whipple, cast-iron, bow and string types primarily for spanning canals. During this time frame he constructed the 70 miles of the “West Shore” Railroad and raised the banks and locks of the Welland Canal in Canada as well as lengthening the locks of the Erie Canal. In 1879, as a Republican he was defeated in the election to be State Engineer and Surveyor. Beginning in 1890 he acted as consulting engineer and directed the design for the installation of a water supply to Syracuse from Skaneateles Lake continuing in that capacity until water flowed in the first conduit in 1904. Although retired and of advanced age he returned to service for the installation of the second conduit from Skaneateles Lake. He was a prominent, skillful civil engineer based in Syracuse, New York elected a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers on March 17, 1869.


1 box

1 linear feet

Language of Materials



Material arranged as bound in two folio volumes [one large, one small]. Binding of both volumes in poor condition but pages are fine. The notations are fine, clean and clearly readable. The sequence is as acquired from the dealer.

Physical Location

Lehigh University, Linderman Library, Special Collections

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Palinurus Antiquarian Books, Jenkintown (Pa.) April 2022.

Related Materials

Lehigh University Special Collections has a large collection of bridge design and construction material, for example:

SC MS 0142. Copy of engineer’s private journal on Harlem Bridge.

SC Photo 0033. Photo album of bridge construction, c. 1915 (Broad Street Bridge, Valley Falls, Rhode Island).

SC Photo 0007. Delaware River Bridge Construction Photographs.

SC MS 0175 Blair Birdsall Papers.

Related Materials

1870. Annual Report of the State Engineer and Surveyor on Canals of the State of New York, fiscal year ending 1869. Albany: The Argus Company Printers.

1925. American Society of Civil Engineers. Transactions. Volume 88.

Howard Soule Jr. Civil Engineer
Ilhan Citak and Eleanor Nothelfer
June 6, 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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)