In March of 1983, Dr. Sara Ruth Watson, a former Professor of English and Engineering at Fenn College, donated a large collection of rare books and fifteen albums of photographs, all on historic bridges, to the Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University where they now reside as part of the Library's special collections.
The collection was begun by Dr. Watson's father, Wilbur J. Watson, a distinguished civil engineer and bridge designer who from his student days at Western Reserve University collected books on bridges and continued this interest during a long professional career. He founded the Watson Engineering Company in Cleveland, developed some important early concrete standards and authored several books, one with his daughters Sara Ruth and Emily.
Dr. Sara Ruth Watson initiated, and from 1940 to 1970, taught a pioneer course in the History of Civil Engineering. She continued and expanded her father's collection. In October 1986, after the death of her sister, Dr. Watson established the Emily M. Watson Endowment Fund for the maintenance and acquisition of books and periodicals to the Watson Bridge Book Collection, which have as their primary focus the history of civil engineering with a special emphasis on bridges. Dr. Sara Ruth Watson left a bequest in 1996 to further support the Watson Bridge Book Collection.
*Indicates resources from the Cleveland Digital Library.