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Book Talk – Chemistry Professor Peter Spellane on the Industrial and Chemical History of Newtown Creek

March 10, 2023 @ 12:00 pm 1:00 pm

Chemical and Petroleum Industries at Newtown Creek (2022) blends history, science, and commerce along New York’s 19th-century waterfront. Inspiration for the book, Professor Spellane explains, began while participating alongside City Tech colleagues in an interdisciplinary 2008 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant, “Water and Work: The History and Ecology of the Brooklyn Waterfront.” Spellane’s study also draws on maps and period documents in collections at the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Cooper Union Library, the New-York Historical Society, the Library of Congress, and other archives, including a copy of an 1880s map of Newtown Creek in the library at the Brooklyn Historical Society that indicated waterfront locations of recognizable forerunners to several modern chemical and petroleum manufacturing companies.