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Exhibition Join In: Voluntary Assocations in America

Constitution and By-laws of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Organized November 5, 1852. 1870. General Collections, Library of Congress (105.00.00)
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“Tunnels of the Pacific Railroad,” paper read before the Society, January 5, 1870, in American Society of Civil Engineers Transactions. Volume 1. New York: Published by the Society, 1872. General Collections, Library of Congress (106.00.00)
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Illustration accompanying “Tunnels of the Pacific Railroad,” in American Society of Civil Engineers Transactions. Volume 1. New York: Published by the Society, 1872. General Collections, Library of Congress (106.01.00)
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American Society of Civil Engineers

After a failed attempt to create a national organization to represent engineers in 1839 and then a stalled beginning in 1852, the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) was revived in New York in 1867. Its purpose was to share information among its members through formal conferences and to raise and control the professional standards of the membership. In its first decades, it faced competition from organizations representing subfields of engineering, as well as local clubs that catered to the interests of tradesmen of a lower social class. The ASCE flourished in the twentieth century and became a leading force in the profession.