Biographical / Historical
On January 1, 1885, William Barclay Parsons (1859-1932) and his younger brother Henry de Berkeley Parsons founded a consulting engineering firm in New York City. The brothers combined their talents as civil and mechanical engineers to create a firm that would making a lasting mark on designing and constructing infrastructure. Among the firm's most notable projects were the original IRT line of the New York City Subway, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART), the Cape Cod Canal, and the charting the course of a railway in China from Hankow (Wuhan) to Canton (Guangzhou). The firm also designed and built large water supply systems, railroads, hydro-electric dams, refrigeration warehouses, marine terminals, and conducted survey work. Through the years, the firm diversified its engineering competence and knowledge by adding partners: Eugene A. Klapp (b. 1867), chief engineer and bridge specialist; Henry M. Brinckerhoff (b. 1868), a traction engineer; Walter J. Douglas (b. 1872), structural engineer and bridge specialist; and Maurice Quade (1900-1966), structural engineer. The firm had several name changes and became known as Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade and Douglas with both domestic and foreign offices. Today the company operates in the fields of strategic consulting, planning, engineering, construction management, infrastructure and community planning. Parsons Brinckerhoff was acquired by WSP Global in 2014.
Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade and Douglas Notes, December 1960.
Bobrick, Benson. Parsons Brinckerhoff The First 100 Years. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1985.
Petroski, Henry. "William Barclay Parsons," American Scientist, Volume 96, No. 4, July-August 2008, pp. 280-283.