Cincinnati Art Museum Discovering the Story Discovering the Story

Cincinnati's Golden Age

Cincinnati's Golden Age, 1850-1900

In its first one hundred years, Cincinnati evolved from an isolated frontier outpost to one of the nation's leading art and commercial centers. Between the 1780s and the 1850s, few towns in the United States offered as many commercial opportunities as Cincinnati.

During the nineteenth century, Cincinnati quickly grew as a center for trade and commerce, and by 1859, the city was among the largest industrial centers in the United States, second only to Philadelphia. Because of its position as the largest city in the west at that time, the city was soon given the title Queen City of the West.

Along with rapid industrial growth, the Queen City also flourished in the realm of the visual and decorative arts. From the fine art pottery of Rookwood to the dressmaking skills of the Selina Cadwallader, Cincinnati, from its inception, has and remains today a center for arts and industry.

In this series of lessons, students will explore the history of Cincinnati from 1850 to 1900, commonly referred to as The Golden Age. Through close inspection of Museum objects created during this period, students will discover the stories of five artists and their places in the tapestry of Cincinnati's rich cultural and artistic history.

Art-Carved Furniture in Cincinnati
Bedstead by Benn Pitman, Adelaide Nourse Pitman, and Elizabeth Nourse

Pitman Bed

Dressing Cincinnati in Her Finest
Reception Dress by Selina Cadwallade

Reception Dress

The Dueling Divas of Cincinnati Art Pottery
The "Ali Baba" Vase by Mary Louise McLaughlin and The Aladdin Vase by Maria Longworth Nichols Storer

Dueling Divas Vases

The Gift of Art to Cincinnati
Vase and Dedication Medallion by Tiffany and Co.

Springer Silver Vase


Additional Resources Glossary The Cincinnati Wing About Discovering the Story Educators Videoconference Underground Railroad Cincinnati's Golden Age

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