Maria Longworth Storer
By Constance J. Moore and Nancy M. Broermann, 2019
While the adage may go, “Behind every great man is a great woman,” the story of Maria Longworth Storer necessitates a new adage—at the front of every great city is a great woman. After being shunted into the biographies and history books of other people, Longworth Storer is now finally given center stage on the one hundred and seventieth anniversary of her birth.
Maria Longworth Storer: From Music and Art to Popes and Presidents is the most comprehensive biography of this one of a kind Cincinnatian. Known as the founder of the first female-run manufacturing company in the United States, Rookwood Pottery, Longworth Storer was passionate about women’s rights, her city, and issues of poverty and the arts. She owned Rookwood pottery for nine years, and then transferred ownership after earning recognition at the Exhibition of American Art Industry in Philadelphia and receiving a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Aside from her success with Rookwood, Longworth Storer was central to making the Queen City the major cultural landmark it is today. Although the rest of her life was no less remarkable as the wife of notorious diplomat Bellamy Storer, later embroiled in the famous Roosevelt-Storer scandal, little has been written about her contributions and exploits in diplomatic relations and her powerful influence on turn-of-the-twentieth-century political leaders.
Featuring new archival research, and never before seen photos of the Storer family, authors Constance J. Moore and Nancy M. Broermann have compiled a portrait of Maria Longworth Storer that is rich in detail, fitting to both the wide, often eclectic, breadth of Longworth Storer’s projects, and to the depth of her impact on leaders from Washington D.C. to Europe.
Moving through major moments in both American and Cincinnati history, and intersecting with significant historical figures including Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, Moore and Broermann expose the broader historical narrative of Longworth Storer’s life without letting her unique spirit and individual accomplishments become overshadowed by them.
Through thoughtful, balanced narrative, readers get to know a remarkable woman whose fascinating and dramatic life as a political figure, women’s rights advocate, and patron of the arts has had a long lasting legacy on the Queen City and the Shaping of our nation’s diplomatic policies.