Cincinnati Panorama of 1848
Charles Fontayne and William S. Porter’ Cincinnati Panorama of 1848, the oldest wide view photograph of an American city, returns to permanent display after more than half a century out of the public eye. Located in the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room, this award-winning masterpiece is revered worldwide as one of the finest examples of daguerreian photography. Displayed in its original mat and mid 19th century frame, it is protected from deterioration with an interior housing of argon gas and filtered lights. Two interactive displays, one adjacent to the original and a second in the Main Library’s Atrium, allow the viewer to experience Cincinnati’s bustling riverfront through high definition images on touch screens. Navigate and zoom in for a glimpse of life along the riverfront in 1848. Points of Interest in the digital displays provide further exploration through portraits, newspapers, advertisements, documents, and maps from the time period.
Amelia Valerio Weinberg Memorial Fountain
The Amelia Valerio Weinberg Memorial Fountain is located on the Vine Street Plaza in front of the Main Library. Conceived and executed by former Cincinnati sculptor Michael Frasca, this ornamental fountain was made possible by a bequest from Mrs. Weinberg and was dedicated in 1990. Affectionately known as the “book fountain,” the sculpture features water cascading over a stack of ceramic tile books, representing the free flow of information and ideas through the printed word. The fountain is a popular spot for school groups and tourists.
Historic Stained Glass Windows
When the original Main Library opened to the public in 1874, three beautiful, intricate stained glass windows graced one of the reading rooms in the building. The windows were designed and manufactured by Riordan Art Glass in Cincinnati, now BeauVerre Riordan Studios.
In 1955, when the building was demolished, the windows were sold at auction, later to resurface as part of the décor of the Old Spaghetti Factory on Pete Rose Way. After the restaurant closed in 1997, the Library purchased the windows and began making plans to return them to the Main Library for the appreciation and enjoyment of our customers and staff.
Thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the Public Library and the Annabel Fey Trust Fund, the three windows have now been restored to their original glory by River City Art Glass and Restoration, Inc. and placed on permanent display on each floor of the Main Library. The restoration and display of these historic stained glass windows are dedicated in honor of Robert D. Stonestreet for his 31 years of service to the Library, including as Library Director from 1991–1998.
Louise Nevelson Sculpture
The 8th & Walnut Street entrance to the Main Library is flanked by “Sky Landscape II,” a major public sculpture by world-renowned artist Louise Nevelson (1899–1988). The 3,800-pound, 20-foot tall painted steel sculpture was relocated to the library on January 8, 1993. It had been given to the City of Cincinnati by Federated Department Stores (now known as Macy’s), who had commissioned the piece in 1980 for the entrance to their 7 West Seventh Street headquarters.
Honoring Our Veterans
The Veterans’ Memorial display case, located in the Atrium of the Main Library, recognizes the sacrifice and contribution of local veterans and showcases our collection of veterans’ memorabilia.
The Book Art of Will Hillenbrand
Select illustrations from local author/ illustrator Will Hillenbrand will be on view October 25, 2013–January 6, 2014 in the Main Library’s atrium. His beloved children’s books include such favorites as Kite Day, Mother Goose Picture Puzzles, and Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep.
The Drummer Boy of Shiloh: Illustrated Sheet Music of the Civil War
Whether it was on the battlefield or on the homefront, music played an important part in the lives of people during the Civil War. Sheet music from this era is on display October 1- December 31 at the Main Library in exhibition cases located in the Popular Library and next to the second and third-floor elevators in the South Building. “Drummer Boy of Shiloh” features vibrant chromolithographs on sheet music covers from 1861-85. Images and themes include Abraham Lincoln, African Americans, grand marches in honor of generals, tributes to Ulysses S. Grant, children of the battlefield, mothers of military sons, and patriotic tunes. Of special note are items related to Cincinnati, such as “Squirrel Hunter’s March” featuring the unfinished Roebling Suspension Bridge and “Cincinnati Rover Guards Quick Step.”
Testimony of Faith: An Exploration of World Religions through the Library’s Collections
Ever wondered what a Jain text looks like? Have you heard of the Book of Kells? Explore world religions from Paganism to Mormonism, Islam to Buddhism - all are represented in the current exhibit: Testimony of Faith. See a 16th century Jain manuscript and a facsimile of an 8th century illuminated Latin manuscript of the four Gospels of the New Testament. View drawings of religious costumes from the 1700s, and hundreds of years of religious writings. The exhibit will be on view in the Main Library's Joseph S. Stern Jr. Cincinnati Room from November 22 to January 26.
View selections from the exhibit online at the Virtual Library.