Storer, Maria Longworth Nichols

Storer, Maria Longworth Nichols

(1849–1932) ceramicist, arts patron; born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Born into the wealthy Longworth family, she married at age 19 George Ward Nichols and together they promoted the musical institutions of Cincinnati. Impressed by the Japanese pottery she saw at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition (1876), she began to experiment with making pottery. In 1880 she established Rockwood Pottery (in Cincinnati), which became famous for its vases and jugs with a rich glaze that she had developed. Her Rockwood ware won a gold medal at the 1889 Paris Exposition. She withdrew from the business in 1890 and embarked on a new life with her second husband (her first having died in 1885), Bellamy Storer (a lawyer who went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep., Ohio; 1891–95). Through their friendship with Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, he was appointed ambassador to Austro-Hungary in 1902. Meanwhile, having been converted to Catholicism by Cincinnati's Archbishop John Ireland, the Storers tried to pressure the Vatican to appoint him a Cardinal, but their machinations led them to break with Roosevelt, who then dismissed Storer (1906). Maria then refused to attend the wedding of her nephew Nicholas Longworth to Roosevelt's daughter Alice Roosevelt. She lived out her final years in Paris, Boston, and Cincinnati, writing on various subjects and taking part in charitable activities.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.