Columbus Ohio Tourism
Support our advertisers

These Are My JewelsThese Are My Jewels

The sculptural group "These Are My Jewels" is an imposing addition to the Northwest corner of the Statehouse grounds. Tall and commanding, a series of life-size sculptures arranged around a drum shaped base gives recognition to Ohio military and political leaders who contributed greatly to the Union cause during the Civil War.

The figure atop the statue is Cornelia, a figure taken from Roman history. Cornelia was a wealthy and respected Roman woman whose sons Gaius and Tiberius, were prominent in both their military and political careers. As the story is told, friends of Cornelia were visiting. They were taking delight in showing off their expensive garments and jewels. After each women had taken her turn at being complimented, they asked their hostess Cornelia, where her fine things were. The quick witted Cornelia left the room and then returned with her sons, pronouncing, "These are my jewels."

In the context of the statue, Cornelia personifies Ohio, presenting to the nation in time of crisis with the state's best and brightest sons to be used in the service of the war effort. The idea of the statue comes from the boast of General Roeliff Brinkerhoff who claimed that Ohio's most distinguished contribution to the nation was her men.

Brinkerhoff was president of the Ohio Archeological and Historical Society, forerunner of today's Ohio Historical Society, and had the conception of using Cornelia in a monument of some kind that would be part of an Ohio Pavilion at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The details were worked out by architect and sculptor Levi Tucker Scofield, a Union officer himself, who had previously created the epic Sailors and Soldiers Monument in Cleveland.

The original plan was to honor 6 "jewels."


as well as

  • Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase

  • Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

This is how the piece was first shown. During its display at the Chicago event, the monument's location was less than ideal. Originally intended to house a show case of Ohio products of industry and agriculture as well as art and handicraft, the Ohio building was essentially a very comfortable and rather ornate public convenience, in other words, a rest room. The artwork would have a more fitting setting when it was brought to Columbus after the close of the World Exposition.

Public subscription raised the funds needed to bring the monument to Columbus, erect it on the grounds of the Statehouse, and create a seventh "jewel".

Governor William McKinley lead efforts to honor his old commanding officer, Rutherford B. Hayes on the Jewels monument, so that portrayed around the drum shaped base of the statue are no less than 3 of the state's eventual 8 Presidents.

The "Jewels" statue would be a popular land mark for downtown pedestrians, and was humorously portrayed by Columbus native James Thurber in his short story The Day the Dam Broke. In Thurber's description of the panic surrounding the 1913 flood in the downtown area, he conjures up the hilarious image of a woman climbing onto the bronze shoulders of the Jewels in her frenzied attempt to escape the approaching flood waters, which actually never came.


Statehouse Statues

Surrounding the Ohio Statehouse are numerous statues and monuments. As part of a new program, you can telephone the statues and they will tell you in some detail about the subject. Here are the numbers:

The Ohio Statehouse is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends.

Read also:

Touring the Ohio Statehouse

Timeline of the Ohio Statehouse

Ohio Statehouse and Abraham Lincoln

Ohio Statehouse Weddings