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"The Groesbecks were another comely race."

January 22, 2008 10:05 PM

In the comments, Polite, Refined and Tall suggests that the video "Price Hill Girls" should be reason enough for me to visit the West Side.  And here's what that comment reminds me of, and that's this passage from The Serene Cincinnatians, which was published in 1950 as part of the "Society in America" series (if you haven't already, do check out The Spectacular San Franciscans, the authors of which must have had no idea of what was yet to come):

The Groesbecks were another comely race.  In mid-nineteenth century, the Misses Olivia Groesbeck and Sally Carneal were spoken of as the two most beautiful girls in Cincinnati.  A portrait of Olivia by Thomas Buchanan Read, in the home of a kinswoman in New York, confirms not only the fact of her beauty but of Read's fine ability as a painter.  She visited England once, and met the Duke of Wellington, evidently making a distinct impression upon that old connoisseur; for there is a legend that when, long afterward, he tasted some of Nicholas Longworth's wine, and praising it, asked where it came from, "Cincinnati!" he repeated.  "Ah, that is where Miss Groesbeck lives."

Back in my Bachelor days, I used to think this anecdote would make a great toast.  I would re-tell it, and then raise my glass to the beautiful young lady, and salute both her, and our fair city, saying, "To Cincinnati.  Where Miss Groesbeck lives."

But you know what?  We never had any Groesbecks as débutantes.  Much less any from there. 


Race? People from Groesbeck are practically a different species at this point. Jesus, the Galapagos Islands have nothing on Groesbeck at this point.

Cammy Camargo   ·  January 22, 2008 11:02 PM

Possibly the snobbiest post ever to appear on this blog.

Anonymous   ·  January 22, 2008 11:19 PM

Dear NBS,

It is clear from your remarks about the Groesbeck maidens that you have never ventured west of the Mill Creek - and into the land flowing with milk and honey.

As a young lad growing up in the Heights of Miami, I remember well the spring galas hosted by Brigadier Groesbeck for his five daughters: Elizabeth, Jane, Mary, Catherine and Lydia.

[The Brigadier's wife, Lady Groesbeck, had a keen sense of the melodramatic]

We would spend the afternoon hunting wild game on the preserves of Observatory Estates. When each of the Groesbeck maidens came "of age", it would be her task to bag her first antelope. After this task was (inevitably) accomplished, the Groesbeck maiden was ceremoniously presented with her first sidearm, her first single malt scotch, and her first Cuban cigar. The rest of the hunting party would then raise our Waterfords to the appropriate Miss Groesbeck and exclaim:

"To Cincinnati, where Miss Groesbeck lives!"

Several dozen crystal goblets were then smashed into the old ruins of the Observatory.

Alas, those days are long past, but I still look back fondly on my forays with the Groesbeck maidens.

Polite, Refined, Tall - and a Westsider.

Polite, Refined and Tall   ·  January 23, 2008 11:46 AM

My apologies to those nonWestsiders who do not know where the TRUE OBSERVATORY ESTATES are located:


Polite, Refined and Tall   ·  January 23, 2008 11:54 AM

Ah, the days when one could legally
enjoy a Cuban cigar. And a lovely lady enjoying one with a shot of finely crafted Scotch Whiskey. Sexxxy!

The taste of fresh pit roasted antelope, served with an assortment of canapes,and alongside copious magnums of Rothschild, was truly to be savored.

Of course, in my day the sidearms issued were not these new space guns, but good old Colt New Army Model .44 revolvers.

Thank you for bringing back these fond memories.

The Nonjuror   ·  January 23, 2008 02:54 PM

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