"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.