These 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 portrait sculptures arranged around
a drum shaped base gives recognition to the military and political leaders from the state of Ohio
who contributed greatly to the Union cause during the Civil War.
The title of the statue is taken from an anecdote of Roman history. The figure atop the statue is
Cornelia, a wealthy and respected Roman woman whose sons Gaius and Tiberius were prominent in
military action and in politics. The story goes that Cornelia was visited by several friends who
took delight in displaying their new and expensive garments and elaborate jewelry, and after each
of the women had taken their turn at being complimented, they asked their hostess where her fine
things were. The quick witted Cornelia left the room, her face alight with pride and returning
with her sons pronounced, "These are my jewels."
In the context of the statue Cornelia personifies the state of 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 six "jewels": Generals Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, James A.
Garfield and Phillip Sheridan as well as Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase and Secretary of War Edwin
Stanton, and 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-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 three of the state's eventual eight 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.