Ohio State Exhibit

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Ohio State Exhibit  (1933) 
by Anonymous
Map of Ohio, overlaid with the text "The Ohio State Exhibit at A Century of Progress International Exposition - Chicago 1933-4 - published in 1933 by the Ohio commission to A Century of Progress International Exposition" and an image of the Great Seal of Ohio


"Back of all progress in human affairs must lie someone's dream—a constant and determined vision for the days and years ahead.

"Without undue heroics as to her pioneers, Ohio takes pleasure in honoring the men and women who, through frugalities, hardships and frequent suffering, led early America onward.

"May we of today face our problems of the future with an equal fortitude."

This, from the descriptive copy with the first mural in Ohio's Exhibit well conveys the spirit of her people.

Ohio realizes that there are many other nations, states and territories, each of which has its peculiar advantages and desirabilities. The effort in building this Exhibit has been, not that of promotion so much as being a good host to all her fellow peoples of the world; to provide comfort and beauty and surcease from care; to extend the same sort of greeting you would give an honored guest in your home.

Though such contacts we believe lies the royal road to friendship and to progress.

The Ohio Commission.

The Murals

Ohio has purposely avoided the modernistic and the grotesque in the mural treatment employed in the State Exhibit.

Rather the intent has been to depict in realistic form, with correctness of historical detail and pleasing exactitude.

William Mark Young, the artist commissioned to execute these murals, is particularly well known for the historic accuracy of his work.

The motif involved may well be described as "The Dreams of Ohio's Pioneers."

In the majority of the murals the hard reality of the pioneer is pictured in the foreground, while receding into the delicate pastel shades of the background we see modern results of the effort of those who have preceded us in building a civilization.

All these paintings are done in oil on flame proofed canvas and after the close of the Exposition will be installed permanently in some of Ohio's State Buildings.

The Pioneer's Dream

Our tribute is to the vision and courage of the pioneer families which left the softer life of the Eastern Colonies to face the dangers and hardships of the frontiers. Uncomplainingly and devotedly they stood together to win fruits which must largely go to their children and their children's children.

Such a family is pictured in our first mural.

Progressing from their humble cabin home we show in their vision of the future some of the present easily recognized Ohio skyscrapers in Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati and Columbus.


Here is pictured the crude beginning of the American school room, with desks and seats hewn roughly from logs; the stern school master and the eager children—all of which depicts how our forefathers received their "book learning." From this background we see the vision of Ohio State University and also of the modern township schools in Ohio.


Again we have the pioneer who has started his clearing. He is dreaming and visioning what the future will hold—the ripened fields, the comfortable farmhouse and modern equipment. Depicting development from almost nothing at that time, the vignetted background shows the vast farming industry of the State of Ohio at the present day.


In this painting the pioneer husbandman has paused for refreshment brought to the field by his young wife and as they rest he points to the future when new methods will do away with the drudgery of the hand plow. Their crude efforts mark them as empire builders, beginners of a "Century of Progress."

Cattle Raising

Here is depicted a young pioneer couple with their child and their small herd of cattle driving to their new home in the wilderness. The husband is trying to visualize to his wife the future for them, their children and succeeding generations. Progress from this humble beginning to the vast cattle range, large herds, the modern home, stock raising and dairy establishment spreads before the eye in the background.


Here is shown the development in the machine industry of which Ohio is justly proud. From the early blacksmith who formed the implements of pioneer life over his anvil our Pioneer's Dream carries us to the modern factory, with enormous specialized machines which move at the magic touch of trained mechanics and defy the abilities of thousands of King Pharoah's slaves.


This mural is devoted to coal and its part in Ohio industry, showing the Indian process of fire making by the friction of his bow string and stick and its progress up to the present day miner, with modern mining tools.

The vitality of coal to modern industrial life is suggested in the background.

Rail Transportation

The ox teams and prairie schooners lumbering over the hills of Ohio are indeed a long way back of the present railroad train and the most modern of railroad stations. The latter is typically illustrated by the new Cincinnati Terminal which was opened to the public about the same time as was "A Century of Progress" Exposition.


This painting, located in the back center of the exhibit, purposes to tie together the various paintings depicting Ohio products of the soil. Allegorical in its treatment it pleasingly conveys the idea of "Land of Plenty" which is Ohio.

Water Transportation

In this mural is depicted the progress made since the primitive bringing into the Ohio country of the pioneer by early flat boats and pirogues.

From this we progress to the Ohio river packet with the typical group awaiting its landing; the tow boat carrying millions of tons of freight each year; then the modern lake steamer and the modern ore boat with the attendant colossal loading and unloading docks.


This painting is dedicated to Thomas A. Edison and his works.

This great Ohio born inventor is shown in his study with his first phonograph, and the allegorical background brings out the fact that each American workman now has the assistance of four electrical horse power in his daily labors.


The romance of the oil industry is linked with Ohio's early history and we illustrate in this mural the first American use of petroleum.

The early Indians found this oil useful for medicinal purposes and obtained it by absorbing the oil from the surface of ponds, etc., with blankets. From this simple beginning has grown the mammoth industry shown by the modern oil wells in the haze above.


Here is the Exhibit described in the pages of the booklet as it is arranged in Ohio's space in the Court of States group. The view is taken from the balcony at the entrance.

Over the balcony but not practical of portrayal herein are three murals, the center painting depicting Ohio's welcome and on either side paintings illustrating two of the great principles of Ohio's basic law—Religious Tolerance and Manual Freedom.

Ohio's exhibit comprises over thousand feet of floor space. Practically everything in the exhibit except the paint on the walls is intended to be of permanent value to the State and to continue its usefulness through future generations.

Attendance up to forty thousand people per day have visited the Exhibit.

Electrical Map

This huge mechanical map is fourteen feet high and twelve feet wide; it weighs over a ton; and has thirteen hundred and two electric lights and a push button for each of these lights. There are over three and one-half miles of wiring involved.

Ohio's 88 counties are shown in various tints and the small 3½" squares into which the map is divided are each equivalent to a township.

Twenty-eight hundred towns are shown and indexed—including villages down to population of only 8 or 10 people. Roads, rivers, lakes and points of interest are depicted and locatable from the two large indexes.

The five leading products of each county are shown in pictorial form as is also the net cash income from agriculture and the industrial payroll per county.

A printed pictorial map of Ohio along similar lines is given free to all visitors,

A vast amount of original research and compilation of fact from various sources is involved in these maps, and information is procurable through their use which would require perusal of many volumes, some of which are not at all commonly available.

Highway Transportation

In the forefront of this painting are the rough dirt roads, the stage coach and the people of early days.

In the upper part of the mural is indicated the vast mileage of paved roads on which thousands of automobiles, buses and trucks now travel each day.

The old tavern shown is taken from an actual Ohio Inn built in 1803 and still welcoming the traveler.


One of Ohio's very earliest industries ante-dating the white man by many centuries is here shown with the Indians making their primitive pipes, jugs and bowls.

In the vignette above is portrayed the vast present day potteries in which Ohio leads the nation.

Air Transportation

This mural illustrates the long and patient pioneering of the Wright brothers, showing an exact representation of Wilbur Wright's first airplane propelled by motor. Above is the realization of these dreams, pictured in the mighty army planes flying in formation. Included also is the "Macon" built by Ohio industry which has developed so much for aeronautical science.

Potteries, Busts, Moving Pictures

While no attempt at a product or process display could be made in the space available, Ohio products are used in the exhibit so far as practical.

Art potteries from Ohio's great ceramic plants are used for decorative purposes.

Busts of the seven Ohio born Presidents of the United States and the first and present Governors of the State, mostly modeled by Ohio sculptors, are also used.

The vast industrial importance of the state is further emphasized by moving pictures of many of its leading industries. These film showings provide opportunity for visitors to rest and at the same time learn much of interest about the third industrial State in the Union.

The Settees

This unique seating, provided for the comfort of foot-weary visitors, is also characteristic in craftsmanship.

Built in Ohio, of native black walnut, the settees have upholstery of virgin Ohio wool, made into hand hooked rugs by Ohio's women. This distinctive American handicraft reaches perhaps its greatest excellence in the hills of Southern Ohio.

All designs are original for these settee coverings and no two of the thirty-four are alike.

The silhouette backs portray in intriguing manner the high lights of Ohio's history while the lettered inscriptions describe the historic episode pictured in the silhouette below.

At the close of the Exposition these seats will find permanent homes in Ohio's Public Buildings.


The Ohio Commission to a Century of Progress Exposition wishes to express its appreciation to:

Sewah Studios, designers of and contractors for the Ohio Exhibit, and all artists and sub-contractors who worked so earnestly to carry out the fundamental motif of the Exhibit, and to have it ready for the opening day of the Exposition:

Mr. Rufus C. Dawes, President of A Century of Progress International Exposition:

Mr. H. F. Miller, Federal and State Participation, Department of Exhibits; and those associated with him:

The Chicago Society of Ohio Women whose unselfish service provides voluntary hostesses during the entire period of the Exposition:

The Ohio Society of Chicago whose cooperation has at many times proved most helpful:

The manufacturers of Ohio who have contributed to the scope and success of the exhibit:

Mr. George R. Boyce, former Ohioan, now resident of Chicago, as Resident Commissioner:

And to all others whose help has made possible the Exhibit in its present form.

The Ohio Commission.

Charles F. Henry, Director.

Ohio Commission


a Century of Progress
International Exposition

Governor George White, Chairman
Columbus, Ohio

Charles F. Henry, Director
Marietta, Ohio

Charles H. Lewis
Harpster, Ohio

Charles F. Williams
Cincinnati, Ohio

George R. Boyce, Resident Commissioner
Chicago, Illinois

Map of Ohio, with overlayed text "Copies of this map, 10x 24 inches «printed in four colors and on one side of paper only for decorative purposes, may be had free at the Ohio Exhibit, or will be mailed upon request to the Director of the Ohio Commission to A Century of Progress, Marietta, Ohio."

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was legally published within the United States (or the United Nations Headquarters in New York subject to Section 7 of the United States Headquarters Agreement) between 1927 and 1977 (inclusive) without a copyright notice.

This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.