Mary Emery | Isabella F. Hopkins | Mrs. Carrie Conklin Sater | Dr. Ann Becker
Lucia Eckstein Hermanies | Mrs. Marie Hawk Jordan | Nancy Ford Cones

Founder of Mariemont

An eighteen-year old from New York city and Brooklyn traveled to Cincinnati in 1862 with her parents and sister, settling in Mount Auburn. This young lady, Mary Mulenberg Hopkins, born in New York in 1844, was well-educated, probably beyond the expectations for girls in the mid-nineteenth century. As a student at the prestigious Packer Institute in Brooklyn, she matriculated in advanced mathematics, astronomy, and a full range of courses designed to train eager and capable minds. Mary was the first of two daughters born to Richard H. Hopkins and Mary Barr Denny Muhlenberg (she was widowed from her first husband, Francis S. Muhlenberg.)
            In 1866, Mary married Thomas J. Emery(1830-1906), oldest son of the founder of a soon-to-be developed empire built on candle manufacturing, real estate, and housing construction. Their earliest home was a now demolished townhouse on West Fourth Street, Cincinnati. In 1881, Samuel Hannaford designed their rusticated stone mansion, called Edgecliffe (now demolished), in East Walnut Hills, overlooking the Ohio River. The Emery’s oldest son, Sheldon(1867-1890) was educated at St. Paul’s School, Concord, Massachusetts, and at Harvard University. They younger son, Albert(1868-1884), was fatally injured in a sledding accident while attending the same preparatory school. Early in the 20th century, Thomas Emery purchased an estate near Newport, Rhode Island, calling it “Mariemont,” and there the Emerys spent leisurely summers until his death in Cairo, Egypt, while traveling on an extended trip to the Middle East.
          Inheriting a vast fortune, Mary Emery embarked on a new role as philanthropist and benefactor during her remaining twenty-one years. Before her death in 1927, and recognizing her “vast responsibility” as she described it, she endowed or initiated children’s programs, hospitals and medical institutions, orphanages, colleges and universities, an art museum, various cultural agencies, and other causes that benefited humankind. Mary’s nature was retiring, even shy, she shunned publicity or credit. Her collection of Old Master paintings ( now Cincinnati Art Museum) and the founding of the planned community of Mariemont, Ohio, gave her great personal pleasure. Mary presided over the groundbreaking for Mariemont on April 23,1923, launching perhaps her greatest benefaction that employed America’s pre-eminent town planner, John Nolen; a host of architects from New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati; orchestrated by her representative and agent, Charles J. Livingood.

Created by Sam Amis and Michael Donovan
Mariemont City Schools | 2002
Last Updated: 12/27/05