“Busts of the Mercantile” Wednesday: John Parsons Foote

img_0429.jpgMost of the busts in the collection reflect, in a city with a Roman moniker and a Capitoline wolf parked on one of the approximately seven hills, an appropriately Roman sensibility in that many of the other sitters – or whoever was picking up the tab – directed the sculptors to go totally realistic the way all those tribunes and proconsuls preferred. Warts and all. Certainly that is the case with John P. Foote. He’s no matinee idol, but you have to like a guy who looks not unlike a nineteenth century Jim Tarbell before the alopecia set in. The similarity to the city’s current vice mayor goes beyond the physical. Printer and writer J.P. Foote was a relentless Cincinnati booster. We here at the Library believe John and his brother Sam had as much to do with the Lyman Beecher family coming to Cincinnati than the Board of Directors of the Lane Seminary did. The Footes’ (Feete’s?) sister Roxana was Lyman Beecher’s wife and the mother of his many children, including Harriet. Roxana had died by the time the Beechers moved to Cincinnati, and Lyman was on his second wife, but you have to figure that he at least wrote to his brothers-in-law to see what he would be getting into if he uprooted everybody from Connecticut to go live on the frontier. John Foote wrote the first history of education in Cincinnati. It’s in the stacks here. Somewhere.

-Nemo Wolfe

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Published in: on October 25, 2006 at 10:32 am  Leave a Comment  

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