Exhibits by Theme
Visual Tours: Case-by-case (exhibit case views)
The layout of this virtual exhibition closely follows the narrative in the Exhibition Catalog. Starting with the front center and continuing in a clockwise direction, the cases contain exhibits and descriptive information. Follow the links and linkable images in this virtual exhibition, and explore the related digital resources, professionally preserved archives and manuscript collections, and other resources of the University of Toledo Libraries.
By choosing the name “Toledo,” the founders of the city in 1837 seemed interested in promoting it as a place with an international focus. At the time, all things Spanish were in vogue, and the name may have been a way to make the new Toledo seem fashionable, trendy, and perhaps exotic. [read the complete summary]
Chapter 1 - Toledo In the World
Toledo has experienced an influx of international influences from residents who traveled abroad, embraced the cultures they experienced, and brought back with them global ideas. These international influences of Toledo residents have shaped the city in many rich and significant ways.
Edward Drummond Libbey and his wife, Florence Scott Libbey, are the best example of how travel abroad has improved the lives of all citizens of our city. In 1888, Libbey moved to Toledo from Massachusetts and established the Libbey Glass Company. From this one company, three others followed, making Toledo the Glass Capital of the World. Libbey used much of his vast fortune to found the Toledo Museum of Art in 1901. He and his wife began to travel the world purchasing art for the infant museum—so much so that in 1912 a new museum was built to house the expanding collection. Today, the Toledo Museum of Art has an international reputation, and Toledoans have a chance to appreciate art from everywhere in the world.
There are plenty of other examples of how the world shaped citizens of our city. Adam Grant used creative expression to help him survive years in German concentration camps, and after relocating to Toledo, produced beautiful works of art that inspired. Betty Mauk was influenced by frequent trips to France to try to develop Toledo’s riverfront like that of Paris. Today, we appreciate her effort to create Promenade Park. Ella P. Stewart took the ideas of peace and social justice from her life as an African-American, and spread those ideas to Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Ward and Mariam Canaday invested much of their fortune in restoring antiquities in Athens, Greece. But through their generosity, they befriended the King and Queen of that country, and hosted a visit by the royal couple in 1953 that allowed the city to show itself off to the world.
Chapter 2 - Toledo Changes the World
Toledo’s global connections are about more than how the world impacted the city. Toledoans have also impacted the world through their personal actions and organizations they helped to create. Many of these efforts have focused on promoting peace and global understanding. While isolationism has historically been the predominate world view of Midwesterners, Toledo is perhaps unique in the way its citizens have viewed their responsibilities to the global community.
Gustavus Ohlinger, a Toledo lawyer, is one example. Born in China, he represented the Russian government in negotiations that ended the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. Brand Whitlock, a Toledo mayor, was appointed minister to Belgium in 1913, and when World War I broke out, he helped to save that country from starvation by overseeing the relief effort. Foy Kohler, ambassador to the Soviet Union during the Kennedy administration, not only helped to keep the Cold War from heating up, but also showed the Russians how democracy worked during the peaceful transfer of power following Kennedy’s assassination.
Leaders of the University of Toledo also influenced the world. Philip Nash, who worked his entire life to promote world peace, was a consultant to the conference that drafted the charter of the United Nations. William S. Carlson influenced the world through his research on Greenland, which he surveyed and helped to establish air bases there that became pivotal lifelines for pilots during World War II.
Toledoans also helped to promote global understanding through sports. In 1962, Joseph Scalzo brought athletes from 28 countries to the city for the Amateur World’s Wrestling Championships. The event was one of the first where athletes from Soviet Bloc countries were allowed to travel abroad to compete. And it focused the world’s attention on Toledo.
Chapter 3 - Toledoans in Foreign Wars
Foreign wars have impacted the lives of many Toledoans. Most studies of U.S. Involvement in wars abroad have concentrated on the causes and politics surrounding wars. It is easy to forget the impact of war on individuals soldiers. The firsthand accounts of soldiers from the Toledo area recorded in their journals, letters home, and keepsakes provide documentation of how these wars changed their lives, and impacted those at home.
Being overseas allowed Toledo soldiers to experience new places and cultures, and created opportunities that would have been impossible otherwise. Herbert White would sneak off from his battalion to experience French culture during his service in World War I. William Barlowe, who served in the Pacific theatre during World War II, had a more cynical view of his surroundings: “Nothing but jungle here,” he wrote. Dr. Max Schnitker, a Toledo neurosurgeon, used his war experience to further his professionals skills, operating on some of his most challenging cases. While stationed in India, he took many photographs of exotic animals and native inhabitants. Steven Pecsenye did not photograph what he saw, but instead completed detailed artistic drawings that he included with his letters back home.
Many of the letters home described both the boredom and exhilaration of service. Kenneth Colthorpe, who was a pilot in the dangerous China-Burma-India campaign, flew 144 crossings over “the hump.” “There are moments when I am sure I had enough of flying, but I guess I never really will,” he said in a letter back to his parents. Gordon Deye could not help feeling angry about the enemy: “I wish they’d develop a bomb that would sink the how string of Japanese islands.”
Some Toledo soldiers paid the ultimate cost of war. Carl Joseph was one such man, who was killed by a German sniper on D-Day. But his family never forgot him, and honor his life yet today.
Chapter 4 - Cultural Change through Cultural Exchange
Toledo has had a long history of cultural exchange organizations that have sought to foster greater international understanding and peace. In additional to formalized relationships with cities and regions, Toledo’s immigrant populations have done much to remember their heritage through organizations that celebrate their homelands.
One of the most important cultural exchange groups is the Association of Two Toledos, the oldest sister city organization in the world. The group developed because of the natural connection of two cities with the same name, and the earliest contact between the two occurred in 1876. In 1931, UT President Henry Doermann helped to formalize the relationship when he visited the country with a small delegation. He also convinced Spain to allow the University of Toledo to model its seal after the coat of arms of Ferdinand and Isabella. While the relationship between the two cities has been disrupted at times by war, it continues today. The association also helped to influence the establishment of Toledo Sisters Cities International, which now has formal relationships with cities in Germany, Hungary, Poland, China, Pakistan, and Lebanon.
Other cultural exchange organizations focus on a particular culture. Alliance Francaise, founded by Betty Mauk, celebrates French culture and provides language classes. Toledo Turners stressed the connection between physical fitness and German culture. And many of these groups hold yearly festivals where they invite others to experience their culture, including the International Festival, an umbrella celebration of the cultures of many immigrant groups.
The University of Toledo has also played a role in cultural exchange by both opening the door to foreign students to study at UT, and also by creating opportunities for American students to study abroad.
Chapter 5 - Toledo Businesses and World Markets
While it took time for Toledo to develop a successful industrial base, once it did, it did not take long for the companies to develop international markets.
The Owens Bottle Company, founded in 1904 by Michael Owens to produce the first machine that could produce glass bottles automatically, was one of the earliest Toledo companies to seek global expansion. One year after the company was founded, Owens and his investor Edward Drummond Libbey were selling licensing rights to the machine overseas. Within five years, the machine was in use all over Europe. Another company of Owens and Libbey—the Libbey-Owens Sheet Glass Company—sold its unique machine for making flat glass to the Japanese in 1920. The joint venture created the American-Japan Sheet Glass Company, and today is known as the huge international conglomerate of Nippon Glass.
One company that literally took the name “Toledo” around the world was Toledo Scale. Every one of its scales prominently displayed the company’s name, and the company’s motto of “No Springs, Honest Weight” was universally recognized. Some of the scales are still in use in far-flung countries around the globe today.
Another Toledo company can claim that its products played a key role in winning wars. In 1940, Willlys-Overland produced a prototype for a lightweight yet strong military vehicle that came to be known as the Jeep. During World War II, the Jeep was so key to victory that it was often called the Steel Soldier. It became a symbol to many around the world of American ingenuity.
But globalization of markets has been a double-edged sword for Toledo. Today, Toledo workers find themselves competing with workers in foreign countries were wages and regulations make products cheaper than they can be produced in the U.S.