This small and intimate exhibit features the work of the mother of the American valentine and Worcester, Esther Howland. In 1847, Howland received an English valentine, which inspired her to design her own. She sold her cards through her father’s stationery store and business flourished. After merging with Edward Taft in 1879, the New England Valentine Company became one of the largest greeting card companies in the world.
This late 1830s portrait of Hepsibeth Hemenway has been part of Worcester Historical Museum’s collection since 1895. While we know a good deal about the sitter, what can we uncover about the circumstances of the portrait? How did a woman of little means and mixed-race background in early America get a portrait commissioned? Explore the Rice Gallery and learn about the artist community that developed in Worcester in the early 1800s and its relationship to the portrait of the celebrated cakemaker, Hepsibeth Hemenway.
In 1912, the Titantic, known as “the Unsinkable Ship,” sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. One-hundred years later we know more about this tragedy than ever before. This exhibit tells the stories of the Worcester residents who perished, and a few that survived one of the world’s greatest maritime disasters.