always reblog for Cincinnati’s Old Main
Step into the past of the Old Main Library!
You’ve probably seen this image from Cincinnati’s Old Main before—it’s been shared countless times on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr. Now we’d like to share another view of the famed old atrium, courtesy of our Virtual Library team.
This image comes from an old lantern slide, and we guesstimate the year to be circa 1890. Katrina Marshall of our Digital Services team explains her detective work in aging the image:
I am not an expert … but the sleeves, especially on the woman in the center of the photo, caught my eye. “Leg of mutton” sleeves, with a tighter wrist and a puff of fabric at the shoulder, appear in the 1890s. And most women in the photo are dressed similarly, with a shirtwaist and ankle-length skirt, which became a popular style for working women of the time.
Here is a catalog link for a book Katrina referenced in her research.
The Old Main opened in 1874 and served Cincinnati until 1955, when it was torn down after the opening of the current Main Library. We still have many photographs, though, and these words from Harpers Weekly to recall its former grandeur:
“The first impression made upon the mind on entering this hall is the immense capacity for storing books in its five tiers of alcoves, and then the eye is attracted and gratified by its graceful and carefully studied architecture…”