Rookwood Pottery of Cincinnati was the first to gain artistic recognition and respect for the United States. In 1889, Rookwood was awarded the First Prize Gold Medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle. This was a shock to the international artistic community who had never really paid much attention to American ceramics. In less than a decade after starting as a hobby pottery shop, Rookwood had grown to become a company with an international reputation for ceramic excellence. This recognition forever changed the way the international community viewed American art.
Named after the Longworth family estate in Cincinnati, Rookwood became the first female manufacturing company in the United States. Maria hired a team of famous artists, talented art students and glaze technicians encouraging them to exchange ideas. Most importantly, she encouraged her employees to be creative, to try new subjects, new techniques and new mediums. Whatever inspired them to create fine art.