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Introduction (Summary)

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.

The idea of Toledo as a city with a global focus was promoted by Jesup W. Scott, who in 1868 published a pamphlet predicting that Toledo would be the “Future Great City of the World.” This dream of Toledo becoming bigger than London, Paris, Rome, or any other city, would influence generations of Toledoans. Every new industry, every new development, all were evidence of Toledo’s greatness and its future as the center of world commerce. While Scott’s dream never came close to reality, it did influence him to establish a university in 1872 to train young people for their place in this “Future Great City.”

This exhibit looks at the influence of the world on Toledo, and the influence of Toledo on the world through its people, organizations, and industries. It examines individuals from Toledo who traveled to far-flung places and brought back ideas that shaped their future and that of the city. It also looks at how people from Toledo changed the world, the ways in which soldiers from the city were affected by their international service, how immigration impacted the city’s diversity, and finally, how Toledo businesses and industries expanded to become global markets.

And while this exhibit it an historical one, it is important to remember that globalization is an ongoing movement. While the world seems ever closer, its closeness can bring uncertainty. Hopefully, this exhibit reminds us that Toledo’s interactions with the world have been mutually beneficial, and embracing globalization will provide opportunities for exchange that will continue to improve the city and the world.

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Exhibit Case 1

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