Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau

Jewelry District

Providence Personalities: The Jewelry District

Jewelry District Pedestrian Bridge
Nehemiah Dodge
(1769–1843)

Nehemiah Dodge is often called the “father of America’s jewelry industry” and Providence’s first jewelry maker. His innovations in plated gold paved the way for the production of affordable jewelry for a mass market.

Jewelry District
Jabez Gorham
(1792–1869)

Jabez Gorham, a silversmith and merchant, founded his first company in 1815 with three partners, inventing and producing a popular jewelry chain (“Gorham Chain”). In 1831 he founded his own company (initially called Gorham & Webster) to produce coin silver spoons.

Amos Chafee Barstow
Amos Chafee Barstow (1813–1894)

Amos Chafee Barstow was a businessman, politician and civic leader. He founded the Barstow Stove Company in 1849, and was the first president of the YMCA and mayor for one term. His 1875 appointment to the Board of Indian Commissioners by President Grant led to several trips to the American West.

Thomas Arthur Doyle
Thomas Arthur Doyle
(1827–1886)

Thomas Arthur Doyle was mayor of Providence for three terms from 1864 until his death in 1886. During this time, the city's population grew from 54,000 to 120,000. He oversaw construction of City Hall, introduced the police force, improved schools and acquired the land for Roger Williams Park.

“Doyle’s mayoral career was absolutely free from the taint of jobbery, dishonesty, or malfeasance and deserving of studious attention on the part of those interested in the difficult and undefined art of municipal government.” Boston Advertiser, 1886

Stanton Browning Champlin
Stanton Browning Champlin
(1827–1895)

Champlin & Son was founded by Stanton and his son George in 1872 and produced gold rings and chains. George Champlin founded the United Wire & Supply Corporation in 1900. The family’s Champlin Foundation exists to this day, having donated more than $600 million in charitable grants since 1932.

Sarah Elizabeth Doyle
Sarah Elizabeth Doyle
(1830–1922)

Sarah Elizabeth Doyle, educator and educational reformer, helped found RISD and the Providence Athenaeum. Her campaign to admit women to Brown University succeeded in 1891 with the admission of the first six women. Doyle was the first woman awarded an honorary degree from Brown University in 1894.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
(1860–1935)

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a prominent American novelist, feminist and social reform activist. She wrote ad copy and designed trade cards for soap manufacturer Kendall Manufacturing Co. Her most famous work is the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” an important milestone for feminist literature.