Pauline Jacobus was a young Chicago homemaker, interested in painting, who was inspired to create pottery after viewing a ceramics demonstration by the actress, Sarah Bernhardt. Encouraged by her husband, Oscar Jacobus, to study the craft, she traveled to Cincinnati to work with Maria Longworth Nichols and John Sargent at the Rookwood Pottery. In 1883, she returned home to hold her first exhibition of unglazed pottery and to form her own classes. A kiln was built locally; the art ware became popular and was sold through Kimball of Boston, Marshall Field in Chicago, and Tiffany in New York. The new company, "Pauline Pottery" was established and the search began for a nearby source of clay.
A fine bed of clay was discovered in Edgerton, Wisconsin so the family and the business relocated there in 1888. Oscar Jacobus left his job at the Chicago Board of Trade to produce ceramics in the same building where the decorated pottery was created by Pauline Jacobus and her 13 artisans.
The pieces of "Pauline Pottery" were characterized by glazes of tints and shades of blues and greens sometimes thinly outlined in black. The vase, statuettes and popular tea sets emulated European and Asian designs but chipped easily due to having been fired at low temperatures. They were identified by a three scalloped crown marking between two letter P's on the bottom.
When her husband died in1893, Mrs. Jacobus retired to her large home in Edgerton, set up the kiln there and started a school for leather tooling, stenciling and clay modeling. For extra income, she invited wealthy friends from Chicago to visit as paying guests. When her home was destroyed by fire in 1911, she lived with her daughter and later moved to Texas to reside with her grandson. In 1926, she moved to the Masonic Home in Dousman where she lived until her death at the age of 89.