The World’s Fair Ephemeral and Graphic Material Collection

The World’s Fair Ephemeral and Graphic Material Collection is now available at the Maryland Room, 1st floor Hornbake Library. To celebrate, we are featuring four blog posts about World’s Fair history and the collection. Read the next post Friday, February 8, 2013.

Part 1 of 4

Crystal Palace, 1853-54

Crystal Palace, New York Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations (1853-1854). Carstensen, Georg, 1812-1857. Periodical Illustrations: monochrome.

Before the internet, World’s Fairs gave people the chance to explore the world outside their everyday experience. People from all over the world flocked to the fairs to see the monumental architecture and exotic landscapes and to experience different cultures, international foods and new inventions. For a brief amount of time, cities would transform their everyday setting into places of magic and entertainment.

Festival Hall

Festival Hall, Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904 : Saint Louis, Mo.). Photomechanical prints: black and white; 23.5 x 18.5 cm.

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations, held in 1851 in London’s Hyde Park, is known as the first international exposition. The Great Exhibition was organized by Henry Cole and Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, to celebrate modern industrial technology and design. It became a platform for countries from around the world to display their achievements.

Crystal Palace 1851

Crystal Palace, Great Exhibition (1851 : London, England). Paxton, Joseph, Sir, 1803-1865. Gelatin silver print: black and white.

Visit the recently expanded finding aid for the World’s Fair Ephemeral and Graphic Material Collection and A Treasury of World’s Fair Art & Architecture digital archive for more information.

Article by A. Moore, Historic Preservation Graduate Assistant.

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