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World's Columbian Exposition records

Inclusive Dates: 
1890–1904 (bulk 1890–1894)
Survey Repository: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

Archival records of the administration of the World's Columbian Exposition (WCE) and of its Board of Lady Managers, which operated the Woman's Building, its programs, and exhibitions at the fair. Collection includes WCE general administration records, including meeting minutes of the WCE's board of directors, executive committee, buildings and grounds committee, and other records. The Board of Lady Managers (BLM) records include meeting minutes of its board of directors, reports, lists, etc., and extensive correspondence. The BLM's letterpress copy books of outgoing letters are mostly by Bertha H. Palmer, president of the BLM. Topics of the BLM records include the design of the Woman's Building and arrangements for exhibitions within the building, committees and individual women representing states of the United States and foreign countries; and women receiving awards for creative work, such as needlework, crafts, inventions, and works of art.

Biographical Historical Note

Organized to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's voyage to the New World, the World's Columbian Exposition was held in Jackson Park, Chicago, between May and October, 1893. The Woman’s Building was the site of displays and decorations celebrating the character, achievements, and potential of international womanhood. The building was designed by young woman architect, Sophia Hayden, under the direction of the fair’s Board of Lady Managers, headed by socialite and collector Bertha Honoré Palmer, and featured art by many women artists, notably a mural entitled Modern Woman by American expatriate artist Mary Cassatt.

Additional Notes

Views of the World's Columbian Exposition, Laban Deardorff Collection of Visual Materials, John George M. Glessner Photograph Collection, George Frederick Newhall Glass Negatives of the World's Columbian Exposition, Olson-Moore Collection of World's Columbian Exposition Lantern Slides, World's Columbian Exposition Card Photographs, World's Columbian Exposition and Other Lantern Slides, Lantern Slides from the World's Columbian Exposition, C.D. Arnold Photograph Albums of World's Columbian Exposition Construction, Photograph Album of the World's Columbian Exposition, Album of Photographs of the Woman's Building at the World's Columbian Exposition, World's Columbian Exposition Card Photographs, Bertha Palmer and Palmer Family Research Collection, H. and F Photo C Potter Palmer and Palmer Estate Papers, Chicago Woman's Club records,  Chicago History Museum; D.H. Burnham Collection, Bertha Honoré Palmer Correspondence World's Columbian Exposition Collection, World's Columbian Exposition Photographs by C.D. Arnold, Historic Architecture and Landscape Image Collection, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago; C. D. Arnold Photographic Collection, Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections and Preservation Division.