Century of Progress records

Inclusive Dates: 

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

6 linear feet (264 photographs, 16 oversize folders) of material consisting primarily of printed promotional material from the Century of Progress fair, as well as press releases from its publicity department and various souvenir and ephemeral items such as menus, diaries, postcards, and scrapbooks, which offer detailed and personal accounts of the fair. Pre-fair publications dating from 1928 to 1933 consist of essays and public addresses written as part of the exposition’s publicity and fundraising campaigns and covering fair aesthetics and architecture, among other topics. Other exhibition publications included in the collection pertain to murals by William Mark Young in the Ohio building, by Thomas Hart Benton in the Indiana building, and by various artists for the Michigan building, as well as a painting by H. Stanley Todd, sculpture at the fair, and the Art Institute of Chicago’s concurrent art exhibitions. The collection also includes photographs taken by the Kaufmann & Fabry Studio, the fair’s official photographers, showing sculptural decorations at the fair.

Biographical Historical Note

A Century of Progress International Exposition was held in Chicago during the summers of 1933 and 1934 to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of the incorporation of the city of Chicago in 1833. The fair’s theme was the spectacular advances of science and technology during the period 1833-1933 and it showcased modern architecture and design.

Additional Notes

Related collections: Century of Progress : Chicago world's fair centennial celebration, [ca. 1933–1934], Photographs of the Century of Progress, 1933–1934, Official Kaufmann & Fabry photographs of the Century of Progress, 1933–1934, Photographs of the Century of Progress, 1933–​1934, and Laban Deardorff collection of visual materials, ca. 1890–1933, bulk 1893–1903, Chicago History Museum; Century of Progress Collection, c.1920s–1980, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, Art Institute of Chicago; A Century of Progress memorabilia collection, 1933–1999, and A Century of Progress Records, 1927–1952, University of Illinois at Chicago.