World's Columbian Exposition collection

Inclusive Dates: 
1890–1896

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

3.5 linear feet (7 boxes), 3 oversize portfolios, and 2 flatfiles of various materials pertaining to all aspects of the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, from initial preparations to specific buildings and exhibitors. The collection includes photographic prints and stereocards of exposition grounds, buildings and exhibits, publications and published articles, and ephemera such as maps, guidebooks, and exhibition tickets. Also included is a scrapbook by Halsey Ives, Chief of the Fine Arts Department of the exposition, that contains newspaper articles and correspondence relating to the fair’s Art Department, of which he had charge. The collection includes some interior images of fair buildings, including images of mural paintings and sculptures at the fair by Karl Bitter, A. Phimister Proctor, Robert Reid, Edward Clark Potter, Edward Kemeys, and Philip Martiny.

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. An estimated twenty-seven million visitors from around the world visited the fair during that time. The fair is recognized today as one of the defining moments of American cultural history and was especially influential in the fields of architecture and urban planning, laying the groundwork for the "City Beautiful" movement of the early 20th century.

Additional Notes

Related collections: World’s Columbian Exposition Records, 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 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. World's Columbian Exposition Collection, University of Illinois at Chicago, Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections and University Archives