March 25, 2010

"The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 - A Fair to Remember" presented by Arlene Wright Vanderlinde

In 1890, Congress selected Chicago as the host city for the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' discovery of the New World. After vigorous campaigning, Chicago prevailed over Washington, St. Louis and New York to be the site of this worldwide event. The New York papers dubbed Chicago the "Windy City" because of the amount of breath spent lauding the merits of the Midwestern metropolis. The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 marked the emergence of the United States as a major cultural force in the world.

We will look at the forces that shaped this event, the personalities involved and the problems that threatened its completion and success. Through images made from historic photos and maps, the audience will be able to view and understand the enormous feat that was accomplished in producing this greatest of all world's fairs. Along the way, we will explore Victorian America and become aware of the world's impression of our young country and how this fair changed the world's opinion of American cultural achievement.