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Fairs and Expositions Collection, 1893-1967
1999-2  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Contents Note
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Collection Title: Fairs and Expositions Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1893-1967
    Collection Number: 1999-2
    Extent: 3 boxes, 4 card file boxes
    Repository: Environmental Design Archives.
    College of Environmental Design.
    University of California, Berkeley.
    Berkeley, California
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in the collection should be discussed with the Curator.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Philip Fein Collection, (1964-1), Environmental Design Archives. College of Environmental Design. University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, California

    Acquisition Information

    This is an artificial collection assembled from smaller donations.

    Access Points

    Exhibitions.
    Golden Gate International Exposition (1939-1940 : San Francisco, Calif.)
    Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915 : San Francisco, Calif.)
    Panama-California Exposition (1915-1916 : San Diego, Calif.)

    Historical Note

    Fairs and Expositions
    The first world's fair was held in Hyde Park in London in 1851. The fair displayed foods, fine art and new technology from nations around the world. It was housed in the Crystal Palace, itself a technological wonder, which was constructed specifically for the event. Subsequent fairs and the nations and cities which held them sought to compete for acknowledgement and prestige. As a result, subsequent fairs were almost always increasingly larger with more elaborate architecture and exhibits. The 1889 World's Fair in Paris boasted of its Eiffel Tower, the 1893 Columbian Exposition touted its White City and giant Ferris wheel, the Louisiana Exposition could claim it occupied a greater area than any other world's fair, and the Panama-Pacific International Exposition was famous for its Tower of Jewels.
    Although fairs provided visitors with recreation, their principle purpose was the dispersal of ideas, technology and culture. Through their grounds, buildings and exhibits, fairs disseminated ideas about city planning, the relations of nations, the advancement of science, and beliefs about ethnic groups, races, and the sexes. One of the major themes was undoubtedly consumerism. The exhibits and elaborate displays of goods catered to and influenced middle-class tastes and consumption on an international scale.
    The plan, architecture and grounds of the fairs were created as examples of ideal cities with extravagant and sometimes exotic architecture. They usually included three types of buildings: large pavilions, national and state buildings, and company exhibits. The groups who constructed the buildings competed with each other to create the most impressive displays. Nations attempted to create buildings which dwarfed their neighbors, states created monumental displays of their natural resources and industries, and merchants built elaborate exhibit booths to display goods such as mechanical equipment, furniture and other products.
    The 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition was the first world's fair to be held in California (San Francisco had been the site of the smaller Midwinter Fair in 1894 and the Mechanics Fair in 1913). The Panama-Pacific International Exposition (P.P.I.E.) celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal, and showed off the rebirth of its host city, San Francisco, after the devastating 1906 earthquake and fires. The P.P.I.E. was the last great American Neo-Classical exposition in the nineteenth century tradition. The plan and buildings were conceived of and designed by numerous architects such as Willis Polk, Bernard Maybeck, Henry Bacon and Louis Mullgardt. The focal point was the 450 foot high Tower of Jewels designed by Carrere and Hastings which featured 100,000 polished faceted glass jewels backed by tiny mirrors. San Francisco had competed with several other cities, including San Diego, for the honor of hosting the fair. Although San Diego eventually acquiesced to San Francisco, it had its own smaller Panama-California Exposition 1915. In 1916, many of the exhibits from the P.P.I.E. were moved to the Panama-California Exposition. Small fairs such as this were often patterned on the larger world's fairs.
    San Francisco continued the world's fair tradition in 1939 with the Golden Gate International Exposition (G.G.I.E.), built on the man-made Treasure Island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Unlike the earlier world's fairs which usually employed classical motifs, the G.G.I.E. buildings were an interesting mix of modernism and Aztec and Mayan motifs. The G.G.I.E. was the last world's fair in California and one of the last in the United States, as other recreation options and new communication mediums such as radio and eventually television eclipsed the fairs.
    Sources:

    Allwood, John. "The Great Exhibitions." London: Cassell & Collier Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1977.
    Benedict, Burton. "The Anthropology of World's Fairs: San Francisco's Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915." Berkeley: The Lowie Museum of Anthropology, 1983.
    "The Books of the Fairs: Materials about World's Fairs, 1834-1916, in the Smithsonian Libraries." Chicago: American Library Association, 1992.
    Echternach, Thomas Nelson. "A World's Fair for San Francisco." Thesis. U.C. California.
    "San Francisco Fair." Architectural Forum. Vol. 70 no. 6 p.463. June 1939.

    Scope and Contents Note

    The Fairs and Expositions collection consists of drawings, photographs, postcards and publications that document a variety of fairs and expositions nationwide. The collection is organized into five series: I. Panama-Pacific International Exposition, II. Panama-California Exposition, III. Golden Gate International Exposition, IV. California Fairs and V. Non-California Fairs. The bulk of the material is from the two California World's fairs: the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915 and the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939. The Fairs and Expositions Collection is an artificial collection assembled from smaller donations.

    Related Collections

    Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, Seattle, (1909)
    Title: John Galen Howard Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: (1955-4),
    Contributing Institution: Environmental Design Archives
    Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, (1939)
    Title: Bernard Maybeck Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: (1956-1),
    Contributing Institution: Environmental Design Archives
    Title: William G. Merchant Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: (1962-2),
    Contributing Institution: Environmental Design Archives
    Title: Irving and Gertrude Morrow Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: (1992-1),
    Contributing Institution: Environmental Design Archives
    Panama-California International Exposition, Balboa Park, San Diego, (1915)
    Title: Paul Thiene Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: (1962-1),
    Contributing Institution: Environmental Design Archives
    Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, (1914-1915)
    Title: Bakewell and Brown Collection,
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 91/99 c,
    Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
    UC Berkeley
    Berkeley, CA
    Title: Bakewell and Brown Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: (19XX-11),
    Contributing Institution: Environmental Design Archives
    Title: Bernard Maybeck Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: (1956-1),
    Contributing Institution: Environmental Design Archives
    Title: Louis Christian Mullgardt Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: (1952-2),
    Contributing Institution: Environmental Design Archives
    Title: Photographs of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition,
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC PIC 1905.11405-.11543--PIC,
    Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
    UC Berkeley
    Berkeley, CA
    Title: Panama Pacific International Exposition Pictorial Miscellany,
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC PIC 19xx.485--G,
    Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
    UC Berkeley
    Berkeley, CA
    Title: Willis Polk Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: (1934-1),
    Contributing Institution: Environmental Design Archives
    Contributing Institution: Smithsonian Institution, Archives and Manuscripts
    Identifier/Call Number: 154
    San Francisco Midwinter Fair, (1894)
    Title: Willis Polk Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: (1934-1),
    Contributing Institution: Environmental Design Archives