The Bancroft Survey Project began in February 2008. Funded by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon and the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundations, the survey project is intended to be a simultaneously broad and in-depth survey of all manuscript holdings of the Bancroft Library, which has been collecting for over a century. Four archivists were hired to scour the collections for a three year term, during which they will review the vast myriad of manuscript materials and use a survey instrument designed to gather data on collection scope, subject categories, and physical condition. The survey archivists are Marjorie Bryer, Amy Croft, Dana Miller, and Elia Van Lith, and they are also the authors of this blog.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Map of the 1893 Columbian Exposition Chicago World's Fair

Early in the survey we found a collection of scrapbooks that highlighted some of the world's fairs from the turn of the nineteenth century, primarily from an agricultural perspective. Charles Turrill, the scrapbook compiler and manager of the California exhibit at this fair, widened his collecting interests notably, however, when it came to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and Columbian Exposition, from which he collected a variety of documents and souvenirs. And how could he resist? From the debut of the Ferris Wheel and the birth of the carnival midway, to new innovations in electricity, early moving pictures, and other emergent technologies, this world's fair overflowed with captivating and awe-inspiring ideas. More than 27 million visitors came from across the United States and around the world from May through October 1893, and many of the wonders and spectacles beheld there in Chicago would come to have a profound impact on American culture.

The map below shows the physical vastness of the fair, over 600 acres of landscaped grounds, waterways, and several buildings. Due to its large size the map is best viewed in person.

From C-B 545, The "Charles B. Turrill papers as manager,
Preliminary World's Fair Exhibit of California, 1892".

Additional world's fair materials housed at the Bancroft include San Francisco at the World's Fair, Chicago, 1893. (1986; microfilm), 1939 World's Fair facts : Golden Gate International Exposition on San Francisco Bay (1939), and Hubert Howe Bancroft's 1895 Book of the fair; an historical and descriptive presentation of the world's science, art, and industry, as viewed through the Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893... and the Records of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco (BANC MSS C-A 190)

-- D. Miller.

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