Welcoming the World

Leta E. Miller

in Music and Politics in San Francisco

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780520268913
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950092 | DOI:
Welcoming the World

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In the first half of the twentieth century, San Francisco hosted two major world fairs: in 1915 and in 1939–40. A comparison of musical programming for these two enormous undertakings highlights changes in artistic taste and expression prompted, in part, by a new social awareness and an increased attention to diversity. Both fairs marked the end of difficult periods in city's history while nominally celebrating massive engineering feats. The Panama–Pacific International Exposition—February 20 to December 4, 1915—came at the end of the city's recovery from its most devastating local catastrophe, the quake and fires of 1906; yet officially it commemorated the opening of the Panama Canal. The Golden Gate International Exposition, which ran from February 18 to October 29, 1939, was widely viewed as a partial cure for the economic problems of the Depression; yet officially it heralded the completion of the Golden Gate and San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridges.

Keywords: world fairs; Panama–Pacific International Exposition; Golden Gate International Exposition; Panama Canal; Golden Gate Bridge; San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge

Chapter.  8176 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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