Making History

in Whose Fair?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780226293103
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226293127 | DOI:
Making History

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This chapter begins with the voice of the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, as articulated by David Francis, the president of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company, who is important because of his activities after the Fair ended in December 1904. Francis became the president of the first official memory organization devoted to preserving the cultural and economic effects and artifacts of the Fair, and perhaps most important, shepherded the preservation of the archives of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company as well as his own extensive papers. In the end, publicity may be the most significant influence in determining the contemporary meaning of the Fair in its national setting. Beyond publicity, there are two special forms of literature that depicted the Fair, and they too may have had considerable influence in shaping its contemporary meaning. These include guidebooks and official publications, as well as widely sold novels about the Fair that were apparently written using guidebooks as sources. The chapter concludes by exploring the historiography of the Fair and what writers of our own day have made of the event.

Keywords: St. Louis; David Francis; Louisiana Purchase Exposition; memory; publicity; guidebooks; official publications; novels; historiography; archives

Chapter.  14232 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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