University of Chicago Library

Guide to the World's Columbian Exposition Records 1891-1930

© 2019 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


World's Columbian Exposition. Records




13 linear feet (12 boxes)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


This collection includes documents and ephemera from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It includes photographs, newspaper clippings, reports, guides, and visitor memorabilia.

Information on Use


This collection is open for research. Photographs by C. D. Arnold and E. R. Walker have been digitized and are available as part of the University of Chicago Photographic Archive.

Digital Images

Original documents, texts, and images represented by digital images linked to this finding aid are subject to U. S. copyright law. It is the user's sole responsibility to secure any necessary copyright permission to reproduce or publish documents, texts, and images from any holders of rights in the original materials.

The University of Chicago Library, in its capacity as owner of the physical property represented by the digital images linked to this finding aid, encourages the use of these materials for educational and scholarly purposes. Any reproduction or publication from these digital images requires that the following credit line be included: Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

The images presented here may include materials reflecting the attitudes, language, and stereotypes of an earlier time period. These materials are presented as historical resources in support of study and research. Inclusion of such materials does not constitute an endorsement of their content by the University of Chicago.

The University of Chicago Library appreciates hearing from anyone who may have information about any of the images in this collection.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: World's Columbian Exposition. Records, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Historical Note

The World's Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World's Fair, was organized in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's landing in America. The fairgrounds, open from May 1, 1893 until October 30, 1893, were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and covered more than 630 acres in Jackson Park and the Midway Plaisance. Daniel Burnham oversaw the construction of nearly 200 new buildings for the fair, most of which were designed in the Beaux-Arts style. 27 million people visited the exhibition halls which displayed inventions in fields as diverse as mining, agriculture, and the liberal arts. Additional attractions included the world's first Ferris wheel, daily concerts by John Philip Sousa's concert band, lectures delivered by Eadweard Muybridge, belly dancers on a simulated "Street of Cairo", Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West Show, and the Viking, a replica of the Norwegian Gokstad ship. It was also at the fair that the public was introduced to Juicy Fruit gum, Quaker Oats, Hershey's chocolate, the hamburger, and electric light, which illuminated the grounds and helped to garner them the title, The White City.

Scope Note

The collection is divided into four series. Series I, Publication and Texts includes reports, guides, manuscripts and other documents produced by individuals and organizations associated with the exposition. Series II, Newspaper and Magazine Clippings, includes excerpts from outside publications about the fair. Series III contains invitations, tickets and other print ephemera and documentation of the fair.

Series IV, Photographs includes photographs by the Exposition's official photographer C.D. Arnold and by E. R. Walker, and 48 pages fromThe White City (as it was)... The artist who made these pictures is...W.H. Jackson... Chicago and Denver: The White City Art Company, c. 1894, a set of 80 photographs in 20 parts, with descriptive text by Stanley Wood. The photographs by Arnold and Walker have been digitized and are available as part of the University of Chicago Photographic Archive.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:

Browse finding aids by topic.

Photographs by C. D. Arnold have been digitized and are available as part of the University of Chicago Photographic Archive.

Photographs by E. R. Walker have been digitized and are available as part of the University of Chicago Photographic Archive.

Subject Headings


Series I: Publications and Texts

Box 1   Folder 1

Souvenir notebook for fair visitors, from The Travelers of Hartford Conn., with notes from unidentified fairgoer, 1893

Box 1   Folder 2

Pamphlets and reports, 1891-1893

  • Committee on Grounds and Buildings, August 31, 1891
  • World's Congress Auxiliary, undated
Box 1   Folder 3

World's Columbian Exposition. The Javanese Theatre, Java Village, Midway Plaisance, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893: Containing Also a Short Description of Java, the People, Languages, Customs, Food, Products, Etc. Chicago: Java Chicago Exhibition Syndicate, 1893

View digitized documents.

Box 1   Folder 4

Official Guide, World's Columbian Exposition, 1893

Box 1   Folder 5

World's Fair through a Camera: Snap Shots by an Artist, 1893

Box 1   Folder 6

Chicago Illustrated Martin's World's Fair Album- Atlas and Family Souvenir, 1892

Box 1   Folder 7

University of Chicago, publications, 1892-1923

  • Announcement of… Accommodations for World’s Fair Vistors
  • The World’s Columbian Exposition and the University of Chicago, Radio Talks by Harold H. Swift and Nathaniel Butler
Box 1   Folder 8

Publications and Clippings about Restoration and Destruction of Fair Buildings, circa 1930

Box 1   Folder 9

Publications from other Columbian celebrations, circa 1892-1894

  • The Columbian Bazaar, December 7th and 8th, 1892 (Friday Club, Chicago) Columbian Souvenir Catalogue of H. Liebes & Co’s Sealskin Garments and Fine Furs, Season 1893-4
  • Official Souvenir Programme, New York Columbian Celebration, October 8n to 15th, 1892
Box 1A

Bretonière, Sailing Flight, from Observations made at Constantine, Algeria, holograph essay with annotations on experiments in aerial flight, undated

Box 2   Folder 1

Department of Publicity and Promotion, foreign language press releases, 1892

Box 2   Folder 2

"World's Columbia Exposition Illustrated," April 1893

Box 2   Folder 3

"Supplement to the Columbian Serial" Prints, 1894

Box 2   Folder 4

"World's Fair Notes," undated

Box 2   Folder 5

"The Youth's Companion World's Fair Number," 1893

Box 2   Folder 6-8

Columbian Album: Containing Photographic Views of Buildings and Points of Interest about the Grounds of the World’s Columbian Exposition, Rand McNally, Parts 9, 10, 11, 1894

Box 2   Folder 9

The Chicago Tribune Art Supplements (incomplete), 1893

Box 2   Folder 10

C. Graham, The World’s Fair in Water Colors, 1893

Series II: Newspaper and Magazine Clippings

Box 2   Folder 11

Clippings and fragments, circa 1893

Box 2   Folder 12-14

The Standard, Chicago, clippings, 1892-1893

Box 3   Folder 1

Clippings on Social Reform

Box 3A

The Chicago Herald, October 9, 1893

Box 3A

The Inter Ocean, Illustrated Supplement, October 22, 1892

Box 3A

Chicago Daily Tribune, souvenir poster, October 21, 1892

Box 3A

"Building Our Great Fair," Harper's Weekly, September 17,1892

Series III: Documentation and Memorabilia

Box 4   Folder 1-1a

Invitations to the Comte de Balincourt, General of the French Pavilion

Box 4   Folder 2

Invitations to events and ceremonies, to Mr. and Mrs. Martin J. Russell, 1892

Box 4   Folder 3

Invitations to events and ceremonies, 1892

Box 4   Folder 4

World’s Columbian Exposition, stock certificate and notices of dividends paid, 1892-1904

Box 4   Folder 5

Customs agreement for the "German Empire" exhibition

Box 4   Folder 6

Programs and brochures, circa 1892-1893

  • Daily Program, October 3, 1893
  • Imre Kiralfy’s “America,” The Auditorium, 1893
  • Hagenbeck’s Arena and World’s Museum, Souvenir Programme
  • The Kalamounic Drama, presented in the Turkish Village, program, 1893
  • Grand Display of Fireworks, Massachusetts Day, program, 1893
Box 4   Folder 7

Admissions Tickets and Passes, 1892-1893

Box 4   Folder 8

Ground Floor Plan, Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building

Box 4   Folder 10

Print Ephemera

Series IV: Photographs

The photographs by Arnold and Walker have been digitized and are available as part of the University of Chicago Photographic Archive.

Subseries 1: C.D. Arnold

Box 5   Folder 1

Interior Women's Building

Box 5   Folder 2

West from Roof of Liberal Arts Building

Box 5   Folder 3

Arts Building from Wooded Island

Box 5   Folder 4

Interior Manufacturer's Building, October 22, 1892

Box 5   Folder 5

South West from Roof of Liberal Arts Building

Box 5   Folder 6

Horticultural Building Dome

Box 5   Folder 7

Looking West from Café de Marine

Box 5   Folder 8

Looking West on South Side of Grand Basin

Box 5   Folder 9

South End Manufactures Building

Box 5   Folder 10

Art Building

Box 5   Folder 11

South Entrance Fisheries Building

Box 5   Folder 12

Machinery Hall

Box 5   Folder 13

Looking West on Grand Basin

Box 5   Folder 14

Lagoon, Looking South

Box 5   Folder 15

The Café de Marine

Box 5   Folder 16

Lagoon and West Side Manufactures Building

Box 5   Folder 17

Mines and Mining Building

Box 5   Folder 18

Cold Storage Building Fire

Box 5   Folder 19

Administration Building

Box 5   Folder 20

North West from Liberal Arts Building

Box 5   Folder 21

Liberal Arts Building from Wooded Island

Box 5   Folder 22

Manufactures Building

Box 5   Folder 23

Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building

Box 5   Folder 24

Electricity Building

Box 5   Folder 25

Loggia, Women's Building

Box 5   Folder 26

Java Village, on the Midway

Box 5   Folder 27

In the Esquimix Village

Box 5   Folder 28

Japanese Ho-o-den

Box 5   Folder 29

Japanese Tea Garden

Box 5   Folder 30

Japanese Boat

Box 6   Folder 1

The German Village on the Midway

Box 6   Folder 2

German Gates in Manufacturs Building

Box 6   Folder 3

Norway Building

Box 6   Folder 4

Old Vienna on the Midway

Box 6   Folder 5

Guatemala Building

Box 6   Folder 6

India Building

Box 6   Folder 7

Egyptian Temple on the Midway

Box 6   Folder 8

A Gondola

Box 6   Folder 9

Naval Exhibit

Box 6   Folder 10

A Caraval

Box 6   Folder 11

California State Building

Box 6   Folder 12

Cliff Dwellers

Box 6   Folder 13

Boone and Crockett Club House

Box 6   Folder 14

The Peristyle and Arch, Looking Northeast

Box 6   Folder 15

Convent of La Rabida

Box 6   Folder 16


Box 6   Folder 17

Group on Colonnade

Box 6   Folder 18

Statue of the Republic

Box 6   Folder 19

Under the Ferris Wheel

Box 6   Folder 20

Detail of the Columbian Fountain

Box 6   Folder 21

Columbian Fountain and Machinery Hall

Box 6   Folder 22

Columbian Fountain

Box 6   Folder 23

Famer's Boy

Box 6   Folder 24

Looking North from East End of the Colonnade

Box 6   Folder 25

The Peristyle and Arch

Subseries 2: E.R. Walker

Box 7   Folder 1

Agricultural Building

Box 7   Folder 2

Agricultural Building

Box 7   Folder 3


Box 7   Folder 4

Arts Building

Box 7   Folder 5

Arts Building

Box 7   Folder 6


Box 7   Folder 7


Box 7   Folder 8

Columbia Fountain

Box 7   Folder 9

Columbus Statue

Box 7   Folder 10

Convent of La Rabidia

Box 7   Folder 11

Court of Honor

Box 7   Folder 12

Court of Honor

Box 7   Folder 13

Untitled Sculpture

Box 7   Folder 14

Fisheries Building

Box 7   Folder 15


Box 7   Folder 16

Horticultural Building

Box 7   Folder 17

Illinois State Building

Box 7   Folder 18


Box 7   Folder 19

Machinery Hall

Box 7   Folder 20


Box 7   Folder 21


Box 7   Folder 22


Box 7   Folder 23

Ferris Wheel

Box 7   Folder 24


Box 7   Folder 25


Box 7   Folder 26


Box 7   Folder 27


Box 7   Folder 28

Statue of the Republic

Box 7   Folder 29


Box 7   Folder 30

Womans Building

Subseries 3: General

Box 8

"Chicago World's Columbian Exhibition," bound album

Box 9   Folder 1

Assorted Pictures

Box 9   Folder 2

"World's Fair Photographs," bound album

Box 9   Folder 3

“German Building, Chicago, Ill.” William Federbusch, 1908

Subseries 4: William Henry Jackson, The White City (as it was)...

Box 10   Folder 1

Covers and fragments

  • Cover to part 1
  • Back cover (to unidentified part)
  • Cover and title page to: Jackson's Famous Pictures (of the World's Fair), 1895
Box 10   Folder 2

Part 1

  • The White City (As It Was) (introductory text)
  • MacMonnies' Fountain, from Grand Plaza
  • Peristyle and the Water Gate, from Grand Basin
  • The Administrative Building, from the South East
  • Government Building and Wooded Island
Box 10   Folder 3

Part 2

  • The Story of the White City (introductory text)
  • Agriculture Building, from Colonnade
  • General View, from the Lake (2 copies)
  • Fire Boat and Agriculture Building
  • View South East from the Illinois Building (2 copies)
Box 10   Folder 4

Part 3

  • The Fisheries Building
  • La Rabida, from South West Side
  • Interior of Woman's Building
  • Main Entrance of Woman's Building
Box 10   Folder 5

Part 4

  • Golden Door of Transportation Building
  • Choral Hall, from Wooded Island
  • Machinery Hall, from Colonnade
Box 10   Folder 6

Part 5

  • Horticultural Building, from Wooden Island
  • West View of Manufactures Building
  • Interior of Music Hall
Box 10   Folder 7

Part 6

  • The Caravels from the Bridge (2 copies)
  • The Obelisk and Grand Vista North from Colonnade
  • The Woman's Building
  • View from Balcony of Woman's Building
  • State Buildings of Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania
Box 10   Folder 8

Part 7

  • Mining and Electricity Buildings, from Transportation Building
  • Manufactures and Electricity Buildings, from Squatter's Hut
  • North Lagoon, from Mining Building
  • View North, between Manufactures and Electricity Buildings
Box 10   Folder 9

Part 9

  • East Façade of Machinery Hall
Box 10   Folder 10

Part 10

  • Electricity Building and Fountain
  • Transportation Building, from Wooded Island
  • Electricity Building, looking South West
  • Looking South between Electricity and Mining Buildings
  • Machinery Hall, from North East
Box 10   Folder 11

Part 11

  • Looking North between Mines and Electricity Buildings
  • Interior of Electricity Building
Box 10   Folder 12

Part 12

  • Chicago Day
  • Statue of Plenty
  • Statute of Industry
Box 10   Folder 13

Part 17

  • The Immense Crowd