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I just signed the contract with Arcadia for "Chicago's 1933-34 Century of Progress World's Fair." It should be out late this year if all goes well.

If any of you consider yourself knowledgeable about this fair and would be interested in reviewing the manuscript for accuracy when it's ready please let me know.

Thanks

Bill

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I've been collecting on that Fair for some time and have been impressed with the size of the crowds in just about every shot. It must have been widely popular, no empty street scenes like we've seen in many others.

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Not to sound or be negative but why isn't a book on the C of P being done by a local author? I thought Arcadia promoted not only local histories but local authors.

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Well, they have to propose a book, and no one local did. They also need the material for it, and possibly no local collectors are also writers. So far I have done books for Arcadia in NY, WA, LA, and Vancouver, which seem to be doing well based on the sales numbers. I guess it may also help that I have delivered the prior manuscripts on time, had a minimum of edits, and do travel to promote the books. Plus I work cheap!

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My comment was not at all about you being up for the task. Of course you are! I just thought Arcadia was more about local history, authors & promotion in general.

Sad that there's no one in Chicago to do a book on it. When I was a teenager and first started collecting world's fairs, the big guys in the field were these rabid C of P fans. Boy did they have great stories! Many of them "rode the rails" and hitchhiked to get to the fair.

One place you should begin is to find the back issues of the World's Fair Collector Society newsletter. Particularly from the early 1980s. I wish I had saved mine.

Many people today do not realize how GIGANTIC that fair was. The last world's fair in the US was 18 years earlier. It was a huge deal and people came from all over the country.

I think the greatest difficulty for anyone writing about that fair is explaining the tone of the times and how that fair excited and encouraged people.

Here's a picture of my Uncle John at the fair:

post-1405-0-14870200-1400895176_thumb.jp

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My grandfather was working at the Goodyear Tire factory in Akron, Ohio at the time the Graf Zeppelin stopped there on its way back to Germany from it's Chicago World's Fair visit. My grandmother also told stories about the two of them going over to Chicago to see the World's Fair. I'll have to ask my mom if she recorded any particular World's Fair anecdotes when she was collecting a bunch of oral histories from my grandmother.

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I'm sure Arcadia would have been happy with someone local, but I'm happy no one volunteered! Thanks for the suggestion on the WFCS newsletters - I believe I have a full set of them, and amazingly even know exactly where they are. I've thought about turning them into PDFs and may do that as I go through them. Some great stuff there and in Ed Orth's old newsletters as well.

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Please do turn them into PDFs! I would love to see them again.

Another good resource on C of P was the weekly magazine the fair put out. Unfortunately I sold all my copies a few years back when I was going a "Ugh, I've got too much stuff" phase.

One important factoid about C of P was that TV was exhibited and was a great hit. They only broadcast within the building but was well remembered by those who went to the fair.

One thing I've never been able to verify, but I think happened was Mussolini attended the fair.

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I don't think Mussolini visited, although there was a big to-do about a visit by Air General Balbo, who made a gift of a column that Mussolini sent to the city of Chicago. It's still there in a park and is called the Balbo Monument.

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He and Italy were well regarded in the early 1930s. It would have been possible for him to visit without a great deal of controversy. Google has turned up little.

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I'm about 1/4 of the way through the manuscript text, and hopefully have all the photos I need. I'm still looking for proofreaders and fact checkers, though, so please let me know if you're interested.

As to Mussolini, it doesn't appear that he was there. The Fair leaders positively gushed about Italy and Fascism in the 1933 guidebook - amazingly so. I have a picture showing a VIVA IL DUCE banner in front of the pavilion but it was apparently there as part of the festivities for Marconi's visit. Reading a history written by the head of the Fair he mentioned other rulers that came but no mention of Mussolini, so my guess is he didn't drop by.

That Balbo monument is said to be the only legacy left in Chicago from the Fair - anyone know of any others?

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No, it opened in 1930. Adler Planetarium also pre-dated the Fair but it was included in the site for the two years. Shedd operated independently.

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Buckingham Fountain was included in Pre-Fair publicity, but I think it already existed too. Maybe the City upgraded it for all those Fair visitors coming into town.

Question: were any Fair events held in nearby Soldier Field stadium?

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That Balbo monument is said to be the only legacy left in Chicago from the Fair - anyone know of any others?

Where is that Children's World toadstool and windmill?

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Louise Lentz Woodruff's "Science Advancing Mankind" sculpture, and perhaps some of the relief panels, are at Joliet Central High in Joliet IL. I've never come across a photo of it in the school. Nothing left at Northerly Island that I can tell. The homes of the future in Michigan, the Zephyr at MSI-Museum of Science & Industry.

The Polish Museum of America in Chicago has a painting (I remember it as being huge) "Pulaski at Savannah" that supposedly won an award at the exposition.

There was a gentleman in Chicago, Silas Fung, who had a huge collection of stuff he scavenged from the grounds when it was being demolished. I remember reading in the paper, years ago, that he had built a scale model of fair and was looking for some institution to donate it to but he hadn't found any takers. Here's a list of newspaper stories about him-interestingly the one "genetics and worlds fairs" mentions his family's connections to the Chicago 1893 and Alaska-Yukon-Pacific fairs:

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22silas+fung%22+fair&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb

I wonder if he ever found a home for his model. The genetics story says his collection is at the MSI. He died in 1997.

Looking forward to the book.

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Also-The Alaskan Cabin was moved after the fair to the International Friendship Gardens in Michigan City, IN but it burned down in April 2002.

Photo: http://vilda.alaska.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/cdmg11/id/15360/rec/2

The Abraham Lincoln cabin was moved to a swank Lake Forest IL estate called Ragdale, it's now an artists retreat. It's still there although somewhat altered.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ihynz/4003988882/

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Thanks, Eric.

From my upcoming book:

There were two courtyards at the Hall of Science. The main one, facing the South Lagoon, featured the sculpture “Science Advancing Mankind” by Louise Lentz Woodruff. A large robot, representing “Science,” was seen gently pushing a man and woman “towards a better future.” Woodruff later donated the robot, which had become known as Steelman, to Joliet Central High school, her former school, which uses Steelman as its mascot to this day.

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One more-the Old North Church, the only remaining Colonial Village building in Beverly Shores, at the intersection of Eaton & Beverly:

https://www.google.com/maps/@41.67865,-86.992352,3a,75y,251.38h,93.98t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s8H0wrbQCIsBiKlO3gmtdIw!2e0!6m1!1e1

The street view (2007?) looks might dire-these are from 2013 and look much better:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/klcfamilytree/8504199747/in/photostream/

and the Lincoln cabin appears to be the Indiana Lincoln Home as opposed to the birthplace cabin. I pulled out a "Official Picutres" souvenir book with good pics of both cabins.

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I found your samples have interesting information I haven't seen before. I am wondering whether the submarine was there in 1933 or 1934 or both? Hopefully you can mention the year if it wan't something that was there both years.

I am mainly a Century of Progress postcard collector, but I also have many of the 1933 weeklies and picture books.

I have a couple of related websites:

http://www.cityclicker.net/chicfair/index.html (started this site in 1998 and am planning to delete or move parts of this)

http://www.postcardy.com/COPpagesGD/indexCOPpostcardy.html (many postcards placed online this year)

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Welcome, chicfair. I've seen your sites - very nice.

The sub was only there in 1933. Evidently it lost money and the fairs chairman seemed to be glad it was gone.

Let me know if you would like to check the draft for me.

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