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waynebretl

Historic World's Fair photography restrictions

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Bits of this have been discussed, but here's a summary of what I have found:

In Volume 23 of Anthony's Photographic Bulletin a letter dated October 25, 1892 from C.D.Arnold, Official Photographer of the World's Columbian Exposition, was published, stating that as of that date, cameras up to and including 4x5 inches could be used on the grounds on payment of a $2 fee each day. (Daily admission was 50 cents.)

In April, 1904, "The Camera" magazine, Manchester, England published a letter from John A. Wakefield, Chief of Concessions, stating that cameras 4x5 inches and less in size would be aditted free to the St. Louis Fair. The Camera also published letters from the U.S. Department of Justice Solicitor General W.J Hughes to The Camera announcing this, with a copy of a letter from Hughes to the Hon. Matt. G. Reynolds, "one of the leading members of the St. Louis Bar," opining that many amateur photographers would decline to attend if there were a camera fee, and asking Reynolds to contact the proper Fair officer to have fees dropped. The letter complained about the "spies of the photographic concessionaire" at the earlier Buffalo fair, where cameras were required to bear a license tag costing $1 per day, twice the daily admission fee. (panam1901.org/visiting/fees.htm shows the daily camera fee as 50 cents.)

In 1933, camera fees were apparently still in the public consciousness, as the Kodak brochure "Keep a Kodak Story of the Fair" included the note "Cameras Admitted Free" on the front page. World's fair themed box cameras were sold by Kodak and Agfa.

In 1939 and 1964, Kodak was a major exhibitor, and there were no camera fees or mention of camera restrictions in fair literature.

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C. D. Arnold was official photographer for the 1901 Buffalo Pan American Exposition and, as he did in Chicago in 1893, he published official photography books of Pan pavilions and attractions. 

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