Penn Libraries News

World’s Fairs: A Global History of Expositions

1876 Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia

From the Eiffel Tower and the Space Needle to the invention of television, chewing gum and hot dogs, world’s fairs have shaped our world. Collating material from archives around the world, this resource offers a unique insight into the phenomenon of international expositions by presenting official records, monographs, personal accounts and ephemera for more than 200 fairs.

Although the coverage is wide, this database focuses on 12 “case studies” that receive special attention.  Fairs with more extensive coverage include:

  • 1851 Great Exhibition, London
  • 1876 Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia
  • 1889 Exposition Universelle, Paris
  • 1893 Columbia Exposition, Chicago
  • 1939-40 New York World’s Fair, New York
  • 1967 Expo ’67, Montreal

This database complements another that brings together World’s Fairs material housed by the Smithsonian Institution, World’s Fairs and Expositions Online: Visions of tomorrow.  The collections together are much more power that either individually.



July 10, 2019