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Come to the Fair

In 1904 St. Louis invited the world to 'Come to the Fair'-- the 1904 World's Fair.

Also called the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, the Fair marked the centennial anniversary of the signing of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty. Fair organizers hoped to showcase the industrial, commercial, and social progress made in the 100 years since the Treaty was signed.

Souvenirs of a shrunken world
Holly Iglesias.
Tucson, Ariz. : Kore Press, c2008.
  1. "2008 Kore Press first book award."
  2. Includes bibliographical references.
     
Savage to civilized : the imperial agenda on display at the St. Louis World Fair of 1904
Alicia Walker.
Saarbrücken, Germany : VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, c2008.
  1. Includes bibliographical references (p. 76-83).
  2. A note about sources -- Imperial ideology and its presence at world fairs -- The Louisiana Purchase Exposition as a model of imperial thought -- Japan at the Fair: model of a new imperial power -- The Philippine Exposition as the ideal imperial model -- Conclusion.
     
The 1904 Anthropology Days and Olympic games : sport, race, and American imperialism
edited by Susan Brownell.
Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, c2008.
"One of the more problematic sport spectacles in American history took place at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, which included the third modern Olympic Games. Associated with the Games was a curious event known as Anthropology Days organized by William J. McGee and James Sullivan, at that time the leading figures in American anthropology and sports, respectively. McGee recruited Natives who were participating in the fair's ethnic displays to compete in sports events, with the "scientific" goal of measuring the physical prowess of "savages" as compared with "civilized men." This interdisciplinary collection of essays assesses the ideas about race, imperialism, and Western civilization manifested in the 1904 World's Fair and Olympic Games and shows how they are still relevant." "A turning point in both the history of the Olympics and the development of modern anthropology, these games expressed the conflict between the Old World emphasis on culture and New World emphasis on utilitarianism. Marked by Franz Boas's paper at the Scientific Congress, the events in St. Louis witnessed the beginning of the shift in anthropological research from nineteenth-century evolutionary racial models to the cultural relativist paradigm that is now a cornerstone of modern American anthropology. Racist pseudoscience nonetheless reappears to this day in the realm of sports."--BOOK JACKET.
     
St. Louis : the 1904 World's Fair
Joe Sonderman and Mike Truax.
Charleston, SC : Arcadia Pub., c2008.
For seven months in 1904, St. Louis was the greatest city on earth. Millions flocked to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition to behold the inventions of the early 20th century. Many saw electric lights, automobiles, aircraft, and moving pictures for the first time. At a time when few traveled more than a couple miles from home, visitors encountered the people and cultures of faraway lands. It was an educational experience, a "university of mankind." The Pike offered amusement rides, wild animal displays, and fanciful trips through the Hereafter and Creation exhibits. Fairgoers visited the Alps, the North Pole, Russia, and Paris and witnessed famous battles. Everyone wanted to ride the great Observation Wheel. There were hootchy-kootchy dancers and wonderful new foods, such as the ice-cream cone. But it was all temporary, a dream city made to last only a few months. With the exception of today's St. Louis Art Museum, the grand palaces are gone. St. Louis: The 1904 World's Fair tells the story of the greatest Victorian-era world's fair since the lights of the fair faded over a century ago, while also examining the fair's legacies and legends.
     
Anthropology goes to the fair : the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition
Nancy J. Parezo & Don D. Fowler.
Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, c2007.
"Anthropology Goes to the Fair takes readers through the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition to see how anthropology, as conceptualized by WJ McGee, the first president of the American Anthropological Association, showcased itself through programs, static displays, and living exhibits for millions of people "to show each half of the world how the other half lives." More than two thousand Native peoples negotiated and portrayed their own agendas on this world stage. The reader will see how anthropology itself was changed in the process."--BOOK JACKET.
     
Meet me at the ferris wheel : an adventure at the St. Louis World's Fair with 75 authentic pictures
Joy Dawson.
Bloomington, IN : AuthorHouse, 2006.
Young Frank and Rudy must do most of the tasks on their Missouri farm. Because of a family loss, they are saddened, but they bravely move on. Life is not all work for them, though, for they have wonderful times fishing for "the big one" and swimming in their muddy pond. Then one day their father shocks them with the happy announcement "You are going to attend the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair." During their time at the fair, the sons meet a brother they have never seen, discover a glorious new era of invention, and have their first taste of a beverage called "iced tea." The journey is magic for them both, but even moreso for Frank when he meets a girl named Grace.
     
1904 World's Fair : the Filipino experience
by Jose D. Fermin.
West Conshohocken, PA : Infinity Publishing.com, c2004.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 223-230) and index.
     
Meet me in St. Louis : a trip to the 1904 World's Fair
by Robert Jackson.
New York : HarperCollins, c2004.
You are holding a ticket to one of the largest and most magnificent celebrations of all time -- the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair! For seven months nearly twenty million visitors from around the globe flooded the fairgrounds of Forest Park. Many explored the twelve mammoth palaces (made of plaster and horsehair!), which showcased amazing exhibits. Others enjoyed watching the first Olympic Games in the United States, keeping cool all summer with a new treat that became an instant hit -- the ice-cream cone. And everyone loved viewing all 1275 acres of fairgrounds from atop the 265-foot Ferris wheel. Robert Jackson describes the planning, building, events, and memory of a fair that enthralled millions with its magic. In fascinating detail, he captures the energy and imagination of turn-of-the-century America, when fairgoers begged friends and family to meet them in St. Louis Book jacket.
     

Between April 30 - December 1, 1904 over 20,000,000 visitors from around the world marveled at the Fair's grandeur. They walked down the mile long aisles of the Palace buildings, listened to concerts, attended the Olympics, or explored replicas of homes and government buildings from distant lands.

For some visitors it was their first opportunity to experience innovations like electricity, fast food, and those newfangled vehicles called automobiles.

For others it was the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet people from around the world. Imagine sitting in a restaurant seated next to a tribal chieftain from the Philippines, the ruler of China, or Teddy Roosevelt. Such an encounter was even more fun while enjoying foods from Germany, China, or Ireland. Two newly introduced American foods, fairy floss (cotton candy) and Dr. Pepper, became long-remembered treats.

The Pike--the Fair's midway offered

Egyptian acrobats
A horse that did math
Water chutes
Animal shows
An Alpine village
A Japanese temple

Fun and adventure could be found at any corner of the Fair. The Pike with its rides and amusements was the place too good to miss -- as long as the visitor did not come on Sunday. The Pike, and all the Fair buildings, were closed each Sunday.

Scott Joplin entertained the crowds with his ragtime tunes including his "Meet Me in St. Louis." That same title later became a film starring Judy Garland.

The Fair closed over 100 years ago, with many of its buildings being demolished and its innovations replaced by newer ones.  But the stories passed along by Fair visitors are still told and retold today.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff