Welcome to the Galvin Library's Digital History Collection. Whether you're a student preparing a report, or simply a websurfer who is interested in history, I'm sure you will be delighted by the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893.
The second half of the 19th century was an age of fairs and expositions. Cities such as London and Paris staged world's fairs. Just 60 years old, Chicago was an upstart. Magnificently reborn just two decades after the Chicago Fire, our city and the Columbian Exposition caught the attention of the world. It presented the genius of Chicago architects, including Daniel Burnham, Frederick Law Olmstead, and Lewis Sullivan to an admiring world and showcased the city as an emerging economic force.
This website, developed by Galvin Library staff members, was funded by a generous grant from the Illinois Secretary of State and the Illinois State Library. The goal of the project is to preserve rare and fragile library materials electronically and make them available to the citizens of the state and people throughout the world. I think it is a magnificent marriage of emerging technologies serving preservation and providing access to our heritage.
This website is a living organism that will grow over time. Essays that provide historical and social context to the Columbian Exposition have been written by scholars and added to the site. Other material relating to the exposition will also become part of this growing body of information about one of the defining events in Chicago's history.
I have spent many fascinating hours reading the material presented and studying the illustrations. I invite you to do the same.
Lew Collens, President