Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Committee on Legislation for the International Exposition of 1892 Minutes and Scrapbook, 1889-1890

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, June 2012

Summary Information
Title: Committee on Legislation for the International Exposition of 1892 minutes and scrapbook
Creator: New York (N.Y.). Committee on Legislation for the International Exposition of 1892
Inclusive dates: 1889-1890
Extent: 1 volume
Abstract:
The Committee on Legislation for the International Exposition of 1892 compiled meeting minutes, correspondence, reports, and other material between September 1889 and April 1890. Under the leadership of Senator Chauncey Depew, the committee worked with the New York-based Committee for the International Exposition of 1892 in an attempt to persuade the United States Congress to award an upcoming world's fair exhibition to the city of New York.

Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

2002. M-4238.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Committee on Legislation for the International Exposition of 1892 minutes and scrapbook, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


History

Following the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris, France, Americans began to propose a similar world's fair exposition, to be held in October 1892 in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in North America. Committees and officials from Washington, D. C.; St. Louis, Missouri; New York, New York; and Chicago, Illinois, attempted to persuade the United States Congress to formally appoint their respective city as host.

Several prominent and wealthy citizens of New York formed the Committee for the International Exposition of 1892, which oversaw several subcommittees, including a Committee on Legislation led by Senator Chauncey Mitchell Depew (1834-1928). Several cities sent representatives to Washington, D. C., in late 1889, and on February 24, 1890, Congress awarded the fair to Chicago. Despite the location of the event, Chauncey Depew delivered an oration at the World's Fair dedicatory ceremonies on October, 21, 1892. The World's Columbian Exposition was held in Jackson Park, Chicago, from May to October 1893, and successfully attracted exhibits and visitors from around the world.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Committee on Legislation for the International Exposition of 1892 compiled meeting minutes, correspondence, reports, and other material between September 1889 and April 1890. Under the leadership of Chauncey Depew, the committee worked with the New York-based Committee for the International Exposition of 1892 to attempt to persuade the United States Congress to award an upcoming world's fair exhibition to the city of New York.

The Committee on Legislation met periodically between September 19, 1889, and January 21, 1890, and discussed various cities' efforts to win congressional approval for the country's upcoming world's fair. At its first meeting, the group chose Senator Chauncey Depew as its chairman and millionaire William Earl Dodge Stokes as its secretary, among other officers. Throughout its existence, the committee regularly discussed the work of the larger Committee for the International Exposition of 1892, with whom they often coordinated their efforts, and reported developments from Washington, D. C., with respect to determining the fair's location. Among other actions, the committee suggested distributing pamphlets to damage Chicago's reputation and, therefore, its chances of winning the exposition (November 25, 1889, p. 35). The group also reacted to reports that the city of New York did not actually desire to host the event.

Correspondence, reports, a drafted legislative act, and a newspaper clipping are pasted into the volume. William McMurtrie Speer, journalist and secretary of the Committee for the International Exposition of 1892, frequently sent typed letters about cross-committee cooperation and recent developments. The legislative committee also received typed and manuscript letters from local supporters, such as Luigi Palma di Cesnola of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (November 19, 1889, p. 19), other related committees, and United States congressmen. Also included are reports that William Stokes composed a 14-page printed draft of a "Proposed act of Congress" that would award the fair to New York (October 4, 1889, p. 13). The newspaper clipping, from the New York Herald , urges the committee to send representatives to Washington, D. C., a tactic already employed by competing cities (December 7, 1889, p. 83). The final item is a 4-page report concerning the Committee on Legislation's financial expenditures (April 7, 1890, p. 117).

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Chicago (Ill.)
    • Depew, Chauncey M. (Chauncey Mitchell), 1834-1928.
    • New York (N.Y.)--Exhibitions.
    • World's Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.)
    Contributors:
    • Calhoun, John C. (John Caldwell), 1843-1918.
    • Cesnola, Luigi Palma di, 1832-1904.
    • Cummings, Amos J. (Amos Jay), 1841-1902.
    • Ellis, H. E.
    • Flower, Roswell Pettibone, 1835-1899.
    • Foord, John, 1842-1922.
    • Hiscock, Frank, 1834-1914.
    • Snow, Ambrose.
    • Speer, William McMurtrie, 1865-1923.
    • Stanton, Edmund C. (Edmund Courtlandt), d. 1901.
    • Stokes, W. E. D. (William Earl Dodge), 1852-1926.
    • Tappin, James W.
    • Thurber, Francis B. (Francis Beatty), 1842-1907.
    • Wheeler, Joseph, 1836-1906.
    • Wilson, George.
    Genre Terms:
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Laws (documents)
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Minutes.
    • Reports.
    • Scrapbooks.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Volume   1  
    Committee on Legislation for the International Exposition of 1892 minutes and scrapbook,  1889-1890 [series]:
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Bibliography

    Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America . New York: Crown Publishers, 2003.

    White, Trumball, William Igleheart, et al. The World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893 . Boston: John K. Hastings, [1893].