Five College Archives and Manuscript
                        Collections
Home >> Smith College Archives >> World Fairs Records, 1893-1939
Smith College seal
World Fairs Records, 1893-1939
1 box (.25 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 12

Abstract:
Smith College had booths at several world fairs and expositions from the 1890s to the 1930s, giving the college unique opportunities to publicize its merits. Materials included in this collection are guest registers, postcards, photographs, planning memos, and correspondence. This collection gives insight into how the college presented itself to the public at a relatively early stage in its life. The material also reveals some of the college's publicity tactics.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The records are open to research according to the regulations of the College Archives.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or quote from the documents must be obtained from the Smith College Archives.

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Historical Note

Smith College had booths at several world fairs and expositions from the 1890s to the 1930s, giving the college unique opportunities to publicize its merits. It was one of the only women's colleges to consistently appear at world fairs. The booths highlighted Smith's history, famous figures, campus, educational opportunities, and distinguished alumnae. The four stated purposes of such displays were to 1) greet and aid alumnae (who had often traveled great distances and were unfamiliar with the area); 2) attract new students; 3) "make friends" for the college (leave visitors with favorable impressions); and 4) interest possible donors. The booths were staffed by alumnae and local Smith College Clubs played major roles in planning the events.

The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago was the first time women had taken an active role in planning the fair. The Smith College booth was in the Women's Building, which brought together many booths related to women's interests and was called "one of the first major expressions of feminist consciousness" in the country.

At the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, Smith's booth was in the Palace of Education. This time, the catchphrase was "bringing Smith to California" as the college tried to recruit West Coast students. The college took its role as the main representative of higher education for women seriously, and focused on the achievements of college educated women in the world.

The booth at the 1933 Century of Progress fair in Chicago was located at a highly visible junction in the Hall of Social Sciences. Despite early plans to have a combined Seven Sisters display, in the end Smith was the only women's college to have a booth. However, there was a lounge area for alumnae of all women's colleges elsewhere in the same building. The main attraction of the Smith booth that year was the colorful mural background painted by art professor Oliver Larkin, portraying various aspects of student life at Smith.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The World Fairs Records cover 1893-1939. Materials included in this collection are programs, pamphlets, guest registers, postcards, photographs, planning memos, correspondence, financial reports, newspaper clippings and articles. This collection can give the researcher a good idea of the enormous effort that went into displaying a booth at a World Fair. It is also especially interesting to see how the college presented itself to the public at a relatively early stage in its life. The material reveals some of the college's publicity tactics, such as what aspects of life at Smith were highlighted, and how certain questions regarding the atmosphere and lifestyle at a women's college were addressed.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The records are open to research according to the regulations of the College Archives.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or quote from the documents must be obtained from the Smith College Archives.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

World Fairs Records, Box #, Smith College Archives.

History of the Collection

The World Fair Records were donated over a period of time from a variety of sources.

Processing Information

Processed by Christina Lehman.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
World's Fair Register
1893

Box 1
World's Columbian Exposition
1893

Box 1: folder 1
Pan Pacific Exposition
1915

Box 1: folder 2
Century of Progress
1933

Box 1: folder 3
Century of Progress - Finances
1933

Box 1: folder 4
Century of Progress - News Releases
1933

Box 1: folder 5
Century of Progress - Photographs
1933

Box 1: folder 6
Century of Progress - Slides
1933

Box 1: folder 7
New York World's Fair
1939

Box 1: folder 8
Smith College Booth - A Century of Progress General Register
1934

Box 1

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Exhibitions--United States.
  • Smith College.
  • Trade shows--United States.

Contributors
  • Smith College.


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
Home | Help | About | Search