The Winterthur Library

 The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera

Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, DE  19735

302-888-4600 or 800-448-3883





Creator:          World’s Columbian Exposition                                     

Title:               Collection

Dates:             1892-1893

Call No.:         Col. 46

Acc. No.:         68x155, 78x321, and others

Quantity:        10 boxes

Location:        16 H 1-2 and I 1






The World's Columbian Exposition celebrated the 400th anniversary of the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World.  The fair's dedication ceremonies were held in October 1892.  The fair grounds were open to the public from 1 May to 30 October 1893.  They occupied 630 acres in Jackson Park, which was at that time eight miles south of downtown Chicago, Illinois.


Leading architects of the day designed the fair's buildings in a classical architectural style that had been adopted as the standard.  The physical exhibits in these massive, yet temporary, structures were supplemented by The World's Congress Auxiliary, a series of lectures on a wide range of subjects.  The Columbian Exposition was also the first world's fair with a separate amusement area.  Still sometimes called the world's greatest world's fair, the World's Columbian Exposition was the largest public exposition to have been held in America up to that time.





The bulk of this collection consists of printed ephemera produced by exhibitors at the fair to promote their products.  There are brochures, fliers, trade cards (these have the accession number 68x155) and giveaways promoting a wide range of contemporary consumer, professional, and industrial products.  There are also transportation schedules for routes to Chicago, an album of train tickets for routes to the fair, and information promoting lodgings and attractions in Chicago itself.  Forms that would have been used by fair exhibitors make up another segment of the collection.  The collection includes nearly one hundred photographs of the exteriors of the fair's buildings.  A few photos the Exposition universelle de 1889 held in Paris are also included.


As well, the collection contains miscellaneous items such as souvenir ribbons with illustrations of fair buildings woven in the fabric; postcards; a block print textile sample with a design that includes Christopher Columbus, the U.S. Capitol, and stars representing the states; a traveler’s notebook; a photograph of a family at the midway; and decks of souvenir playing cards, each card illustrated with views of different buildings.  Another item of interest is a permission form signed by the artist Childe Hassam.


Materials in the collection suggest that the papers with the accession number 78x321 may have been accumulated by someone associated with the Essex Institute or Peabody Academy of Science, both exhibitors at the fair. 





The materials are arranged in accession number order, with accession 78x321, which includes printed ephemera and photographs from the fair, found in Boxes 1-8; accession number 68x155 (the trade cards) in Boxes 9a-b; and various accession numbers, including souvenir playing cards, postcards, textiles and ribbons, and other miscellaneous items related to the fair, in Boxes 8 and 10-11.





Most of the materials are in English; some are in French.





Collection is open to the public.  Copyright restrictions may apply.





Purchases and gifts from various sources.





The Downs Collection also has diaries that record trips taken to the exposition, and drawings of souvenir spoons designed by Charles Osborne.  Trade catalogs from the exposition are in the Printed Book and Periodical Collection.






            World’s Columbian Exposition (1893: Chicago, Ill.)

            Exposition universelle de 1889 (Paris, France) - Pictorial works.


                        Advertising – United States.

                        Advertising cards.




                        Booksellers and bookselling.

                        Buildings – Pictorial works.

                        Buildings – Photographs.

                        Building materials.

                        Card games – Design.

                        Clothing and dress.

                        Community development.

                        Commercial products.

                        Chromolithography, Victorian.


                        Electric industries.

                        Exhibitions – IllinoisChicago.

                        Farm equipment.


                        Food handling.





                        Health products.


                        Household supplies.

                        House furnishings.

                        Industrial supply houses.


                        Jewelry stores.


                        Machinery industry.



                        Musical instruments.

                        Music--Equipment and supplies.



                        Playing cards.


                        Printing plants.

                        Printing – Specimens.

                        Professions--Equipment and supplies.

                        Public relations—Schools.

                        Publishers and publishing.

                        Regional planning.


                        Sewing – Equipment and supplies.


                        Stone industry and trade.


                        Textile fabrics.

                        Textile fabrics – Specimens.


                        Chicago (Ill.) – Description and travel.



                        Black-and-white photographs.


                        Business cards.










                        Press releases.








                        Trade cards.

                        Trade catalogs.





Location: 16 H 1 and I 1


Note: The items in Boxes 1-7, 9, and the photos in Box 8 of this collection are described in an Access database, available at this repository. The advertising documents are indexed under 21 different subject headings (see list below) selected from the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) list.  The photographs are listed in a separate data file on Access.  The trade cards in Boxes 9 and 10 are included in the Access finding aid for trade cards; they can be isolated by searching the location as Col. 46.



Box 1:             78x321.1-.187


Box 2:             78x321.188-.385        


Box 3:             78x321.386-593


Box 4:             78x321.594-733


Box 5:             78x321.734-888


Box 6:             Photographs: 78x321.898-937


Box 7:             Photographs: 78x321.938-982



Box 8: Photos and miscellaneous items


Folder 1:          Photographs: 78x321.983-986: Exposition universelle de 1889 (Paris)


Folder 2:          Scrapbook: 69x168:     Pages from a scrapbook, apparently kept by Georges Glaenzer, including an invitation to a ball given in New York to honor the officers escorting the Spanish caravels which were visiting to honor the exposition.  Also related to the fair is a tintype of a man and two women which was taken on the Midway of the fair.  (Other items on the pages do not relate to the fair.)  (Trex no. 3290)


Folder 3:          Bookmark or ribbon: 77x59:                 A souvenir ribbon or bookmark, with the paper to which it was originally mounted; this ribbon depicts Mrs. Potter Palmer, president of the Board of Lady Managers, and a view of the Woman’s Building, and ends with a gold tassel.  The ribbon was woven by John Best & Co. of Paterson, New Jersey.  (Trex no. 7229)


Folder 4:          bookmark or ribbon: 77x82:     A souvenir ribbon or bookmark “woven in the Worlds Columbian Exposition,” with an illustration of the Administration Building, American flags, some words from “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and a blue tassel.  (Trex no. 7253)


Folder 5:          Cloth: 79x113:  Sample of cloth woven in honor of the exposition, including the head of a man (probably supposed to be Columbus) and the U.S. Capitol, both surrounded by wreaths, stars with the names of the states, and shields honoring the discovery of America and the fair (with the date 1892).  Also photographs of the cloth.  (Trex no. 8070)


Folder 6:          Handkerchief: 83x140.2:           A silk handkerchief printed as a souvenir of the fair.  It reproduces a picture of Columbus landing in the New World and has the words “Souvenir, Worlds Fair, Chicago” printed on it. 


Folder 7:          bookmark or ribbon: 84x138.2:            A souvenir ribbon or bookmark, depicting the Administration Building and the Landing of Columbus.  Marked on back: Grant Woven Silk Novelty Co., Paterson, N.J.



Boxes 9a-b:                Trade cards: 68x15.1-.350



Box 10: Miscellaneous items:


Folder 1:          Autograph: acc. 78x69: Card signed by the artist Childe Hassam, giving permission to Mr. Barrie to photograph his works on exhibit at the Department of Fine Arts.


Folder 2:          Cog[illegible] scrapbook: acc. 79x99:   A scrapbook kept by Charles Cog[illegible], with railroad tickets, admission tickets, a workman’s pass, and postcards from his trip to the World’s Columbian Exposition.  The book also includes tickets for trains and information about sites in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Washington, D.C., Ohio, New York, Washington, Wisconsin, Florida, Nebraska, and Louisiana.  As well, there are three sketches of people (one of which includes a dog).  One sketch has the notation “C. Ward artist?” and depicts Willy at the Exposition; the second is signed Irving Ward and depicts J. Elfreth Watkins, Jr.; and the third is signed Ward, N.Y.C.  Laid into the back is a map of Death Valley, California, copyrighted in 1934.  (Trex no. 8056)


Folder 3:          Note book: acc. 77x69:            “Note Book for Visitors to the World’s Fair,” presented by the Travelers [insurance company] of Hartford, Conn.  The note book includes advertising for the insurance company, and lined pages illustrated with pictures of various state buildings at the fair.  This note book was used by someone named Allie Ca[ntor?], who recorded expenses for July 1901, including meals, car fare, theater tickets, and the purchase of clothes.  (Trex no. 7240)


Folder 4:          Postcards: acc. 79x359.1-.11:  A group of ten “Official Souvenir U.S. Postals” with their wrapper, identifying this as series 1, designs. 1-10; Charles W. Goldsmith was the agent responsible for these cards; each card has a different illustration with room for a message on one side, and address space on the other.


Folder 5:          Postcards: acc. 83x233.1-.5:    Four souvenir postcards (and the ca.1980 envelope in which they came) from the fair.  These are designs 1, 5, 8, and 9 from the same set described in 79x359, above.  Design 8 has had one corner removed.


Folder 6:          Postcards: acc. 99x144.1-.11:  Another group of ten “Official Souvenir U.S. Postals,” with their wrapper, same as described in 79x359.   Two were mailed from the fair (see special postmark) to Mrs. Dr. [sic] J. P. Niles of Watertown, Mass., one being from her son Guy and the other from someone named Phil.


Folder 7:          Souvenir album, with passes: acc. 02x30.64a-b:            two pages of a souvenir album with views of the buildings at the fair, and three return pases


Folder 8:          Trade cards and advertising brochures:

73x127.1         Trade card for jacquard machines made by Schaum & Uhlinger of Philadelphia.


73x127.2         Trade card for McIndoe Cylinder Job Press, made by McIndoe Bros. of Boston.


73x127.3         Trade card for Crane Elevator Co. of Chicago, listing locations of its elevators in exposition buildings.


73x127.4         Trade card for Canton Steel Roofing Co., Canton, Ohio.


73x127.5         Advertising brochure for Mann’s Cable Ware, a kind of pail, tub, and keeler.


73x127.6         Advertising brochure for B.C. Taylor Rake Works, Dayton, Ohio, with pictures of different kinds of hay and grain rakes, and price list of replacement parts and repairs.  (73x127.1-.6 are Trex no. 6091)


Folder 9:          trade cards: acc. 02x30.1-.35:  trade cards for Singer Manufacturing Company, depicting people from different countries using Singer Sewing Machines; most of the people are in native costumes


Folder 10:        trade cards and advertising brochures: acc. 02x30.36-.63, .65-.67:       trade cards for a variety of companies; not all the cards in this group contain a specific reference to the World’s Columbian Exposition; includes a souvenir album for some unnamed group’s 13th International Convention, held in Cleveland, Ohio, July 11-15, 1894



Box 11: playing cards


80x121            Souvenir playing cards, decorated with illustrations of different buildings, in a case, put out by a Chicago company (name might be Winters Art Line Co.)


96x45              “Columbian Souvenir Playing Cards,” a different set from those in 80x121, each with an illustration of a different building.  Copyrighted by G.W. Clark.



Subject headings used in describing the above items in the Access finding aid:


Advertising--Hotels, taverns, etc.

Building materials

Chicago (Ill.)--Description

Clothing and dress

Community development

Farm equipment


Food handling

Health products

Household supplies

Industrial supply houses


Music--Equipment and supplies

Professions--Equipment and     supplies

Public relations--Schools

Publishers and publishing

Regional planning

Textile fabrics