The Winterthur Library

The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera

Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum

5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, Delaware  19735

Telephone: 302-888-4600 or 800-448-3883





Creator:         Centennial Exhibition (1876: Philadelphia, Pa.)                  

Title:               Collection       

Dates:             1874-1878

Call No.:         Col. 259         

Acc. No.:        [various – see detailed description]

Quantity:        2 boxes, 2 folders

Location:        18 I 3-4






The Centennial International Exhibition was held in Philadelphia from May 10 to November 10, 1876.  Planning for it began in 1871 when Congress passed an act to create the Centennial Commission.  A portion of Fairmount Park in Philadelphia was used as the fairgrounds, and Hermann J. Scwarzmann, a German immigrant, was chosen to design the layout of the exhibition.  By early 1875, construction was underway on the fair's large buildings and some 250 pavilions and auxiliary structures.  The major buildings were Memorial Hall, Machinery Hall, the Main Building, Horticultural Hall, and Agricultural Hall.  Everything displayed at the Centennial was classified into one of eight departments: Mining and Metallurgy, Manufactures, Education, Science, Art, Machinery, Agriculture, and Horticulture.  These names of these departments were subsequently adapted by Melvil Dewey as the basis for his library classification scheme, the Dewey Decimal System.


Although the Centennial lost money, it provided ample evidence of American progress in education, industry, and the arts that would have a lasting impact on foreign trade.





The collection consists of miscellaneous photographs, a glass lantern slide, stereographs, lithographs, advertising materials, maps, and other memorabilia relating to the Centennial International Exhibition. The photographs and stereographs depict the interiors and exteriors of fair buildings.  Several feature sculptures that were displayed in the Italian section.  A series of colored lithographs published by Thomas Hunter depict the exteriors of fair buildings and the surrounding landscape.


Several pieces of advertising pertain to pre-centennial events and the First Centennial Train ride in October of 1875.  The events were sponsored by Philadelphia merchants in an effort to raise money and publicize the exhibition.  Other printed items include fair regulations, building descriptions, and a few advertisements produced by exhibiting firms.  A broadside with the rail road route and a souvenir map with advertisements round out the printed material.


The collection also features the "Centennial Exhibition Puzzle Blocks," manufactured by George H. Chinook.  It includes pieces for five puzzles that when put together show the Art Gallery, Machinery Hall, Horticultural Hall, Agricultural Hall, and the Main Building.  The bottom of the box offers descriptions of each of the buildings.  Finally, a double handkerchief (that is, two handkerchiefs, not cut apart) with a depiction of the Memorial Hall Art Gallery and an American eagle is included in the collection.    





The materials are grouped by type: photographs and stereographs, lithographs, advertising materials and memorabilia, and miscellaneous.





The materials are mostly in English; some captions are in German, French, and Spanish.





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





Purchased from various sources.       





The exhibitor’s pass and the photo identification of R.M. Wagan, and the medal he and his Shaker chairs won at the exhibition are in the Artifacts section of the Andrews Memorial Shaker Collection.


Doc. 113: E. S. Marsh, “Memoir of the Centennial Exhibition of 1876.”


Doc. 222: James W. Morse, Diary for 1876.


Doc. 1139: anonymous, Diary, 1876.


Subject heading search in WinterCat for Centennial Exhibition will reveal many more relevant items.


In the Print Study Collection:

Lithograph of the Art Gallery, Centennial Exhibition, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, 1874.  (Originally Downs accession 71x261, now Museum accession 1973.0570; transferred 10/9/73).






                        Hunter, Thomas.



            Centennial Exhibition (1876 : Philadelphia, Pa.)

            Buildings - Pictorial works.

            Lithography - Specimens.

            Exhibitions - Pennsylvania - Philadelphia.

            Sculpture - Photographs.



Embroidery, Machine.

            United States - Centennial celebrations, etc. - Pennsylvania - Philadelphia.

            Advertising fliers.


            Albumen prints.

            Wet collodion negatives.

            Card photographs.



            Admission tickets.







Location: 18 I 3-4


Box 1:


Folder 1: Advertising and Memorabilia (acc. 69x154.1-.16; 04x59): Broadsides, prints, circulars, advertisements, and pamphlets, 1876:


            .1         Broadside about the designs and sizes of the principal buildings, with an engraving of the Main Exhibition Building by D.G. Yates.   Issued by the United States Centennial Commission.  (folded)

            .2         General regulations for exhibitors, with a list of commissioners, departments, etc.  Dated May 22, 1875.  At head of title: United States Centennial Commission , no. 105.           

                        [note: acc. 04x59 is an earlier version of this.]

            .3         Rules for displays in the Main Exhibition Building, issued by Bureau of Installation.  Dated Aug. 20, 1875.  At head of title: United States Centennial Commission , no. 118.

            .4         Engraving: “Balloon View of the Grounds,” printed as supplement to Harper’s Weekly, Sept. 30, 1876, done from photographs by R. Newell & Sons and sketches by Theo. R. Davis. (folded; parting along fold lines – handle with care)

            .5         Broadside: description of the Art Gallery, with illustration.  Issued by the United States Centennial Commission.  (folded)

            .6         Centennial Newspaper Exhibition, with view of the building (done by Crosscup & West) and floor plans on the reverse

            .7         “Suggestions for Pedestals, Balustrades, & Seats, to be executed in Marble, Natural or Artificial Stone & located in the Central Avenue & at the Intersection of avenues & passage ways in the Main Exhibition Building.” (folded illustration)

            .8         Advertisement for The Illustrated Catalogue of the United States International Exhibition, 1876, with notice to manufacturers and exhibiters from Gebbie & Barrie, the publishers.

            .9         Circular for the National Cookery Book proposed by the Women's Centennial Executive Committee.

            .10       Ad for fireworks available for Centennial celebrations from B.T. Wells of the New England Laboratory of Boston.  [Ad is addressed to all planning a celebration, not just for the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.]

            .11       Ad from Maynard's Centennial and Art Bulletin for photographs and stereographs of the exhibition, Dec. 1876.  Also announces that Maynard’s “Grand Reproductions of the World’s Fair” will be on exhibit in Boston.

            .12       Pamphlet about the British Section, specifically about 3 silver and steel repoussé items manufactured by Elkington & Co.

            .13       Ad for A.H. Hews & Co., pottery seller of North Cambridge, Mass., printed by Frank Wood.  On back: view of Hews & Co. potter’s wheel exhibit in Main Building and display in Art Building.

            .14       Ad for Perry's Wooden House; address: J.R. Perry, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.  The solid wall wooden house was patented Oct. 1874, re-issued March 14, 1876; there is no reference to the Centennial Exhibition on this item.

            .15       Ad for Ferris Patent Cooker, with instructions for use.  Available from Jesup & Sterling, New York.  There is no reference to the Centennial Exhibition on this item.

            .16       Pamphlet about the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, Hampton, Virginia, with views of Virginia Hall and Academic Hall.  There is no reference to the Centennial Exhibition on this item.



04x59              United States Centennial Commission.  International Exhibition, 1876, Philadelphia.  General Regulations for Exhibitors in the United States. No. 62. 

                                    Lists members of the commission, the categories into which exhibits will be divided, and other rules about exhibits.  Published July 4, 1874. 

                                    [note: acc. 69x154.2 is a later version of this.]



Folder 2: Tickets


55.708, 62x92, 12x133, 13x74           Package tickets to the exhibition good from May 10 to Nov. 10, 1876.  All were engraved by the Philadelphia Bank Note Company and include printed signature of David G. Yates.  Three are pink on the back; one is blue-green and indicates that the cost of entrance was 50 cents.

                        Ticket numbers: 22545, 71923, 87350, 91788



Folder 3: Stereographs: (acc. 68x37.4-.6; 69x224.1-.9; 77x27.1, 96x61.8; 99x118.8)


68x37: from the Centennial Photographic Co., Philadelphia, 1876:

            .4         Reed & Barton Co.’s silver exhibit in the main building [stereograph number is illegible];

            .5         978 - Reed & Barton Co.’s silver exhibit in the main building, a close-up view of the exhibit, showing a trophy urn, two sculptures, coffee and tea services, and other pieces;

            .6a-.6b             1453 - Reed & Barton Co.’s silver exhibit in the main building (2 copies)



69x225: from the Centennial Photographic Co., Philadelphia, 1876:

            .1         1747 - Art Annex, Italian section [shows statues and paintings];

            .2         1748 - Art Annex, Italian section [different view from above];

            .3         1418 - Italian section, Memorial Hall Annex [shows statues and paintings];

            .4         Maxwell's Rocky Mountain Museum, Colorado Building [shows mostly taxidermy mammals; figure of a woman sits holding a bird; stereograph number is illegible];

            .5         1731 - Art Annex, Italian Department [shows statues];

            .6         1778 - Art Annex, Italian section [shows statues];

            .7         796 - Corliss engine;

            .8         189 - Art Annex, Italian section [shows statues and paintings; the stereograph number may actually be four digits, but only the 189 is legible]


69x225.9         1945 - General Washington's carriage, with notice on back that S.R. Phillips had been awarded prize for his harness and saddles


77x27.1           1740 [or 1746] - Art Annex, Italian section [shows some of the same statues and paintings as in 69x225.3] (from the Centennial Photographic Co., Philadelphia, 1876)


96x61.8           Art Annex, the name of the section and the number of the stereograph are illegible, but the round items on the wall in the background are the same as those in the background in 69x225.5, which is labeled Italian Department (card printed by the Centennial Photographic Co. of Philadelphia, 1876)


99x118.8         Mississippi State Building, from the series entitled Centennial Views, Phila., New Excelsior Series


2017x61          “The Centennial – General View from George’s Hill, showing camp of West Point Cadets,” from Popular Series, no photographer listed;

                                    a train and fair buildings are in the background; an entrance gate is in the immediate foreground;


2018x24.4-.7: from the Centennial Photographic Co., Philadelphia, 1876:

            .4         “838 - Horti. Grounds from Horti. H.”  [Horticultural Grounds from Horticultural Hall], depicting a garden with a gazebo to one side;

            .5         “754 - Horti. Hall East Front” [Horticultural Hall], showing fountain, with this building in background;

            .6         “947 – Lake, from Mach. Hall” [Lake from Machinery Hall], with fountain playing in lake, buildings around lake, and railroad tracks through the grounds;

            .7         “960 – Mach. Hall, N. Avenue from E. End” [Machinery Hall, North Avenue from East End,” with French exhibits in foreground, and a sign for Great Britain and Ireland in the middle



Folder 4: Photographs:


71x262            Glass lantern slide of the Italian Section of the Main Building, 1876, slide number 1454. 

                        Labeled both Centennial Photographic Co. of Philadelphia, 1876, and L. J. Marcy, Philadelphia



Folder 5: Photographs: (acc. 71x263, all carte-de-visite size)


71x263            Photograph cards, cartes-de-visite, most with handwritten captions

            .1         Interior view of a room, probably a display of antique furniture [caption illegible]

            .2         Art Gallery

            .3         The Union Vase

            .4         A head in marble

            .5         Baby house [a doll house]

            .6         Washington's carriage

            .7         Arms and Trophy Department [suits of armor, cannon, weapons]

            .8         Rustic bridge, Horticultural Department

            .9         Union Avenue [inside a building]

            .10       Union Avenue (slightly different view from that above)

            .11       Interior view of unnamed building, flags hanging from the ceiling

            .12       Relics and curiosities

            .13       Refreshment saloon, showing waiters, all of whom appear to be African Americans

            .14       Firemen's department (see also .19)

            .15       Photograph Department

            .16       India-rubber Department (so captioned, but sign on wall reads Rubber & Gutta Percha Department)

            .17       Art Gallery

            .18       Art Gallery  (different view from that above)

            .19       Firemen's Department (different view from .14 above)

            .20       Department of silverware

            .21       Independence Hall

            .22       Independence Hall (different view from that above)




Folder 6: Lithographs: (acc. 77x356.1-.19)


77x356            Colored lithographs published by Thomas Hunter, lithographer, Philadelphia, Pa., 1876; all have captions in English, German, and French, and many also in Spanish.

            .1         Agricultural Hall, by L. Aubrun, with dimensions of building

            .2         Horticultural Hall, by L. Aubrun, with dimensions of building

            .3         Judges Hall, by Aubrun, with dimensions of building

            .4         Machinery Hall, by Aubrun, with dimensions of building

            .5         Brewers Building, artist’s name illegible

            .6         Butter and Cheese Factory

            .7         Carriage Exhibition Building

            .8         Cook's World’s Ticket Office

            .9         French Restaurant

            .10       Glass Exhibition Building, Gillinder & Sons

            .11       Illinois Building

            .12       Michigan Building

            .13       Missouri Building

            .14       Photograph Exhibition Building

            .15       Pomological Building

            .16       Photographic Association Studio

            .17       Shoe and Leather Building

            .18       Singer Sewing Machine Co.

            .19       Spanish Building




Folder 7: Letterhead stationery


83x75.3           Letterhead stationery for Thomas Hunter, Lithographer, featuring an illustration of the Main Building. 

                        With letter, Th. Hunter and Lanard, Jan. 20, 1876, to Mr. M. L. Filly: enclosing price list for Hunter's Centennial pictures and mentioning some of items available.


83x111            billhead for Thomas Hunter, Lithographer, which does not mention the Centennial Exhibition.

                        Receipted bill, M. L. Filley of Troy, N.Y.,  paid for 100 Centennial views



Folder 8: Map (bound volume)       


70x27              Centennial Memento Map of Philadelphia, a bound volume with a fold-out map, featuring advertisements and engraved illustrations of Centennial buildings.  A few of the ads are in German. 


                        The map was originally published by T.R. Callender & Co. in 1872, based on survey of E. Stoifier.  The name John P. Hunt has been overprinted, as have views of 2 Centennial buildings (Main and Art Gallery).


                        Handle with great care – the map is parting along fold lines.



Folder 9: Machine embroidered picture


80x84              Machine embroidered view of "Memorial Hall, International Exhibition," made by Werner Itschner & Co. Philadelphia, Pa., and designed by W. Ecklin, commemorating the Centennial. 


                        Machine embroidered on silk with blue threads.  The item is in a contemporary mat and frame.


Folder 10: Centennial Train memorabilia, 1875 (acc. 80x218):


80x218            Centennial Train memorabilia, October 1875:

            .1         Printed circular letter regarding a special Centennial Train to bring special guests from Buffalo, N.Y., to view the fair grounds.  This special trip was on Oct. 20-21, 1875.  (see .2 below, which goes with this item)

            .2         Invitation from the Merchants of Philadelphia to Mr. H.B. Tuttle, “to inspect the preparations for the...” Centennial Exhibition.   Inside is the list of Philadelphia merchants who extended the invitation.  (This invitation was accompanied by the circular letter above.)

            .3         Pictorial envelope advertising the "First Centennial Train," with an inscription "about 300 invited from Buffalo [and other places] ... to examine the buildings and other preparations for the exposition…."  The envelope is printed with names of historian (Thos. Kean), electrician (N. Hucker), and caterer (P.J. Hanour).

            .4a-b    Newspaper clippings about the train

            .5         Ticket for the Centennial Train, no. 4.

            .6-7      Schedules of the First Centennial Train for Oct. 20, 1875. (.7 is in two pieces)

            .8         Invitation to Centennial Lunch, Oct. 20, 1875, catered by P. J. Hanour.

            .9         Theater ticket for guests of the merchants of Philadelphia visiting the city for the Centennial.  “Tom Cobb” and “Sweethearts” were presented at the Chestnut Street Theatre.

            .10       Ticket for Banquet at the Belmont Pavilion, hosted by the merchants of Philadelphia, Oct. 21, 1875.

            .11       Menu for the banquet, with program of music by Hassler’s Orchestra.

            .12       Red ribbon badge, with gilt printing, Oct. 21, 1875 [probably worn by the guests]



Folder 11: Handkerchief


83x141            Double handkerchief (i.e. two handkerchiefs which have not been cut apart or hemmed) featuring a depiction of the Memorial Hall Art Gallery and the American eagle.  The item has a red border with stars.



Folder 12: souvenir booklets


04x42.2           “Souvenir of the Centennial Exposition,” a small booklet (almost 3” x 4 5/8”) with dark red cover, with fold-out pictures: birds-eye view of the fairgrounds, Main Building, Machinery Hall, Art Gallery, Agricultural Hall, Horticultural Hall, Women’s Pavilion..  The name Harriet K. Frunzen is penciled at the end.


15x9                “Centennial Pocket Album, 1776-1876,” published by the Centennial Album Co. of New York City; registered at the Patent Office, July 20th, 1875; lithographed by Heppenheimer & Maurer of New York City. 

                                    A small booklet (about 3” x 4 5/8”) with accordion-pleated pages of  pictures of Revolutionary War scenes and the Centennial Exhibition fairgrounds.  Depicted are the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Carpenter’s Hall, Liberty Bell, Washington’s Retreat near Philadelphia, Independence Hall (2 views), Faneuil Hall and Old State House in Boston, Washington’s headquarters in Newburgh, Old City Hall in New York City, the U.S. Capitol, the Main Building of the Centennial Exhibition, Agricultural Hall, Machinery Hall, Horticultural Hall, and Art Gallery.  (These views are different from those in 04x42.2.)  Printed inside the front and back covers are the words to “’The Hymn’ Sung at the Opening of Our Centennial.”



Folder 13: brochure


04x55.1           “Souvenir offert par la ville de Spa (Belgique),” an advertising brochure about Spa, Belgium, mostly in French, with the heading “Exposition Internationale de Philadelphie, 1876.”  The brochure describes the springs and the activities of the town, and includes an engraving of “Grand Etablissement des Bains”




Flat on shelf:


80x85              Illustrated broadside, “Pennsylvania Railroad / Exclusive Route to the Centennial Exhibition,” featuring a map of Philadelphia and the Centennial grounds; D.M. Boyd, Jr., General Passenger Agent; printed by Allen, Lane & Scott's Railroad and Mercantile Printing House, Philadelphia, Pa., 1876. 

                                    It includes two views, one a bird's eye view of the Centennial grounds and the other a view of railroad track tanks along a river.  Printed in blue and black.


81x296            “Centennial Souvenir.”  A print of an elaborate Centennial Exhibition badge.  Figures from top to bottom include (there are more than are herein described): Statue of Freedom, Columbia, statues of soldiers, a central medallion with portraits of George Washington and U. S. Grant, a seal with horses between views of buildings, two artillerymen with a cannon, two more seals, another allegorical female figure, and the Liberty Bell.  At the bottom of the sheet is printed “Keep me for ever.”



Box 2: puzzle


[no accession number]            Centennial Exhibition Puzzle Blocks, manufactured by George H. Chinnook, Brett Litho. Co., lithographer 1875.  Pieces are in a wooden box with an illustration of the main building. Lithographs of the Art Gallery, Machinery Hall, Horticultural Hall, Agricultural Hall, and the Main Building are included as they depict completed puzzles.  Pieces were printed using oil colors.  The bottom of the box contains descriptions of each of the buildings.