• IdentificationPUBLIC "-//The Art Institute of Chicago::Ryerson and Burnham Archives//TEXT(US::ICA::00.18::CENTURY OF PROGRESS COLLECTION, c1920s-1980 (bulk 1931-1934))//EN" "ica000018.xml"
  • TitleCentury of Progress Collection, c.1920s-1980 (bulk 1931-1934)
  • PublisherRyerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago,
  • Language
    • English
    • English.
  • Date
    • c.1920s-1980
    • (bulk 1931-1934)
  • Physical Description
    • 3 linear feet(9 boxes), 2 oversize portfolios, and flatfile materials.
    • Printed papers, postcards, black and white photographic prints, an orotone photographic print, black and white photomechanical prints, color photomechanical prints, carbon typescript papers, correspondence, offset lithographs, postage stamps, maps and realia.
  • RepositoryRyerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago 111 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60603-6110 (312) 443-7292 rbarchives@artic.edu http://www.artic.edu/aic/libraries/rbarchives/rbarchives.html
  • AbstractThe Century of Progress International Exposition, Chicago's world's fair of 1933-1934, brought international modernism to the country's heartland. The foreign government buildings, the model houses and the corporate exhibits introduced many Americans to new, progressive architectural styles. Buildings and exhibits of the fair are documented in brochures, photographs, souvenir memorabilia, newspaper and magazine articles, and ephemera.
  • OriginationRyerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago
  • LocationThe collection is housed in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries' on-site stacks.

The Century of Progress International Exposition, also known as the World's Fair of 1933, took place on Chicago's lakefront from June through November 1933, and reopened for several months in 1934. The purposes of the fair were to celebrate Chicago's 100th anniversary as an incorporated village and to present to the public the multi-faceted effects of scientific research on industry and society in the 20th century. The fair's avant-garde aesthetic style received particular acclaim, as seen in the work of such architects and designers as Edward Bennett, Paul Cret, Holabird and Root, Raymond Hood, Albert Kahn, George Fred Keck, Ragnar Ostberg, Andrew Rebori, and Joseph Urban. Additionally, many artists contributed to the fair, including Thomas Hart Benton, Carl Milles, John Warner Norton, Edward Steichen, and Emil Zettler.

The collection consists almost entirely of published materials and visual images related to the Century of Progress, including guidebooks, catalogues, brochures, newspaper and magazine articles, and press releases produced by the Century of Progress and its exhibitors; black and white and color photographs and printed illustrations, including postcards; maps and architectural drawings of some fair buildings; and ephemeral items, including souvenir items and tickets. Some of the images are clearly identified as the work of the Century of Progress's official photographer, Kaufmann and Fabry. In addition, an inventory of the architects and sponsors of many of the buildings for the fair is appended after the scrapbook index.

SERIES I: PRINTED MATERIALS. Arranged in three subseries: General Guidebooks and Viewbooks, in alphabetical order; General Articles, Brochures, and Press Releases, in chronological order; and Building and Exhibit Related Publications, arranged alphabetically by building or exhibit name.

SERIES II: PHOTOGRAPHS, POSTCARDS, AND ILLUSTRATIONS. Arranged in five subseries: Model and Construction Views; General Site Views; Buildings, Structures, Sites, and Exhibits, arranged alphabetically with a section for Images of Multiple Buildings Or Exhibits; Photograph and Postcard Souvenir Books; and Miscellaneous, arranged alphabetically. Contains black and white photographs, color illustrations and postcards.

SERIES III: MAPS, DRAWINGS, AND POSTERS. Arranged into two subseries, then chronologically.

SERIES IV: CORRESPONDENCE, EPHEMERA, AND REALIA. One letter, commemorative stamps, souvenir playing cards, admission tickets and a key.

  • Subject
    • Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-1934: Chicago, Ill.)
    • Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-1934: Chicago, Ill.)--Archives
    • Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-1934: Chicago, Ill.)--Buildings
    • Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-1934: Chicago, Ill.)--Pictorial works
    • Exhibitions--Illinois--Chicago--History--Sources
    • Exhibition buildings--Illinois--Chicago--History--Sources
  • Names
    • Burnham, Hubert, 1882-1968
    • Burnham, Daniel H., Jr.
    • Keck, George Fred
    • Schmidt, Garden and Martin
    • Cret, Paul Phillippe
    • Kaufmann and Fabry
    • Grunsfeld, Ernest Alton, Jr.

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Architectural drawings are held in the permanent collection of the Department of Architecture.

Architectural drawings are held in the permanent collection of the Department of Architecture.

Portions of the collection are restricted due the physical condition of the materials, as noted in the series inventories; for further information, please consult the Archivist. The remainder of the collection may be used by qualified readers in the Reading Room of the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries at The Art Institute of Chicago. Collections maintained on-site are available for patron use without prior arrangement or appointment. Collections maintained in off-site storage will be retrieved with advance notification; please consult the Archivist for the current retrieval schedule. For further information, consult http://www.artic.edu/aic/access/access.html

The Art Institute of Chicago is providing access to the materials in the Libraries' collections solely for noncommercial educational and research purposes. The unauthorized use, including, but not limited to, publication of the materials without the prior written permission of the Art Institute is strictly prohibited. All inquiries regarding permission to publish should be submitted in writing to the Archivist, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to permission from the Art Institute, permission of the copyright owner (if not the Art Institute) and/or any holder of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) may also be required for reproduction, publication, distribution, and other uses. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of any item and securing any necessary permissions rests with the persons desiring to publish the item. The Art Institute makes no warranties as to the accuracy of the materials or their fitness for a particular purpose.

Century of Progress Collection, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago.

The majority of the collection was donated to the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries from various sources during the Century of Progress's existence. The Ryerson and Burnham Archives purchased an additional item in 2002, a large group of materials in October 2005, and another large group of photographs in November 2010.

This collection was processed in 1995 by Ryerson and Burnham Library staff. Additional materials were processed by Jessica Tam in December 2001. The collection was reprocessed by Mary Woolever in 2003. The finding aid was further revised by Annemarie van Roessel and Mary Woolever in 2002 and 2003. Additional materials were processed by Nathaniel Parks in January 2006 and Heather Tennison and Melissa Nye in 2013.

This collection includes some materials that were previously bound and catalogued in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries' collection, including materials transferred from the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries' Pamphlet Files. These items were transferred to the Ryerson and Burnham Archives in 2002 and 2003. Materials purchased by the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries in October 2005 were previously part of the World's Fair Collection of Alfred Heller.

New materials may be added to this collection on an irregular basis.

An inventory of the architects and sponsors of many of the buildings for the fair is appended to this finding aid (See: Appendix I).

An inventory of the architects and sponsors of many of the buildings for the fair is appended to this finding aid (See: Appendix I).