Celebrating the Louisiana Purchase
The 1904 World's Fair (Louisiana Purchase Exposition) marked the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase, a monumental event in U.S. history. Fair organizers set out to celebrate that event and create their own monumental event. It seemed appropriate to set the Fair in St. Louis Missouri, at that time the fourth largest city in the country and part of the land covered by the Treaty.
The Fair was to be a living tribute to the accomplishments and progress man had made in the years following the signing of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty. And, between April 30-December 1, 1904, that is just what 20,000,000 fairgoers experienced. Grand buildings offered working exhibits, inventions, and innovations. Peoples from around the world shared their unique customs. Daily special events and visits to the amusements on the Pike added the element of fun to each visit. Everyone left the Fair with stories to tell friends and families and memories that lasted a lifetime.
When the Fair closed on December 1, 1904, Exposition Company President D. R. Francis knew his goal that the world should "learn the lesson here taught and gather from it inspiration for still greater accomplishments" had been achieved.
Celebrating the Louisiana Purchase is one of St. Louis Public Library's contributions to Celebrate 2004, a yearlong series of events and activities to mark St. Louis' historic anniversaries and celebrate the region's recent accomplishments. St. Louis Public Library invites you to browse the virtual exhibit and experience the many facets of the 1904 World's Fair. Celebrating the Louisiana Purchase features more than 1,200 images -- photographs, stereographs, lantern slides, and postcards - all drawn from the Library's collections. The originals, along with additional materials related to the 1904 World's Fair, may be viewed at St. Louis Public Library's Special Collection Department at Central Library.
St. Louis Public Library staff used information from many resources in developing the exhibit. A few are listed below and recommended for those who want to learn more about the 1904 World's Fair. All are available at the Library.
Bennitt, Mark. History of the Louisiana purchase exposition.
St. Louis, MO, Universal Expositon Publishing Company, 1905.
Compiled from official sources, this book comprises the history of the Louisiana territory, the story of the Louisiana Purchase, and full account of the great exposition. The book is illustrated with more four thousand photos and engravings.
Birk, Dorothy Daniels. The world came to St. Louis: a visit to the 1904 World's Fair.
St. Louis, MO, Chalice Press, 1979.
The author chronicles the 1904 World's Fair from its inception to the closing ceremonies. It is full of facts and photos detailing the experiences of many of the fairgoers.
Francis, David R. The universal exposition of 1904.
St. Louis, MO, Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company, 1913.
Fair President David R. Francis' memoirs discuss the activities that took place in the six years prior to the Fair, the events of the Exposition itself, and conclusions reached after the Fair ended. Information about the Fair organizers, financial statements, and exhibits is included.
Witherspoon, Margaret Johanson. Remembering the St. Louis World's Fair.
St. Louis, MO, Folkestone Press, 1973.
Relive the exciting days and events of the 1904 World's Fair.