Additional Resources

Secondary Sources about the Fair


1893 Exposition Simulation: This website showcases the work of Lisa M. Snyder, who created a virtual 1893 Exposition based on extensive research into the architecture, layout, and design of the fair. Right now, you can view static pictures and take "fly through" tours of the grounds. This work brings the Fair to life in a way that static pictures cannot! Dr. Snyder is a senior member of the Urban Simulation Team, associate director of outreach and operations for UCLA's Experiential Technologies Center, and the editor of the membership publication of the Los Angeles Conservancy, an architectural preservation non-profit organization.

The White City: A basic introduction to the World's Columbian Exposition, with oil paintings and colorized images of the Fair. The site also provides a good annotated list of links about the fair.

Hyde Park -Kenwood Community Conference: A website provided by the Hyde Park Community Conference that looks at various aspects of the Fair, especially the construction and architectural aspects of the fair.

World's Columbian Exposition: Idea, Experience, Aftermath: A more thorough introduction to the Columbian Exposition, in the form of a hypertext thesis. Concisely examines the history of the Fair, from the planning stages to the lasting impact that the 1893 Exposition has had on American culture.

History Files: A website that offers an overview of the World's Columbian Exposition, providing a photo gallery, a collection of images of artifacts from the fair (lovely color pictures), and a bibliography for books on the Fair.

The Columbian Exposition Chicago's World's Fair 1893: A website with an overview of the Fair and an interactive map that allows visitors to explore the Fair through clickable images. The "Further Resources" Link also provides a nice section about social issues at the fair, including the problems of race, exclusion, and the question of physiology.

Paul V. Gavin Library Digital History Collection: A website that provides introductory essays about the fair, as well as scans of two books about the fair that can be used as primary sources to explore the architecture of the Fair. Also provides links and information about additional resources for the fair.

Wikipedia Entry: The Wikipedia entry for the World's Columbian Exposition. Provides a decent amount of background information and links to other Exposition sites and information.

Brooklyn Museum Flickr "Mash up": Brian Karpuk took the black and white images from the Brooklyn Museum and created a panorama with them in order to give a better sense of what the fair looked like.

Encyclopedia of Chicago Entry: This entry on the fair from the online Encyclopedia of Chicago addresses many of the important issues of the fair and is by the most preeminent historian of world's fairs, Robert Rydell. The entry also includes links to other relevant entries.

Books and Articles:

Stanley Applebaum, editor. The Chicago World's Fair of 1893: A Photographic Record (Dover Architectural Series) (Dover, New York: 1980).

A concise history of the Columbian Exposition, interspersed with 128 rare,vintage photographs (including 38 of the Ferris Wheel).

Robert Rydell, All The World's A Fair: Visions of Empire at the American International Expositions, 1876-1916. (University of Chicago Press, Chicago: 1987).

This work examines the development of the narrative of American progress's increasing connection with scientific racism, seen in the enthnographic and anthropological displays at the fair put on for both education and profit. Rydell argues that the world's fairs in America from 1876-1916 were the physical demonstration of the racial superiority the dominating political, economic, and intellectual forces in America felt they possessed.

Patrick Young, (May 2008), "From the Eiffel Tower to the Javanese Dancer: Envisioning Cultural Globalization at the 1889 Paris Exhibition." The History Teacher 41/3: 339-357.

A short article by a history professor at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell that reviews the reasons that a world's fair, like the 1889 Paris Exhibition, is a perfect site to teach students about nineteenth century history while connecting these topics to modern issues. Young advocates using the notion of experience as a governing trope for student learning about the Exposition, especially as these fairs were events designed for both observation and participation.

Secondary Sources Related to Lesson Plan: Immigration


Chinese-American Museum of Chicago: This site includes photos and information from the museum’s exhibit from June, 2006 – September, 2007 on Chinese-American participation in the two Chicago World’s Fairs in 1893 and 1933. The exhibit featured original research by museum staff and has made available many important primary sources related to the fair.

Encyclopedia of Chicago, Entry on Chinese: The Encyclopedia of Chicago is a searchable online resource of multimedia entries about Chicago written by leading scholars. There is a very helpful entry on "Chinese" in Chicago.

Chinese Historical Society of America, Online Exhibit, "Remembering 1882: Fighting for Civil Rights in the Shadow of the Chinese Exclusion Act." :This exhibit features videos, photos, a timeline, and additional resources related to Chinese Exclusion and the long fight for its repeal and the winning of equal rights for Chinese-Americans.

Immigrant and Ethnic America at This website from Harper’s Weekly includes and introduction to the Chinese-American experience and an explanation of Harper’s role in the debates about Chinese immigration and exclusion. It includes related articles and illustrations, including many of Thomas Nast’s political cartoons criticizing unfair treatment of the Chinese.

Immigration...Chinese, Library of Congress: This website from the Library of Congress includes a section on Chinese immigrants along with other immigrant groups, Africans, and Native Americans. It includes an overview history of Chinese immigration, photos, interviews, and other resources.

Chinese Immigration and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882: Why Do Many Large American Cities Have a Chinatown?: Lesson plan by Don Barbour from AHTC Summer Institute 2006.


Mae M. Ngai, “Transnationalism and the Transformation of the “Other”: Response to the Presidential Address,” in American Quarterly 57.1 (2005): 59-65.

Professor Mae Ngai of Columbia University discusses the new focus on “transnationalism” in American Studies and History. She uses the example of the Chinese-American exhibit at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair to point to new directions for scholarship that goes beyond criticizing the demeaning and stereotypical depictions of foreign peoples at the fair. She argues that scholars need to know more about who those people were, where they came from, and why they were there. In this way, historical analysis of foreign peoples at the fair will move from one of only exploitation, to a more nuanced understanding that includes historical agency.

Secondary Sources Related to Lesson Plan: Anthropology

Erikson, Connie F. Many Nations in One: A History of Federal Indian Policy, Montana Legislative Council, September 1993: This government publication gives a brief overview of the history of American Indian and European American encounters since the sixteenth century. Chapter Four, Allotment and Assimilation, 1887 to 1928, is a useful background source for the major legislation regarding American Indians in the late nineteenth century.

Indian Removal: 1820-1860: This Digital History textbook provides background information about U.S. Government policies concerning American Indians in the nineteenth century in the period preceding the organization of the World's Columbian Exposition.

Chicago Field Museum site about Anthropology at the Fair: This Field Museum website discusses briefly the history of Anthropology at the end of the nineteenth century, especially as it was developed in tandem with the exhibit design and organization at the Fair. The site also discusses the development of the Field Museum collection as it was derived from the original WCE exhibits.

American Philosophical Society, Franz Boas Collections: This website provides a detailed biography and a library of Boas's works. The introductory material explains how Boas holds a special place in the history of anthropology as one of the pioneers who helped establish the systematic study of human culture as an academic science. Although many of his ideas are today problematic, and some offensive, his work is pioneering for his attempts to engage in this study without assuming a place of inherent privilege for Western societies.

G. Brown Goode, "Museums of the Future," Memorial of George Brown Goode, Together with a Selection of His Papers on Museums and on the History of Science in America, By Samuel Pierpont Langley, George Brown Goode, Randolph Iltyd Geare, Joint commission of the scientific societies of Washington, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Museum, Published by Govt. print. off., 1901): This book is a collection of essays in memorial of George Brown Goode, as well as essays by George Brown Goode himself about the proper layout, purpose, and function of museums.


Wake, Charles Staniland, Memoirs of the International Congress of Anthropology, Chicago: Schulte, 1894.

The International Congress of Anthropology was part of the series of World's Congresses on different topics, held as part of the World's Congress Auxiliary of the World's Columbian Exposition during the opening days of the Fair. The Anthropology Congress took place from August 28, 1893- September 2, 1893. It was essentially an academic conference, made up of academic men and women giving papers on different anthropological topics, where were then published in a collection called the Memoirs of the International Congress of Anthropology (see Wake, Charles Staniland, Memoirs of the International Congress of Anthropology, Chicago: Schulte, 1894). Many of these articles described research about specific anthropological topics, but a few also discussed the field in general.

Bank, Rosmarie K. "Representing History: Performing the Columbian Exposition." Theater Journal 54 (2002): 589-606.

Bank, a theater historian, focuses on the history of anthropology at the fair in terms of performance and representation. She gives a brief overview of the development of the Fair exhibits and the context of American Indian relations with the U.S. government around 1893. She investigates the ways in which anthropological display, including "living exhibits," were intended not to celebrate American Indian heritage, but instead to marginalize those peoples as exotic. She also explores the experience of those American Indians and others who worked in the living displays and other exhibits, in the Fair, and in the entertainments in the Midways and Buffalo Bill's show, to problematize the intention of these displays.

Secondary Sources Related to Lesson Plan: Electricity

A Short History of Electricity, from The National Energy Education Development Project: A helpful explanation of basic elements of electricity, and the progress of discovery of its uses.

By Water to the Columbian Exposition by Johanna Sara Wisthaler (1894). Available from Google Books: Page 105 gives first hand account of visiting the Electricity building at the Chicago World's Fair.

"The Dream City (1893-94)", from the Paul V. Galvin Library Digital History Collection - Illinois Institute of Technology: This digital collection contains photographs and description of the Electricity building.

"Dark Light: Electricity and Anxiety from the Telegraph to the X-Ray," by Linda Simon, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005: Pages 269 and 271 discuss the relationship between new technology and economic hardship at the time of the Fair.

Resources and Information for Teachers

Wisconsin Historical Society Website: Useful summary of what to look for in primary sources and a series of printable .PDF worksheets for students working with documents, images, and artifacts. One question may need to be altered (question regarding what the document says specifically about Wisconsin history).

Berkeley Library Website: Useful guide to responsible research on the internet, with a PDF "checklist" for students looking online.

NCHS Standards Website: The National History Standards, which were used as the basis for determining our lesson plan standards. Provided by the National Center for History in the Schools at UCLA. (Click on the link, Table of Contents, at the bottom, to see a full list with links to details.)

NCHS Lesson Plans for Era 7: In developing the lesson plans around the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, we drew inspiration from the lessons developed around the 1876 Centennial Exposition and the 1893 World's Fair by Robert Rydell. In a series of lessons centered on primary sources including text, pamphlets, cartoons, and pictures, this series of lesson plans examines questions of American "national" identity in the post-Civi War era.

National Educational Technology Standards Website: The National Educational Technology Standards were used as the basis for our lesson plan technology standards.

Chicago History Museum Website: A series of lesson plans about the World's Columbian Exposition, geared to students in grades 6-12. These lesson plans focus on some of the exhibits at the fair, such as art and agriculture, and the technological and transportation innovations that made the fair possible.

Historical Maps in the K-12 Classroom: Lesson plans for grades K-12 that focus specifically on the map of the Columbian World's Exposition, exposing students to historical maps and what they can tell us.

Primary Source Collections for Further Research

Internet Archive: Internet Archive Database. Use keyword "Columbian Exposition" to search a wide database of primary sources that have been scanned in relating to the Fair, including images, books, pamphlets, maps.

American Memory at the Library of Congress: Similar to the Internet Archive, this website offers a searchable database of primary sources. Again, use the keywords "Columbian Exposition" to explore their collection of 1893 World's Fair material.

Brooklyn Museum: A collection of images archived at the Brooklyn Museum in black and white.

Brooklyn Museum flickr site: A collection of images from the Brooklyn Museum of the Fair in black and white, mostly of the architecture and buildings.

Field Museum flickr site: A collection of images from the Field Museum in Chicago, both in color and black and white.

Art Institute of Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago has searchable archival holdings about the Columbian Exposition. They have a nice variety of official planning documents, papers presented at the World's Fair Congresses, and images.

Stereographic Photograph collection: A collection of stereographic images from the Fair, both of the fair itself, as well as images that were produced for the fair. (One image of a nude statue as well).

Digital Archive of American Architecture: A collection of images, maps, and pictures, in both color and black and white, with collections of images from the state buildings, the ethnographic exhibitions, and the major buildings of the Fair. Photographs from Shepp's World's Fair Photographed, Chicago and Philadelphia, 1893, and from Glimpses of the World's Fair Through a Camera, Chicago, 1893.