World’s Fair of 1939/1940

 

The 1939/1940 World’s Fair

            The 1930’s proved to be a difficult time in American history. The stock market crash of 1929 signified the end of the carefree “Roaring Twenties” and propelled the nation into the Great Depression and a decade of nationwide despair. With daunting levels of unemployment and homelessness, American progress seemed to be at a standstill. The once booming economic and social hub of New York City can be considered a microcosm of the nation’s issues. America elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt to guide the country out of these dark times, New York City followed in the nation’s footsteps by electing Mayor Fiorello La Guardia to reform the destitute conditions of the city.

Mayor Fiorello La Guardia took office on January 1, 1934 and immediately began working to undo the decades of corruption and damage done by the political group Tammany Hall.[1] La Guardia removed unqualified personnel from office and replaced them with people fit to bring the city out of the depression. Namely, La Guardia hired Robert Moses as the New York City Park Commissioner.[2] La Guardia tasked Moses with revitalizing the city parks and bettering the city’s atmosphere through urban renewal.

It was under Moses that the city decided to plan a World’s Fair to boost tourism, revenue, and overall morale in the city. Moses decided that the dumping ground located in Flushing, Queens offered the perfect opportunity for urban renewal. Transforming this dumping ground into the 1939 World’s Fair was the biggest land reclamation project undertaken in New York. Moses made sure that all the profits from the World’s Fair would be dedicated to the construction of Flushing Meadow Park after the fair closed.[3]

Cite of the World's Fair before construction.
Site of the World’s Fair before construction.

Before construction of the fair began, the New York World’s Fair committee needed to decide on a theme for the fair. Originally, committee members thought that the fair should be dedicated to the 150th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration, which fell on April 30th 1939.[4] While the timing of the anniversary fit into the fair, the committee members decided that the fair should inspire Americans, and more specifically New Yorkers, to look forward towards a future of possibility instead of past progress. Thus, they decided that the theme of the fair would be “The World of Tomorrow.”

According to the committee, “The main purpose of the New York World Fair of 1939 [was] to show the tools of today with which America is preparing to build a better world of tomorrow.”[5] In light of recent tragedies like The Great War and The Great Depression, the World Fair would show progress and possibility for a better future.[6] The fair offered the idea that through technology and interdependence, a utopian society was possible in “The World of Tomorrow.” The two main aspects of the world of tomorrow were technology and interdependence.  Incorporating technology into this futuristic utopia was an important task. Many Americans felt resentment and uneasiness towards technological advances because they blamed much of the job loss during the Great Depression on technological unemployment. Through the displays, the fair sought to convince the public that technology was the key to the future.[7]

Interdependence, process, and the cooperation of social groups was the other major aspect of the “World of Tomorrow.”[8] As totalitarian regimes in Europe suppressed individuality, the fair showed American diversity as a strength for the future. As stated by the committee, “we intend to present a clear idea of the mesh of interdependence and interrelations in which all men, all peoples are caught; to show to individuals and communities the materials and the ideas, the things and the forces that affect their lives, their well-being; to show how closely knit together are all groups and classes, states and nations.”[9] The fair showed that the “World of Tomorrow” broke down social barriers and created a more harmonious society in which people of diverse backgrounds could come together.

To present this vision of the future, the former landfill and marshy dumping grounds were transformed into an exhibition park divided into differently themed zones, such as Transportation, Communication,   Business/Consumer, International Foods, Amusements, and International Government zones highlighting and showcasing diverse nations of the world.[10]

Architecturally, visitors entered into a shining city within the fair, whose centerpiece was both a sculpture and building. The Trylon and Perisphere were brilliant in their futurist simplicity; striking white geometric shapes in the form of a large sphere alongside a 700 feet tall narrow triangular pyramid that reimagined ancient obelisks from centuries old civilizations into a signpost of millennia to come.

Profile series on the 1939 World's Fair. Theme Centre of Fair
Profile series on the 1939 World’s Fair. Theme Centre of Fair. The Trylon and Perisphere.

During the day, the Trylon and the Perisphere were bright white and at night they were transformed into a rainbow of colors with pastel flood lights. The Perisphere was a white sphere, eight stories tall and two hundred feet in diameter.[11]  An elevated platform, the “Helicline” led to the Perisphere entrance that was 50 ft. above the park floor and large fountain at the base of the structure.[12] While on the Helicline, fairgoers could overlook a breathtaking vista of the grounds of the park and the throngs of people bustling about. Inside the Perisphere, were revolving balconies that formed large rings suspended in space. From these balconies, the fairgoers watched a six-minute video featuring the fair’s ideal city: “Democracity” as it was called.[13]

 

Democracity portrayed the utopian vison of the next millennia and was made of residential neighborhoods called “Pleasantvilles”, “Millvilles” representing a mixed-use type zoning featuring a mix of residences and industry, and “The Center”, which was the business and industrial heart of Democracity. Each of these different areas was separated by fields reserved for agriculture and recreation. Highways cut through these field to link the different ‘villes’ to “the Center.”[14]

After showing the city, the video had images of different types of workers of all different ethnic groups marching in unity towards “the Center”[15] further portraying the futuristic vision of people of all different races coming together in common interest and social consciousness. In the immediate term, Democracity was also an attempt at the fairs creators to help heal the memories of the Great War and Great Depression and present a counter-statement to the growing totalitarian regimes in Russia and Germany. [16] The sad reality was “the ability of Americans of differing geographic, socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds come together would contrast with ‘the present chaos in Europe’ where people of the same races with no greater diversity than we have are arrayed in a dozen hostile camps”[17]

After watching the video of Democracity, fairgoers shuffled from the Perisphere over the “bridge of wheels” to the Transportation zone which was hosted by General Motors (also referred to as GM)[18] The General Motors pavilion, “Highways and Horizons,” featured the fair’s most popular exhibit: Futurama,[19] where fairgoers often waited 30 – 60 minutes to get into the experience.[20]

In this exhibit, fairgoers were dazzled by a “moving sound-chair” that took fairgoers over an idealized utopian metropolis projected in the 1960’s. Futurama depicted a city with two-level streets separated for pedestrians and traffic. While GM’s exhibitions in the past showed technological goals for the future, Futurama was different in that it invited the fairgoers to participate “in the company’s vision of its social role and its place in the future.”[21]

Corporate exhibitors were placed in close proximity to the centerpiece Trylon and the Perisphere in order to ensure prime viewing by hundreds of thousands of fairgoers show priority amongst the fairgrounds in exchange for the substantial promotional investments sponsoring companies were pouring into their own show pieces.

Outside the fair’s business zone, foreign pavilions were separated from the rest of the fair by the Lagoon of Nations which demarked the government zone containing pavilions created by foreign nations.[22] In a piece entitled “Fine Bindings at the World’s Fair”, within a 1939 edition of the New York Times, an overview of the French pavilion and the world of fine art[23] is juxtaposed against another story on the same page about the basic doctrines behind Fascism.[24] It is as if this article was foreshadowing the impact that the fascist regimes would have on the fair and the eventual looting of Europe’s art treasures by the forces of Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini.

Image "A" This New York Times article shows the pending threat of war against art, culture, and the theme of the 1939 World's Fair
This New York Times article shows the pending threat of war against art, culture, and the theme of the 1939 World’s Fair.

The communication zone provided thrilling demonstrations of the latest advancements in radio telephone, and the near mystical invention of television, which broadcast President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech during the fair’s opening.   The bewilderment of TV for the masses is well captured by author E. Barnou, who writes: “In order to convince skeptical visitors that the television sets were not a trick, one set was made with a transparent case so that the internal components could be seen. As part of the exhibit at the RCA pavilion, visitors could see themselves on television. There were also television demonstrations at the General Electric and Westinghouse pavilions. During this formal introduction at the fair, television sets became available for public purchase at various stores in the New York City area.”[25]

 

The connectivity of the future was further highlighted by the commercialization and demonstration of long distance phone calls from the American Telephone and Telegraph building.[26] For the first time, many fairgoers could instantaneously hear the voices of relatives located oceans away at a time when many parts of the world were not yet electrified.

While some note the Amusement zone had nothing about democracy or the world of tomorrow, many of the standard amusement rides of the day gave fair goers memorable thrills. Of particular note was a 250 ft. parachute jump tower sponsored by the Life Savers Company.[27] That tower still exists today in its relocated form as the symbol of Coney Island, Brooklyn, which is where many of the fair’s amusements found a permanent home after the fair.

Although the fair put the hope for future in the minds of a Depression weary populace, the shining fair was not without its detractors. Negative aspects included criticism that commercialism took control and overshadowed a theme of utopian public interdependence, social welfare, and economic equality. Some argued that the fair really just was “a magnificent monument by and to American business.[28] Earlier, Life Magazine had stated that “This demonstration is being put on almost entirely by American Big Business as a good-will effort. Now, in a time when it must prove its worth and wisdom, Business is using the Fair to show off the marvels of its industrial technology. Since technology is pretty wonderful, the Fair will be full of wonderful things.”[29]

The emphasis on technology as an integral aspect to a utopian future was important for the businesses involved in the fair. In the wake of the Great Depression, many Americans blamed loss of jobs on technological unemployment.[30] Companies felt a strategic importance to show the benefits of technology to Americans so that they would stop resenting technology as a threat to their jobs and allow companies to bring technology to the forefront of Americans. The Fair helped major companies reestablish themselves after the cumulative years of economic hardships suffered during great depression.

Although fairgoers were dazed by technological imagines of life in the future, when looking at the fair, not many people were aware if the backlash that the World’s Fair committee received from the scientific community.[31]  In fact, the “World of Tomorrow” had very little scientific backing.  Many scientists at the time felt that the commercialized fair and corporate exhibits limited scientific progress to gadgets, commodities, and magic, thusly devaluing sciences contributions to social progress.[32] “In the hands of the industrial corporations, science was represented in the form of commodities, gadgets, technology and magic all wrapped in the reassurance that, if given free rein, corporate wizards could conjure a future of happiness and abundance.”[33]

During the depression, many people had blamed scientists for having a lack of social responsibility by creating technological unemployment. In light of this public stigmatization, scientists felt that it was important to help science regain popularity by showing new ideas on how average people could interact with technology and play a significant role in the world of tomorrow.[34] Although the exhibits like Futurama and Democracity showed interaction between people and technology, these exhibits were created by industrial designers as corporate promotional showcase instead of actual scientists.[35] Scientists were excluded from the planning of the World’s fair. Unlike the 1933 Chicago world’s fair, the New York World’s fair did not feature or directly involve scientists in the planning of exhibits.[36]

Scientists were not the only group dissatisfied with the fair. Labor unions caused many issues during the fair. When fair coordinators reached out, labor unions were quick to take advantage of an opportunity to put their members to work after years of having little work for their ranks.  Labor unions had a lot of strength in New York as it came with the support of the common worker as well as political backing.[37]

People were wary of union involvement in the fair, however, Matthew Woll the chairman of the advisory committee on Labor Relations, insisted that the unions would cooperate fully.[38] To ensure this, the committee excluded radical labor unions such as the Young Communist League from being involved in the fair.[39] To further ensure cooperation, the fair committee gave unions an “unprecedented degree of workplace benefits and rhetorical support by the fair.”[40] The significance of the rhetorical support was that Woll and the advisory committee on Labor Relations had hoped that the fair would destigmatize unions in the view of Americans. Unfortunately, the high visibility of the fair exposed a very-publicized display of lack of cooperation between organized labor and business.

Negative union presence was reported even before the fair opened.  There were 27 strikes by July 7, 1939 collectively taking up three hundred days and twenty hours.[41] Foreign pavilions were allowed to hire native workers; however, this made the unions unhappy. Unions caused issues with international pavilions with union workers resorted to intimidation and sabotage. This not only giving organized labor a bad name in the United States, but “fraying international relations at a period of heightened geographical tension.”[42]

High labor costs translated into construction costs much higher than expected. As a result, admission prices to the fair were higher which brought further negative publicity surrounding the event.  Although the exposition was billed as “a people’s fair” surveys show that 63 percent of people who did not attend felt that they could not afford to go. “It was almost immediately apparent that high prices at the fair – for admission, for rides, for food, etc. were the single largest factor inn holding back attendance at the exposition.”[43]

 

For those able to pay the price of admission, many were disappointed when they discovered incomplete exhibits and other inflated prices within the venue. The economic assumptions underlying the fair proved to be out of touch and overly optimistic. 40 million people were expected, but only 15 million came.[44] A combination of poor attendance, labor unrest and active war hostilities spreading outside of the US, created an atmosphere of many state, foreign, and private exhibitors threatening to leave the fair.

Within a year, those realities took a toll as Albania, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the Soviet Union, Sweden, and Yugoslavia withdrew from the fair as war took priority over pomp and circumstance.

To deal with the deteriorating environment, the fair committee hired Harvey Gibson,

a local banker, known for his thrift business practices[45] to pilot a new theme and vision.  Gibson signed new less lenient contracts with workers and reserved the right to hire and fire union workers at management discretion; there is evidence to support that approach worked as labor issues decreased significantly.[46]

On May 12, 1940,[47] nearly a year after the original opening, President Roosevelt and Mayor La Guardia were again on hand in order to introduce a new theme of peace and freedom.[48] Thusly, “patriotism and militarism replaced instruction and social progress as the exposition’s dominant discourse.”[49]

The Trylon and Perisphere were no longer the symbol of the fair[50] and instead were used to promote the new symbol of “Elmer and his wife.” The new symbol represented the typical American fairgoer, in an apparent effort to reconnect with the middle class audience and drive new interest in attendance while offering an escape from the growing war.[51] Elmer and his wife were simple country folk, playing into the big county fair feeling of the 1940’s; This more neighborly audience appeal set the tone as the atmosphere of country fair filled with  popular enjoyment and fellowship.

The fair developed a friendlier atmosphere than it had before. Mr. Gibson implemented a new “say it with a smile” expectation for employees as he wanted fairgoers to feel welcomed.[52] The rebranding had a positive effect as The New York Times described the change as “carefree, informal atmosphere dominates scene, despite specter of the war.”[53]

Despite the leaving of the countries indicated above, Europeans as a whole expanded their expedition space. The World’s Fair ’40 committee exploited the wartime propaganda needs of other nations in order to get them to send exhibits to the fair. Sending exhibits to the World’s Fair showed resilience to war time troubles. For example, Finland committed to the 1940’s fair the day that the Russians dropped 70 bombs on Helsinki. Also, Denmark was expected to leave the fair, but decided to stay even when Germany invaded.[54]

As the fair progressed, however, so did the war. As a result, the nations in the foreign pavilions became a sobering reminder of the war abroad. The European nations used archaic, romantic, and religious imagery to show the impact of total war on their nations and mourn their losses.[55]

In attempts to make the fair more fun, despite the solemnity of the foreign pavilions, Mr. Gibson and the committee hired musicians, acrobats, and clowns to entertain fairgoers along the streets of the fair.[56] An “American Jubilee” exhibit showed American history through song and dance[57] and the Amusement Zone was given a new name: “The Great White Way.”[58] Consistent with the county fair approach, nostalgic attractions were thrust into the limelight such as the Billy Rose Aquacade an amphitheater that had shows with water ballet, high diving, clowns, fireworks, light show projected on a wall of water, Frank Buck’s “Bring ‘em Back Alive” Jungleland Village, which included a monkey island and a Seminole village, Tiny town, a miniature village inhabited by little people, Admiral Byrd’s Penguin Island, a rollercoaster called Whoosh, a replica of old New York in the 1890’s, a bob sled ride, bumper cars, a dunk tank, a penny arcade, a freak show, and a museum of natural history exhibit that simulated rocket trip to the Moon, Mars and Venus.[59] The rebranding was captured best by the following sentiment:  In the Great White Way, the fair “drops its Harvard accent and lapse into pure unadulterated circus.”[60]

The rebranding was barely enough to stay ahead of the pace of the war and served as a “final fleeting moment of optimism before faith for the world of tomorrow had not yet been shattered.”[61] The fair closed its doors on October 27th 1940 and the fair grounds were turned later turned into Flushing Meadow park.

Overall, the fair was indeed a tale of striking contrasts.  The promise of utopian equality constructed with labor strife. A shining white city for “the people” that millions could not afford the cost of admission, the promise of global instantaneous connectivity international long distance telephone that would soon serve as a conduit of war news as opposed more positive connection. And the promise of technological marvels to be enjoyed by the common folk but without the backing of science at the time.  Despite the lack of support from the scientific community, many of the technological visions, such as telephones, rural electrification, television, refrigeration, ubiquitous automobile use, and transatlantic flight and telephone calls became affordable commercial successes in the hands of the masses. Even spaceships became a reality.

[1] Burns, Ric, James Sanders, and Lisa Ades. New York: an illustrated history. New York: Knopf, 1999. 420.

[2] Ibid, 429

[3] New York World’s Fair 1939 and 1940 Incorporated records, New York Public Library MS2233

[4] Duranti, M. “Utopia, Nostalgia and World War at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Contemporary History 41, no. 4 (2006): 664

[5] Theme of world’s fair. (1936, Oct 09). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.shu.edu/docview/101639008?accountid=13793

[6] Duranti, M. “Utopia, Nostalgia and World War at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Contemporary History 41, no. 4 (2006): 663.

[7] Kargon, Robert H., Karen Fiss, Morris Low, and Arthur P. Molella. World’s fairs on the eve of war: science technology & modernity, 1937-1942. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015. 57.

[8] London, D. H. “Outside the World of Tomorrow: New York Labor and the Public Sphere in the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Urban History 40, no. 6 (2014): 1012.

[9] Theme of world’s fair. (1936, Oct 09). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.shu.edu/docview/101639008?accountid=13793

[10] New York World’s Fair 1939 and 1940 Incorporated records, New York Public Library MS2233

[11] Duranti, M. “Utopia, Nostalgia and World War at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Contemporary History 41, no. 4 (2006): 666

[12] Hart, Jeffrey. “The last great Fair.” New Criterion 23, no. 5 (January 2005): 76. Art Full Text (H.W. Wilson).

[13] Ibid, 75.

[14] Ibid, 76.

[15] Ibid, 77.

[16] Duranti, M. “Utopia, Nostalgia and World War at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Contemporary History 41, no. 4 (2006): 668

[17] Ibid, 667-668.

[18] August, L. G. (1939, Jun 11). Two Weeks at the World’s Fair. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.shu.edu/docview/102840821?accountid=13793

[19] Kargon, Robert H., Karen Fiss, Morris Low, and Arthur P. Molella. World’s fairs on the eve of war: science technology & modernity, 1937-1942. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015. 75.

[20] August, L. G. (1939, Jun 11). Two Weeks at the World’s Fair. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.shu.edu/docview/102840821?accountid=13793

[21] Kargon, Robert H., Karen Fiss, Morris Low, and Arthur P. Molella. World’s fairs on the eve of war: science technology & modernity, 1937-1942. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015. 75.

[22] Duranti, M. “Utopia, Nostalgia and World War at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Contemporary History 41, no. 4 (2006): 668.

[23] E. L. (1939, Jul 16). Fine bindings at the world’s fair. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.shu.edu/docview/102839897?accountid=13793

[24] C. J. (1939, Jul 16). The basic doctrines behind fascism. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.shu.edu/docview/102920883?accountid=13793

[25] Barnouw, E. (1990). Tube of plenty: The Evolution of American Television (2nd ed.). New York : Oxford University Press

[26] August, L. G. (1939, Jun 11). Two Weeks at the World’s Fair. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.shu.edu/docview/102840821?accountid=13793

[27] Hart, Jeffrey. “The last great Fair.” New Criterion 23, no. 5 (January 2005): 76-77. Art Full Text (H.W. Wilson).

[28] London, D. H. “Outside the World of Tomorrow: New York Labor and the Public Sphere in the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Urban History 40, no. 6 (2014): 1011.

[29]  “The New York World’s Fair: Life Presents a Preview of a $170,000,000 Show,” Life Magazine 6, no. 11, 33–50; Warren Susman, Culture as History (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2003), 223.

[30] Kargon, Robert H., Karen Fiss, Morris Low, and Arthur P. Molella. World’s fairs on the eve of war: science technology & modernity, 1937-1942. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015. 57.

[31] “Losing the World of Tomorrow: The Battle over the Presentation of Science at the 1939 New York World’s Fair,” American Quarterly 46 (1994): 344.

[32] Ibid, 341.

[33] Ibid, 360.

[34] Ibid, 344.

[35] Ibid, 364.

[36] Ibid, 350.

[37] London, D. H. “Outside the World of Tomorrow: New York Labor and the Public Sphere in the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Urban History 40, no. 6 (2014): 1013.

[38] Ibid, 1012.

[39] Ibid, 1015.

[40] Ibid, 1011.

[41] Ibid, 1017.

[42] Ibid, 1019.

[43] Ibid, 1018.

[44] Ibid, 1012.

[45] Duranti, M. “Utopia, Nostalgia and World War at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Contemporary History 41, no. 4 (2006): 674.

[46] London, D. H. “Outside the World of Tomorrow: New York Labor and the Public Sphere in the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Urban History 40, no. 6 (2014): 1022-1023.

[47] Duranti, M. “Utopia, Nostalgia and World War at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Contemporary History 41, no. 4 (2006): 674.

[48] Ibid, 663.

[49] London, D. H. “Outside the World of Tomorrow: New York Labor and the Public Sphere in the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Urban History 40, no. 6 (2014): 1023.

[50] Ibid, 1021.

[51] Duranti, M. “Utopia, Nostalgia and World War at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Contemporary History 41, no. 4 (2006): 663.

[52] Ibid, 675.

[53] R. B. (1940, May 12). ’40 Fair gets off to a lively start; 191,196 on hand. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.shu.edu/docview/105347009?accountid=13793

[54] Duranti, M. “Utopia, Nostalgia and World War at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Contemporary History 41, no. 4 (2006): 682.

[55] Ibid, 669.

[56] Hart, Jeffrey. “The last great Fair.” New Criterion 23, no. 5 (January 2005): 77. Art Full Text (H.W. Wilson).

[57] Duranti, M. “Utopia, Nostalgia and World War at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Contemporary History 41, no. 4 (2006): 675.

[58] Hart, Jeffrey. “The last great Fair.” New Criterion 23, no. 5 (January 2005): 77. Art Full Text (H.W. Wilson).

[59] Ibid, 77-78.

[60] Ibid, 78.

[61] Duranti, M. “Utopia, Nostalgia and World War at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Contemporary History 41, no. 4 (2006): 682.

 

References

August, L. G. (1939, Jun 11). Two Weeks at the World’s Fair. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.shu.edu/docview/102840821?accountid=13793

This primary source gives a detailed outline of the events and exhibits at the fair.

Barnouw, E. (1990). Tube of plenty: The Evolution of American Television (2nd ed.). New York : Oxford University Press.

This secondary source talks about the evolution of television and mentions its origin at the World’s Fair.

Burns, Ric, James Sanders, and Lisa Ades. New York: an illustrated history. New York: Knopf, 1999.

This tertiary source details the history of New York City, but for the purposes of this paper was o        nly used for background context leading up to the world’s fair.

  1. J. (1939, Jul 16). The basic doctrines behind fascism. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.shu.edu/docview/102920883?accountid=13793

This primary source is from the same New York Times edition as “Fine bindings at the world’s fair.” The two stories were actually on pages right next to each other. This article is a stark contrast to the article discussing the art at the fair. It is as if this article was foreshadowing the impact that the fascist regimes would have on the fair

Duranti, M. “Utopia, Nostalgia and World War at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Contemporary History 41, no. 4 (2006): 663-683.

This secondary source focuses on the shift in the theme of the world’s fair. Its analysis of primary sources gives great insight into how and why the theme changed.

  1. L. (1939, Jul 16). Fine bindings at the world’s fair. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.shu.edu/docview/102839897?accountid=13793

This primary source talks about the fine art work at the French and Belgium Pavilions. This shows the original goal of the fair as a celebration of progress and a revival of hope for the future.

New York World’s Fair 1939 and 1940 Incorporated records, New York Public Library MS2233

These are the records held at the New York Public Library detailing the events of the World’s Fair.

Hart, Jeffrey. “The last great Fair.” New Criterion 23, no. 5 (January 2005): 76. Art Full Text (H.W. Wilson).

This primary source is a firsthand account of the fair written and published years later. Not only does it include details about the fair at the time, but also reflects on the events following the fair.

Kargon, Robert H., Karen Fiss, Morris Low, and Arthur P. Molella. World’s fairs on the eve of war: science technology & modernity, 1937-1942. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015.

This secondary source talks about the impact of commercial business on the utopian themes of the fair.

London, D. H. “Outside the World of Tomorrow: New York Labor and the Public Sphere in the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair.” Journal of Urban History 40, no. 6 (2014): 1012.

This secondary source discusses the impact of the fair on New York City and their labor unions.

“Losing the World of Tomorrow: The Battle over the Presentation of Science at the 1939 New York World’s Fair,” American Quarterly 46 (1994): 341-373.

This secondary source talks about the clash between scientists and the commercialized technology of the fair.

  1. B. (1940, May 12). ’40 Fair gets off to a lively start; 191,196 on hand. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.shu.edu/docview/105347009?accountid=13793

This primary source directly addresses the change in theme of the fair in the 1940’s. The fair in the 1940’s is dedicated to peace and freedom.

Theme of world’s fair. (1936, Oct 09). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.shu.edu/docview/101639008?accountid=13793

This primary source talks about the planning for the original theme of the Fair.

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