Cover

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Frontispiece, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiv

For twenty-five years I lived along Chicago’s lakefront with a thirty-third-floor view overlooking the site of the 1933–34 Chicago world’s fair. I found inspiration in the city, its skyline, and its people every day. Perry Duis, Richard John, and Margaret Strobel have each provided me with guidance, encouragement, and support, challenging and changing my thinking and my writing as I worked on this book. ...

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Introduction

1

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pp. 1-6

In 1833 Chicago was a tiny backwoods settlement on the western frontier.1 By 1933 it had become the nation’s transportation hub, an industrial and meat-processing giant, and the fourth-largest city in the world, surpassed only by New York, London, and Tokyo.2 The Great Depression’s staggering blows, however, cast much of its industrial labor force into desperate idleness. ...

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1. Sally Rand and the Midway

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pp. 7-27

Years after glimpsing the poster showing Sally Rand’s bottom, Donald Richie remembered the exhilaration he felt as a nine-year-old when he and his mother escaped their cheerless daily life in Lima, Ohio, by visiting A Century of Progress.1 His aunt had given them the money for the train ride to Chicago. ...

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2. Chicago Boosters Set the Stage

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pp. 28-51

Mayor “Big Bill” Thompson entered the city council chamber at Chicago’s city hall on December 13, 1927, to find civic leaders absorbed in a charged discussion. Should they or should they not hold a second world’s fair? Who would finance it? What location would guarantee its success? ...

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3. A New Vision for a World’s Fair

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pp. 52-66

Charles Gates Dawes arrived in Chicago on May 24, 1929. He soon announced his intention to raise ten million dollars for the fair from Chicago sources before he left to serve as ambassador to England. He phoned civic leaders whom he regarded as essential to the effort, all powerful leaders in their own fields who also served on boards of key organizations.1 ...

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4. The Vision on Display

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pp. 67-84

It was the evening of May 27, 1933. Opening day at A Century of Progress had enchanted over 120,000 spectators. The sun had set, shadows were long and gray, and the time neared 9 P.M. In hushed anticipation, tens of thousands of visitors flowed toward the Hall of Science’s great courtyard. Something truly miraculous was about to happen, and they would witness it. ...

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5. Women’s Spaces at the Fair

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pp. 85-107

The Chicago Woman’s Club organized a 1933 lecture series entitled “Woman’s Contribution to Civilization” as one component of women’s limited role in A Century of Progress.1 The series fittingly stressed women’s contributions to the nation’s development. Speakers were to focus on the accomplishments of women in their respective fields. ...

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6. African Americans and the Du Sable Legacy

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pp. 108-122

On April 3, 1928, fourteen African American women met at the home of Annie E. Oliver to hear a talk by Robert S. Abbott, editor of the African American newspaper the Chicago Defender.1 Abbott spoke about black men in history and promoted a project to further the recognition of Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable as the founder and pioneer settler of Chicago. ...

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7. Ethnic Identity and Nationalistic Representations of Progress

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pp. 123-136

After parading around the cinder track at Soldier Field, ethnically costumed immigrants and their families from twenty-seven different nations formed a huge heart at the center of the stadium to symbolize that, in 1928, Chicago’s heart was its diverse population.1 Marchers waved the Stars and Stripes along with flags from their native lands. ...

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8. Aviation, Nationalism, and Progress

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pp. 137-150

Approaching Chicago at daybreak on October 26, 1933, Commander Hugo Eckener ordered the Graf Zeppelin, a 775-foot-long German airship, to fly west beyond the city and then circle clockwise, although a northerly route from Indiana with an approach to Chicago from the east over Lake Michigan would have been more expeditious.1 ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 151-158

The turnstiles clicked more than six hundred times per minute on October 31, 1934, as Chicagoans jammed the fairgrounds for their last chance to absorb the jubilation of their city’s second world’s fair.1 Buglers broadcast a call for assembly from the elevated train platforms. Schools and public offices closed for the day. ...

Notes

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pp. 159-198

Index

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pp. 199-206

Illustrations

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Back Cover

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