Records of the Sesqui-Centennial Association
Held at: City of Philadelphia, Department of Records, City Archives [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the City of Philadelphia, Department of Records, City Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association was the organization which planned and administered the major international exposition held in Philadelphia from May 30 through November 30, 1926, in honor of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The idea for the exposition is said to have originated in 1916 when the merchant, John Wanamaker, expressed interest in the sesqui-centennial as an opportunity for Philadelphia to serve as the focus for an international gathering which would rival the great U.S. Centennial Exhibition held in Philadelphia in 1876. World War I intervened and discussion of the sesqui-centennial did not resume until 1920, when a committee assembled to form the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association which was incorporated on May 9, 1921. Various sites were considered and League Island near the U.S. Navy Yard in South Philadelphia was selected. The Association employed experienced world's fair planners and professionals to prepare the buildings and grounds which filled 450 acres and to organize the exposition and related events which were subsidized by public and private funds. Thirty foreign nations participated in the event which attracted seven million visitors. Participation lagged behind expectations, however, and financial problems dogged the project from beginning to end. The Association passed into receivership in 1927 and several years passed before the claims of the organization's many creditors were resolved in U.S. district court.
The official records of the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association at the Philadelphia City Archives represent the largest extant body of material concerning this event. They consist of approximately 40 cubic feet of holdings dating from 1920 through 1931 including 29 record storage cartons, 18 volumes of newspaper clippings, 3 map file drawers, and 4 photographic albums containing approximately 4,000 black-and-white prints. The records are primarily made up of the files of the administrative staff who organized and conducted the Sesqui-Centennial from 1925-1926. Also included are minutes and correspondence of the Sesqui-Centennial Association board who initiated the project in the early 1920s and the numerous voluntary boards staffed by Philadelphians noted in their fields to plan appropriate events and activities in such fields as athletics, business and industry, fine arts, medicine, music, transportation, and black history. Notable among these was the Women's Committee which organized a historical reconstruction of Philadelphia in 1776 that proved highly popular.
The collection is arranged into the following series and subseries:
232-1 Committee of One Hundred 232-1.1 Minutes 232-1.2 Correspondence
232-2 Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association 232-2.1 Charter & By-Laws 232-2.2 Minutes 232-2.3 Correspondence 232-2.4 Official History 232-2.5 Printed Material (Non-Official) 232-2.6 Photographs 232-2.7 Scrapbooks 232-2.8 Financial Records
232-3 Board of Directors of Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association 232-3.1 Minutes 232-3.2 Correspondence & Files
232-3-1 Executive Committee of the Board of Directors 232-3-1.1 Minutes 232-3-1.2 Correspondence & Files 232-3-1.3 Reports to Board of Directors 232-3-1.4 Site Selection Reports 232-3-1.5 Exhibit Contracts 232-3-1.6 Resolutions 232-3-1.7 Financial Reports
232-3-2 President of the Board of Directors 232-3-2.1 Correspondence & Files
232-3-3 Committee to Select a Director-General 232-3-3.1 Correspondence & Files
232-3-4 Committee of Fifty to Celebrate July 4, 1922 232-3-4.1 Correspondence & Files
232-3-5 Committee on Athletics 232-3-5.1 Correspondence & Files
232-3-6 Committee on Education 232-3-6.1 Minutes: See (232-3-6.2) 232-3-6.2 Correspondence & Files
232-3-7 Electrical Committee 232-3-7.1 Correspondence & Files
232-3-8 Committee on Grounds and Buildings 232-3-8.1 Correspondence & Files
232-3-9 Industrial Committee 232-3-9.1 Correspondence & Files
232-3-10 Committee on Manufactures 232-3-10.1 Correspondence & Files
232-3-11 Committee on Health, Medicine, and Allied Sciences 232-3-11.1 Minutes 232-3-11.2 Correspondence & Files
232-3-12 Committee on Municipalities 232-3-12.1 Correspondence & Files
232-3-13 Committee on Music 232-3-13.1 Correspondence & Files
232-3-14 Committee on Negro Activities 232-3-14.1 Minutes 232-3-14.2 Correspondence & Files
232-3-15 Committee on Publicity 232-3-15.1 Correspondence & Files
232-3-16 Committee on Religion 232-3-16.1 Correspondence & Files
232-3-17 Committee on Shipping 232-3-17.1 Correspondence & Files
232-3-18 Committee on Theatricals and Amusements 232-3-18.1 Correspondence & Files
232-3-19 Women's Committee
232-3-20 Committee on Continuance of Exhibition in 1927 232-3-20.1 Report
232-4. Administrative 232-4-1 Executive Director 232-4-1.1 Correspondence & Files
232-4-2 Director-General 232-4-2.1 Correspondence & Files
232-4-3 Administrative Staff 232-4-3.1 Minutes of Meetings of Department Heads 232-4-3.2 Plans for Buildings and Grounds
232-4-4 Department of Admissions and Concessions
232-4-5 Department of Domestic Participation & Special Events 232-4-5.1 Correspondence & Files 232-4-5.2 Federal Participation 232-4-5.3 State Participation 232-4-5.4 Congresses and Conventions 232-4-5.5 Special Events 232-4-5.6 Special Days: See Record Series 232-4-5.5 232-4-5.7 Music Division 232-4-5.8 Division of Negro Activities
232-4-6 Department of Exhibits 232-4-6.1 Correspondence & Files 232-4-6.2 Division of Education and Social Economy 232-4-6.3 Fine Arts Division--Catalog 232-4-6.4 Jury of Awards--Awards Lists 232-4-6.5 Sales Division
232-4-7 Department of Finance and Accounting 232-4-7.1 Correspondence & Files 232-4-7.2 Contracts 232-4-7.3 General Orders 232-4-7.4 Personnel Records 232-4-7.5 Financial Reports 232-4-7.6 Audit Papers 232-4-7.7 Progress Division 232-4-7.8 Appropriation ledger
232-4-8 Department of Foreign Participation 232-4-8.1 Correspondence & Files
232-4-9 Department of Pageantry 232-4-9.1 Program for "Freedom" Pageant
232-4-10 Department of Publicity 232-4-10.1 Correspondence & Files 232-4-10.2 Newsletters 232-4-10.3 Pamphlets 232-4-10.4 Posters 232-4-10.5 American Teacher-American Youth Award 232-4-10.6 Programs of Events
232-4-11 Women's Department 232-4-11.1 Correspondence & Files 232-4-11.2 Printed Literature
232-4-12 Department of Works 232-4-12.1 Specifications
232-5 Receivers 232-5.1 Correspondence & Files 232-5.2 Auction Catalogue of Receivers' Sale 232-5.3 Daily Cash Reports 232-5.4 Transcripts of Equity Proceedings in Case of John D. Cardinell
232-6 Pennsylvania Sesqui-centennial Commission 232-6.1 Report
232-7. Photographs 232-7.1. Album Photographs 232-7.2. Athletics Photographs 232-7.3. Naval Photographs 232-7.4. Publicity Department Photographs 232-7.5. Miscellaneous Photographs
The records of the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association were placed at the Free Library of Philadelphia at the close of the exposition and were later transferred to the Philadelphia City Archives. The records were processed in 1996-1997 with support from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
The processing of the Sesqui-Centennial Association records conducted in 1996-1997 primarily focused on the files of the Sesqui's officers and management which were in dire need of attention because of their large quantity of deteriorating paper including numerous carbons of letters and memoranda. Photographs from the Sesqui records were processed and indexed in spring, 2000 as part of a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. One additional body of documentation-- the scrapbooks of newspaper clippings--still awaits further processing and the Archives plans to address the preservation and access needs of these holdings in the near future.
The 1996/1997 work built upon the preliminary processing of the Sesqui-Centennial records conducted by Ward Childs in 1969-1970 and the series list which was prepared at that time and subsequently published in the Descriptive Inventory of the Archives of the City and County of Philadelphia (1970). Two features of the recent processing activity bear mention. First, as in 1969-1970, archival processing staff noted that some of the files of the Sesqui's operating departments such as Exhibits, Concessions and Admissions, and Domestic Participation and Special Events were filed according to a hierarchical classification scheme and that the classification numbers appeared on the file labels of files used in these offices as well as on the individual items contained within the folders. Typically this classification scheme included a letter and number sequence separated by decimal points (i.e., "G.7.1"). However, since no one, to our knowledge, has ever been able to locate a master list of the classification system, archives personnel have not been able to use the system in more than a limited way in preparing the records for research use. The old classification numbers were transferred to the folder labels when the materials were refoldered this past year and the original file order of that classification system--for those portions of the organizational records where it was used--has been retained. Second, and significantly, the recent archival processing resulted in the discovery of an "Operating Organization Chart" dated 23 March 1926 (Map Case Folder 12, Blueprints). The chart clarified the relationship between the various departments and sub-units within the organization instituted by the Sesqui-Centennial association officers to administer the work of the exposition. This information has enabled the archives to relate portions of the records which had become fragmented over time to a structural framework as described in the following pages.
The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
Finding aid entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Garrett Boos in 2010.
- City of Philadelphia, Department of Records, City Archives
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Gail E. Farr
- Finding Aid Date
- The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project. Finding aid entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Garrett Boos and Courtney Smerz.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use, in-house only.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Philadelphia City Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
The incorporating agency of the Sesqui-Centennial, the Committee of One Hundred (also informally referred to as "the citizens' committee" for the Sesqui-Centennial) originated on November 1, 1920, when Mayor J. Hampton Moore sent out a circular letter stating that "As the result of conferences and suggestions from the Chamber of Commerce, the Franklin Institute and other public spirited organizations, I invite you to attend a meeting to be held in the Mayor's Office, City Hall [on November 4, 1920] to prepare for the organization of a movement to celebrate in Philadelphia, in 1926, the Sesqui-Centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence" (Minutes, Nov. 1, 1920). At this meeting, which was attended by Alba Johnson, president of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, John Frederick Lewis, president of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and of the Art Jury, and John Wanamaker, among others, the participants approved a motion authorizing the mayor to appoint a citizens' committee to prepare a plan of celebration. The participants also adopted a resolution in which they asked Mayor Moore to request City Council for an appropriation of $50,000 to cover preliminary expenses. The Committee of One Hundred was appointed, and at an organizational meeting on February 14, 1921, the members resolved to secure a charter for the project, to be incorporated under the title, "Sesqui-Centennial Exposition Association," and recommended a list of officers and directors. Lewis was named chair of the committee on incorporation, and the mayor was selected as the association's president. For some reason, the application for the charter listed the name of the organization as the "Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association" (not "Exposition Association" as originally discussed). The "Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association" became the official name when the governor of Pennsylvania chartered the organization by letters patent on May 9, 1921. The Committee of One Hundred then went out of existence.
The minutes of the Committee of One Hundred are bound in with the minutes of the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association. Included is a list of the Committee of One Hundred as well as lists of those members of the Committee who were present at the meetings to organize the Association.Physical Description
Includes a list of Committee of One Hundred members and the memorial of William Coates, president of Philadelphia Board of Trade, to City Council, January 1921, requesting authorization of $50,000 to support the Committee's work.Physical Description
1 folder + 1 legal size folder
On February 14, 1921, the Committee of One Hundred (see 232-1) resolved to form a corporation under the title of "The Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association" and obtain a state charter for this association which was granted in May of that year. On June 3 the Association met to adopt its charter and bylaws and elected a board of directors. Together with the executive committee, selected that same day (see 232-3-1), the board of directors became the governing body with respect to the Association as a whole. The board directors met and organized under the presidency of Mayor Moore with John Wanamaker as honorary chairman, Alba Johnson as first vice-president, John H. Mason as treasurer, and Edward Robins as secretary pro tem. In succeeding months the directors appointed special committees, hired office staff, and discussed general planning strategies as well as more general topics such as public commentary on the exposition and ways of promoting public involvement. Citizens were invited to become members of the Association on payment of dues of $10.00. On June 21, 1921, there were 218 members and by late September there were 847 who had paid their dues.
The Association gathered for an annual meeting each May beginning 1922. After giving the presidential address at the first annual meeting, Mayor Moore resigned from the presidency. John Frederick Lewis served as interim president through June 30 of that year; in August, the board chose Franklin D'Olier for the post. Philadelphia mayor W. Freeland Kendrick was elected president on November 28, 1923. In February 1925 Kendrick hired Col. D. C. Collier as director-in-chief, and by the following year the association employed a large administrative staff. Kendrick remained president of the Association through the close of the exposition.
Includes lists of names and addresses of subscribers to the Association as well as copies of the Acts of Assembly under which it was incorporated.Physical Description
Bound in with the minutes of the Committee of One Hundred and the minutes of the board of directors of the Sesqui-Centennial association are found minutes of the annual meetings of the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association. The first annual meeting of the Association took place on May 9, 1922, and subsequent meetings were held each May thereafter. The proceedings of the annual meetings generally included a president's report, treasurer's reports, and reports on membership.Physical Description
2 vols. (intermittent)
The series includes correspondence concerning the appointment of the Citizens' Committee of Fifty for Celebration of July 4, 1922. Not to be confused with the Committee of One Hundred, this was a committee of the Sesqui-Centennial Association whose purpose was to celebrate the formal dedication of the Sesqui-Centennial site on July 4, 1922. The correspondence file also includes correspondence regarding the City Councils' Committee on the Sesqui-centennial and letters to Association officers suggesting names for the Sesqui-Centennial celebration.Physical Description
4 folders + 2 legal size folders
The authors' notes and drafts for the history are not in the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association records at the City Archives. Background information about the history may be found in the papers of Joseph R. Wilson (232-4-6.2) who began collecting material soon after his appointment as official Sesqui-Centennial historian on May 10, 1926 and in the files of Department of Finance and Accounting director, E. L. Austin (series 232-4-7 and 232-5), who completed the project with Odell Hauser. A manuscript version of the exhibit awards list which appears in the appendix to the published volume is housed in series (232-4-6-4). Additional information about many of the special events mentioned in the history is found in the programs of events issued by the Department of Publicity headed by Hauser (232-4-10.6) and in the files of the Department of Domestic Participation and Special Events (232-4-5).Physical Description
1 vol., no index
Includes tourist guidebooks, leaflets, and pamphlets providing information about the Sesqui-Centennial issued by businesses or organizations other than the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association. Of special interest is The Port of Philadelphia: Its History, Facilities, and Advantages (1926), issued by the Philadelphia Department of Wharves, Docks, and Ferries, which contains detailed information about the city's waterfront at this time.Physical Description
Includes clippings of editorials, news items, cartoons chiefly from Philadelphia and New York newspapers concerning Exhibition events and exhibits; also official posters, tickets, passes, unofficial publications, badges, and samples of Sesqui-Centennial association membership and service certificates.Physical Description
18 vols., no index
Includes canceled checks, statements, and deposit records for the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association's account at Drexel & Co. documenting payments for advertising and promotion, printing, staff, and equipment.Physical Description
2 folders + 1 legal size folder
On June 3, 1921, the Association elected its first board of directors under the new Association charter. Together with the Executive Committee (See 232-3-1), the board became the governing body with respect to the Association as a whole. The board of directors met and organized under the presidency of Mayor Moore with John Wanamaker as honorary chairman, Alba Johnson as first vice-president, John H. Mason as treasurer, and Edward Robins as secretary pro tem. In succeeding months the directors appointed special committees, hired office staff, and discussed general planning strategies as well as more specific topics such as public commentary on the exposition and ways of promoting public involvement.
Folders 1-2 contain two bound volumes of minutes which detail the proceedings of the Board of Directors from their election on February 14, 1921, through October 27, 1925. The volumes contain marginal notations which provide an index. Folders 3-20 contain miscellaneous sets of minutes for the following meetings: May 16, c. June 1922 [portion], August 2, and extracts from minutes February 21, 1922-August 27, 1923, October 2, November 20, November 22, and December 10, 1923; May 13, June 11, 1924, and loose undated items, c. 1922-1924; January 11, August 16, and November 29, 1926; and January 25 and April 22, 1927.Physical Description
2 vols., 18 legal-size folders, partial index
The bulk of this material dates from 1922-1923 and documents the preliminary work of Sesqui-Centennial Association board members in planning and fundraising for the exposition. Included are lists of names of board members and their business affiliations, along with correspondence pertaining to the appointment and election of Association officers, annual meetings, Campaign Committee luncheons, dinners, and pledge drives.
Items in the files for 1921 concern appointments made by Mayor Moore for persons to serve as committee members and chairs.
Letters for 1922 include correspondence from the Engineers' Club of Philadelphia which produced a report on the siting of the exposition, opposition to Sunday opening of the exposition, membership promotion, and letters of endorsement for prospective directors-in-chief, engineers, architects, and planners. Correspondents include original Association subscribers such as Lucretia Blankenberg, widow of former mayor Rodolph Blankenberg, and Hon. James M. Beck, Solicitor General of the U.S.
The 1923 correspondence includes incoming letters addressed to Victor Rosewater, secretary of the board; outgoing items addressed to Ernest Trigg, chair of the Executive Committee; Franklin D'Olier's letter of resignation as president of the board, November 6, 1923; letters of resignation from Association members who did not wish to make dues payments; and scripts of radio broadcasts on behalf of Sesqui by John R. Stockwell, chair of the Sesqui-Centennial Committee of the City Club, and others.
The correspondence for 1924 contains discussion of the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association charter amendment; a September 5, 1924, letter from William W. Matos to Trigg discusses parallels with the Wembley Exhibition held in England, the need for a stadium, and the role of pageants in the Sesqui. Additionally, the correspondence includes files of letters and printed matter from individuals and organizations opposed to the Sesqui-Centennial exposition, 1922-23 (folder 19); material concerning the appointment of Paul Cret as chief architect in September 1922; bond sales; a fundraising dinner for Hon. James Beck; appeals to Camden, New Jersey, manufacturers and businesses, and to various states for support and participation in the exposition; and accounts.Physical Description
33 folders + 6 legal size folders
Meeting for the first time on June 21, 1921, the Executive Committee managed the business operations of the Association including budget oversight, accounts, membership, and authorization of expenditures. Additionally, under Association bylaws, the Executive Committee was specifically charged with locating and selecting a site for the exposition which was a major focus of its work the first year. The Committee also took increasing responsibility for seeking appropriate legislative action from Congress and the state of Pennsylvania to ensure cooperation and funding.
The Executive Committee minutes document meetings of the Committee beginning with its first meeting on June 21, 1921, through early 1927 with gaps. Originals of the minutes for June 21, 1921-May 16, 1922 are bound in with the first volume of minutes of meetings of the board of directors. Included in these early Executive Committee minutes is much informative material concerning site selection. On December 6, 1921, the Committee resolved to request the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Engineers' Club of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Real Estate Board to make recommendations regarding the proposed site. On January 4, 1922, the Committee resolved that the reports of these organizations would be printed at the expense of the Association, and a summary of a public hearing to discuss the issue appear in the minutes for February 7. On March 14, the Executive Committee presented its report to the board of directors recommending Fairmount Park--the recommendation of the Engineers' Club--as the site for the exposition (the board approved the proposal). The mayor submitted the report to City Council along with a request for the enactment of an ordinance to allow the Association to develop the exposition at that location. The report was issued in pamphlet form under the title, The Sesqui-Centennial Exposition Philadelphia 1776-1926: Message of the Mayor to the Council of the City of Philadelphia, together with the Report of the Executive Committee on the Selection of the Fairmount Park-Parkway Site (Philadelphia, 1922), a copy of which is pasted into the minute book. Additionally, the Committee minutes for February 2, 1922, contain an account of Mayor Moore's visit to Washington in which he interviewed President Warren Harding, Pennsylvania senator George Wharton Pepper and other congressional leaders as well as an enthusiastic Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover, "who exclaimed 'the Sesqui-Centennial offers the finest opportunity imaginable'."
There are also 17 folders of unbound minutes. Some portions are carbon copies and there are gaps. Included are minutes for May 16, 1923-June 11, 1924; April 7-June 25 and September-October 1925; March 29-June 21 and September 20, 1926; and March 11-15, 1927. Portions have marginal notes which form an index.
The minutes for 1923 document the interaction between the senior officers of the committee--Ernest Trigg, Franklin D'Olier, and Victor Rosewater--and Col. John Price Jackson, who served as executive director of the Association in 1923. Principle topics of discussion were the Campaign Committee, Subscription Committee, subscription drives, fundraising dinners, and bond sales; efforts to elicit support and cooperation from states, organizations, and foreign countries; attempts to secure support and financial backing from Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot; methods of representing of various topical themes in the exposition; design and content of specific exhibits and events; and special committee reports and recommendations.
By 1924-25 the discussion focused mainly on the work of special board-appointed planning committees, some of whose minutes and presentations are filed in with the executive committee minutes.
Additionally, the series contains dated, unnumbered resolutions of the Executive Committee to approve expenditures, September 1925-March 1927. The bulk of the Committee's resolutions are found in (232-3-1.6).Physical Description
1 vol. + 15 folders + 2 legal size folders. Partial index.
Consists mainly of correspondence between Victor Rosewater and members of the Association regarding the Executive Committee's fundraising campaign.Physical Description
Includes Progress of Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition: Report made by the Chairman of the Executive Committee to special meeting of the Board of Directors, October 2, 1923 (pamphlet, 1923) and a typed report written by Ernest Trigg, chair of the Executive Committee, on October 27, 1925, for presentation at the Board of Director's meeting of that year, outlining progress made in construction, foreign participation, and committee work.Physical Description
Contains "Report of the Sesqui-Centennial Committee of the Engineers' Club of Philadelphia on Sites to the Executive Committee of the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association, Philadelphia, Pa., Jan. 25, 1922" (typescript, 114 pages), two copies of the published Engineers' Club Report; a seven-page mimeographed typescript of a proposition favoring Peace Park [Hog Island] as the site for the Sesqui-Centennial exposition written by an unidentified author sometime during the early 1920s; the lavishly illustrated bound volume published by the Tacony Manufactures' Association on the Proposed Site for the Sesqui-Centennial, Philadelphia, 1926: Upper Roosevelt Boulevard, Including Part of Pennypack Park (December 1921); and a similar illustrated report of the same title with a soft-cover binding published by the Northeast Sesqui-Centennial Association in February 1922.Physical Description
2 folders + 4 legal size folders + 1 blueprint file
Includes carbon copies of contract numbers 1-185 with individual exhibitors as well as a mimeographed summary of contracts for Buildings 1, 2, and 5 and a sample concession contract.Physical Description
8 folders + 1 legal size folder
These are resolutions to approve expenditures for the Sesqui-Centennial exposition which were passed by the Executive Committee during 1926. Since the Executive Committee had the authority to approve the expenditure of funds for the exposition, this series forms one of the most complete information sources in the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association record group. The resolutions are filed by date; the names of the contracting parties are, unfortunately, unindexed. Generally speaking, the resolutions contain the name of the person or company supplying the service or product, names of persons representing various contractors, the date and terms of payment, the name of the account that the payment was drawn from, and check numbers. The resolutions also provide a detailed picture of operating expenses such as payroll; from time to time, the resolutions include lists of names of persons employed by the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association, their job titles, and salaries or wages paid. The series contains original resolutions from March 22-May 24, 1926 (unnumbered) and originals (numbered 1-93, 275, and 900-1000) from May-June and August 1926; carbon copies of resolutions numbered 1-3358 (January 4-December 6, 1926); and duplicate carbon copies dated October 4-18, 1926. For additional unnumbered resolutions for the period September 1925-March 1927, see series (232-3-1.1), minutes of the Executive Committee.Physical Description
3 cu. ft., No index
Reports and memoranda concerning fundraising appeals, expenses, salaries, and wages paid.Physical Description
4 legal size folders
Consists of a file of correspondence of Franklin D'Olier, August-November 1922, mostly made up of letters of congratulations upon D'Olier's appointment as president, and two printed reports issued by board president W. Freeland Kendrick, Mayor of Philadelphia, including the "Sesqui-Centennial Souvenir Edition" of Kendrick' annual mayoral message for 1925 and the message of October 1926 transmitting his 1927 budget request to City Council. See also: reports of the president in the board of directors bound in with the Association's board minutes, 1921-1925.Physical Description
This committee was appointed under resolution of the Board of Directors of the Association on April 18, 1922, directing the president of the association to appoint a committee of six to conduct the search for a director-general for the exposition. No appointment was made until February 1925 when the Association hired for David C. Collier for the position.
Approximately 200 letters of recommendation from throughout the country addressed to Mayor J. Hampton Moore, president of the Sesqui-Centennial Association from June 1921 to May 1922; John Frederick Lewis, interim president of the Association from May-June 1922; and Samuel Rea, chair of the selection committee, regarding the nomination of candidates for director-general.Physical Description
Includes general correspondence and accounts of the Amateur Athletic Union games, held on the Sesqui grounds in the summer of 1926.Physical Description
1 item in legal-size folder
3 folders + 1 legal size folder
These records concern efforts to promote state participation in the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition. The files are arranged alphabetically by name of state. Included are material on states (A-Oklahoma), a small file on Texas, a miscellaneous folder, and oversize items. Files for the remaining part of the alphabet are not extant.
Generally the folders contain copies of outgoing correspondence of Sesqui-Centennial officers and incoming letters from state representatives and officials including governors, secretaries of state, and members of the legislatures concerning the designation and commemoration of state days at the Sesqui-Centennial exposition and sponsorship of buildings or exhibits highlighting the history and progress of each state. Included are such things as responses to the Sesqui's request for lists of names and addresses of legislative candidates nominated at the state's most recent primary of different political parties (expenditures of state funds for Sesqui-Centennial displays required legislative approval); copies of legislation passed by state legislatures to authorize expenditures of funds for exhibits; and correspondence between Sesqui-Centennial Director-General D. C. Collier or Exhibits Director Axel Malm and members of state planning committees who developed the content of the exhibits. Also included are correspondence with county and municipal officials as well as representatives of major industries to whom exposition officials turned for funds in a number of states which failed to make legislative appropriations.
The material reflects the varied social and political make-up of the nation as a whole as well as that of the individual states. On the whole, states with the larger and more diverse economies took a more active part in Sesqui. The California folders are interesting in that they include correspondence with municipalities such as Los Angeles and San Diego as well as state officials. California joined with Washington and Oregon to create a regional West Coast building. As the Florida files show, Floridians planned to build a Florida Pavilion at the exposition but the financial arrangements fell through. The files also indicate the involvement of persons who served in the capacities of state historians or cultural directors. Even though few persons actually held these official titles, the state planning committees almost always included at least one member such as a state librarian or museum curator who represented knowledge of history about the state. The commentary on exhibits and state day programs also provide an index of awareness of different groups in American society. The Oklahoma display, for example, featured exhibits presented by the Indian Hunting Grounds Association (the "National Park for American Indians") and the Society of Oklahoma Indians and many of the state observances had a historical or ethnic component. Finally, the files contain brochures about group excursions by rail or automobile. These were scheduled to coincide with the various states' days in order to allow visitors from the home state to travel to Philadelphia for the Sesqui-Centennial observance of their state's day at bargain rates while also ensuring a turnout.Physical Description
1.5 cu. ft. (48 folders) + 9 legal size folders + 1 map case file
Includes letters from individual musicians, musical societies, and sponsors suggesting prospective programs for the exposition and nominees for an official Philadelphia slogan song. The records contain sheet music and poems about Philadelphia which could be set to music.Physical Description
1 folder + legal size items
According to one source, this body originated on March 23, 1925, when "A committee of leading Philadelphia negroes appointed to cooperate with the Sesqui-Centennial exposition, as the result of a meeting in East Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church, proposes the erection of a building to display the progress of negroes in sciences and industries." (In "Summary of the Progress of the Sesqui-Centennial by Dates: Reports of Sesqui-Centennial Activities" (232-4-7.2, Box 22). The Committee had its own executive committee of 25 which was in charge of participation of African-Americans throughout the U.S.
Includes minutes and memoranda of the general committee in charge of Negro Activities of the Sesqui-Centennial Association directed by Hon. J. C. Asbury. Also included are miscellaneous copies of news releases and clippings, some of which pertain to the pageant, "Loyalty's Gift," along with correspondence and lists of names of committee participants.Physical Description
Folder 1 includes lists of subcommittees of the Committee on Negro Activities. Among these were Art Exhibits, Athletic, Comfort and Protection, Education, Fraternal, Industrial Exhibits, Medical, Military Demonstration, Music, Publicity, Reception of Distinguished Guests, Religious Exhibits and Activities, and Women's Committee. Folder 2 contains memoranda, notes, and correspondence of the Women's Board of Negro Activities including lists of officers (Mrs. S. W. Layten of Philadelphia chaired the executive committee), committees, subcommittees, members' names and addresses, as well as information about some of the committees' activities such as minutes of the Beauty Culture Committee, May 6, 1926. Folder 3 contains a typed chronological list prepared by an unidentified author outlining African-American contributions to American life in such areas as the Church among Negroes, Negro Insurance Companies, Number of Negroes Engaged in Business, Negroes at West Point, Actors, Painters, Poets, Sculptors, and Sports.Physical Description
1 folder + legal size items
1 folder + 1 legal size folder + 1 map case file
1 folder + 1 map case file
1 folder; 1 map case file
This Committee merged into the Women's Department. For all records, see Record Group 232-4-6.
Building on the preliminary work of the board and its special committees, the directors hired paid administrators and specialists to implement plans for the exposition. The first of these was Colonel John Price Jackson who served as executive director of the Association from February to November 1923. Jackson was instrumental in creating various board committees to work with members of the community to plan and organize activities focusing on selected thematic areas. He also mobilized the fundraising efforts of the executive committee which occupied the greater share of his time. No one succeeded Jackson as executive director. Following Colonel Collier's appointment as director general in February 1925, Collier worked with Mayor Kendrick to select an administrative staff for the exposition. An organizational chart dated March 23, 1926, shows a staff headed by the Association president (Kendrick). The director-general occupied the next rung down. Reporting to the director-general were 12 department heads. Within the departments were various divisions made up of professional, administrative, clerical, and operations staff. The twelve departments were as follows: Admissions and Concessions, Aviation, Domestic Participation and Special Events, Exhibits, Finance and Accounting, Foreign Participation, Military, Pageantry, Publicity, Transportation, Women's Department, and Works. Some of these units were outgrowths of pre-existing board committees such as the Women's Committee, but they also included staff people who had had limited prior contact with the Sesqui-Centennial movement. Finally, the administrative staff included personnel from city agencies who were drafted into the department of works in order to complete the many construction projects on time. See brief historical sketches of the departments and divisions below.
Colonel John Price Jackson was president of the Engineers' Club of Philadelphia which prepared the site study for the Sesqui-Centennial Association board.
These files document Col. Jackson's work as a fundraiser and publicist for the exposition. Two folders of correspondence between Jackson and members of the business community reveal Jackson's interest in the industrial division of the exposition which would emphasize developments in manufacturing, commerce, and management. The files contain several exchanges between Jackson and L. P. Alford, editor of the journal, Management and Administration, regarding Jackson's article, "The Next Half-Century of Industry: A Forecast Through the Sesqui-Centennial," which appeared in the journal in 1923. A page proof of the article is filed in with the correspondence. The third folder contains an engagement calendar in which Jackson recorded his activities from March 6 through November 27, 1923. Notations refer to meetings of the Executive Committee and other committees of the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association board, subscription drives, luncheon and dinner meetings, speaking engagements, and travel to Harrisburg and New York on behalf of the exposition.Physical Description
Colonel David Charles Collier was named Director-General of the Sesqui-Centennial exposition in February 1925. A resident of San Diego, Col. Collier had been Director-General and president of the exposition company of the Panama-California Exposition which had been held in that city in 1914. 1 In his contract, Collier agreed to serve until November 30, 1926, at a salary of $25,000. However, when other officials decided to simplify the architectural plan and reduce the number of buildings in order to open the exposition on schedule, Collier resigned on October 29, 1925. Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association officials appointed Captain Asher Carter Baker to fill the post. As director of foreign exhibits, Baker had been traveled extensively throughout Europe to promote interest in the Sesqui. On a subsequent trip abroad as director-general, he became ill and was forced to resign on the eve of the exposition's opening in May 1926. He was succeeded by E. L. Austin who had been serving as acting chief while Baker was in Europe. On June 21, 1926, the board officially designated Austin as Director-in-Chief. Austin continued to direct the affairs of the exposition after it closed. Austin subsequently became a receiver for the Association and went on to co-author the official history of the Sesqui-Centennial.
1A brief biography of Collier is found in (232-4-7.2), "Summary of the Progress of the Sesqui-Centennial by Dates: Reports of Sesqui-Centennial Activities" (Box 22).
Incoming letters addressed to D. C. Collier and carbon copies of his outgoing correspondence through November 1925 are filed in with the general records of the administrative staff (series 232-4-3) and those of the departments and divisions. Collier was particularly interested in exposition planning and promotion--generally speaking, its external affairs. Much of Collier's correspondence on internal administrative matters was handled by A. L. Sutton, Assistant Director General of the exposition and director of the Division of Domestic Participation and Special Events. In this memorandum of August 29, 1925, Collier notified department heads that "Mr. Sutton as Assistant to the Director General will act as liaison officer between the Executive Department and the other departments." Similarly, there is no discrete group of Baker's papers as Director-General other than those found in (232-4-3) and divisional and departmental records. Materials pertaining to Austin's term as director-in-chief are found in (232-4-7), records of the Department of Finance and Accounting.Physical Description
Includes an organizational chart, labeled "Operating Organization Chart," dated "3-23-26" and initialed "J. W. N.," blueprint filed in map case.Physical Description
4 folders + 1 map case file + 1 blueprint file
Includes January 1922 report on sites published by the Engineers' Club of Philadelphia; printed copies of a map prepared by Sesqui-Centennial officer E. H. Hicks in the early 1920s showing "Philadelphia--1926: Population Distribution Radiating from Exposition Cities"; tentative plans for the League Island site dated February 1925; and plans for buildings and grounds at the League Island location approved by D. C. Collier, Director General, up through October 1925, by A. C. Baker, Director in Chief after that date, George A. Biles, Director of Public Works, and John Molitor, City Architect. Also of interest is a general plan for the Sesqui-Centennial Exposition prepared by Olmsted Brothers, Landscape Architects, Brookline, Mass., August 1925, signed by R. J. Pearse, Exposition Designer, Biles, and Molitor.Physical Description
3 folders + 1 legal size folder + 1 oversize folder + 2 map case files + 1 blueprint file
Includes general administrative staff files and correspondence. Folders labeled with the prefixes (B/1.3.1) and (B/1.3.1A) from the original Sesqui-Centennial association's filing system concern the selection of the Sesqui-Centennial exposition site and preliminary plans for the exposition. The folder, “Site and Plans, Miscellaneous, April-May 1925,” contains correspondence from William D. Disston, president of the Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, expressing his opposition to the choice of South Philadelphia (Disston favored investment in sewers and transportation for the Northeast which would soon repay the city in tax revenue), and board reports concerning the League Island site.
Also included are files of information collected by the exposition planners such as Lists of Names of Prominent Philadelphians, Philadelphia "Firsts," Advertisers, Organizations, and Mailing Lists, decorations, press releases, construction of buildings including the Stadium, entrance passes, and the Sesqui-Centennial seal; correspondence of various Sesqui-centennial officers including the Council of Governors, Mayor W. Freeland Kendrick, administrative staff, and committee chairs. The Kendrick files consist mainly of carbon copies of letters sent to the mayor by members of the administrative staff, October 1924-February 1926
The folders with the prefix (B/1.9- ) consist mainly of correspondence and memoranda between 18 officers of the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association and heads of administrative units of the exposition. Correspondents include Director of Admissions and Concessions, William E. Cash; fundraising campaign director and realtor Albert Greenfield; publicity director Odell Hauser; Military Department head Major E. H. Hicks; Independence Hall curator and Kendrick aide Wilfred Jordan; mayoral assistant Frank Short; executive committee chair E. J. Lafferty; Sports Committee chair, Dr. George W. Orton; the U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, Hon. George Wharton Pepper; Director of Domestic Participation and Special Events and Assistant Director General, A. L. Sutton; and Division of Education and Social Economy chief Joseph R. Wilson.
Of special interest are the files of individuals who handled publicity work for the directors including Dr. Clarence J. Owens, Special Commissioner for New York City (4 folders); C. C. Nye, Special Commissioner for Midwest States (2 folders); Howard R. Rice, Special Commissioner for Washington State (1 folder); and A. N. Eshman, Southern Publicity Representative (7 folders). The Eshman material is especially useful in illustrating various tactics which were used in distributing information about the Sesqui-Centennial exposition to small, isolated rural communities in order to promote it as a genuinely national exposition.
Additionally there are 4 folders of correspondence with Norman Jefferies, agent for the Sesqui-Centennial exposition's promotional film, Lest We Forget. Jefferies contracted to prepare, manufacture, and complete a one-reel film focusing on events of the American Revolution for national promotion and distribution through Educational Film Exchanges, Inc., of New York. The correspondence begins with Jefferies' proposal to the Philadelphia mayor's office in June 1924 and documents the development of the script, film, movie house bookings, and reviews through 1926. A copy of the script is contained in the files.
Maps and other oversize planning documents have been removed to legal-size files and map case drawers. An inventory of the plans is found in the container list for this record group. Among them are area maps of Philadelphia from c. 1915 through the mid-1920s. Included is a general plan of the plaza, South Street Boulevard, and League Island Park prepared by Olmsted Brothers, Landscape Architects, Brookline, Mass., July 1915.Physical Description
1 cu. ft. (98 folders) + 11 legal size folders + 4 map case files
These files consist of incoming letters to the first concessions and admissions director William Abrahams, his successor, W. E. Cash, and assistant director, C. D. Bond, and copies of their outgoing responses to several hundred respondents who inquired about arrangements for exhibiting or selling products or providing services at the Sesqui.
The material in the folders marked "Miscellaneous" (C/2.9.0-A-N) concerns the terms at which exhibit space was made available. Usually vendors, manufacturing companies, distributors, and suppliers of goods and services could contract space at a charge of $5 per square foot plus an additional charge of 15-20 percent of gross receipts if the exhibitor requested a selling privilege. The incoming letters were often written on letterhead stationery illustrating the company's firm or product and are sometimes accompanied by brochures about the products. Typical of the products mentioned are antiques, art goods, furniture, decorative wares, clothing, cleaning supplies, small appliances, novelties, cosmetics, tourist attractions, Florida real estate, food, and soft drinks. Items of note represented in the miscellaneous files (parts 1-7) include the De Silvis & Cusani, Philadelphia, hair dressing parlor display of beauty culture; Reuben H. Donnelley Corp., advertising distributors; Oliver Ditson Company, music publishers; Gospel Guards (charity); E. V. Stokes regarding sales of the "Rollemout Improved Rotary Cookie Cutter"; and the Yamagata Residential Hotel, Tokyo, provider of ricksha service.
Popular entertainments proposed in the "Amusements--Miscellaneous" (C/2.9.1) folders include music, circus arts, a planetarium, Italian organ grinder, aerial acts, baseball-related games, and riding devices. The correspondence in these folders is arranged alphabetically by last name. Circulars advertising the amusements are occasionally included. Of special interest is the file on Indian shows which includes correspondence with Fred Cummins of Los Angeles, California, proprietor of Cummins' Famous Indian Congress and Wild West show, and other persons proposing Native American booths and presentations at Sesqui.Physical Description
1 cu. ft. (53 folders) + 5 legal size folders + 2 map case files
This department, directed by A. L. Sutton, coordinated much of the programming at the exposition. The department included the following divisions: Federal Participation; State Participation; Municipal Participation; Civic Participation; Congresses and Conventions, headed by J. H. Flett, chief; Fraternal; Housing Division; Special Events; Special Days, headed by J. H. Flett and his assistant J. H. Sayres; Music Division; Athletic Division; Military (except regular); Religious (merged with Education & Social Economy in the Exhibits Department); and Negro Activities headed by Hon. J. C. Asbury.
Please review files of the various divisions of this department including Federal Participation, State Participation, Congresses and Conventions, Special Events, Special Days, and Music (232-4-5.2 through 232-4-5.7) described below.
General Correspondence, June 1924-August 1926 (Folder D/3.1), pertains to federal participation in the Sesqui. For the most part the file is made up of carbon copies of Col. Collier's outgoing letters as Director in Chief. Included are copies of Collier’s March 7, 1925, letter to Hon. John W. Weeks, Secretary of War, regarding the appointment of a military aide to the Mayor to oversee military aspects of the exposition; Collier's handwritten notes regarding lobbying for Congressional appropriations, March 19-27, 1925; his August 12, 1925, letter to President Calvin Coolidge introducing the "Healthy Hearty Hikers Club" of Philadelphia which was making a Sesqui-Centennial hike to Washington; Collier's September 23, 1925, letter to Hon. J. J. Davis, Secretary of Labor, regarding the admission of foreign exhibitors and attaches into the United States; Collier’s August 31, 1925, letter regarding municipal exhibits; and his May 2, 1925, memoranda to E. T. Trigg, proposing the appointment of staff to lobby for Congressional appropriations. The folder contains incoming letters from Mayor Kendrick and other exposition officers and memoranda regarding exhibits of government departments in the Machinery, Mines, Metallurgy, Transportation, and Engineering Building #5 from March-June 1926.
Three exchanges with the White House are also found here. These include a June 27, 1924, letter from President Coolidge to Mayor Kendrick in which Coolidge encouraged Philadelphians in their plans for the Sesqui; a letter dated October 13, 1925, from Everett Sanders, Secretary to the President, responding to Mayor Kendrick’s letter of October 10 inviting Coolidge to be present at the Sesqui-Centennial exposition on July 3 and 4, 1926 (the President tentatively accepted); and a December 21, 1925, letter in which Coolidge responded to Kendrick’s request of December 18 to make a proclamation for the reading of a portion of the Declaration of Independence in all churches on January 3, 1927, to mark the opening of the Sesqui-Centennial year (Coolidge declined). The file also contains a copy of a request sent to Vice President Charles G. Dawes regarding the designation of a Vice President’s Day. There is no copy of the reply.
U. S. Department of Commerce, 1922-1926 (D/3.1.11-11AB), 4 folders: This correspondence documents the role of the U. S. Department of Commerce in promoting the exposition. Part 1, General Correspondence, 1923-1926 (D/3.11) includes letters from the Office of the Secretary mentioning plans for a prospective exhibit at Sesqui, February 1923; letters from Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce officials such as John M. Hager, Acting Chief, Domestic Commerce Division, and L. B. Clark, Acting Commercial Attache, regarding distribution of literature to bureau personnel, 1925; and copies of subsequent letters by Sesqui-Centennial staff to provide Commerce officials with updated information about the exposition. The folder also contains carbon copies of Collier’s letters to Commerce Department officials requesting mailing lists of organizations with commercial interests, such as the Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A. and individual Chamber of Commerce chapters, and copies of Collier’s letters promoting the Sesqui-Centennial exposition to these groups. Part 2, Foreign Division, 1922, 1925-1926 (D/3.11A) contains correspondence between Sesqui-Centennial association officers, primarily Collier and Kendrick, and Commerce Department officials. Included are two letters from Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover: one dated November 4, 1925, to D. C. Collier; and the other dated November 17, 1925, to Mayor Kendrick, in which Hoover reassures Kendrick that "The Administration is absolutely unwavering in its support of the Sesqui-Centennial Exposition." Copies of outgoing items suggest that Sesqui-Centennial officials sought Hoover's assistance on various matters in the spring of 1925 and informed him of their progress in asking state legislatures to appropriate funds. The file also contains a copy of Kendrick's letter to Hoover, dated February 26, 1926, asking whether it would be possible for the Department of Commerce to hold its annual conference of commercial attaches in Philadelphia during the Sesqui. Additionally, the file contains incoming letters from division chiefs in the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. Among these are circulars about two expositions--the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts and the International Exhibition of Hydraulic Force and of Touring, both held in France in the summer of 1925--which were forwarded in a letter from the chief of the European division of the Department's foreign bureau. Parts 3-4, U. S. Custom House, 1925-1926 (D/3.1.11B) contain miscellaneous items pertaining to customs activity at the Sesqui. Included are a procedures manual, "Report of Bureau of Customers and Deliveries" developed by J. S. Teager, Chief of the Bureau, Division of Exhibits, at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, from 1914-1916, and copies of Treasury Decisions pertaining to entry of articles for the Sesqui.
U. S. Department of War, 1924-1926 (D/3.1.12), 3 folders: Part 1, General (April-November 1926) primarily concerns plans for the Springfield Armory exhibit at Sesqui. Part 2, Military Aid (September 1924-September 1926) contains correspondence with the commander of the War Department, Third Corps area, regarding plans and budget for the Department's participation in the exposition. Also included is a copy of a letter from Douglas MacArthur, Major General, Commanding, of the Third Corps Area, to Mayor Kendrick, regarding the detailing of Major Edward H. Hicks, Field Artillery, HQ 79th Division, at Sesqui. Part 3 contains: "Information about Army Posts," a brochure on the history of government posts produced by the Third Corps Area in connection with the Sesqui-Centennial. Copies of memoranda distributed to the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Force, Camp Anthony Wayne, September-October 1926, have been transferred to a legal-size folder.
U. S. Department of Agriculture, 1923-1926 (D/3.1.12A), 1 folder, contains letters from Department officials regarding exhibits at the Sesqui. The earliest, dated November 14, 1923, from one of the department's consulting specialists, and addressed to John Price Jackson, indicates that plans for a federal exhibit on agriculture were already underway.
U. S. Department of State, 1925-1926 (D/3.1.13), 2 folders: Part 1, May 1925-June 1926, contains letters from J. Butler Wright, Assistant Secretary of State, to D. C. Collier and A. L. Sutton regarding participation of foreign nations. Wright's letter to Collier, October 2, 1925, confirms the date on which the invitation of the President of the United States was sent to foreign nations to participate in the Sesqui-Centennial exposition as May 20, 1925, and relays information about countries which had thus far agreed to participate. Additionally, the file includes a copy of an informative letter from Mayor Kendrick to Secretary of State Frank Kellogg, May 5, 1925, outlining support authorized for the Sesqui-Centennial exposition up to that date. A March 1, 1926, letter from Kendrick to Wright refers to a letter from Mr. Nahum Daniel Brascher, editor-in-chief of the Associated Negro Press, which Wright forwarded to Kendrick (the specific nature of Brascher's inquiry is not indicated). Also included are letters from Wright to Kendrick regarding persons appointed to the National Advisory Commission by the President on the authority of various states from January-June 1926. Part 2, February-December 1925, contains exchanges between State Department and Sesqui-Centennial officials which further illuminate the relationship between city and federal officials in Sesqui-Centennial planning. Items include a carbon copy of a letter dated February 27, 1925, from Supreme Court Justice, Charles E. Hughes, to Edward T. Clark, Acting Secretary to President Coolidge, advising the White House that the State Department had not yet received information directly from the Sesqui-Centennial association regarding the proposed involvement of foreign countries, as was needed before the President, pursuant to the resolution of August 29, 1922, could authorize the extension of the invitation to foreign governments through diplomatic channels. Other items of note include Collier's March 7, 1925, letter to Kellogg listing officers of the Executive Committee and members of the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association and their organizational affiliations; Collier's April 6, 1925, letter to Wright estimating the budget for the exposition; and Collier's April 24, 1925, letter to Wright, in which Collier related that Pennsylvania Governor Pinchot had just signed the Bromley Bill appropriating $750,000 for the Sesqui-Centennial. Another interesting item is the copy of Kendrick's letter to Kellogg, November 10, 1925, asking Kellogg and his fellow cabinet member Hoover to please "use your good offices in combating the evil which may result through misunderstandings that may arise because of misleading statements [about the Sesqui-Centennial] appearing in the press."
Folder (D/3.1.15) concerns the role of the United States Flag Association in the Flag Day ceremony, 1926. Folder (D/3.1.15A) contains letters from individuals and organizations protesting Sesqui-Centennial promoters' use of the United States flag on its letterhead and in car card advertising showing the flag draped or otherwise displayed in violation of the Flag Code of 1923. Additionally there are some memoranda concerning the design of a Sesqui-Centennial flag. Folder (D/3.1.16), U.S. Post Office, concerns the model post office exhibit and franking privileges.
U. S. Department of the Navy (Folder D/3.1.21), concerns plans for naval activities, March 1925-April 1926. Items of interest include a carbon of Collier's March 7, 1925, letter to the Secretary of the Navy Curtis D. Wilbur, regarding the use of naval units stationed at U. S. Navy Yard, Philadelphia, and the detailing of naval and marine aides to assist in various activities including "monster athletic contests between the various foreign naval units and those of our navy"; the letter from Wilbur approving these requests on March 14, 1925; and another from Wilbur on June 13, 1925, regarding the use of the Constitution ("Old Ironsides") which was undergoing restoration. The file also contains a letter dated March 25, 1926, in which Kendrick wrote Wilbur inviting the warships of the U.S. Navy to visit Philadelphia during the Sesqui. Wilbur sent back a schedule of when various battleships would be at the Navy Yard during those months. Also included is information about Marine Corps Day and Coast Guard Day.
U.S. Navy Yard, Philadelphia (Folder D/3.1.21A) includes correspondence from Rear Adm. A. H. Scales, commandant, and other officers of the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and from the Philadelphia Department of Wharves, Docks, and Ferries concerning plans for a naval display of foreign men-of-war in the Delaware River. Additionally, the file contains correspondence from Navy Yard officials concerning the need to assure access of civil and military workers to the Navy Yard up to and during the Sesqui.Physical Description
0.5 cu. ft. (20 folders) + 2 legal size folders + 1 map case file
This material consists of correspondence between Sesqui-Centennial association officials and officers and members of organizations regarding plans for conventions to be held in Philadelphia during the Sesqui-Centennial exposition. In July 1924, George W. B. Hicks, Executive Secretary of the Sesqui, sent out an appeal to national social and fraternal groups as well as professional societies, business, trade, organized labor, and women's groups, resulting in the scheduling of meetings in Philadelphia in 1926, but as these files show, others were also interested in using the Sesqui-Centennial as an opportunity to promote travel and tourism in the city in the Sesqui-Centennial year. Interestingly, the files contain some August 1921 correspondence between John Wanamaker and the mayor's office concerning a representative of the United National Association of Post Office Clerks who approached Wanamaker about convening a meeting in Philadelphia during the Sesqui.
Additionally, there are 5 folders of correspondence between Sesqui-Centennial staff and the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (PCC) regarding the work of the Convention and Exhibition Bureau at the Sesqui. The Bureau operated jointly between the Sesqui-Centennial association and PCC to promote convention visits, arrange accommodations for convention delegates and guests, and list the groups' individual programs in the official Sesqui-Centennial exposition program. The folders contain reports from Bureau staff William H. Fisher, Jr. and Frank L. Devine from May 1925-October 1926 listing names and addresses of individuals who had asked for information about the exposition as well as letters discussing arrangements for meetings. The material provides an index of the effectiveness of promotional and publicity efforts for the Sesqui-Centennial exposition and its appeal in different parts of the country.
The series also contain 9 folders concerning the meeting of the Pan-American Union on October 22, 1926. For this occasion, the entire delegation of the Pan-American Union traveled to Philadelphia on a special train from Washington for a formal luncheon and ceremonies including ambassadors and ministers from 21 Latin American countries. The files contain detailed plans for accommodating the Latin American delegates and U.S. state department officials including guest lists and seating charts.
The folder on Accommodations (F/5.27) contains information about hotel and boarding house accommodations in Philadelphia as well as meeting facilities available in the city at that time.Physical Description
1.0 cu. ft. (66 folders) + 4 legal size folders + 1 map case file
An organizational chart for the Sesqui-Centennial administrative staff dated March 23, 1926, indicates that within the Department of Domestic Participation and Special Events, there was a Division of Special Events and a Division of Special Days. Actually the two units functioned closely together, with Department chief A. L. Sutton coordinating many of the events.
These files document special events which were held during the Sesqui-Centennial. Files with the prefix (G7.0-) contain correspondence and memoranda between A. L. Sutton and other Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association officers and administrators including Ernest T. Trigg, George W. B. Hicks, executive secretary; Mayor W. Freeland Kendrick, Sesqui-Centennial director D. C. Collier; and George W. Orton, director of sports, concerning planning and logistics of events.
Folders numbered G7.0.1 through G7.0.1-C document the period from February 1925 through the spring of 1926. Included are correspondence, memoranda, and notes regarding the designation of special days, weeks, and events when groups could come to the Sesqui-Centennial exposition and honor the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and their own part in American history; letters from individuals and organizational representatives suggesting activities; requests from groups to use the auditorium or stadium for events; and requests from organizational officers that their group or interest be represented on the official Sesqui-Centennial exposition calendar of events. Correspondents include John Summers, editor of The Public Journal (Philadelphia), recommending that September 22 be set aside as a day for the African-Americans to commemorate the anniversary of the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation; the Pennsylvania State Camp of the Patriotic Sons of America; the Philadelphia Music League regarding the National Northeastern Saengerfest; and the Sweden Memorial Commission. Carbon copies of outgoing correspondence demonstrate the desire of Sesqui-Centennial officials to promote the designation of days for ethnic and denominational groups, such as Wales Day, B'nai Brith Day, Unitarian Day, and a Columbus Day celebration by Italian societies, because they complemented the historical pageants about the events of 1776 which were being planned.
Folders in the G/7.0.1.-D sequence pertain to arrangements for special days. The material is filed alphabetically by name of the special day. The files contain such things as memoranda between Sesqui-Centennial officials A. L. Sutton, Sutton's assistant W. E. Mealing, Major E. H. Hicks, E. L. Austin, John J. Flett, Esq., Chief of Special Days, Mayor Kendrick, and their correspondence with organizational representatives concerning scheduling, arrangements, and expenditures for activities, press clippings, and other matters. Of special interest are correspondence with the Treasury Department, U.S. Coast Guard, concerning the naval formation for Coast Guard Day; interchange between Sesqui-Centennial officers and representatives of Philadelphia's museums and libraries concerning Benjamin Franklin Day; plans for National Grange Day (the Master National Grange circularized every grange in the U.S. calling for a special meeting of the Grange at the Sesqui-Centennial exposition on this day); copies of invitations to large manufacturing and distribution firms such as Sears and Roebuck, Stetson Co., Cambria Steel Company, Westinghouse Electric Company, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and other major employers in Pennsylvania and Ohio to arrange employee excursions to the Sesqui-Centennial on Industrial Plants of Philadelphia days; information on Labor Day, the program for which was given under the auspices of the American Federation of Labor; correspondence and literature from the International Magna Carta Day Association of St. Paul, Minnesota, devoted to promoting "English Speaking Patriotism and Co-Operation," concerning Magna Carta Day; and drafts of the program for Marine Corps Day.
The most extensive documentation is that for Children's Day (20 folders). In June 1926 Mayor Kendrick asked Sesqui-Centennial officials to enlarge upon the original plan for a Kiddie's Day, reschedule it on a later date (July 26); originally it had been scheduled for June 19, and make it a free day for poor children. Included in the files are copies of outgoing letters to orphanages, settlements, missions, homes, day nurseries, and playground associations inviting them to bring children to the Sesqui, and memoranda regarding arrangements for this event which was projected to include up to 20,000 youngsters. Additionally Sesqui-Centennial staff contacted child welfare agencies in other cities to invite them to a free children's day.
Folders numbered in the (G7.0.1-19A) sequence contain additional information about special days and special events. File (G7.0.15) concerns Knights of the Klu Klux Klan Day. The folder contains an official request from Paul Winter, Field Representative for the order of the Klu Klux Klan in Philadelphia, dated July 17, 1925, asking fair officials to designate three days for their organization on the Sesqui-Centennial calendar of events. The request was initially denied. Included are letters of protest from Klan members; exchanges between Sesqui-Centennial officials who in May 1926 agreed to allow the Klan to reserve the auditorium from September 9-11 for a meeting of Klan delegates; and letters and clippings condemning the Sesqui-Centennial officers' decision to allow the meeting to take place.Physical Description
1.25 cu. ft. (85 folders)+ 8 legal folders+ 2 oversize folders + 1 map case file
The Sesqui-Centennial association's board of directors organized a Music Committee which remained involved in various musically related activities during the exposition. Dr. Herbert J. Tily, vice chairman of the committee, and Craig King, its secretary, coordinated many of the arrangements when Sesqui-Centennial opened. The Music Committee files were found intermixed with the files of Sesqui's administrative staff.
Contains correspondence and memoranda between Dr. Herbert J. Tily, Craig King, Dr. Henry S. Fry of St. Clement's Church, Philadelphia, who was the executive secretary of the International Musical Prize Competition, and numerous individuals and musical organizations, both professional and amateur, within and outside the U.S., regarding musical events at the Sesqui-Centennial Exposition. The records are filed alphabetically by the last name of the authors of the incoming correspondence. These included musicians and composers, agents, publicists, booking organizations, and persons looking for employment as musicians at the Sesqui. Unfortunately the files contain only the "A-F" part of the alphabet. As far as is known, the files "G-Z" have not survived to the present.
Much of the incoming material is made up of queries from prospective entrants in two of the committee's prize competitions. In 1925 the Music Committee announced the Sesqui's International Musical Prize Competition for original compositions which had not been previously performed or published. Prizes were to be awarded in five categories (opera, ballet, choral suite, choral cantata, and symphony), and the committee accepted entrants from the fall of 1925 to April 1, 1926. Although many of the candidates' queries concern routine matters such as the application process, some candidates forwarded descriptions of prospective submissions and samples of their work such as sheet music, scripts for historical pageants, brochures, and programs of previous concerts. The Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association also sponsored the National Interstate Students' contest which attracted college and youth choral groups.
The files also contain information about performers engaged to perform at the Sesqui. Several contracts between Sesqui-Centennial officials and performers may be found here. The folder labeled "Accounts (Memos), May-December 26" is made up of copies of outgoing memos from Craig King to the staff of the Sesqui-Centennial business office requesting checks for payment to performing artists, postage for returning manuscripts submitted to the musical competition, rental of concert halls, royalties, and travel expenses. The folder also includes weekly payroll lists including the Philadelphia Orchestra and guest conductors and soloists who performed with the orchestra throughout the Sesqui. The files contain several letters to and from Philadelphia orchestra conductor Leopold Stokowski as well as material in which he is mentioned.Physical Description
(0.5 cu. ft. (20 folders) + 6 legal folders
See series 232-3-14, Board of Directors--Committees, Committee on Negro Activities.
In March 1926, the Department of Exhibits included the following divisions: Fine Arts; Education and Social Economy; Forum; Medicine and Allied Sciences; Exhibit Palace No. 1; Exhibit Palace No. 2; Exhibit Palace No. 5; Palace of Fashion Concession; and Sales. Religion, originally a division of the Department of Domestic Participation and Special Events, was subsequently combined with the Education and Social Economy division in the Exhibits Department. The surviving departmental files described below do not correspond to this divisional arrangement, however, and they are scanty. For further information on the exhibits, see the records of the departments of Admissions and Concessions, Domestic Participation and Special Events, and the Women's Department; the official history of the Sesqui-Centennial celebration; and the photograph and newsclipping series.
Includes 3 autographed copies of the Official Classification of Exhibit Departments with annotations of exposition officers such as cross-references indicating groupings of the various classifications. Additionally, this series contains a 12-page leaflet, Information Booklet for Exhibitors in the Machinery, Mines, Metallurgy, Transportation and Automotive Departments of the Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition... Philadelphia, June 1 to December 1, 1926 describing the principle exhibits.Physical Description
4 printed items
Contains the papers of Joseph R. Wilson, Esq., director of the Department of Education and Social Economy (including Religion). It also contains the records of the Department of Education and Social Economy and Foreign Participation from May-October 1927 when Wilson replaced the late Department of Foreign Participation head, Capt. A. C. Baker. The files contain Wilson's correspondence, clippings, programs, and printed matter focusing on the presentation of educational and social issues at the Sesqui-Centennial exposition including such areas as schools and universities, progress in education for the blind and deaf, and religion and religious groups; information about Wilson's work in coordinating foreign participation at the Sesqui-Centennial exposition from June-November 1926; and his role as Sesqui-Centennial historian from his appointment to that post in May 1926 through February 1927. Wilson, director of Philadelphia's Commercial Museum, collected various informative material for the history of the exposition. Especially useful are a set of transcripts of speeches delivered by Mayor Kendrick and other officials at the Sesqui-Centennial and press releases regarding the Sesqui-Centennial exposition issued by the Mayor's office. Wilson's files also contain a typescript of "Important Events of History of American Colonies and U.S.A. to 1920" compiled by an unidentified "P.A.C." in preparation for the exposition, programs, and other items which Wilson was collecting for use in the history.
Files dealing specifically with Wilson's work in coordinating foreign participation at the exposition have been filed in with the records of the Department of Foreign Participation (232-4-8.1), "Correspondence with Foreign Countries."Physical Description
0.5 cu. ft. (37 folders) + 4 legal size folders
1 volume (3 copies), indexed
Original copy of the list of awards presented to exhibitors at the Sesqui-Centennial exposition, a carbon copy used in producing the official published history, and several special lists of awards.Physical Description
Contain miscellaneous items pertaining to the work of the Sales Division, Department of Exhibits, in promoting the sale of exhibit space to prospective exhibitors. Of special interest is a prospectus compiled circa March-April 1926 with photos of buildings under construction and other information designed to promote the sale of display space.Physical Description
This department headed by Business Manager and Comptroller E. L. Austin handled business operations of the Sesqui-Centennial. The department was responsible for creating and implementing standard operating procedures involving employees, buildings, and grounds, and for coordinating units within the department including personnel, accounting, purchasing, and the Progress Division which reported on the progress of the exposition. Prior to the Sesqui-Centennial, Austin had been general auditor and comptroller for the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company.
Includes miscellaneous material including two folders of correspondence ("Police Protection") focusing on crime and security problems at the exposition, February-December 1926. Also included are reports such as "Why $3,000,000 is Required to Finance the Sesqui-Centennial Exposition in 1926" (brochure); "Departmental Reports on Prospects of Holding Exposition in 1926 and Reasons for Postponing Same to 1927" by Director-in-Chief Baker and others, January 11, 1926; "Report on Construction Work Progress," May 14, 1925; "Report of Exposition Activities" by J. W. Newton, Statistician, November 29, 1926; and "Summary of the Progress of the Sesqui-Centennial by Dates: Reports of Sesqui-Centennial Activities," a typed, approximately 100-page mimeographed chronological summary of the progress of the Sesqui-Centennial from February 3-October 3, 1925. Prepared by an unidentified researcher at an unspecified date, it was compiled from minutes, newspapers, and other sources--possibly Austin or an assistant--and used in writing the Sesqui-Centennial history.
See also (232-4-10.6), records of the Publicity Department, which contains programs of events prepared by Austin's assistant, George Zimmer, of the Information Bureau.Physical Description
9 folders (0.25 cu. ft.) + 2 legal size folders + 2 oversize folders
Contain carbon copies of drafts of the Association's contracts with D. C. Collier to serve as Director General, February 2, 1925; John Odell Hauser to act as General Information Manager, 1925; the landscape architectural company, Olmsted Brothers, to prepare and execute preliminary plans and drawings for the general layout of the exposition, June 1925; and others involved in preparing buildings and grounds.Physical Description
7 legal-size folders
These begin with General Order #1 signed by Ernest T. Trigg, chair of the Executive Committee of the Association, placing Austin in charge of all Sesqui-Centennial association employees with the exception of department heads, and continue through Order #171. Subsequent orders are signed by Austin as finance director or by heads of divisions in the Finance Department and directed to Director-General Asher Baker for approval.Physical Description
Consists of 13 folders of employee files arranged alphabetically by last name of employee, usually concerning job applications, absences, or dismissals, and 1 folder labeled "Personnel--Political" containing correspondence from public officials recommending individuals for employment at the exposition.Physical Description
Includes summary lists of participation certificate subscribers for the Executive Committee's bond issue project chaired by realtor Albert Greenfield in September-October 1925, which raised $3 million through sales of participation certificates to businesses and individuals, financial reports for March 1-15, March 31, May 15, 26, 29, June 30, July 19, September 15, October 31, and December 31, 1926; lists of accounts and contracts payable, September-November 1926; estimated revenue and expenses, June 15, 1926; weekly reports on sales of exhibit space, June-August 1926, and miscellaneous working papers and trial balance sheets, May-November 1927.Physical Description
16 folders + 2 oversize boxes
Consist primarily of audits of concessions operated under contract with the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association, filed by contract number. Also included are audits of gate admissions; special events such as the "Freedom" pageant; stadium events such as "Loyalty's Gift," football and baseball games, and ethnic celebrations such as Swiss Day, Danish American Day, Norway Day, and Czecho-Slovak Day.Physical Description
0.5 cu. ft. (24 folders) + 40 legal size folders + 1 oversize box
1 vol. Indexed. Shelved with scrapbooks
Wright's letter to Collier, October 2, 1925, relays information about countries which had thus far agreed to participate. Additionally, the file includes a copy of an informative letter from Mayor Kendrick to Secretary of State Frank Kellogg, May 5, 1925, outlining support authorized for the Sesqui-Centennial up to that date. Captain Asher Carter Baker, director of foreign exhibits, who succeeded Collier as director-in-chief, traveled throughout Europe to promote interest in the Sesqui-Centennial among foreign exhibitors. After Baker's death in May 1926, Joseph R. Wilson be