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William W. Matos papers on the Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition


Held at: Philadelphia History Museum [Contact Us]15 South 7th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19106

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Philadelphia History Museum. 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

William Warder Matos (1872-1935) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Sarah Elizabeth Parker and Cuban immigrant Louis Antonio Matos. Matos married Elizabeth Catherine Brehm in 1905 and they had one daughter, Elizabeth Brehm Matos.

After graduating from Central High School, Matos worked for a number of newspapers in Philadelphia including the Morning Times, the Evening Telegraph, and the Philadelphia Press, before switching to the advertising business in the early 20th century. Matos became a pioneer in the advertising industry, establishing the Matos Advertising Agency and serving as its president until his death at his home in Swarthmore (Delaware County, Pennsylvania) in 1935. He was a charter member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, and was affiliated with groups such as the National Outdoor Advertising Bureau and the Audit Bureau of Circulations (now known as the Alliance for Audited Media).

In addition to being heavily involved in advertising organizations, Matos was prominent in Masonic circles in Philadelphia, serving as the chairman for the committee in charge of building the Scottish Rite Temple at Broad and Race streets in 1926. (The building was demolished in 1983.) Matos also belonged to numerous arts, culture, and history organizations in Philadelphia and wrote books on topics such as early Philadelphia history.

Matos was designated the Chairman of the Publicity Committee, member of the Executive Committee, and Director of Pageantry for the Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition of 1926. The world's fair, held in Philadelphia, celebrated the 150th anniversary of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence and the 50th anniversary of the 1876 Centennial Exposition (which was also held in Philadelphia). As Director of Pageantry, Matos wrote the patriotic production "Freedom," for which he received the Gold Medal award.


Obituary of William W. Matos written by Charles Palmer as recording secretary for the Delaware County Historical Society. Item found in collection.

This collection primarily consists of correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and ephemera relating to the Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition that took place in Philadelphia in 1926. Other materials in the collection include some personal papers of William W. Matos and a scrapbook documenting tea party fundraisers organized by Elizabeth Duane Gillespie (1821-1901), president of the Women's Executive Committee of the 1876 Centennial Exposition.

Materials relating to the Sesqui-Centennial Exposition include correspondence, some of which relates to the planning of the "Freedom" pageant Matos wrote; the charter and by-laws of the Sesqui-Centennial Association (1923); congratulatory letters sent to Matos regarding the Exposition; invitations to various special events at the Exposition such as the Flag Day celebration and dinners at the Union League for President Calvin Coolidge, General John J. Pershing, and Charles Lindbergh; programs and pamphlets; newspaper clippings; photographs; and other materials.

A small amount of William W. Matos' personal papers are present in the collection. There are letters from friends, building specifications for the Scottish Rite Temple at Broad and Race streets, proof pages for "History of Independence Hall," and programs and pamphlets from various commemorative events including the 150th anniversary of the Battle of the Brandywine (for which Matos directed a pageant re-enacting the battle) and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin.

The collection also includes a 19th century scrapbook. It principally documents tea parties given by Elizabeth Duane Gillespie to raise funds in support of the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, especially the Woman's Pavilion. The scrapbook includes tickets to various tea parties as well as newspaper accounts and reproductions of documents and newspapers from the period of the American Revolution onward. A couple of other items in the collection also relate to these "Centennial tea parties."

Additional, more detailed description of this collection is available on-site.

Gift of G. Ralph Smith, 1994 (accession 94.8.1)

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Philadelphia History Museum directly for more information.

Philadelphia History Museum
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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