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Hattie L. Sumner notes on the 1876 Centennial Exhibition


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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

Hattie (Harriet) L. B. Sumner was born February 9, 1861, to Charles A. (1826-1901) and Harriet L. Barker (1825-1868) Sumner in Burlington, Vermont. In September, 1876, she traveled to Philadelphia for the Centennial International Exposition which was held from May 10 to November 10, 1876. While touring the exhibition, she took notes about what she saw. The notebook begins on September 19, 1876, but no other date is recorded within the volume.

Hattie married Albert William Shaw (1861-1940) on May 7, 1882 and they moved to Massachusetts. They were the parents of four children and Hattie died in 1959.

This volume consists of lists of what Hattie Sumner saw during her September, 1876, trip to Philadelphia for the Centennial International Exhibition. She appears to have spent the bulk of her time in the Main Building (which included the art gallery), but also visited Agricultural Hall and Machinery Hall. Within the Main Building, she lists what she saw in the national pavilions (including Japan, Australia, China, Peru, Chile, Spain, Norway, Germany, Austria, Russia, Portugal, [Tunis], Denmark, France, Switzerland, Mexico, England, Ireland, India, Canada, Belgium, Bahamas, New Zealand, and Italy). Hattie's writing does not particularly express her feelings about what she saw, and only occasionally are adjectives used; but she does sometimes describe items as beautiful or lovely. Within the Art Gallery, she commented on art from England, Canada, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Spain, and the United States. As she visited the Agricultural Hall and Machinery Hall, her notes became less expansive and expressive. It is unclear if her notes reflect everything she saw or simply the objects that struck her as most important.

The text is written parallel to the spine as in a notepad with Hattie's signature, "Hattie L. Sumner, Burlington, Vermont, Sept. 19, 1876," along with a lithograph rose on p. i. There is writing only on the first 34 pages and the remainder of the volume (p. 35-112) is blank. Hattie begins her lists on p. 1 with the header, "Notes on the 'Centennial.'"

Sold by 19th Century Rare Book and Photograph Shop (New York), 2021.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Holly Mengel
Finding Aid Date
2023 April 26
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Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

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