Main content

Frank X. Riedy photographs of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. 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 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition was held in San Francisco, California, to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal and also served to showcase the progress the city of San Francisco had made since the 1906 earthquake. International expositions, or world fairs, have been hosted in various cities around the world since the first world fair, London's Great Exposition, was held in 1851. Historically, world fairs have proven to be effective in promoting industry, progress, and diplomacy, as well as promoting and displaying general advancements in the arts and sciences.

Chief of architecture George W. Kelham (1871-1936) and his council developed the plan for the layout of the exhibition, which included hundreds of buildings prominently featuring domes, towers, sculptures, and Greek columns. In addition to the impressive sights, visitors to the fair also encountered demonstrations of revolutionary technologies still in their infancy, such as airplanes, cars, telephones, and motion pictures. Most notably, Henry Ford (1863-1947) took advantage of the opportunity the fair provided for him to showcase Ford Motor Company's Model T automobile in an exhibit that featured a full Model T assembly line.

The exposition lasted nine months (February 20-December 4, 1915), attracted millions of visitors, and helped to strengthen both San Francisco's economy and trade relations among countries all over the world. Nearly all of the buildings were torn down after the fair ended; however, the Palace of Fine Arts, designed by architect Bernard Maybeck (1862-1957), was saved from demolition and eventually restored.

Museum of American Heritage. "A Sense of Wonder: The 1915 San Francisco World's Fair." (accessed January 11, 2013).National Park Service. "1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition." (accessed January 11, 2013).San Francisco Memories. "The Panama Pacific Exposition." (accessed January 11, 2013).

The Frank X. Riedy photographs of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition contains 33 photographs taken by American photographer Frank Xavier Riedy (1866-1957) at the exposition held in San Francisco, California. The photographs document examples of the art, architecture, and landscaping at the exposition and also include panoramic images of the fairgrounds and the surrounding city and bay.

The collection showcases the architecture of several of the fair's major structures, including the Palace of Fine Arts, Palace of Education, and Palace of Horticulture. There are also photographs of notable features such as the forty-story Tower of Jewels at the fair's north entrance and the Column of Progress at the south entrance. Most of the photographs depict examples of the architecture found at the fair, and there are also photographs of two fountains: "Wind and Spray," by sculptor Anna Coleman Ladd (1878-1939), which was located in the lagoon of the Palace of the Arts, and "Fountain of the Earth," by sculptor Robert Ingersoll Aitken (1878-1949), which was located in the Court of Abundance.

The collection also includes three panoramic photographs of the fair, including one photograph depicting the fair's nighttime light show, all of which feature the San Francisco Bay in the background and San Francisco's buildings in the foreground.

  1. Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (1 inch)

Gift of Robert C. and Mae Carter, December 2012.

Processed and encoded by Elyse Brown, January 2013.

This collection was originally processed and cataloged with the call number PPI 0103.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2013 January 15
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Frank X. Riedy photographs of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915.
Box 1 Folder F1

Print, Suggest