A Century of Progress

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Nele Hornbostel

A Century of Progress – The Chicago World’s Fair of 1933-34

ISBN 978-3-86821-119-1, 160 S., 81 Abb., € 22,00 (CD-ROM, 2009)

(Cultural Studies in the Heartland of America, Bd. 13)

World’s fairs have always exerted profound influence on the development of an entire nation, including economy, politics, society and culture. This thesis outlines the impact of the 1933/34 world’s fair on Chicago, the Midwest, the United States and future expositions. The Chicago World’s Fair of 1933/34 was originally organized to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Chicago’s incorporation as a town. However, the exposition was mounted in the midst of a global economic crisis when American society felt the depths of despair. The exposition became a symbol of a bright and promising future, which was also reflected in the exposition’s theme “A Century of Progress.” For the first time, an exposition declared the common people to be the target audience and vividly explained to them the connection between science and industry. The exposition did not only sensitize the public to science as the key to all progress, but also played a pivotal role in the development of certain architectural styles, for example pre-fabricated houses.