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Chicago World's Fair: Topics in Chronicling America

In 1893, the Chicago World's Fair opens to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival. This guide provides access to material related to the “Chicago World's Fair” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


Illustration of the welcoming of diverse nations to the Chicago World's Fair. May 12, 1893. San Saba County News (San Saba, TX), Image 2. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

With the push of a button, President Cleveland commences the Chicago World's Fair and welcomes a new era of technological and human advancement. Americans come in droves to see the art and industrial innovation that will become a hallmark of their country’s legacy.  But the fair ends with a nasty shock when a popular mayor is assassinated. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic, and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


October 21, 1892 The World's Columbian Exposition, commemorating the 400th anniversary of Columbus' landfall in the New World, is dedicated in Chicago.
May 1, 1893 Thousands gather in Jackson Park to witness President Grover Cleveland press the button signaling the opening of the Chicago World’s Fair.
October 30, 1893 The Fair closes with the city in shock, as popular mayor Carter Harrison, Sr. was assassinated by Patrick Eugene Prendergast two days before the Fair's closing. Closing ceremonies were cancelled in favor of a public memorial service.