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St. Louis World's Fair: Topics in Chronicling America

On April 30, 1903, a ceremony was held to mark the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty's signing. This guide provides access to materials related to the "St. Louis World's Fair" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


Crowds and famous faces heading to the St. Louis World's Fair. May 1, 1903. the San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA), Image 1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

To commemorate the centennial of the signing of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty, the dedication ceremonies for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the St. Louis World's Fair, were held April 30, 1903. One year later, the Fair was officially opened by President Theodore Roosevelt. Among other things, the Fair showcased technological innovation as well as some of the first 'ethnographic displays,' in which people from other countries were placed on view for Fair visitors. 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.


1901Planning and construction for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition begins. President McKinley issues a proclamation inviting the international community to participate.
1902Although Exposition organizers had planned for a 1903 opening, it is delayed to 1904 to complete the preparations for what would be the largest ever World’s Fair.
April 30, 1903The dedication ceremonies commemorating the centennial of the signing of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty are held, though the Exposition will not officially open for another year.
April 30, 1904The official opening day of the Fair – both President Roosevelt and Secretary of War William Howard Taft participated in the opening ceremonies.
December 1, 1904Closing night of the Fair.