"Sketch of Proposed Decoration of the Golden Book of All Nations"
"Sketch of Proposed Decoration of the Golden Book of All Nations to be Placed at the Pedestal of the Columbian Statue in the U.S. Government Building in the Louisiana Purchase Exposition"
By an unknown artist for the U.S. Government Building at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, Missouri, 1904
Watercolor on paper over pencil
29 1/2 " x 20 3/4"
National Archives and Records Administration, General Records of the Department of the Treasury

1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition: Proposed Decoration of the Golden Book of All Nations
Starting in the late 1890s and continuing until the outbreak of World War I, Americans celebrated their technological and social progress in a series of dazzling fairs and expositions that mirrored the nation's growing self confidence and power. These expositions were showplaces not only for inventions, machinery, and agricultural bounty but also for architects who designed the fairgrounds as temporary fantasy "cities," with stately boulevards, lakes, statues, and courtyards surrounded by opulent Beaux-Arts buildings constructed from plaster. A staple for fairgoers was the Federal Government Hall, where the latest scientific, agricultural, and military discoveries would be exhibited. The nearly 20 million people who visited the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis saw remarkable displays such as the electric light, dial telephone, and flight of a powered dirigible.

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