May 23, 1890
President Benjamin Harrison Appoints a Commissioner for the World’s Columbian Exposition
In accordance with “an act to provide for celebrating the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus by holding an international exhibition of arts, industries, manufactures, and the products of the soil, mine, and sea, in the city of Chicago, in the State of Illinois,” Benjamin Harrison appoints a Commissioner of that marvel of the Gilded Age, the World’s Columbian Exposition.
Brilliantly lit by tens of thousands of incandescent lamps, the Columbian Exposition featured such novelties as the phonograph, the telephone, the Kinetoscope, and a detailed map of the United States made entirely of pickles. At its opening on May 1st, 1893, the New World was represented by President Grover Cleveland and Governor Altgeld; the Old World, by the Infanta Eulalia of Spain and two direct descendants of Columbus; and the Other World, by Little Egypt, a hoochee-coochee dancer on the Midway. Five hundred thousand people came to take it all in, mesmerized. By the time the Exposition closed in 1893, twenty-seven million visitors – one out of four Americans – had come to the Fair.
Document Signed, as President, partially printed and accomplished in manuscript, being the appointment of Leverett Brainard a Commissioner of the 1893 Columbian Exhibition to be held in Chicago; 1 page, oblong folio, Washington, May 23, 1890. Replete with wafer Seal. Co-signed by Secretary of State James G. Blaine