In 1904 the city of St. Louis hosted the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, which became popularly known as the St. Louis World’s Fair. The Exposition, which was held to celebrate the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase, hosted an estimated 20 million visitors. The Fair and the progress it highlighted thrust St. Louis into the global spotlight and became a source of tremendous regional and national pride. The University of Missouri Libraries are now providing searchable online access to the text and illustration of its collection of materials from the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
The materials in the collection range from single-sheet broadsides to multi-volume book sets and lithographic views of the Exposition to the actual photographic view books submitted by the University of Missouri for its exhibit in the Palace of Education and Social Economy. An important item for the history of the Exposition is the World’s Fair Bulletin, a monthly publication running from 1900 through 1904 that provided insight into the planning, construction, management and the activities of the Fair. Another highlight of the collection is James Buel’s eleven-volume Louisiana and the Fair: An Exposition of the World, Its People and Their Achievements, which was published in limited edition in 1905 and which gives a detailed history of the fair.
The digitization in 2010 of the resources in this collection was supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Missouri State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State. The collection is available online and free of charge to the public through the University of Missouri Digital Library at: http://digital.library.umsystem.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?page=home;c=lex. It will become available through the Missouri State Library in 2011.