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Visions of the World

Since the mid-1800s and the birth of the industrial revolution, World's Fairs have been prominent events highlighting the progress of technology and celebrating the national identities of participating governments. In this historical archive, we look at postcards from the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair and the 1933 Chicago World's Fair, in order to analyze the inherent messages of the selected objects. In part due to the accelerating rate of technological progress and the shifting political perspectives of the twentieth century, we look to explore the subtle changes in perspective that might be seen when comparing postcards from each event. In particular, we pay attention to depictions of humans within the illustrations and the shifting architectural trends that are emblematic of deeper societal changes and the building scientific narrative of ever-increasing progress.


Angela Madden, Avni Vyas, Bret Zawilski