Wednesday, March 11, 2015

An Invitation to the Exposition, 1876

The invitation was the sort given to important men -- and my great-grandfather-in-law, Mr. Jesse J. John, was such a man. He was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, a man who had his copies of Harper's Monthly bound in leather, and carried a gold-tipped walking stick engraved with his name (I have both of these in my home library). So, when the Centennial Exhibition was announced, it was natural that he would be sent a complimentary ticket, along with a map of the speaker's platform (he was to be seated in Section E, two sections over from President Ulysses S. Grant, surely within range of his ubiquitous cigars -- not that he would have been the only one smoking them).

At the exhibition, Mr. John might have taken in all kinds of attractions -- chief among them the Centennial Tower, but also such themed buildings as the Horticultural Hall and the torch intended for the Statue of Liberty. He might also, if he had been so inclined, have visited other exhibits, such as the wax figures of Mr. Moulthrop, which included Chief Red Cloud, the 'Esquimaux' Hannah and Joe, and all the survivors of the Amistad.

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