Full set of all four California Midwinter International Exposition admission tickets. Michael H. de Young.
Full set of all four California Midwinter International Exposition admission tickets
Full set of all four California Midwinter International Exposition admission tickets
Full set of all four California Midwinter International Exposition admission tickets
Full set of all four California Midwinter International Exposition admission tickets
Full set of all four California Midwinter International Exposition admission tickets
Full set of all four California Midwinter International Exposition admission tickets

Full set of all four California Midwinter International Exposition admission tickets

San Francisco: Printed by Lith. H.S. Crocker, 1894. Unbound. These four admission tickets each measure “ x “. All have red serial numbers and were good for admission for the duration of the fair, January through July 1894. Each represents a different era of California and pairs different vignettes with colorful emblems:

1768-1822 (Spanish rule) – Father Junipero Serra with a California State Seal,

1822-1846 (Mexican rule) – Alta California Ranchero/Californio with a Mexican Republic spread-winged eagle devouring a snake,

1846-1849 (Gold Rush) – James Marshall with the California State Flag, and

1850-1894 (Statehood) – California State Seal and the California State Capitol. All are in nice shape. Very good. Item #009601

In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison appointed Michael H. de Young, a San Francisco newspaperman, as a national commissioner of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago. De Young realized that such a fair could be a terrific stimulus for California, which was then mired in a severe depression. By the next summer, de Young had convinced San Francisco officials to provide Golden Gate Park as a venue and obtained Congressional approval to hold a world’s fair, which he named the California Midwinter International Exposition.

Within the fair’s 200 acres were 120 structures including four principle attractions: the Fine Arts Building, the Agriculture and Horticulture Building, the Mechanical Arts Building, and the Manufacturers and Liberal Arts building. Over two million people attended. The fair also included a number of rides and exhibits including Daniel Boone’s Wild West Show and The Mining Camp.

The Mining Camp was by far the most popular exhibit at the fair, but it has come under recent criticism for disregarding people of color and its theme-song that fondly recounted a time when African-Americans and Chinese were denied citizenship.

Another popular exhibit that also raises the hackles of some was The Gum Gum Girls. Young women selling chewing gum while dressed in blue peacoat-style blouses with matching hats, black stockings, and scandalously short mid-calf-length skirts and patrolled the fair in pairs targeting sales pitches at unattached men with whom they unabashedly flirted.

There were also several “ethnographic” exhibits at the fair including an African village that created considerable cognitive dissonance for Frederick Douglas. Although the village and its people were imported intact from Dahomey, Douglas railed against it as an attempt to dehumanize “the Negro as a repulsive savage.” Yet, on the other hand, he found favor with its realistic demonstrations of Dahomian dances and ceremonies. So, too, were some Japanese-Americans offended by the Japanese Tea Garden’s jinrikisha rides. While they agreed it was normal for Japanese men to pull the carts in Japan, they found the practice to be demeaning in the United States. After an Anti-Jinrikisha Society announced it would murder any Japanese man who pulled a cart at the fair, exposition organizers solved the problem by hiring Germans to dress in Japanese costumes and darken their complexions with makeup.

Few of these tickets have survived. As of this listing, there are no others for sale in the trade. Very infrequently, single tickets have appeared on eBay, and the Rare Book Hub shows no auction records for single tickets and only one sale of a set of four. OCLC lists individual tickets held at two institutions.

Price: $850.00

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