1876 Philadelphia Centennial

Held to celebrate America's 100 year birthday, this was one of the most extraordinary events of the late 1800's. It came just as Reconstruction was ending in the South, and America was again looking West towards its future. Another frontier that Americans were pushing into was that of technology. Both were featured at the exposition which ran for months and it is said drew attendance from almost a quarter of the entire population of the United States. Once closed, a number of collections were sent to Washington D.C. where they because part of the new Smithsonian museums on the National Mall.

Thanks to photography and enormous publicity, digitized documentary records enable one to travel in time back to the Centennial Expo and virtually walk around the exhibits and get a sense of America back in the day... How different or similar to America today was America in 1876 as it celebrated its heritage, all that it was proud of and hopeful for, while at the same time revealing- unintentionally its prejudices. Considering the exhibits sponsored by other countries, how did America's role in the world of 1876 compare with its role in the world today.

Here are links to some of the best resources on the web.

Free Library of Philadelphia 1876 Centennial Exhibit Tours- (Also see Exhibition Facts, Timeline, Centennial Schoolhouse and Resources Tabs)

Birds Eye View Zoomable and Searchable Map

Philadelphia Encyclopedia- End of Article Links to Digital Collections of Photographs and Artifacts

Library of Congress Stereoscope Images Click on links in menu to find images in different categories