Sesquicentennial International Exposition
In 1926, Philadelphia hosted the Sesquicentennial International Exposition, a world’s fair, to commemorate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Although it opened to great fanfare, the exposition failed to attract enough visitors to cover its costs. The fair organization went into receivership in 1927 and its assets were sold at auction.
The idea to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence by holding a world’s fair originated in 1916 with John Wanamaker (1838-1922), owner of Wanamaker’s department stores and lone survivor of the 1876 Centennial Exposition’s Finance Committee, who called upon Philadelphia to host an industrial and commercial exposition that would fittingly mark the birth of the United States. World War I temporarily derailed planning, but in 1920, Mayor J. Hampton Moore (1864-1950) and a group of leading citizens took up the effort; they incorporated the Sesquicentennial Exhibition Association (SCEA) in 1921.
Note: The above descriptive information came from Philadelphia Encyclopedia.
In The News
- Women's Committee of 1926 Brought Historic Preservation to the Masses, Hidden City Philadelphia, November 10, 2022.
- Book: The Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition: 150 Years of American Independence (520pp, at Internet Archive)
- Music: Philadelphia (All the Time)--March (The Sesqui-Centennial Song) (Dieck-Murphy-Shister) (Arthur Pryor's Band with male chorus) (audio, 2m58s, at Internet Archive)
- Music: Sesqui-Centennial Exposition March (John Philip Sousa) (performed by Sousa's Band) (audio, 3m14s, at Internet Archive)
- Overview: 1926 Philadelphia (Non-BIE) (collection of links, at Jon Paul Sank's World's Fairs Page)
- Photos: DOR Archives: Sesquicentennial (photo search results at phillyhistory.org)
- Presentation: Sesquicentennial International Exposition (PDF about the Exposition and its postage stamps, 113pp, at hamiltonphilatelic.org)
- Video: Jack Dempsey Loses Crown to Gene Tunney This Day September 23, 1926 (Boxing Hall of Fame) (YouTube, documentary, 10m47s)
- Video: The Sesquicentennial of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence (YouTube, documentary, 24m06s)