Centennial International Exhibition Souvenir

fairmont park exposition4Centennial International Exhibition [Handkerchief], ca. 1876. Wood engraving, roller printed on cotton cloth. Manufactured by A. & C. Cramer in Düsseldorf. Graphic Arts Collection

Many souvenirs were produced for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. According to the Library Company’s excellent summary, “the Centennial Exhibition took place on more than 285 acres of land in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park May 10-November 10, 1876. Close to ten million visitors (9,910,966) went to the fair via railroad, steamboat, carriage, and on foot. Thirty-seven nations participated in the event, officially named the International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures, and Products of the Soil and Mine.” http://www.lcpimages.org/centennial/

One commemorative item was a wood engraved cloth or handkerchief manufactured by A. & C. Cramer in Düsseldorf, Germany. The cloth is inscribed E Pluribus Unum and Centennial International at the top and Exhibition, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, 1776 1876, Memorial Hall Art Gallery at the bottom. Four buildings are depicted, including the main exhibition building, the machinery hall, the agricultural hall and the horticultural hall.

fairmont park exposition3The image is “roller printed,” meaning it was produced by a machine rather than hand printed individually. Given the thousands that were produced, this is to be expected. Even so, the detail is surprisingly good and Princeton University Library is among many who collected and framed the cotton cloth to preserve it.

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