On the surface an envelope I purchased at a recent stamp show has no apparent connection to libraries. Philatelist would refer to the envelope as an advertising cover and it promotes the Inside Inn as "The Only Hotel Within The Grounds" of the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904. Thanks to an excellent article by George Eberhart for the Centennial Blog of American Libraries, I knew that this hotel housed most of the attendees of the 1904 conference of the American Library Association which met from October 17-22 in conjunction with the fair. Rates for staying at the hotel started at $1.50 per day European plan and $3.00 per day American plan including admission to the fair. In his article Eberhart notes that as a fire protection measure each room had been lined with asbestos. There were 26 former and future ALA presidents in attendance at the conference including Melvil Dewey, Herbert Putnam, and Gratia A. Countryman. In Eberhart's article he includes an illustration of a postcard of the Inside Inn. The same stamp dealer that I purchased my envelope from also had a wonderful "hold to light" postcard showing the Inside Inn. Unfortunately he wanted $195 for the card, a little out of my price range. I have two other blog posts related to the 1904 ALA conferece in St. Louis located HERE and HERE.
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