Tuesday, June 18, 2013

ALA and the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago

In 1933, as it had in 1876, 1893, and 1904, the American Library Association chose to hold its annual conference in conjunction with a world's fair.  The 1933 world's fair was the Century of Progress International Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. The conference took place on October 16-21, 1933 with an attendance of 2,986. ALA and libraries, like the rest of America, were facing tough times during the midst of the Great Depression. ALA's budget which had risen to $400,000 in 1926 had been slashed to $232,000 in 1933.  In October of 1932 over 3,000 of ALA's almost 12,000 members failed to pay their dues. Even so, attendees at the ALA Conference were greeted with hospitality and treated to a special ALA Day at the fair on October 19.  Conference attendees just missed one of the more spectacular events at the fair.  On October 26, 1933 the German airship Graf Zeppelin arrived in Chicago and circled Lake Michigan near the fair. Almost eighty years later the American Library Association will again meet in Chicago on June 27 to July 2.  This time under much more favorable circumstances.  The envelope below from my collection is a first day cover for the two postage stamps issued to celebrate the 1933 world's fair. I wrote a previous blog post about a postcard in my collection that was carried on the Graf Zeppelin.

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