Philadelphia Information Locator Service
Archival Record Series

Department of Domestic Patricipation and Special Events

[Record Group 232-4-5]

232-4-5.1 Correspondence & Files
For correspondence and files of the Department of Domestic and Participation, see the files of the various divisions of this department including Federal Participation, State Participation, Congresses and Conventions, Special Events, Special Days, and Music.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
232-4-5.2 Federal Participation
June 1924-September 1926
1 cu.ft., no index
General Correspondence, June 1924-August 1926 (Folder D/3.1) pertains to federal participation in the Sesqui. For the most part the file is made up of carbon copies of Col. Collier�s outgoing letters as Director in Chief. Included are copies of Collier�s March 7, 1925, letter to Hon. John W. Weeks, Secretary of War, regarding the appointment of a military aide to the Mayor to oversee military aspects of the exposition; Collier�s handwritten notes regarding lobbying for Congressional appropriations, March 19-27, 1925; his August 12, 1925, letter to President Calvin Coolidge introducing the �Healthy Hearty Hikers Club� of Philadelphia which was making a Sesqui-Centennial hike to Washington; Collier's September 23, 1925, letter to Hon. J. J. Davis, Secretary of Labor, regarding the admission of foreign exhibitors and attaches into the United States; Collier�s August 31, 1925, letter regarding municipal exhibits; and his May 2, 1925, memoranda to E. T. Trigg, proposing the appointment of staff to lobby for Congressional appropriations. The folder contains incoming letters from Mayor Kendrick and other exposition officers and memoranda regarding exhibits of government departments in the Machinery, Mines, Metallurgy, Transportation, and Engineering Building #5 from March-June 1926.

Three exchanges with the White House are also found here. These include a June 27, 1924, letter from President Coolidge to Mayor Kendrick in which Coolidge encouraged Philadelphians in their plans for the Sesqui; a letter dated October 13, 1925, from Everett Sanders, Secretary to the President, responding to Mayor Kendrick�s letter of October 10 inviting Coolidge to be present at the Sesqui-Centennial exposition on July 3 and 4, 1926 (the President tentatively accepted); and a December 21, 1925, letter in which Coolidge responded to Kendrick�s request of December 18 to make a proclamation for the reading of a portion of the Declaration of Independence in all churches on January 3, 1927, to mark the opening of the Sesqui-Centennial year (Coolidge declined). The file also contains a copy of a request sent to Vice President Charles G. Dawes regarding the designation of a Vice President�s Day. There is no copy of the reply.

U. S. Department of Commerce, 1922-1926 (D/3.1.11-11AB), 4 folders: This correspondence documents the role of the U. S. Department of Commerce in promoting the exposition. Part 1, General Correspondence, 1923-1926 (D/3.11) includes letters from the Office of the Secretary mentioning plans for a prospective exhibit at Sesqui, February 1923; letters from Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce officials such as John M. Hager, Acting Chief, Domestic Commerce Division, and L. B. Clark, Acting Commercial Attache, regarding distribution of literature to bureau personnel, 1925; and copies of subsequent letters by Sesqui-Centennial staff to provide Commerce officials with updated information about the exposition. The folder also contains carbon copies of Collier�s letters to Commerce Department officials requesting mailing lists of organizations with commercial interests, such as the Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A. and individual Chamber of Commerce chapters, and copies of Collier�s letters promoting the Sesqui-Centennial exposition to these groups.

Part 2, Foreign Division, 1922, 1925-1926 (D/3.11A) contains correspondence between Sesqui-Centennial association officers, primarily Collier and Kendrick, and Commerce Department officials. Included are two letters from Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover: one dated November 4, 1925, to D. C. Collier; and the other dated November 17, 1925, to Mayor Kendrick, in which Hoover reassures Kendrick that "The Administration is absolutely unwavering in its support of the Sesqui-Centennial Exposition." Copies of outgoing items suggest that Sesqui-Centennial officials sought Hoover's assistance on various matters in the spring of 1925 and informed him of their progress in asking state legislatures to appropriate funds. The file also contains a copy of Kendrick's letter to Hoover, dated February 26, 1926, asking whether it would be possible for the Department of Commerce to hold its annual conference of commercial attaches in Philadelphia during the Sesqui. Additionally, the file contains incoming letters from division chiefs in the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. Among these are circulars about two expositions--the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts and the International Exhibition of Hydraulic Force and of Touring, both held in France in the summer of 1925--which were forwarded in a letter from the chief of the European division of the Department's foreign bureau. Parts 3-4, U. S. Custom House, 1925-1926 (D/3.1.11B) contain miscellaneous items pertaining to customs activity at the Sesqui. Included are a procedures manual, "Report of Bureau of Customers and Deliveries" developed by J. S. Teager, Chief of the Bureau, Division of Exhibits, at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, from 1914-1916, and copies of Treasury Decisions pertaining to entry of articles for the Sesqui.

U. S. Department of War, 1924-1926 (D/3.1.12), 3 folders: Part 1, General (April-November 1926) primarily concerns plans for the Springfield Armory exhibit at Sesqui. Part 2, Military Aid (September 1924-September 1926) contains correspondence with the commander of the War Department, Third Corps area, regarding plans and budget for the Department's participation in the exposition. Also included is a copy of a letter from Douglas MacArthur, Major General, Commanding, of the Third Corps Area, to Mayor Kendrick, regarding the detailing of Major Edward H. Hicks, Field Artillery, HQ 79th Division, at Sesqui. Part 3 contains: �Information about Army Posts,� a brochure on the history of government posts produced by the Third Corps Area in connection with the Sesqui-Centennial. Copies of memoranda distributed to the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Force, Camp Anthony Wayne, September-October 1926, have been transferred to a legal-size folder.

U. S. Department of Agriculture, 1923-1926 (D/3.1.12A), 1 folder, contains letters from Department officials regarding exhibits at the Sesqui. The earliest, dated November 14, 1923, from one of the department's consulting specialists, and addressed to John Price Jackson, indicates that plans for a federal exhibit on agriculture was already underway.

U. S. Department of State, 1925-1926 (D/3.1.13), 2 folders: Part 1, May 1925-June 1926, contains letters from J. Butler Wright, Assistant Secretary of State, to D. C. Collier and A. L. Sutton regarding participation of foreign nations. Wright's letter to Collier, October 2, 1925, confirms the date on which the invitation of the President of the United States was sent to foreign nations to participate in the Sesqui-Centennial exposition as May 20, 1925, and relays information about countries which had thus far agreed to participate. Additionally, the file includes a copy of an informative letter from Mayor Kendrick to Secretary of State Frank Kellogg, May 5, 1925, outlining support authorized for the Sesqui-Centennial exposition up to that date. A March 1, 1926, letter from Kendrick to Wright refers to a letter from Mr. Nahum Daniel Brascher, editor-in-chief of the Associated Negro Press, which Wright forwarded to Kendrick (the specific nature of Brascher's inquiry is not indicated). Also included are letters from Wright to Kendrick regarding persons appointed to the National Advisory Commission by the President on the authority of various states from January-June 1926. Part 2, February-December 1925, contains exchanges between State Department and Sesqui-Centennial officials which further illuminate the relationship between city and federal officials in Sesqui-Centennial planning. Items include a carbon copy of a letter dated February 27, 1925, from Supreme Court Justice, Charles E. Hughes, to Edward T. Clark, Acting Secretary to President Coolidge, advising the White House that the State Department had not yet received information directly from the Sesqui-Centennial association regarding the proposed involvement of foreign countries, as was needed before the President, pursuant to the resolution of August 29, 1922, could authorize the extension of the invitation to foreign governments through diplomatic channels. Other items of note include Collier's March 7, 1925, letter to Kellogg listing officers of the Executive Committee and members of the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association and their organizational affiliations; Collier's April 6, 1925, letter to Wright estimating the budget for the exposition; and Collier's April 24, 1925, letter to Wright, in which Collier related that Pennsylvania Governor Pinchot had just signed the Bromley Bill appropriating $750,000 for the Sesqui-Centennial. Another interesting item is the copy of Kendrick's letter to Kellogg, November 10, 1925, asking Kellogg and his fellow cabinet member Hoover to please "use your good offices in combating the evil which may result through misunderstandings that may arise because of misleading statements [about the Sesqui-Centennial] appearing in the press."

Folder (D/3.1.15) concerns the role of the United States Flag Association in the Flag Day ceremony, 1926. Folder (D/3.1.15A) contains letters from individuals and organizations protesting Sesqui-Centennial promoters' use of the United States flag on its letterhead and in car card advertising showing the flag draped or otherwise displayed in violation of the Flag Code of 1923. Additionally there are some memoranda concerning the design of a Sesqui-Centennial flag. Folder (D/3.1.16), U. S. Post Office, concerns the model post office exhibit and franking privileges.

U. S. Department of the Navy (Folder D/3.1.21), concerns plans for naval activities, March 1925-April 1926. Items of interest include a carbon of Collier's March 7, 1925, letter to the Secretary of the Navy Curtis D. Wilbur, regarding the use of naval units stationed at U. S. Navy Yard, Philadelphia, and the detailing of naval and marine aides to assist in various activities including "monster athletic contests between the various foreign naval units and those of our navy"; the letter from Wilbur approving these requests on March 14, 1925; and another from Wilbur on June 13, 1925, regarding the use of the Constitution ("Old Ironsides") which was undergoing restoration. The file also contains a letter dated March 25, 1926, in which Kendrick wrote Wilbur inviting the warships of the U.S. Navy to visit Philadelphia during the Sesqui. Wilbur sent back a schedule of when various battleships would be at the Navy Yard during those months. Also included is information about Marine Corps Day and Coast Guard Day.

U.S. Navy Yard, Philadelphia (Folder D/3.1.21A) includes correspondence from Rear Adm. A. H. Scales, commandant, and other officers of the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and from the Philadelphia Department of Wharves, Docks, and Ferries concerning plans for a naval display of foreign men-of-war in the Delaware River. Additionally, the file contains correspondence from Navy Yard officials concerning the need to assure access of civil and military workers to the Navy Yard up to and during the Sesqui.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Shelf list is available.

232-4-5.3 State Participation
2 cu.ft., no index
These records concern efforts to promote state participation in the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition. The files are arranged alphabetically by name of state. Included are material on states (A-Oklahoma), a small file on Texas, a miscellaneous folder, and oversize items. Files for the remaining part of the alphabet are not extant.

Generally the folders contain copies of outgoing correspondence of Sesqui-Centennial officers and incoming letters from state representatives and officials including governors, secretaries of state, and members of the legislatures concerning the designation and commemoration of state days at the Sesqui-Centennial exposition and sponsorship of buildings or exhibits highlighting the history and progress of each state. Included are such things as responses to the Sesqui's request for lists of names and addresses of legislative candidates nominated at the state's most recent primary of different political parties (expenditures of state funds for Sesqui-Centennial displays required legislative approval); copies of legislation passed by state legislatures to authorize expenditures of funds for exhibits; and correspondence between Sesqui-Centennial Director-General D. C. Collier or Exhibits Director Axel Malm and members of state planning committees who developed the content of the exhibits. Also included are correspondence with county and municipal officials as well as representatives of major industries to whom exposition officials turned for funds in a number of states which failed to make legislative appropriations.

The material reflects the varied social and political make-up of the nation as a whole as well as that of the individual states. On the whole, states with the larger and more diverse economies took a more active part in Sesqui. The California folders are interesting in that they include correspondence with municipalities such as Los Angeles and San Diego as well as state officials. California joined with Washington and Oregon to create a regional West Coast building. As the Florida files show, Floridians planned to build a Florida Pavilion at the exposition but the financial arrangements fell through. The files also indicate the involvement of persons who served in the capacities of state historians or cultural directors. Even though few persons actually held these official titles, the state planning committees almost always included at least one member such as a state librarian or museum curator who represented knowledge of history about the state. The commentary on exhibits and state day programs also provide an index of awareness of different groups in American society. The Oklahoma display, for example, featured exhibits presented by the Indian Hunting Grounds Association (the "National Park for American Indians") and the Society of Oklahoma Indians and many of the state observances had a historical or ethnic component. Finally, the files contain brochures about group excursions by rail or automobile. These were scheduled to coincide with the various states' days in order to allow visitors from the home state to travel to Philadelphia for the Sesqui-Centennial observance of their state's day at bargain rates while also ensuring a turnout.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Shelf list is available.

232-4-5.4 Congresses and Conventions
1 cu.ft., no index
This material consists of correspondence between Sesqui-Centennial association officials and officers and members of organizations regarding plans for conventions to be held in Philadelphia during the Sesqui-Centennial exposition. In July 1924, George W. B. Hicks, Executive Secretary of the Sesqui, sent out an appeal to national social and fraternal groups as well as professional societies, business, trade, organized labor, and women's groups, resulting in the scheduling of meetings in Philadelphia in 1926, but as these files show, others were also interested in using the Sesqui-Centennial as an opportunity to promote travel and tourism in the city in the Sesqui-Centennial year. Interestingly, the files contain some August 1921 correspondence between John Wanamaker and the mayor's office concerning a representative of the United National Association of Post Office Clerks who approached Wanamaker about convening a meeting in Philadelphia during the Sesqui.

Additionally, there are 5 folders of correspondence between Sesqui-Centennial staff and the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (PCC) regarding the work of the Convention and Exhibition Bureau at the Sesqui. The Bureau operated jointly between the Sesqui-Centennial association and PCC to promote convention visits, arrange accommodations for convention delegates and guests, and list the groups' individual programs in the official Sesqui-Centennial exposition program. The folders contain reports from Bureau staff William H. Fisher, Jr. and Frank L. Devine from May 1925-October 1926 listing names and addresses of individuals who had asked for information about the exposition as well as letters discussing arrangements for meetings. The material provides an index of the effectiveness of promotional and publicity efforts for the Sesqui-Centennial exposition and its appeal in different parts of the country.

The series also contain 9 folders concerning the meeting of the Pan-American Union on October 22, 1926. For this occasion, the entire delegation of the Pan-American Union traveled to Philadelphia on a special train from Washington for a formal luncheon and ceremonies including ambassadors and ministers from 21 Latin American countries. The files contain detailed plans for accommodating the Latin American delegates and U.S. state department officials including guest lists and seating charts.

The folder on Accommodations (F/5.27) contains information about hotel and boarding house accommodations in Philadelphia as well as meeting facilities available in the city at that time.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Shelf list is available.

232-4-5.5 Special Events
1 cu.ft., no index
An organizational chart for the Sesqui-Centennial administrative staff dated March 23, 1926, indicates that within the Department of Domestic Participation and Special Events, there was a Division of Special Events and a Division of Special Days. Actually the two units functioned closely together, with Department chief A. L. Sutton coordinating many of the events.

These files document special events which were held during the Sesqui-Centennial. Files with the prefix (G7.0- ) contain correspondence and memoranda between A. L. Sutton and other Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association officers and administrators including Ernest T. Trigg, George W. B. Hicks, executive secretary; Mayor W. Freeland Kendrick, Sesqui-Centennial director D. C. Collier; and George W. Orton, director of sports, concerning planning and logistics of events.

Folders numbered G7.0.1 through G7.0.1-C document the period from February 1925 through the spring of 1926. Included are correspondence, memoranda, and notes regarding the designation of special days, weeks, and events when groups could come to the Sesqui-Centennial exposition and honor the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and their own part in American history; letters from individuals and organizational representatives suggesting activities; requests from groups to use the auditorium or stadium for events; and requests from organizational officers that their group or interest be represented on the official Sesqui-Centennial exposition calendar of events. Correspondents include John Summers, editor of The Public Journal (Philadelphia), recommending that September 22 be set aside as a day for the African-Americans to commemorate the anniversary of the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation; the Pennsylvania State Camp of the Patriotic Sons of America; the Philadelphia Music League regarding the National Northeastern Sangerfest; and the Sweden Memorial Commission. Carbon copies of outgoing correspondence demonstrate the desire of Sesqui-Centennial officials to promote the designation of days for ethnic and denominational groups, such as Wales Day, B'nai Brith Day, Unitarian Day, and a Columbus Day celebration by Italian societies, because they complemented the historical pageants about the events of 1776 which were being planned.

Folders in the G/7.0.1.-D sequence pertain to arrangements for special days. The material is filed alphabetically by name of the special day. The files contain such things as memoranda between Sesqui-Centennial officials A. L. Sutton, Sutton's assistant W. E. Mealing, Major E. H. Hicks, E. L. Austin, John J. Flett, Esq., Chief of Special Days, Mayor Kendrick, and their correspondence with organizational representatives concerning scheduling, arrangements, and expenditures for activities, press clippings, and other matters. Of special interest are correspondence with the Treasury Department, U.S. Coast Guard, concerning the naval formation for Coast Guard Day; interchange between Sesqui-Centennial officers and representatives of Philadelphia's museums and libraries concerning Benjamin Franklin Day; plans for National Grange Day (the Master National Grange circularized every grange in the U.S. calling for a special meeting of the Grange at the Sesqui-Centennial exposition on this day); copies of invitations to large manufacturing and distribution firms such as Sears and Roebuck, Stetson Co., Cambria Steel Company, Westinghouse Electric Company, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and other major employers in Pennsylvania and Ohio to arrange employee excursions to the Sesqui-Centennial on Industrial Plants of Philadelphia days; information on Labor Day, the program for which was given under the auspices of the American Federation of Labor; correspondence and literature from the International Magna Carta Day Association of St. Paul, Minnesota, devoted to promoting "English Speaking Patriotism and Co-Operation," concerning Magna Carta Day; and drafts of the program for Marine Corps Day.

The most extensive documentation is that for Children's Day (20 folders). In June 1926 Mayor Kendrick asked Sesqui-Centennial officials to enlarge upon the original plan for a Kiddie's Day, reschedule it on a later date (July 26); originally it had been scheduled for June 19, and make it a free day for poor children. Included in the files are copies of outgoing letters to orphanages, settlements, missions, homes, day nurseries, and playground associations inviting them to bring children to the Sesqui, and memoranda regarding arrangements for this event which was projected to include up to 20,000 youngsters. Additionally Sesqui-Centennial staff contacted child welfare agencies in other cities to invite them to a free children's day.

Folders numbered in the (G7.0.1-19A) sequence contain additional information about special days and special events. File (G7.0.15) concerns Knights of the Klu Klux Klan Day. The folder contains an official request from Paul Winter, Field Representative for the order of the Klu Klux Klan in Philadelphia, dated July 17, 1925, asking fair officials to designate three days for their organization on the Sesqui-Centennial calendar of events. The request was initially denied. Included are letters of protest from Klan members; exchanges between Sesqui-Centennial officials who in May 1926 agreed to allow the Klan to reserve the auditorium from September 9-11 for a meeting of Klan delegates; and letters and clippings condemning the Sesqui-Centennial officers' decision to allow the meeting to take place.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Shelf list is available.

232-4-5.6 Special Days
For records regarding Special Days, see the files about Special Events.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
232-4-5.7 Music Division
20 folders, no index
The Sesqui-Centennial association's board of directors organized a Music Committee which remained involved in various musically related activities during the exposition. Dr. Herbert J. Tily, vice chairman of the committee, and Craig King, its secretary, coordinated many of the arrangements when Sesqui-Centennial opened. The Music Committee files were found intermixed with the files of Sesqui's administrative staff.

The files contain correspondence and memoranda between Dr. Herbert J. Tily, Craig King, Dr. Henry S. Fry of St. Clement's Church, Philadelphia, who was the executive secretary of the International Musical Prize Competition, and numerous individuals and musical organizations, both professional and amateur, within and outside the U.S., regarding musical events at the Sesqui-Centennial Exposition. The records are filed alphabetically by the last name of the authors of the incoming correspondence. These included musicians and composers, agents, publicists, booking organizations, and persons looking for employment as musicians at the Sesqui. Unfortunately the files contain only the "A-F" part of the alphabet. As far as is known, the files "G-Z" have not survived to the present.

Much of the incoming material is made up of queries from prospective entrants in two of the committee's prize competitions. In 1925 the Music Committee announced the Sesqui's International Musical Prize Competition for original compositions which had not been previously performed or published. Prizes were to be awarded in five categories (opera, ballet, choral suite, choral cantata, and symphony), and the committee accepted entrants from the fall of 1925 to April 1, 1926. Although many of the candidates' queries concern routine matters such as the application process, some candidates forwarded descriptions of prospective submissions and samples of their work such as sheet music, scripts for historical pageants, brochures, and programs of previous concerts. The Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association also sponsored the National Interstate Students' contest which attracted college and youth choral groups.

The files also contain information about performers engaged to perform at the Sesqui. Several contracts between Sesqui-Centennial officials and performers may be found here. The folder labeled "Accounts (Memos), May-December 26" is made up of copies of outgoing memos from Craig King to the staff of the Sesqui-Centennial business office requesting checks for payment to performing artists, postage for returning manuscripts submitted to the musical competition, rental of concert halls, royalties, and travel expenses. The folder also includes weekly payroll lists including the Philadelphia Orchestra and guest conductors and soloists who performed with the orchestra throughout the Sesqui. The files contain several letters to and from Philadelphia orchestra conductor Leopold Stokowski as well as material in which he is mentioned.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Shelf list is available.

232-4-5.8 Division of Negro Activities
For records about this division, see the Sesqui-Centennial Board of Directors, Committee on Negro Activities
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

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Last updated on July 8, 1999