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Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association

[Record group 232]
Agency Function
The Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association has ceased existence.

Administrative Subunits
Committee of One Hundred
Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association
Board of Directors
Pennsylvania Sesqui-Centennial Commission

Agency History
The Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association was the organization which planned and administered a major international exposition held in Philadelphia from May 30 through November 30, 1926, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The idea for the exposition is said to have originated in 1916 when the merchant, John Wanamaker, expressed interest in the sesqui-centennial as an opportunity for Philadelphia to serve as the focus for an international gathering which would rival the great U.S. Centennial Exhibition held in Philadelphia in 1876. World War I intervened and discussion of the sesqui-centennial did not resume until 1920, when a committee assembled to form the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association which was incorporated on May 9, 1921. Various sites were considered and League Island near the U.S. Navy Yard in South Philadelphia was selected. The Association employed experienced world's fair planners and professionals to prepare the buildings and grounds which filled 450 acres and to organize the exposition and related events which were subsidized by public and private funds. Thirty foreign nations participated in the event which attracted 7 million visitors. Participation lagged behind expectations, however, and financial problems dogged the project from beginning to end. The Association passed into receivership in 1927 and several years passed before the claims of the organization's many creditors were resolved in U.S. district court.

Archival Records
For records of the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association, see the various divisions listed above. For notes relating to the processing of the Exhibition records, click here

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Last updated on November 8, 2000