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Agency Information

United States Centennial Commission

[Record group 230-1]
Agency Function

Administrative Subunits
The committees and offices of the United States Centennial Commission were:

Executive Committee & Director-General

Sub-Committee on the Fourth of July

Centennial Athletic Contests Committe

Committee on History, Literature and Popular Education

Committee on Plans and Architecture

Executive Department of the United States Government

Department of the Press

Secretary's Office; Classification and Catalogue

Agency History
In accordance with the Act of 1871 creating the Centennial Commission, the Commission held its first session on 4 March 1872. Meetings were held periodically throughout 1872 and, beginning in 1873, annually. Representing vitually every state and territory in the Union, the Commission was charged with the oversight of the planning, construction and operation of the Exhibition. The need for day-to-day direction led to the appointment of a Director-General who was the chief operating officer of the Commission. Subsequent to this appointment, the Commissioners met annually in a round of sessions which would last up to a week. .

As the preparations for the Exhibition advanced, it was found necessary, in order to insure the dispatch of all business, to have every branch of the work organized and thoroughly systematized, with experts at the head of each department. Accordingly, to complete the organization of the central office, the Director-General, with the approval of the Executive Committee, created administrative bureaus and departments, each of which discharged its appropriate duties under his supervision and control. The following, with the department of the Secretary of the Commission, and those organized by the Centennial Board of Finance, comprised the Executive Departments of the Exhibition:




Centennial Guard (Department of Protection)


Fine Arts

Fire (Department of Protection)





Medical Service

Publications (Bureau of Classification and Catalogue)



Water Supply

Women's Exhibition

Archival Records
230-1.1 Minutes and Journal (1872-1876, 1879)

230-1.2 Correspondence and Papers (1872-1877)

230-1.3 Register of Centennial Commissioners

230-1.4 Pay Rolls (1873-1876)

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Last updated on November 6, 2000