The year is 1893 and the city of Chicago is booming. Chicago is told it will be the city chosen among several others to officially hold the World’s Columbian Exposition, celebrating the 400th Anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival. The fair will mark a turning point in Chicago’s history, bringing diverse cultures to the area as well as architecture, the arts, sanitation and more. It will also help bring an industrial boom to the city, bringing those from all over the world to what would become a key melting pot city in America.
Historian Jim Gibbons will discuss the turn of events that took place at the World’s Columbian Exposition, later to be called the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Gibbons will explain how Thomas Edison brought his new inventions to the fair. He will discuss how author L. Frank Baum wrote the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz based on the magic and beauty he saw in Edison’s inventions and other influences at the fair. While the fair brought to light many new inventions, cultures, and literary works, it also cast darkness among the city as America’s first well-known serial killer, Dr. Henry Howard Holmes (also known as H.H. Holmes), confessed to murdering between 27-200 people in his hotel. The book, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, would later be written by author Erik Larson based the H.H. Holmes murders. On a lighter note, the inventions and magic can still be found in Chicago’s last-standing building of 1893, The Museum of Science and Industry, where families, adults and children can learn and explore technology, history and culture of the past and present.
(*A Q&A session will be held following the presentation if time allows).
(*Please contact the Library for seating and registration requirements prior to program).