By Caroline Jones, Library Assistant
On June 6th, 1936 the Texas Centennial Exposition opened at Fair Park in Dallas, TX. The Texas Centennial Commission was created in June 1934 with Dallas outbidding Houston and San Antonio as the exposition grounds and construction to expand Fair Park was underway by October of 1935. The expansion included 180 acres of park grounds and 50 new buildings. In total the exposition cost 25 million dollars, and an estimated 6,345,385 people attended the Centennial Exposition in Dallas.
The exposition was open from June 6 to November 29, 1936. Although centennial celebrations were happening across the state, the Handbook of Texas Online states the event at Fair Park as the “central exposition.” One of the highlights of the Texas Centennial Exposition was the Hall of Negro Life. According to the Handbook of Texas Online, this was the first instance of the recognition of black culture at a world’s fair. It is estimated that over 400,000 people came through the hall, viewing the contributions of thirty-two states, the District of Columbia, and works from individuals like W. E. B. Dubois and Samuel A. Countee. The hall exhibited advances in economics and industry, murals, music, literature, performances, and more.
It was important to the Texas Centennial Exposition Commission and their financial backers to advertise the wonders of Texas to visitors from across the nation and throughout the world. Visitors could purchase a wide variety of memorabilia from pamphlets, maps, commemorative pins, children’s toys, and more. The pin featured below was purchased by Beryl O. Paschich at the exposition. It is a recent artifact donation and can be found through our catalog.
The advertisements below demonstrate the promotion of the exposition as a world’s fair for visitors from all over the globe to see. They boast the many achievements of Texas industry and the beauty of the land itself.
Images of Texas icons like the missions of San Antonio and the cowboys of the plains were all throughout the Centennial Exposition grounds, as exemplified by the images below. Reproductions of these posters can be found in the Tocker Learning Center in the Lorenzo de Zavala State Library and Archives Building. These posters follow the art deco style of the exposition’s buildings with their use of bright colors and sharp angles.
With its emphasis on history and progress, the exposition was full of art, performances, and exhibits for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Its lasting legacy gives us a glimpse into our Texas past through the vibrant art, memorabilia, and architecture left behind.
- Texas Commission of Control for Texas Centennial Celebrations: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/20063/tsl-20063.html
- State Board of Control building records and contracts: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/20173/tsl-20173.html
- Graham (R. Niles) Collection: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/90013/tsl-90013.html
|Texas Centennial: the Parade of an Empire||607.34 C378T||MAIN|
|The official guide book Texas Centennial Exposition, June 6, 1936 Nov. 29||607.34 ST29fdw 1936
|Texas centennial and Dallas exposition : over 100 illustrations||606.34 T312pa
|The Texas Centennial and Dallas Exposition, 1836-1936||607.34 T312c 1936
|Dallas, Texas centennial exposition center, 1936||976.42811 D161te OVER-T||MAIN|