Drawn from the Chicago Tribune’s vast archives, A Century of Progress is a collection of rare—and in many cases, previously unseen—photographs that document the Century of Progress International Exposition, the world’s fair held in Chicago from 1933 to 1934. Conceived during the Roaring Twenties and born during the Great Depression, this sprawling event celebrated the city’s centennial with industrial and scientific displays, lascivious entertainment, and a touch of unadulterated bad taste.
During this time, more than 48 million visitors flocked to Chicago’s lakefront (the present site of McCormick Place and Northerly Island) to experience what turned out to be one of the most expansive displays of technological advancement and cultural diversity that took place in the 20th century. Featuring a fascinating introduction by Tribune reporter and historian Ron Grossman, this book documents the numerous facets of the exposition, from whimsical attractions, architectural triumphs, and scientific achievements to the occasionally insensitive and racist exhibits of differing cultures.
At a time when the entire U.S. population numbered just over 125 million people, this world’s fair left an indelible mark on the collective consciousness of American culture, and A Century of Progress captures that feeling through its historic photographs. These images are invaluable witness to a civic milestone that forever after was honored by the fourth star on Chicago’s flag.