The Trans-Mississippi Exposition of 1898 celebrated Omaha's key economic role as a center of industry west of the Mississippi River and its arrival as a progressive metropolis after the Panic of 1893. The exposition also promoted the rise of the United States as an imperial power, at the time on the brink of the Spanish-American War, and the nation's place in bringing "civilization" to Indigenous populations both overseas and at the conclusion of the recent Plains Indian Wars. The Omaha World's Fair, however, is one of the least studied American expositions. Wendy Jean Katz brings together leading scholars to better understand the event's place in the larger history of both Victorian-era America and the American West.
The interdisciplinary essays in this volume cover an array of topics, from competing commercial visions of the cities of the Great West; to the role of women in the promotion of City Beautiful ideals of public art and urban planning; and the constructions of Indigenous and national identities through exhibition, display, and popular culture. Leading scholars T. J. Boisseau, Bonnie M. Miller, Sarah J. Moore, Nancy Parezo, Akim Reinhardt, and Robert Rydell, among others, discuss this often-misunderstood world's fair and its place in the Victorian-era ascension of the United States as a world power.
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Wendy Jean Katz is an associate professor of art history at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the author of Regionalism and Reform: Art and Class Formation in Antebellum Cincinnati and the coeditor of Regionalism and the Humanities (Nebraska, 2009).
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Introduction: America's Jewel in the Crown
Robert W. Rydell
1. "The Great American Desert Is No More"
Sarah J. Moore
2. The Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition Commemorative Stamp Issue
Bonnie M. Miller
3. Women and Art in the Passing Show
Wendy Jean Katz
4. Trilby Goes Naked and Native on the Midway
5. Condensed Loveliness
Tracey Jean Boisseau
6. Indigenous Identities in the Imperialist Imagination
7. Exposition Anthropology
Nancy J. Parezo
8. Hawai'i and the Philippines at the Omaha Expositions
Stacy L. Kamehiro and Danielle B. Crawford
Afterword: The Art of the Historian
"This is an excellent collection that offers insight into the social and cultural history of these Omaha fairs and into the way that popular culture offered a venue for the construction of both U.S. imperial aims and regional identity during the Progressive Era."-Abigail Markwyn, associate professor of history at Carroll University and author of Empress San Francisco: The Pacific Rim, the Great West, and California at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition -- Abigail Markwyn "This edited collection deserves a serious look among scholars seeking to explore a host of themes in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, from Native American history and Victorian femininity to imperialism and consumerism. Hopefully, Katz's commendable collection will inspire future work on other fairs that have too long been in the shadow of Chicago."-Michael S. Powers, H-SHGAPE -- Michael S. Powers * H-SHGAPE * "The authors of The Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition of 1898-1899 demonstrate exceptional skill in interrogating the overlapping discourses of Whiteness and gender at the fairs. . . . Taken all together, perhaps this volume's greatest strength is the consistent excellence of each scholar's granular attention to detail aligned with tightly organized analysis such that each object in the metaphorical department store window feels necessary to the overall picture, never overfurnished."-Madison L. Heslop, Western Historical Quarterly -- Madison L. Heslop * Western Historical Quarterly *
Dewey Decimal Classfication (DDC)
United States / General
Midwest (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI)