Title: The American Exhibition in London

Periodical: Morning Post

Date: January 7, 1887

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The AMERICAN EXHIBITION in LONDON.


TO THE EDITOR OF THE MORNING POST.

SIR,—May I trespass upon your space to the extent of removing an impression, which, notwithstanding our repeated printed and verbal statements to the contrary, appears to be entertained in some quarters—namely, that the forthcoming American Exhibition, which opens on Monday, the 2d of May next, [1] is under the management or control of the United States Government? A moment's reflection will show how obviously impossible it was that an Exhibition exclusively devoted to the arts, inventions, manufactures, products and resources of one country and held in the metropolis of another could be initiated by the Government of the country exhibiting. Such a new departure would have been too hard upon other Governments. If, therefore, it were considered wise to hold an exclusively American Exhibition in London, it could only be initiated and organised by private enterprise. The forthcoming American Exhibition in London is not under the control of, or in any way connected with, the Government of the United States, but has been initiated and organised by a number of eminent and well-known American citizens, cordially aided, on this side of the Atlantic, by several Englishmen. Of the 25 officers, 21 are American. The idea of the American Exhibition was conceived in America, and the bulk of the working capital was supplied by Americans, and no exhibits but American exhibits are permitted. It may be pertinent and interesting to add that the Government of the United States has not been in the habit of fostering Industrial Exhibitions. Even the great Centennial Exhibition of 1876, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the independence of the United States, was initiated and carried out by a private limited liability company. The Government, it is true, loaned the company a sum of money, but this was repaid to the Government out of the first receipts. It is well to remember that of the visitors to the Centennial Exhibition, held in Philadelphia in 1876, probably not more than 2 per cent. were foreigners, and yet how incalculably widespread and beneficial was that great gathering to the future development of America’s resources. What may not, therefore, be expected from an exclusively American Exhibition, where the per-centage of foreign visitors may already be estimated at 98 per cent. of the whole, as against 2 per cent., and where space will only be allotted to the very best quality of exhibits, so that Europeans and colonial representatives and other visitors may be able to form some trustworthy idea of the vast progress made by the United States during the past 100 years. May I crave space to add that the arrangements for the Exhibition, which opens on the 2d of May next, are now in a forward state, that the buildings are being rapidly erected, and will extend to several acres of floor space, all of which has been taken up by American manufacturers and exhibitors of the highest class. In additional to the promenade and ornamental garden, the outdoor exhibits will embrace an entertainment the like of which has not before been seen in this country (although well known in the United States), "Buffalo Bill’s Wild West," and no effort has been wanting to make the whole Exhibition representative of American interests, products, and manufactures.

The object of the American Exhibition in London is to display in the metropolis of Great Britain, the chief market of the world, a more complete collection of the products of the soil and mine, and of the manufactures of the United States than has ever been shown in Europe, to impress the millions of that continent and others with a sense of the magnitude and variety of America’s industrial resources, and the skill and ingenuity of its artisans, to increase the foreign trade of the United States wherever established, and to extend it into countries where at present it has no foothold; and finally to quicken the flow of foreign capital to America for the further development of its natural wealth and resources. At the invitation of a number of those who contributed to make the Centennial the success it was, the board of direction selected Philadelphia as the headquarters in the United States; that it might profit by the valuable assistance of many who gained experience in the management of the Centennial International Exhibition of 1876. The American Exhibition in London is a natural sequence of that great gathering of ten years ago, and the board intend it shall be no unworthy one, but one of which all Americans may be justly proud, and a source of pleasure and profit to Englishmen.

I trust these facts will enable the British public to understand the true nature of the first exclusively American Exhibition ever held beyond the limits of the national territory.—I am, sir, yours respectfully,

JOHN R. WHITLEY,
Chairman of the Executive Council.

Note 1: The American Exhibition was scheduled to open May 2nd, but the opening was delayed until May 9, 1887. [back]

Title: The American Exhibition in London

Periodical: Morning Post

Date: January 7, 1887

Topic: European Tours

Keywords: Arts Centennial Exhibition (1876 : Philadelphia, Pa.) Exhibition buildings Exhibitions Gardens International trade Inventions Manufactures United States--Politics and government.

Place: London (England)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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