Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 5, Number 2, Fall, 1993 Page: 13
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A Matter of Pride
Representing Texas at the Columbian Exposition
By Thomas H. Smith
EXAS WAS FORTUNATE TO have a building at
the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Had it not been for the persistence of a number of
Texas women, thousands of schoolchildren, a handful
of helpful men, and gifts from outside the Lone
Star State, the Texas building at Chicago might have
belonged to Mexico. Caught in an economic
downturn, and with little interest in Chicago's grandiose
promotional scheme, Texans failed to empty
their pockets to support a Texas exhibit. Meanwhile,
Houston, Fort Worth, Galveston, and Dallas vied for
top billing to promote the state. Were it not for some
determined Texas women, the state would not have
been represented at the world's fair.
The Columbian Exposition was not only a
recognition of the 400th anniversary of Columbus'
expedition, it was also a celebration of American
civilization. New York, St. Louis, and Washington,
D.C. had all vied for the privilege of hosting the fair,
but Chicago's aggressive lobbying (and boasting,
which won it the moniker, "the windy city") prevailed.
On February 24, 1890, Congress, with the
Texas delegation voting in favor, designated Chicago
the official site for the fair.
The World's Fair bill established a 108member
World's Columbian Exposition Commission
which was to work with the Chicago corporation
formed earlier to lobby for the fair. Each state
was to have two representatives, the District of
Columbia one, and there were to be eight at-large
members. For the first time, Congress also authorized
a board of Lady Managers "of such numbers
and to perform such duties as may be prescribed by
said Commission." Henry Exall, who raised prize
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Dallas County Heritage Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 5, Number 2, Fall, 1993, periodical, 1993; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth35115/m1/15/: accessed June 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.