Posted 3 years ago
By July 4, 1926 the Sesquicentennial Fair in Philadelphia was almost fully operational. Planned along the lines of a World's Expo, it opened on May 31 and was scheduled to run until the end of November. Bad press because of the construction delays got things off to a poor start. Miserable weather, according to philadelphiaencyclopedia.org it rained 107 of the 184 days the fair was open, kept many people at home. It was built on undeveloped swampland filled with subway excavation - the summertime humidity, even on the dry days, must have been oppressive. Philadelphia suspended "Never on Sunday" Blue Laws that were almost as old old as the Declaration of Independence hoping to bring up attendance. They kept the exhibit halls open for the month of December to give exhibitors a little longer to try to sell their goods. As Expos go, this fair was a sad failure. The city finally paid the fair's creditors in May of 1929, just in time for the pending stock market crash.
Still, souvenirs abound. Some are common, like the bookends - some less common, like the glass shade lamp. These are not necessarily tied to fair attendance. It was 150 years of America and people were feeling patriotic all around the country. The carved cowrie shells were personalized souvenirs sold at the fair and are a pretty good indication that William and Jennie were actually there.