BygoneLife

New York Worlds Fair 1939

30 Apr 1939 -- 27 Oct 1940

In 1935, a group of retired police officers in New York decided that perhaps one way to kickstart the American spirit and perhaps hasten the end of our economic woes would be to organize an international exposition dedicated to the vision of a prosperous future. Over the next three years, excitement grew as a World of the Future rose, like a phoenix, from the ashes of the past. Around the world, nations signed on to provide pavillions to showcase their unique cultures and traditions. Companies like Ford and Westinghouse spent millions of dollars to build innovative and technologically advances attractions. The Fair organizers, believing that the exposition should have some historical connection, decided to dedicate the event to George Washington and chose the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his inauguration as president for opening day.

DOCUMENTS

World's Fair Map

30 Nov 1938

This is a PDF copy of a large, original map of the fairgrounds. It may take a few seconds to load.

Greyhound Pamphlet -- 1939 World's Fair

30 Nov 1938

This pamphlet offers details of Greyhound's services at the fair, prices for each tour, and a map of the fairgrounds.

Guide Chair Brochure -- 1939 World's Fair

30 Nov 1938

This brochure details the various guide chair options available to fair visitors. It also lists the various American Express services available.

Democracity Guidebook -- 1939 World's Fair

30 Nov 1938

This is a PDF copy of the booklet sold at the exhibit. It explains the vision of Democracity and how it may impact life in the future. Be patient, it may take a few seconds to load.

General Motors Exhibit Map -- 1939 World's Fair

30 Nov 1938

This diagram of the GM pavilion was included in special World's Fair supplement to the New York Herald Tribune on opening day, 30 April 1939. It may take a few seconds to load.

RCA Television Book -- 1939 World's Fair

30 Nov 1938

This book, published by RCA provides an overview of the state of the television art in 1939. It describes technical details relating to cameras and transmitters as well as programming techniques and receiving equipment. It was distributed at the RCA exhibit at the fair. It may take a few seconds to load.

Transportation Zone Map -- 1939 World's Fair

30 Nov 1938

This is a PDF copy of a large, original map of the Transportation Zone. It may take a few seconds to load.

Book of the Pageant -- 1939 World's Fair

30 Nov 1938

This PDF copy of the official Railroads on Parade guidebook describes the history of the railroad industry in America alongside brief excerpts from the program. It may take a few seconds to load.

AUDIO

Dawn of A New Day  (30 Nov 1938)

his march was written by George and Ira Gershwin for the 1939 New York Worlds Fair and recorded by Horace Heidt And His Musical Knights.


Roosevelt Opens the New York World's Fair  (30 Apr 1939)

This is an audio recording of President Roosevelt's speech at the opening of the New York World's Fair on 30 April 1939.


VIDEO

The City  (1939)

This documentary film shows efforts at reversing the decay that had settled upon many American cities during the depression, including alternatives such as suburban planned communities.


Leave It To Roll-oh  (1939)

Tongue-in-cheek film showing a domestic robot freeing housewives of their chores. The film is actually a promo showing how relays and switches function in the modern automobile. Shown at the New York World's Fair in 1940.


To New Horizons  (1940)

Definitive document of pre-World War II futuristic utopian thinking, as envisioned by General Motors. Documents the Futurama exhibit in GM's Highways and Horizons pavilion at the World's Fair, which looks ahead to the wonder world of 1960.


The World of Tomorrow

Get to know the fair by viewing this episode of our series Back In The Day.


The Time Capsule Explained

In yet another clip from The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair, Jim Treadway explained the capsule to the Middletons.


Elektro in Action

Watch the Elektro demonstration at the Westinghouse building. This clip is also from The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair.


Bud Discovers Television

This short demonstration clip features Jimmy Lydon as Bud Middleton from the promotional film The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair.


Home Movies -- Railroads

This silent clip shows scenes of the railroad exhibit, including the popular Railroads on Parade pageant.


Symphony in F

Film inspired by Ford's Cycle of Production exhibit at the 1939-40 New York World's Fair. At the Rouge plant in Dearborn, Michigan, Ford assembly line employees do their jobs to the accompaniment of an orchestra.


Scenes From the Fair

This sort documentary film, produced by the Ford Motor Company, shows various scenes from the 1940 season of the fair before settling in at the Ford exhibit to detail its many features.