Known officially as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, the St. Louis World’s Fair ran from April 30-December 1, 1904 and was one of the most famous international expositions held in the United States in the early twentieth century. Attended by more than 19 million people, the Fair was known for its lavish neo-classical buildings, its 22-story-high Ferris Wheel, and the public debut of innovations such as the x-ray machine and the ice cream cone. But the fair had a darker side. Organizers imported thousands of indigenous peoples from around the world to be put on public display in what was essentially a giant human zoo. Unlike freak shows, the human zoo in St. Louis was created with the cooperation of America’s scientific establishment.
For more information:
The 1904 World’s Fair: Looking Backward at Looking Forward, Online Exhibition (Missouri Historical Society)
Louisiana Purchase Exposition Collection (Missouri History Museum)