Talk:World's Columbian Exposition

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Public killing of snakes?[edit]

In the article on Clark Stanley, of Snake Oil Liniment fame, it is mentioned that Stanley participated in the Fair. He allegedly did a public show of producing snake oil: butchering rattlesnakes by the hundred and collecting their oil. The only source I've found for this memorable event is his own claim. Is it so much snake oil? Hexmaster.se (talk) 08:11, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

World??[edit]

check out the highlighted text

I thought it was the World's Columbian Exposition.

World's is correct. See http://columbus.gl.iit.edu/ I seriously doubt they've got it wrong. Pinktopaz
The contemporary literature and the souvenirs of the fair itself say "World's". Currently "World's" redirects to "World". Presumably, it should be the other way around. Any volunteers? Wahkeenah 21:19, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
I agree. I'll request a page switch and I'll help go through the links after the switch is made. Many pages already link to the correct name. -- DS1953 22:21, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
If I read correctly, since the redirect page did not have anything in the discussion page, a simple "move" was all that was required and unless I am truly confused (I am a newbie after all) I was able to make the change. There appear to be hundreds of pages that already linked to the correct name and the old name now redirects to the new one so presumeably anything that linked to it is working still. Pinktopaz 22:48, 27 November 2005 (UTC)

Someone: Please correct article about Chicago World Fair of 1893. Regarding its Ferris Wheel, it states there were 36 cars and each car could hold 60 people. The zero in 60 should be erased. Or could I do this myself? Hmmmm--60 per car? I wonder....

You raise some interesting issues. First of all, I suggest that you register as an editor. Secondly, when starting a new thread such as this one, typically you'd hit the NEW SECTION button up there and . . ...... start a new section. Thirdly, on wikipedia editors usually "fix" such things themselves, and finally, what makes you think that the way that it is written is incorrect? Oh . ... thinking? Check out the text on the picture to the right. EInar aka Carptrash (talk) 20:56, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

Copyright[edit]

"The man who created it was American and never copyrighted the song, putting it straight into the public domain."

I know that's not how copyright works today, is there any reason to believe that registering a copyright was necessary back then? This smells like bullshit if you ask me. - 8:11, 4 August 2008 (PDT).

That is how copyright works today, since 1976. Prior to that, registration was, if not absolutely required (I'm not sure), much more important. 63.87.189.17 (talk) 20:24, 22 January 2009 (UTC)


Also, late in the article it reads "The Exposition drew nearly 26 million visitors." but the opening reads "Over 27 million people (equivalent to about half the U.S. population) attended the Exposition"

Grade inflation? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 97.113.19.217 (talk) 03:14, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Pabst was blue ribbon before 1893[edit]

In the section of the article "Famous firsts at the fair" I deleted Pabst Blue Ribbon because it wasn't really a "first." Pabst had won awards at earlier World's Fairs and had been using blue ribbons on the bottle since 1882.

A source for the first use of blue ribbons on the bottle is http://www.pabstblueribbon.com/history.htm

HH Holmes[edit]

I'm surprised this article doesn't mention the fact that HH Holmes (AKA Herman Mudgett) was seeking victims at this fair. It is unknown how many people that attended the fair were killed by him, but it was enough that it should warrant a mention.

^^ I agree! H.H. Holmes was America's first serial killer and used the fair to disguise his preying on women. As single women flooded to Chicago while the fair was being built in search of jobs, Holmes offered them guidance and a place to stay. He murdered at least 27 women, but could have killed up to 200... the count is unknown. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.61.154.109 (talk) 20:04, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

^^ It was actually "Jack the Ripper" who was the country's first serial killer. His attacks began about a decade or so before this time period. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.31.179.59 (talk) 20:03, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

First of all, "Jack the Ripper" was not America's first serial killer. yes, he was a serial killer, and one the first, but he never was in America. He did his bloody deeds over seas in London, Great Britain. Peter Cipriano (talk) 01:48, 11 June 2014 (UTC) 20:47 July 10 2014

To be honest guys, I don't think that H.H. Holmes should be a part of this article. He is indirectly related to the fair itself. Look, I've read "Devil in the White City" and that was a pretty good book. But just because he killed a few women that went to fair and killed whole bunch of other people mean that he needs to be put on the article. He is just not related to the integrity of the article. Peter Cipriano (talk) 01:48, 11 June 2014 (UTC) 20:47 July 10 2014

Better Photo[edit]

Does anybody feel up to obtaining the photo on this page: http://www.hydeparkhistory.org/images/ColumbianExpo.jpg for use it the article? It looks like it is in the public domain. Explanatory caption is here: http://www.hydeparkhistory.org/pavedbeach4.html Speciate 00:50, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

I have several books a photos from the event, from 1893, so might be able to come up with something similar. By the way, don't forget to sign your posting 'cause I'm much more likely to respond to a user. Carptrash 01:00, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Skyscrapers?[edit]

I was under the impression that the fair had skyscapers... I'm not sure though.

  • The only "skyscraper" at the fair was the Ferris Wheel. Wahkeenah 04:03, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
  • There were a few elsewhere in Chicago at the time, however. Well, what they called skyscrapers, at least. 63.87.189.17 (talk) 20:27, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Merge[edit]

Support merging the unique info in Chicago Columbian Exposition (if any) into this article and removing that article, which uses an alternate and unofficial title for the fair. The Chicago Columbian Exposition article also contains misinformation, such as stating that the Ferris Wheel was part of the White City — it was actually on the Midway Plaisance, not part of the fair proper; and the White City was really just the area surrounding the Court of Honor, since the rest of the fair was much more polychromatic. Kevin Forsyth 17:34, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Support merging the article per Kevin Forsyth. ChicagoPimp 17:43, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Support merging with this as the destination page. TonyTheTiger (talk/cont/bio) 17:51, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Support merging, very little of value in this article, but Chicago Columbian Exposition is the proper name. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Tobyfee (talkcontribs) 20:21, May 1, 2007 (UTC).

Support merging both articles into this one. The World's Columbian Exposition was a tremedously important cultural event for Chicago, and probably the most influential World's Fair ever held in The United States. I'm surprised this isn't already a much longer article. Whyaduck 23:14, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Support and keep in mind that the official title was World's Columbian Exposition, not "Chicago Columbian Exposition" nor "Chicago World's Fair". Those were informal names or colloquialisms. Wahkeenah 00:12, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Support. Be bold and go ahead now. I'm sure you won't get any complaints. -- DS1953 talk 02:58, 2 May 2007 (UTC)


Support I concur with all of the above comments.Internazionale 21:20, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Court of Honor[edit]

I corrected and completed the list of Court of Honor ("White City") buildings. The Women's Building was on the Lagoon, and the Ferris Wheel was in the Midway, so I removed both from the bullet list of Court of Honor buildings. Kevin Forsyth 17:38, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Issue of Racism[edit]

How come there's no mentioning of the fact that no Af-Americans were allowed to set up exhibitions at the fair? Can someone please not ignore this undeniable part of history?

Absolutely correct - this was a major issue at the time for African Americans. Of equal importance was the fact that women were all but excluded from the "White City" (a name that also has clear racial connotations, in addition to the meanings discussed in the article) as their exhibits were confined to the "Women's Building" on the edge of the "city."
Historians have discussed the 1893 fair extensively - in fact it's almost a cliche to talk about it in works dealing with the late 19th century. It has been discussed as a critical window on American attitudes toward race, gender, civilization, and imperialism in the late 1800s. The failure to discuss the race and gender issues represents an egregious omission, and in general this article should incorporate much more of (indeed it should be based largely upon) the historical scholarship. I might try to add some stuff (the first chapter of Gail Bederman's Manliness and Civilization is not a bad place to start and I have it handy), but this is definitely something we need to work on. The Chicago World's Fair was considerably more interesting than is portrayed in this article.--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 08:25, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

I also want to add that there was not only African American Racism. At this fair and others like it, people from so called "exotic" lands were paid to live on the grounds in "native" housing and basically be part of human zoos. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Syd96 (talkcontribs) 05:14, 10 November 2016 (UTC)

Change picture caption - Daniel Chester French's Republic (replica)[edit]

Does anyone object to changing the caption on the first picture? It makes it sound like there was an exposition in Chicago in 2004 (that is the year the photograph was taken). The replica pictured here was dedicated in 1918. I will drop a note to the photographer about adding more info about the replica to the photo's description page.

Current caption: One-third scale replica of Daniel Chester French's Republic, which stood in the great basin at the exposition, Chicago, 2004

Change to: One-third scale replica of Daniel Chester French's Republic. The original stood in the great basin at the World's Columbian Exposition. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gingerwiki (talkcontribs) 04:49, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Surviving buildings?[edit]

Besides the Museum of Science and Industry, what buildings survive? There needs to be boldface wording for this -- I mean, it needs its own paragraph. --Ragemanchoo (talk) 13:01, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

It is erroneous that only one building survives. Two others are the "Dutch House" now located in Brookline, MA, and Maine's exposition pavilion, known as the "State of Maine" building, now located in Poland Springs, ME.

On the former, here is a web source http://www.town.brookline.ma.us/Planning/Zoning/update-novdec2002.pdf One of the three remaining buildings of the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition is in Brookline, MA. Known as the "Dutch House", the unique building stands facing the Riverway brought to Brookline by Captain Charles Brooks Appleton in 1894. The original building stood in Jackson Park and was a copy of the brick Town Hall of [sic] Franker in Holland built in 1591. The present building is forty feet square and was designed by M. Guillaume Wyuen and constructed in Holland and Belgium before being erected in Chicago. It was the building which represented the Van Houten Cocoa Company and was one of the few private buildings to win a medal. The doors and carved panels came from Hindeloopen, while the front doorway is an adaptation of one of the orphanage door at Enkhuizen. Appleton became so captivated with eh structure, he purchased it at auction and had it dismantled and shipped to Boston. The firm of Kingsbury & Richardson designed its reconstruction which included new Portland cement on the exterior. The house contains over 1000 square feet of leaded green glass. Appleton wished the house to be a haven for artists; it was long the home of Leo O’Donnell, an artist, book designer and professor at Massachusetts School of Art.

The Dutch House is located at 20 Netherlands Road in Brookline. It is not facing the Riverway. Behind the house is the D branch of the MBTA Green Line. See Wikipedia article "The Dutch House": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dutch_House — Preceding unsigned comment added by Arcwell (talkcontribs) 06:48, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

Contact Information: Greer Hardwicke, Preservation Planner; Telephone: 730-2617 or greer_hardwicke@town.brookline.ma.us Roger Reed, Preservation Planner; Telephone 730-2089 or roger_reed@town.brookline.ma.us

For an image of the Franeker stadhuis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Franeker_stadhuis_03c.JPG

For an image of the Brookline, MA "Dutch House" http://www.town.brookline.ma.us/TownInformation/BrooklinePhotos/78.htm


On the later, here are two web sources:

[1] http://www.framingham.com/collecting/polandspring.htm While in Chicago, Hiram Weston Ricker bought Maine's exposition pavilion, known as the "State of Maine" building. He had it dismantled by Maine workers and shipped back to the resort. Reassembled, it opened with great pomp and celebration in 1895 and served as a library and art museum for guests. It's one of two Columbia Exposition pavilions still in existence.After the Turn of the Century, the automobile made travel easier and society's tastes and habits changed. The resort began a decline although it retained some allure for the famous, such as John Barrymore, Gene Tunney, and Babe Ruth, who used the resort to escape the public eye, train, and golf.

[2] http://maine.gov/local/androscoggin/poland/ Also on this site (Poland Springs, ME) is the Maine State Building which was built to represent the state at the Chicago World's Fair, known as the Columbian Exposition, in 1893. The building was disassembled, shipped back to Maine, and then reconstructed on its current site. It now serves as an art museum for the public sponsored by the Poland Spring Preservation Society. 151.203.5.19 (talk) 01:30, 26 May 2008 (UTC) 151.203.5.19 (talk) 12:35, 26 May 2008 (UTC)


There is also a copy of Jefferson's Monticello from the 1893 exposition still standing at Maryville, North Road and River Road, in DesPlaines, Illinois. It was donated to the school which was rebuilding after a fire of a number of years before. It is not in first rate condition but a little spent on it would make it an worthwhile Chicago land mark. (Alfric)

The pavilion where Frederick Pabst exhibited his brewing company (Pabst Brewing Company/Blue Ribbon) still survives. After the exposition, Pabst had the pavilion transported back to Milwaukee and attached to his mansion. It still stands today, although is in need of serious renovation.

"Discovery"[edit]

I changed the intro line from "Columbus' 'discovery' of the New World" to "Columbus' arrival in the New World". While I agree that CC didn't discover the New World per se, adding quotes around the word "discovery" seems, well, rather arch to me. I hope that "arrival" is a bit more neutral. Kevin Forsyth (talk) 16:07, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Columbus did discover the New World. He wasn't the first, but he did discover just the same. Neither he nor his European contemporaries knew of the existence of the Western continents before his historic expedition. To say that he didn't discover it is tantamount to saying that I never learned to ride a bike. I wasn't the first, but I did. Columbus wasn't the first, but he did; and, his discovery was the one which mattered, because his was the one which no one forgot about generations later. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.223.130.32 (talk) 02:51, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Bates, "America the Beautiful"[edit]

As the very reference cited, http://www.falmouthhistoricalsociety.org/05/klbates.htm, makes clear, it was not the White City that inspired Katherine Lee Bates to write America, the Beautiful. The trigger for the poem is usually said to be her visit to Pike's Peak somewhat later. The White City inspired only the reference to "alabaster cities."

(Incidentally, a pet peeve of mine is that the song is often sung as if the speaker were asserting that America's alabaster cities are, in fact, "undimmed by human tears," whereas it is perfectly clear from context that what she is praising is not the grim conditions of U. S. cities as they were in the 1890s--the cities of Riis' How the Other Half Lives--but the "patriot" dream of a better urban future. Even more conspicuous is the customary omission of the stanza in which the speaker prays "God mend thine every flaw." We apparently don't have much tolerance for patriotic songs that talk of American "flaws.") Dpbsmith (talk) 16:32, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Controversies that should be discussed[edit]

I wrote an essay on the World's Columbian Exposition for my history class and from skimming this article, I see a few big omissions when it comes to controversies surrounding the fair.

I know that the issue of racism has been mentioned, but also lacking is any reference to: -sexism -union labor (constructing the fairgrounds, Chicago Building Trades Council strike, closed shop policy) -the debate over Sunday opening (and the Sabbatarians) -and also the contentious selection process for the host city of the fair.

I will try to get on top of some of this, but help and comments would be greatly appreciated..

Mannymanny1 (talk) 04:25, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Missing: Japanese presence and influence[edit]

Having just seen the end of the first hour of a PBS program titled "Expo: Magic of the White City", directed by Mark Bussler and narrated by Gene Wilder, I came here to read more.

Unfortunately, there is no mention here of what seems was the shocking presence of the hitherto secretive Japanese. The program provides some insight into this appearance, which I believe must have added passion to the budding area of Landscape Architecture, and which certainly influenced subsequent garden design for years, not to mention lighting an interest in Japanese craftsmanship/furniture and decor, and even awakened the West to their political ambitions.

From family heirlooms, books, and photos, I can see how influential the Japanese presence was on my Western-European ancestors.

It would be my hope that someone with a historical background could expand the article to account for this.

-tw Tekwriter (talk) 16:06, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Four New Images[edit]

I just posted four images that I believe were taken of the World's Columbian Exposition by my great grandfather. The family may have more of these kind of images. I am not sure that all of them are of the Columbian Exposition and if they are not please let me know. One in particular was interesting to me in that it showed the inside of an exhibit hall that I hadn't seen similar images of. Please feel free to delete this gallery after a bit. Any extra information that people could provide about the images would be appreciated. Thanks.

City on Fire[edit]

Am I completely crazy or didn't a big part of the fair burn down after it was over? Did I make that up? I don't see mention of it anywhere in the article except in a vague picture caption. Maybe I read past it a couple times? 67.171.216.243 (talk) 04:36, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

  • Okay I see a mention of the fire now, but it's completely buried. It seems like that should be a big chunk of the article - what happened to this massive, beautiful, epoch-altering place? Where did it go? How did the fire start? When was it exactly? What was the aftermath? etc. 67.171.216.243 (talk) 04:40, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
In fact it appears that more than a few people lost thier lives during the fire. This stereo-view indicates the deaths of 15 firemen. There should be a section on the fire in the article.Tsarevna (talk) 02:21, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Cold Storage Building Burning image

Little Egypt[edit]

As a serious belly dancer who is dedicating her time and passion to the study of the dance and it's history in an academic setting I would appreciate it if a)people would stop referring to her as an exotic dancer. She was not and in doing so you are contributing to western orientalist ideas.Also There is no record of a dancer called Little Egypt at the fair. She is a myth. While their were middle eastern dancers at the fair a person calling herself Little Egypt was not among them. If you are actually interested in this topic may I recommend Donna Carlton's book "Looking For Little Egypt". I do plan on editing the section on her to be correct at some point in the near future. -shg. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cookiemonstr108 (talkcontribs) 05:19, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

Sufjan Stevens song[edit]

The World's Columbian Exposition was redirected to Illinois (album). I thought that was an bad redirect so I changed it to this page. As a courtesy to anyone that WAS looking for that song, I added the note at the top. Just thought I should leave something here so no one would misunderstand and think I was just a crazed fan. (I mean, I could take him or leave him myself...) --Leodmacleod (talk) 20:59, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

About spelling[edit]

"Niña" is the correct name for the spanish "nina" replica in the picture. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.97.80.155 (talk) 14:03, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Tesla and neon lights - in 1893?[edit]

The inert gas, neon, was not discovered until 1898. I'll delete the related claim in this article shortly, presuming that nobody comes forward to revise it appropriately. Easchiff (talk) 18:59, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Black musicians at the fair[edit]

Why is there a specific mention of black musicians but no mention of (presumably) white and other musicians that were at the fair? It seems kind of like someone has a fetish for this particular topic and inserted it into this article for unknown reasons. JettaMann (talk) 21:19, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Chicago Day[edit]

just a small edit... Chicago Day brought the most people to any *peaceful* outdoor gathering. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.110.195.45 (talk) 10:21, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Religion, always a touchy topic[edit]

I think that this is the place to thrash out this paragraph:

The 1893 Parliament of the World’s Religions, which ran from September 11 to September 27, marked the first formal gathering of representatives of Eastern and Western spiritual traditions from around the world. According to Eric J. Sharpe, Tomoko Masuzawa, and others, the event was considered radical at the time, since it allowed non-Christian faiths to speak on their own behalf; it was not taken seriously by European scholars until the 1960s.[37]

Carptrash (talk) 14:30, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

What's there to thrash out? I don't think anything in what I added is very controversial. It's just a summary of several different books on the subject. If you believe it is, you can check out Masuzawa's study; it's on Google Books too. Shii (tock) 14:36, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
I was happy with your edit, which is why I returned it after it was scratched for a second time. we are getting into too many reverts to (opinion) not have it on the talk page. Carptrash (talk) 14:43, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
I just noticed one of the editors in his summary wrote, "What you are trying to add to the article is just speculations by one or two scholars about the opinions of other scholars. Just speculation, nothing else." But the book itself, published by U Chicago which I consider a rather good source, doesn't claim itself to be mere speculation, but factual analysis. Maybe it's his opinion that it's an opinion about an opinion. Shii (tock) 15:18, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
It would have carried a lot more weight if it had been European scholars who wrote that they hadn't taken it seriously until the 1960s, rather than American/Japanese scholars writing that they believe that European scholars didn't take it seriously until the 1960s. Thomas.W (talk) 15:30, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Eric J. Sharpe taught in England and Australia and has had not one but several books dedicated to him by other religious scholars. Shii (tock) 23:36, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

(de-indent) My primary reason for reverting the edit was WP:YESPOV re:opinions should not be stated (as fact) in Wikipedia's voice. Credentials of the writer do not come in here, if its someones opinion it should be cited as such. If (several) general textbooks on religion make such an observation then we get past WP:YESPOV. I also noted this text/citation does not appear in the entry at Parliament of the World’s Religions. This really should be added there where it can be covered in detail and maybe not here at all. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 00:26, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Wait, is WP:V now a requirement that information appear in "textbooks" or in other Wikipedia articles? Where exactly does the word "textbook" appear in either of those pages? Shii (tock) 01:05, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia doesn't stop at WP:V, there are consensus guidelines such as WP:RS/WP:SCHOLARSHIP (and recommended common sense), re: When available, academic and peer-reviewed publications, scholarly monographs, and textbooks are usually the most reliable sources. So we are on a sliding scale here as to who said it, what they said, and how reliable. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 14:51, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Okay, so the "credentials of the writer" are involved then. I don't see any evidence that the authors are lying or only giving personal opinions. Shii (tock) 16:36, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Errrr...no.... WP:RS deals with "scholarly consensus", not any single scholars "credentials". Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 00:35, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
So it doesn't actually matter "who said it", then, only whether the information is peer-reviewed and reliable, as it is here. Shii (tock) 07:06, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Class Project Page[edit]

This page has been selected by one of my students as a class project. Please be polite and constructive when editing or giving advice and be aware that the students involved in this project are learning Wikipedia along with learning research and writing skills. If you have any questions, please contact me.--MrSilva (talk) 14:59, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

I look forward to seeing what is produced, but is there are issues I suspect most editors here (certainly me) will contact the editor involved, not his or her teacher. Einar aka Carptrash (talk) 19:23, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

American Artists[edit]

The article includes a section titled "American Artists" that is simply a list of names of artists. I verified that these artists were living at the time of the Exposition but there is no context explaining what works they exhibited or what their participation was. There is not even a lead-in sentence stating that these artists' works were there. There are no citations. If no one objects or expands the section, I am going to remove it since it adds no value to the article. -- DS1953 talk 01:51, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

In looking at the list I can't tell if it is supposed to be a list of artists who worked on the fair or who exhibited at the fair or both. Any suggestions? Carptrash (talk) 08:39, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

John Wellborn Root[edit]

From his Wikipedia article: "He worked on the plan for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Before it was constructed, Root died of pneumonia in 1891 at the age of 41." Larson's book on the fair and Holmes makes a lot of Root's contribution.Kdammers (talk) 06:21, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

I just cut this out[edit]

This is just a retelling of the book. If it belongs anywhere it is in an article about the book, or about Mudgett. I imagine that it is in both places. This also has a very cut-&-paste ring to it to me.

== America's First Serial Killer ==

This unique fair did not only have the first ever Ferris wheel, an epic battle between alternating current and direct current, and brand new architecture. This fair also had America’s first serial killer, H. H. Holmes, running amok. Holmes’s original name was Herman Webster Mudgett. In his book The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson describes Holmes as a perfect gentleman. “He was twenty-six years old. His height was five foot, eight inches; he weighed only 155 pounds. He had dark hair and striking blue eyes…” Larson also described Holmes as breaking the “prevailing rules of casual intimacy: He stood too close, stared too hard, touched too much and long. And women adored him for it.” It is obvious why the women he lured into his clutches were unsuspecting. Biography shows a different side of Holmes. They credit him as being the father of modern serial killers. In chapters 1-6 of Larson’s book, he outlines the beginning of the Columbian Exposition: the planning, voting on which city, Chicago’s excitement to be picked. Larson also describes H. H. Holmes and his nature: how he manipulates his aunt into loaning him money, the mysterious disappearance of his older business partner, odd happenings in his early life. Biography goes into more detail of Holmes’s early life. He was born into the American Civil War. The Civil War bombarded Americans with death. The Americans were forced to think about and perceive death in a way they hadn’t before. Historians of Biography suggest that this contributed to Holmes’s obsession with death. The Civil War also sparked a need for better medical care. This may also have influenced Holmes very early in life to be curious about the inner workings of the human body. Biography also illustrated H. H. Holmes’s experiments with dissecting animals which gave him skill with a scalpel, and a much more disturbing interest in medicine. After his high school years, Holmes enrolled in a medical college with emphasis on dissection. Biography historians believe that this professionalized study of dissection prepared Holmes and made him a more stealth and manic serial killer. In chapter 7, Larson begins to explain Holmes’s interest in building a hotel for the World Fair. However, Holmes has an interesting edition to his hotel: a kiln. Holmes’s excuse for the added kiln was that his glasswork business occupied the first floor of the building and he needed the kiln’s extreme temperatures to shape the glass. Other interesting additions to Holmes’s hotel included an airtight vault, gas pumps into bedrooms, and a chute that lead down to the basement (according to Biography). In chapter 12 and 14, Larson describes more disappearances of women around Holmes. However, the Chicago police do not suspect Holmes. Chapter 22 describes more of Holmes’s odd relationships with women and his means of getting money for his plethora of self-started businesses. Holmes received his money by selling skeletons to medical schools. There was a great need for cadavers and models of the human body, according to Biography. Chapter 27 of Larson’s book really gets into the thick of the fair. The hotel Holmes built has plenty of business due to the excessive amount of people flooding into Chicago for the fair. Larson says that Holmes often denied men rooms in his hotel, leaving rooms open for single women. Minnie, Holmes’s lover at the time, began to get jealous of all the women flooding into the hotel. Holmes suggested that they move to a flat a couple blocks away. That left Holmes alone running the hotel. He didn’t seem to mind, however, when women begin disappearing from his hotel without paying. Chapter 30 of Larson’s book goes over the many nameless victims of Holmes’s. He used the basement of the hotel to torture his victims before murdering them. Biography historians believed that the more Holmes murder, the more he began to lust after bloodshed. He became obsessed. In chapters 32-39, Larson outlines how Holmes killed his lover, Minnie, and her school teacher, Anna. Chapter 44 marks when all of Holmes’s ploys to get money catch up with him. He takes it one step too far when he sets fire to the top of his hotel and files an insurance claim. The insurance investigator finds that Holmes is in debt to many different people. When Holmes shows up to a meeting his lawyer called with the businessmen Holmes was indebted to, Holmes is thrown by the amount of men there. He attempts to charm his way out of his problems, as he had always done. In the end, Holmes fled, hoping to use his deceased lover’s estate fund to build another hotel in Texas. That ends the reign of terror Holmes held over the Columbian World Fair. Holmes tortured and killed countless young women during the World Fair of 1893. He used his charm and persuasive skills to get money to fund a hotel that would draw unsuspecting women into his clutches.

Carptrash (talk) 08:10, 2 December 2014 (UTC)