World's Congress of Representative Women

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The World's Congress of Representative Women was a week-long convention for the voicing of women's concerns, held within the World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago World's Fair) in May 1893. At 81 meetings, organized by women from each of the United States, 150,000 people came to the World's Congress Auxiliary Building and listened to speeches given by almost 500 women from 27 countries.[1]

Bertha Honore Palmer

The World's Congress of Representative Women was arranged, sponsored and promoted by the women's branch of the World's Congress Auxiliary, under the guidance of President Bertha Honoré Palmer, the wife of prominent Chicagoan Potter Palmer. The men of the Auxiliary formed seventeen departments and held more than 100 congresses with a variety of political, social and technical agendas;[2] the women's branch held just one congress. Of all the congresses at the World's Columbian Exposition, the World's Congress of Representative Women was the most highly attended.[3]

Woman's Building[edit]

Sophia Hayden

Bertha Honoré Palmer served as the president of the 117-woman strong Board of Lady Managers, the organization which dealt with women's business at the World's Columbian Exposition.[1] The Board built the Woman's Building, designed by 21-year-old Sophia Hayden, as the showplace for women's art. The building itself was decorated by women artists, featuring architectural ornament sculpted by Enid Yandell and Alice Rideout, both 19, and a large painting by Mary Cassatt, Modern Woman, one of two extensive murals in the Woman's Building,[1] the other one, Primitive Woman being by Mary MacMonnies.[4] Interior art was curated by Candace Wheeler and Sara Hallowell.[1] The Board also built a Children's Building, a child-care center required to support fair-goers and convention-goers who brought children. As well, the Board built a women's dormitory near the fairgrounds, to house women traveling alone or with small children.[1]

Notable people[edit]

Legacy[edit]

Women at the World's Congress achieved the goals they sought. They had come from each state in the Union to staff and run offices, gather and spend resources, pay their workers, sign contracts; all without going into debt as had many of the men's subcommittees.[3]

After the Exposition, the World's Congress Auxiliary Building where the various congresses had convened, was given to the Art Institute of Chicago.[13] The Woman's Building was torn down, and the mural by Mary Cassatt was misplaced and lost. Bertha Palmer was appointed United States Commissioner at the Paris Exposition of 1900 by President William McKinley, the only woman so distinguished by any government.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e Smith 2000, p. 354.
  2. ^ ChestOfBooks.com. Manual of Useful Information, by J. C. Thomas. World's Congress Auxiliary. Retrieved on May 13, 2009. "A series of world's congresses in all departments of thought are a feature during the Exposition season. This work is divided into seventeen great [men's] departments, as follows: Agriculture, Art, Commerce and Finance, Education, Engineering, Government, Literature, Labor, Medicine, Moral and Social Reform, Music, Public Press, Religion, Science and Philosophy, Temperance, Sunday Rest, and a General Department, embracing congresses not otherwise assigned. These general departments have been divided into more than one hundred divisions, in each of which a congress is to be held. [...] Representative men from all parts of the world take part in these gatherings."
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Smith 2000, p. 356.
  4. ^ Weinmann, Jeanne Madeline, ‘’The Fair Women’’’, Academy Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 1981 pp. 316-18
  5. ^ Hairston, Eric Ashley (2013). The Ebony Column. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-57233-984-2. 
  6. ^ Sewall, ed., May Wright (1894). The World's Congress of Representative Women. Chicago: Rand McNally. pp. 711–715. 
  7. ^ Hairston, Eric Ashley (2013). The Ebony Column. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-57233-984-2. 
  8. ^ Hanna K. Korany, "The Position of Women in Syria" in May Wright Sewall, ed., The World's Congress of Representative Women (Rand McNally 1894): 773-777.
  9. ^ The Eastern Star (1893). The Eastern Star. The Eastern Star. p. 184. Retrieved 3 October 2017. 
  10. ^ History of Lady Washington Chapter, No. 28, O.E.S. Chicago. Lady Washington Historical Auxiliary. 1914. p. 67. Retrieved 3 October 2017. 
  11. ^ Hairston, Eric Ashley (2013). The Ebony Column. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-57233-984-2. 
  12. ^ Hairston, Eric Ashley (2013). The Ebony Column. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-57233-984-2. 
  13. ^ Waymarking. World's Congress Auxiliary Building – Art Institute of Chicago. Retrieved on May 13, 2009.
  14. ^ Anthony 1902, p. 608.
Bibliography

External links[edit]