Academic journal article Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

Coming of Age in Chicago: The 1893 World's Fair and the Coalescence of American Anthropology

Academic journal article Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

Coming of Age in Chicago: The 1893 World's Fair and the Coalescence of American Anthropology

Article excerpt

Coming of Age in Chicago: The 1893 World's Fair and the Coalescence of American Anthropology. Ed. by Curtis M. Hinsley and David R. Wilcox. (Lincoln, NE: Bison Books, 2016. Pp. xliii, 574, index, bibliography, tables, illustrations. Cloth, $85.00.)

The most celebrated of the international expositions that commercial elites in North Atlantic nations sponsored between 1850 and 1920, the Chicago Worlds Fair of 1893 has long been viewed as a landmark event in U.S. cultural history. The subject of countless books, articles, and exhibits, the 1893 Columbian Exposition has been studied intensively by historians, architects, landscape architects, planners, archaeologists, anthropologists, and other scholars fascinated with the event's far-reaching impact on a variety of American institutions. The editors of Coming of Age in Chicago, Curtis M. Hinsley and David R. Wilcox, have combined seven lengthy original essays, a dozen primary documents, speeches, photographs, broadsides, cartoons, and other images to analyze the event as a watershed moment in the transformation of American anthropology. Starting with revised and expanded papers presented at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in 1999 and adding key complementary texts, the editors have assembled an important volume that both adds another dimension to the Columbian Exposition's significance and serves as the seminal account of a social science discipline's development.

The textual material in Coming of Age in Chicago provides a succinct description of the state of anthropology during the nineteenth century, sketches a fascinating story of what transpired in the Windy City in 1893, and explains how the interactions between influential practitioners and eager novices led to sweeping changes in later years after the fair's closing. As Hinsley, Wilcox, and their contributors make clear, a disparate group of researchers, museum curators, religiously motivated antiquarians, and sporadic backyard diggers-a mix of serious scholars, organizers, dilettantes, dreamers, and schemers-gathered in Chicago to view exhibits, exchange ideas, network, and otherwise pursue common interests. To be sure, all of anthropology's luminaries attended. Readers will find detailed accounts of the roles played by John Wesley Powell, Frederic Ward Putnam, Daniel Garrison Brinton, Frank Hamilton Cushing, and Franz Boas, among others. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.