Saturday, October 10, 2020

1939 New York World's Fair

I recently scanned more black and white photo prints from the 1939 New York World's Fair; I think they're fun, though your mileage may vary. 

All of these feature a group of mostly women (though there are a few men) in elaborate, beautifully embroidered costumes that are native to... where? I really don't know. The Ukraine? Poland?

In doing a little research, I read an article that said... On Aug. 19, during Polish Falcons Day at the World’s Fair, more than 20,000 Americans of Polish descent declared their solidarity with Poland during ceremonies in front of the Polish Pavilion. I wonder if these photos could be from that very day?

I think the Fair did a lot of days honoring people from different countries... I suppose that this could also have been "Czecho-Slovak Day" from 1940. Here's a pin from my collection.

I wish some of the buildings in the background rang a bell, but no such luck. The lady to our left looks delighted. I like her hat, and wonder if she was a tour guide of some kind?

It's a shame we can't see what this lady's costume looked like in color, I'm sure it was dazzling. And probably all embroidered by hand. 

It appears that this group portrait was taken in front of the United States (Federal) Building; they honored their motherland while embracing their new home.

Here's a photo of the Federal Building, scrounged from the Internet.

This last one is neat, we are looking north along the "Constitutional Mall" toward the Trylon and Perisphere, I believe all these people in seats are in the "Court of Peace" (the Federal Building would be directly behind us). Hundreds of... well, Polish-Americans, or Czech-Americans, or Ukrania-Americans... I wish I knew!

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the 1939 New York World's Fair.


TokyoMagic! said...

Major, these photos are fascinating. A couple of them look like they could be right out of LIFE magazine. I would love to know more about these people and their costumes. Maybe someone will chime-in later today, with more info.

Melissa said...

It’s not easy to polish a falcon.

DrGoat said...

I think you're right, those were probably very colorful outfits. I do love those very cool boots. Good for any occasion and they keep your legs safe from brambles and other pointy things.
Melissa, I think it would take at least three people and they'd all come away a little worse for wear.
Major thanks for this interesting post. Also wanted to thank you for pointing us toward those Diane Arbus Disneyland shots of the castle and Skull Rock. I kept looking until I found the un-cropped wide view version of the castle. I makes a great desktop image.
Have a good weekend fellow thrill seekers. I think it's going to be a bumpy ride.

zach said...

Major- I noticed you wrote THE Ukraine and not Ukraine which is the norm now. But when many of us on this blog grew up it was THE Ukraine. (My dad's family immigrated from the Ukraine in the 1880's). It's the truth.

Anyway, It's fun to veer off into eastern Europe to enjoy the traditional clothing. Remember when we had World Fairs?



Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, yes, I’d love to know more about these people and the event. One of the drawbacks of collecting vintage pictures is that there is often no context.

Melissa, huh? You mean A Maltese falcon?

DrGoat, my mom and her cousins are into ethnic textiles, and I can just imagine the bright colors on those embroidered vests and dresses. Bright pinks, yellows, blues… every hue in the rainbow. I’m glad you found the Diane Arbus photos, somebody told me about the castle photo that she took and I was kind of amazed. Disneyland does not seem to be the kind of thing she ordinarily was drawn to!

Major Pepperidge said...

zach, well I sure didn’t know that… I’m just flyin’ by the seat of my pants here! I’m about to run out the door for the day, but I wonder what the last U.S. World’s Fair was? Knoxville? New Orleans? Both of those were nowhere near the size and spectacle of the 1964/65 Fair, our last really big one.

K. Martinez said...

These photos are great. Especially for the people in them. Thanks, Major.

Kathy! said...

Interesting pictures, as Major said, this is a rare occasion when color would be preferable to b&w. The lady to our right in the first few photos really wants her ribbon to stick out. I like the other woman’s Australian style hat too — or is it just bending in the wind?

SunnieDaze21 said...

A Google search yielded an article from The Polish Review in 2017 that seems to reference this event. I don't have access to the article in JSTOR, but Google Images pulled up this picture from the article. Maybe if someone has access to this in JSTOR they could confirm/deny if these might be from Polish Falcons Day?

At any rate, the image from the article has a similar feel to those in today's post. Everyone seems full of delight, and it puts a smile on my face, much like the lady in the hat in #3.