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INTERVIEW WITH MRS. RUTH MARIE WILSON 

Everything I see reminds me of what a wonderful time I had 

at the fair. Back then of course I was just a young girl and had 

never seen anything like it before. It was just like walking 

into a fairyland and at night particulartly when the lights went 

on it was really fabulous. You just stood there and you looked 

you'd seen the Great White Way millions of times but it was 

nothing like that. Everything was just so explicit, and of 

course the excitement of the crowd and all and the exhibits, some 

that I went to several times. I did come to the fair as many 

times as I could, not really as many as I would have liked, but 

each time I came there were a few that I gravitated to right away 

and I had to see a second time like the futurama for one. I had 

to stand in line for two, three or four hours to see the General 

Motors building. I didn't get to see too much else but that 

fascinated me, that little panorama of the future. 

And the Consolidated Edison exhibit I had to see all the 

time, the City of Light. That was really a beautiful exhibit. 

And the rest of the time I wantdered around until closing time 

here and there and everything was just so spectacular. 

And of course it was very dramatic the way the narrator put 

it too and he ended with something like, "Night falls, but not on 

the City of Light. 11 It was so really impressive to a young 

person. 

And of course all the foreign exhibits--there were very many 

of them that were very interesting. 



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I remember I was there on the day the British building was bombed 

but I didn't know anything about it until the next day when I 

read it in the newspaper. I had been there about half an hour 

before it was bombed, but that was something. I'm glad I didn't 

knmow at the time. I remember the exhibits from all the various 

states. The florida building was beautiful. They had the tower 

like the original one down in St. Augustine and it played music 

and it was beautiful. And of course the Pennsylvania building. 

There were so many of those buildings that were so beautiful. 

Why can't they leave them up forever so everybody can see them. 

Of course they weren't made to withstand the ravages of time, 

that's the whole trouble. 

And I didn't go to too many of the amusements but the ones I 

saw were very interesting. The Sun Valley skiing and ice-skating 

exhibit was very fascinating. I enjoyed them very much and the 

Amrican Jubilee was nice. That was a patriotic pageant sort of 

thing which was beautiful. 

I went to the fair aboutr five or six times the first year 

and maybe about the same number of times the second year. I 

would liked to have gone there everyday or at least every week 

but that wasn't exactly my cup of tea at the moment. I wasn't 

working too steadily and inexpensive as it was, it did cost some 

money and I didn't have it. I'd get there as early as I could in 

the morning. I never opened up the place, but I sure came close 

to it and closed it. I was practically the last one out of the 

gate. I just couldn't tear myself away from it. It was just 

too breathtakingly beautiful. 



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Did you have a routine more or less when you went there 

A. Well first I'd go to the Futurama, then I'd go to the Ford 

building to ride on the brand new cars. I never got to ride in a 
I 

Lincoln which was disappointing. I wanted always to ride in one 

of the luxury cars. They'd have a ford, Mercury, Lincoln, on a 

rotating basis with long lines waiting to get in and they'd put 

four or five poele in with the driver and you'd take off and when 

a car stopped in front of you, that's the one you got to ride in, 

so I never got to ride in a Lincoln, but anyway it was fun. 

I used to travel all the way from Brooklyn, but it was only 

a nickel subwawy ride. Today it would be a lot more than that. 

In 1939 I was working on what they called the NYA--the National 

Youth Administration which was a branch of the WPA and that was 

only part time work so you didn't get very much money. You got 

$22 a month for several hours a day. I happened to be working in 

a school office at the time and half the day I'd work there. 

The second year I had the souvenier ticket book that was 

given to me by the principal of the school I was working in as a 

gift, so I got to the fair oftener. They have samples of them in 

the lobby in one of their sample cases. 

This is a souvenier from Undewrwood Typewriters and a 

splinter from a cypres tree, outside the Florida pavillion. 

Q. Were you able to eat at the fair with giveaways? 

A. Yes. They had a lot of free samples. I didn't bring a lunch 

or anythiung--just me. I didn't want to carry too much. I had 

a camera I carried and that was enough. 



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I got a picture of the man-made lightning from the General 

Electric building and also at the Kodak building they had a 

little garden and you could sit down and take pictures. And also 

inside they had a little thing hanging from a hook or something 

and at a certain signal they would pitch a baseball at it and it 

would be hitting it for 100,000th of a second and you could take 

a picture of it. They said anybody can take a picture with any 

camera within 100,000th of a second. I said I don't believe this 

but I'll try it. And they said when we say now, open your 

cameras, and shoot and you'll get the picture, and by golly, I 

got it. I don't have that with me. 

And this is a Buick from the building. 

I got to do as much as I could, but there was so much there 

and I couldn't get to everything although I certainly wanted to. 

Mostly I went alone but once or twice I went with my sister. I 

traveled fastest when I travbeled alone. 

There were some things in the film that man put together 

that I had not seen in person. That railroad exhibit with the 

railroad on parade pageant, I never got to see that because there 

was always a line and I'd already been standing in line all day 

and I was busy looking at the trains, so I never did get to see 

that pageant, and I saw some of it in the film and I was so 

dissaponted that I had not gotten to see that. 


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