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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Historical Note

Bibliographic Note

Scope and Content

Arrangement

Administrative Information

Access Points

Inventory

Guide to Collection on the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair
1930-2012
(Bulk 1963-1965)

Finding Aid prepared by: Annie Tummino with assistance from Hoang Tran, Wendy Jimenez, and Richard Jung Lee. Description is in English.

Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10029
Telephone: 212-534-1672
Fax: 212-423-0758
research@mcny.org
www.mcny.org
Queens Museum
New York City Building | Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Queens, NY 11368
Jamaica, NY 11432
Telephone: (718) 592-9700
info@queensmuseum.org
http://www.queensmuseum.org/


Descriptive Summary

Creator Museum of the City of New York (MCNY); Queens Museum (QM)
Title Collection on the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair,
Dates: 1930-2012 (bulk dates 1963-1965)
Abstract: This finding aid intellectually unifies collections on the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair held physically at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) and the Queens Museum (QM) in order facilitate more efficient researcher access to these two related collections. The collection at the QM is 10 times larger than the collection at MCNY. Parallels and divergences in the holdings are noted throughout the finding aid. Based on researcher interest, appointments to examine materials must be made with staff at the appropriate institution(s). The collections include books, pamphlets, printed ephemera, architectural drawings and blueprints, original artworks, film and audio recordings, photographic prints and negatives, architectural models, textiles, and three dimensional commemorative objects. The 1964-1965 Fair was likely the largest and most expensive in the history of World’s Fairs. The varied formats and subjects of the materials provide a uniquely holistic perspective on events that shaped the physical and cultural landscape of the city, even as their impact was felt around the globe.
Extent: 183 boxes
Location: There are 165 boxes at QM and 18 boxes at MCNY. Additionally, there are hundreds more objects stored in the QM visible storage gallery.

Historical Note

Like the 1939-1940 Fair 25 years earlier, the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair was held in Flushing Meadows in the Borough of Queens. The Fair was envisioned in 1958 by a group of civic-minded citizens led by Charles Preusse, a City administrator, and Thomas F. Deegan, a public relations expert, and strongly supported by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and President Dwight Eisenhower. By 1959, a non-profit corporation was formed with 300 members who provided the initial capital needed to lease the 600 acres from New York City and begin preparations for the Fair. With help from the U.S. Department of State, nearly 80 nations were secured to participate. However, the Bureau of International Expositions did not officially sanction the Fair and several large European nations did not participate.

In May of 1960 Robert Moses was appointed President of the Fair Corporation. As New York City Parks Commissioner during the 1939-1940 Fair, Moses was pivotal in the selection of Flushing Meadows as the Fair site, and his goal was to create a permanent world-class park in the area. He also used the impending 1964 Fair as a means to justify expanding and improving highways and bridges in the area.

The Fair ran for two seasons, from April 22 to October 18, 1964, and from April 21 to October 17, 1965. The Fair’s exhibits were grouped in five major exhibition areas: International, Federal and State, Industrial, Transportation, and Amusement. The official themes were "Man’s Achievements on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe," and "Peace Through Understanding," symbolized by a 250 ton, 12-story high stainless steel Unisphere. Presented as a gift from the U.S. Steel Corporation, the Unisphere depicts earth as it would appear from 6,000 miles in space, encircled by rings representing the orbits of satellites. The Fair was a product of the space age with exhibits like General Motors’ Futurama taking passengers on a trip to the moon.

Walt Disney was a major influence on the Fair; his production company created four attractions featuring his newly perfected Audio-Animatronics system, which used electromechanical actuators and computers to control the movement of lifelike robots. Disney went on to design the Epcot Center in Florida as a type of permanent World’s Fair.

The Fair’s sunny vision of democracy and international cooperation took place against a backdrop of increasing turbulence, epitomized by the civil rights movement at home and the escalation of the Vietnam War abroad. The Fair’s opening day ceremonies were disrupted by hundreds of protesters led by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), who sought to draw attention to racial inequality faced by African-Americans.

With over one billion dollars invested, the 1964-1965 Fair was likely the largest and most expensive in the history of World’s Fairs. Approximately 51 million people attended, making it the most visited Fair in U.S. history. Yet, the Fair was considered a financial failure and often criticized for its conservative tone and over-the-top commercialism. However, there is no doubt that the Fair left an indelible impression on the millions of visitors who experienced its whimsical and futuristic world.

After the Fair closed in October 1965, the Fair Corporation fulfilled its obligation to restore Flushing Meadows to a municipal park, using funds from the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. Although most of the buildings and exhibits were torn down, structures from the Fair can still be seen in the park today, including the Unisphere, Hall of Science building, rockets from the Space Park, the Port Authority Heliport, and the New York State Pavilion. The New York City Building, originally constructed for the 1939-1940 Fair and utilized once again for the 1964-1965 Fair, is now home to the Queens Museum. Various fountains and sculptures from the Fair also adorn the park.

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Bibliographic Note

The End of the Innocence: The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair by Lawrence R. Samuel. Syracuse, N.Y. : Syracuse University Press, 2007.
The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair by Bill Cotter and Bill Young. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2004.
New York Public Library, Finding Aid for the New York World’s Fair 1964-1965 Corporation.
"New York World’s Fair, 1964/65," accessed September 30. 2013.

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Scope and Content

This finding aid intellectually unifies collections on the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair held physically at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) and the Queens Museum (QM). The collection at the QM is about 10 times larger than the collection at MCNY. The collections are similar in terms of intellectual subjects and physical object types represented; however, divergences in the holdings are noted throughout. Based on researcher interest, appointments to examine materials must be made with staff at the appropriate institution(s). Local versions of the finding aid are also available for researchers who have narrowed their search to one of the two institutions. See "Access and Use" for more information.

Both institutions’ collections contain a small quantity of Fair Corporation records documenting the Fair’s internal workings and execution. Additionally, MCNY has a collection of papers documenting Donald Oenslager’s work as a design consultant for lighting and fountains. The QM has technical drawings and architectural models documenting the design of Fair pavilions and structures.

The collections include a large quantity of printed ephemera and publications. Pamphlets, posters, brochures, programs, handbills, tickets, guides, maps and postcards document the Fair’s activities and attractions. Exhibitor advertisements and promotional material provides evidence of the marketing of consumer goods, tourism, and culture. Reports, periodicals, and newspapers document the transformation of Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the public’s reaction to the Fair.

Both Museums’ collections include a small selection of unique exhibit related objects. For example, MCNY has costume sketches for theatrical productions and QM has a table that won second prize in a Fair sponsored design competition.

The QM has a broad range of materials documenting the construction and maintenance of the Panorama of the City of New York in the New York City Building; and the design and installation of Theodore Roszak’s Forms in Transit sculpture next to the Hall of Science.

Both collections include a large quantity of photographs documenting Fair construction, pavilions, exhibits, sculptures, special events, scenery, and visitors. MCNY photographs are arranged in 6 sub-series by creator. Highlights include several collections of color slides by amateur photographers which capture the look and feel of the Fair. QM photographs are arranged in eight sub-series by either subject or creator. Highlights include over 1000 negatives, transparencies, and glass lantern slides by professional photographers Jerry Kean and Van Williams; and the entire Photography in the Fine Arts exhibit from the Eastman Kodak Pavilion.

Commemorative objects include ephemera such as buttons and paper cups; household goods such as ceramic plates and glass tumblers; textiles such as aprons, flags, and tee-shirts; and printed materials such as booklets and comics. The QM collection contains hundreds of such items, many on display in their Visible Storage Gallery; while the MCNY collection contains approximately 25.

The QM collection includes Fair-related artworks by five artists and thirteen objects that were either byproducts of Fair operations or architectural elements of Fair structures.

The QM collection contains audiovisual materials such as oral histories conducted with Fair staff; amateur films created by Fair visitors; sounds recordings that played at Fair attractions; and interviews with celebrities for the "World’s Fair Holiday" radio show.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the following series:

Series I: Administrative
Series II: Promotional
Series III: Visiting the Fair
Series IV: Areas and Exhibits
Series IV-A: Collection on the Panorama of the City of New York
Series IV-B: Collection on Theodore Roszak’s Forms in Transit sculpture
Series V: Press and Publications
Series VI-A: MCNY Photographs
Series VI-B: QM Photographs
Series VII: Commemorative Objects
Series VIII: Architectural Elements and Fair Artifacts
Series IX: Artwork
Series X: Audiovisual materials

The majority of the materials at both MCNY and QM have been arranged by subject. However, provenance was retained for the majority of the photographic collections (arranged in sub-series by creator) and for the Donald Oenslager Papers at MCNY (grouped as their own sub-series in Series I: Administrative). The QM Collections on the Panorama of the City of New York and Theodore Roszak’s Forms in Transit sculpture were arranged as their own series, due to the unique and comprehensive documentation of these exhibits. Series or sub-series which exist at only one museum will note which location in parenthesis following the title in the Series or Sub-Series description.

Series or sub-series which exist at only one museum will note which location in parenthesis following the title in the Series or Sub-Series description.

Series and Sub-Series Descriptions

Series I: Administrative, 1959-1976, bulk 1961-1964

This series documents the planning and execution of the 1964-1964 New York World’s Fair grouped in the following sub-series:

• Sub-Series A: New York
• World’s Fair Corporation, 1959-1976
• Sub-Series B: Donald Oenslager papers, 1960-1963 (bulk 1961) (MCNY)
• Sub-Series C: Models (circa 1963) (QM)
• Sub-Series D: Technical Drawings (1962-1965) (QM)
• Sub-Series E: Design Renderings (circa 1963-1964) (QM)

Sub-Series A: New York World’s Fair Corporation (1960-1976) is comprised of manuals, exhibition descriptions, event calendars, health codes, memoranda, consultation reports, fact sheets, regulations, stationary and related materials.

Sub-Series B: Donald Oenslager papers documents Oenslager’s work as Design Consultant for Lighting and Fountains, with a particular focus on his proposal for a New York City Tricentennial Celebration at the Fair.

Sub-Series C: Models (circa 1963) is comprised of scaled representations of Fair structures, pavilions and grounds. There is a complete "travelling" model of the Fair, as well as individual pavilions and parts.

Sub-Series D: Technical Drawings (1962-1965) consists of copies of technical drawings by architectural firms and designers for various pavilions, including the Singer Bowl, Tower of Light, Puerto Rico, and General Motors. There’s also a General Plan and plans for the Re-Opening Day Parade and Ceremonies.

Sub-Series E: Design Renderings (circa 1963-1964) consists of architectural illustrations of the New York City Building and the General Electric Pavilion.

Acquisition Note

• The Donald Oenslager papers were donated to MCNY by Mrs. Donald Oenslager in 1976. Activity 21417, X2013.162.
• The majority of the models were donated to the QM by David Oats, 1990.187.1-19WF64.

Series II: Promotional, 1960-1980, bulk 1964-1965

This series consists of materials aimed at promoting the Fair to citizens, the media, corporations, shareholders, and government officials and agencies. Items include publicly released reports, news releases, press packets, posters, official bulletins, progress reports, pamphlets, and informational fact sheets. Some publications relate to post-Fair park planning.

For internal publications see Series I: Administrative. For media coverage of the Fair, see Series V: Press and Publications.

Series III: Visiting the Fair, 1963-1966

This series provides evidence of the visitor experience navigating the Fair and the larger New York Metropolitan area. Materials include ticket stubs, maps, pamphlets, guides, and postcards. Maps include general maps of the Fair, souvenir maps provided by exhibitors, and maps with routes to the Fair by bus, train, and automobile. The Fair Corporation’s Official Guide provides detailed information regarding the overall scheme of the Fair and its exhibits. The QM Collection includes scrapbooks filled with clippings and ephemera gathered by Fair visitors.

This series is arranged in the following sub-series:

Sub-Series A: Admissions
Sub-Series B: Maps
Sub-Series C: Guides Sub-Series D: Postcards
Sub-Series E: Scrapbooks (QM)

For maps or guides relating to specific areas or attractions see Series IV: Areas and Exhibits.

Language of Materials Note

Majority of materials in English; a few pamphlets in the QM Collection are in French, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese.

Series IV: Areas and Exhibits, 1962-1966

This series is comprised of brochures, pamphlets, souvenirs, maps, news releases, guides, and other ephemera relating to specific buildings, pavilions, exhibits, and attractions. The materials are arranged in sub-series according to the organization of the Fair’s exhibit areas.

Three dimensional exhibit-related objects of special significance include the following:

• Costume sketches by Freddy Wittop for “To Broadway with Love” and by Alvin Colt for “Wonder World” (MCNY).
• A table designed by Michael Wai-Kwok Young that won second prize in the Fair’s Furniture Design Unlimited Competition (QM).
• A neurological mannequin created by Nicholas Ferrari that was exhibited in the Belgian Village (QM).
• “Bust of Abraham Lincoln” by Joanna C. Kendall, manufactured by Alva Museum Replicas Incorporated (QM).
• Bench and cabinet from the Spanish Pavilion (QM).

This series has been arranged in the following sub-series:

Sub-Series A: Industrial area
Sub-Series B: International area
Sub-Series C: Federal and State area
Sub-Series D: Transportation area
Sub-Series E: Lake Amusement area
Sub-Series F: Flushing Bay area (QM)

Series IV-A: Collection on the Panorama of the City of New York, 1930-1964 (bulk 1961-1994) (QM)

Conceived as a celebration of the City’s municipal infrastructure by World’s Fair President Robert Moses for the 1964 Fair, the Panorama was built by a team of more than 100 people working for the architectural model makers Raymond Lester & Associates over the course of three years. The initial contract demanded less than one percent margin of error between reality and the “world’s largest scale model.” Comprising an area of 9,335 square feet and built to a scale of 1:1200 where one inch equals 100 feet, the Panorama is a metropolis in miniature.

Installed in the New York City Building, now home of the Queens Museum, the Panorama was one of the most successful attractions at the 1964/1965 Fair. Millions enjoyed what was billed as an indoor “helicopter tour” of New York: molded plastic tracked cars that encircled the model with a narration read by broadcast legend Lowell Thomas. The ride cost only 10 cents per person while the design and construction of the entire Panorama cost $672,662.69, the equivalent of approximately $5 million today.

Updates to the Panorama were accurately recreated by Lester’s team in 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1974. Though the Queens Museum opened in 1972, only sporadic changes were made in the intervening years. During the 1980s boom in construction, models of the AT&T (Sony), Citicorp and other buildings were donated and placed on the model, though most public works and City projects were not included.

In 1992, Lester & Associates again was enlisted, this time to bring the entire model up to date by November 1994. At this time, the helicopters cars, having exceeded their expected lifetime, were removed and replaced with a series of glass balconies and gently sloping ramps.

Bibliographic Note

“Panorama of the City of New York” by the Queens Museum, accessed January 9, 2014:

Scope and Content

This series documents the planning and construction of the Panorama of the City of New York for the 1964/1965 Fair; updates to the Panorama from the 1970s through 1990s; and exhibitions by the Queens Museum (formerly Queens Museum of Art) including New New York (June 6-August 15, 1987) and Making of the Panorama of the City of New York: An Exhibition Documenting the History of the World’s Largest Scale Model (circa 1988-1990). The focus on the Panorama in the late 1980s was part of the Museum’s effort to secure public support and enthusiasm for a complete Panorama update that commenced in 1992.

Object types include administrative records, engineering reports, photographs, land books, sound recordings, and pieces of the Panorama. The bulk of the collection spans the period 1961 to 1994; the Sanborn land books were originally created in the early 1930s.

The Museum also has a large kiosk/sign (66 inches high) made of metal, wood and paper inviting visitors to “Ride the Indoor Helicopters, See the World’s Largest Model of New York City.”

Arrangement Note

This series has been arranged by object type in the following sub-series. See sub-series descriptions for more detail:

Sub-Series A: Printed Materials
Sub-Series B: Photographs
Sub-Series C: Lester & Associates’ Sanborn Land Books
Sub-Series D: Planning Parts and Removed Pieces
Sub-Series E: Audiovisual
materials

Acquisition Note

A majority of the materials were donated to the QM by Lester Associates Inc, the firm that originally designed, built, and installed the Panorama for the 1964 Fair and was subsequently commissioned for multiple updates, including a major overhaul in 1992. Other materials were generated or collected by QM staff from the 1970s through the early 1990s for administrative purposes or for use in exhibitions and publicity materials.

Sub-Series A: Printed Materials, 1961-1994, undated

This sub-series consists of administrative records and design plans grouped in two sub-series:

SubSub-Series 1: Lester Associates, 1961-1980
SubSub-Series 2: Institutional records, 1977-1994

SubSub-Series 1: Lester Associates consists of design reports, including the original “Procedure for Engineering and Construction of the Model”; drafts of the script that accompanied the helicopter ride at the Fair; instructions for operation of the helicopter ride; and plans for the “Coordinated Museum Exhibit” installed on the balcony of the New York City Building next to the Panorama. Correspondence from 1974-1975 documents proposed updates to the Roosevelt Island portion of the Panorama.

SubSub-Series 2: Institutional records primarily document various efforts by the Queens Museum to update the Panorama from the 1970s through the early 1990s. Also included are records pertaining to fundraising, grants, educational programs, and publicity efforts. Of special note are two sets of 11 paint chips (part of a Morrison Knudsen Contract Submission) from the 1992 Panorama restoration. Each color chip is labeled with its use on the Panorama: land, airport runways, parks, water, main roads, sidewalks, railroad beds, railroad yards, inland sand, airport grass, and railroad tracks/shoreline sands. A third set of the chips resides with the Museum’s facilities department, which still references them for updates.

Sub-Series B: Photographs, 1960s-1990s

This sub-series consists of prints, negatives, transparencies, slides and contact sheets documenting the history of the Panorama from its inception through the early 1990s. Subjects include the original construction of the Panorama from 1962-1964, additions of specific buildings from the 1970s through the 1990s, Museum exhibitions in the late 1980s, and renovations to the space by Rafael Viñoly Architects in 1992. There are also a variety of views of the Panorama from different angles and pictures of people on the Panorama such as architects and legislators.

Provenance has been retained for the Lester Associates collection; negatives by Queens Museum Curatorial Assistant Phyllis Bilick; and prints documenting Leonard Mahon’s work as a welder. The remaining photographs were collected and mixed together by Museum staff over the years and are arranged by subject. See subsub-series descriptions for more detail.

SubSub-Series 1: Raymond Lester & Associates photographs, 1962-1964, 1990-1992
SubSub-Series 2: Phyllis Bilick negatives, 1980s-1990s
SubSub-Series 3: Subject arranged photographs, 1960s-1990s
SubSub-Series 4: Leonard Mahon photographs and IDs, 1963-1965

SubSub-Series 1: Raymond Lester & Associates photographs consists of approximately 300 prints and 50 negatives. A unique series of photographs documents the Panorama’s construction by a team of more than 100 people working from 1962-1964 under the direction of Lester Associates. Personnel are shown working with Formica panels and Urethane foam mounted on wood, and putting the finishing touches on buildings that were constructed of wood, plastic and hand painted facades. Also included are close to 200 black-and-white aerial views of New York City from 1990-1992 that were referenced for the 1992-1994 renovation.

SubSub-Series 2: Phyllis Bilick negatives documents exhibition openings; additions of landmark buildings; community members, politicians and museum staff posing on or near the Panorama; renovations to the space in 1992; wide scale views of the Panorama; and shots of individual buildings and bridges. Bilick was an assistant curator at the Queens Museum of Art in the 1980s and 1990s who doubled as a staff photographer. Her negatives were stored in a file cabinet with labels and dates, providing context for the images.

SubSub-Series 3: Subject arranged photographs consists of prints, negatives, transparencies, slides, and contact sheets that were created or collected by Museum staff from the 1970s through the 1990s. Major subject areas include views of the Panorama, people on the Panorama, updates to the Panorama, and exhibitions about the Panorama. Some items have stamps or enclosures identifying the creators, while many are unattributed. Joseph Levack’s donation of 17 ektachrome transparencies are marked with accession numbers (part of gift 1989.197). Some of the prints were developed by Phyllis Bilick from her negatives.

SubSub-Series 4 consists of photographs and ID cards documenting Leonard Mahon’s work as a welder building and installing the tracked helicopter car ride that circled the Panorama at the Fair.

Sub-Series C. Lester and Associates’ Sanborn Land Books, 1930s-1950s

This sub-series consists of approximately 50 Sanborn fire insurance land books used by Lester & Associates for the planning and construction of the Panorama for the 1964 Fair. Each book is 27 ½ inches tall x 20 ½ inches wide x 2 ½ inches thick. As described by the Library of Congress, which holds a large Sanborn Maps Collection, “the maps were designed to assist fire insurance agents in determining the degree of hazard associated with a particular property and therefore show the size, shape, and construction of dwellings, commercial buildings, and factories as well as fire walls, locations of windows and doors, sprinkler systems, and types of roofs. The maps also indicate widths and names of streets, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers.” The maps used by Lester & Associates were originally created in the early 1930s with copyrights renewed in the late 1950s.

Bibliographic Note

“Introduction to the Sanborn Map Collection” by Walter W. Ristow, accessed June 19, 2014:

Sub-Series D: Planning Parts and Removed Pieces, 1963, 2012

This sub-series consists of planning pieces, layouts, removed pieces, and extra parts.

Planning parts were created by Lester Associates during the design phase for the Panorama in the early 1960s. Included are yellow and lavender pieces of expanded urethane foam used as skyscrapers, and small plastic buildings in various sizes and colors, some attached to form rows. There are also 18 square 7 ¾ x 7 ¾ layouts used to evaluate scale, proportions and materials. Each layout contains small plastic and/or foam buildings and a Lester Associates imprint. Some of the buildings have fallen off; dried adhesive residue is visible where the buildings had been attached. Additionally, there is a layout of bath house structures, most likely used for the Coney Island area, and a collection of bridge renderings made with black tape on vellum.

This sub-series also contains pieces removed from the Panorama during various updates. Pieces removed during the 1992 renovation include a variety of buildings and structures made of plastic, wood and metal; piers; and even a group of miniature water towers. Other buildings, structures and pieces were removed to make room for new buildings, such as the Citigroup Building at One Court Square in Long Island City, Queens in July 1990.

Finally, there are extra, never used parts from the original construction phase circa 1963, and a box of extra parts from the 2012 Brooklyn Bridge Park update, including tiny boats.

Most of the Panorama pieces removed during the 1992 renovations were used to create an artwork titled “New York Paleotectonic”; see Series IX: Artwork for more information.

Sub-Series E: Audiovisual materials, 1963-1993, no date

This sub-series consists of sound recordings and moving images from or about the Panorama Exhibition. Sounds recordings include cassette tapes of Lowell Thomas’s “City of Opportunity” narration which played during the “Helicopter Ride” that circled the Panorama during the Fair, and a master open reel tape of Thomas’s narration of “8,000,000 Masters,” the presentation that played once passengers disembarked from the ride and looked down at the Panorama from the balcony. (Scripts for these recordings are available in Sub-Series A: Printed Materials.) Additionally, there is a cassette tape of a Panorama Audio Tour produced with the assistance of Brooklyn Union and Chase Manhattan Bank (undated); and a March 13th, 1987 interview with Curator Marc Miller on WOR Classic Radio Weekend. Moving Images include several VHS tapes with vaguely worded labels. It appears that at least one of the VHS tapes includes the Lowell Thomas audio narration.

Series IV-B: Collection on Theodore Roszak’s Forms in Transit sculpture, 1930-1970s, bulk 1963-1964 (QM)

This series documents the design, construction and installation of the Forms in Transit sculpture for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Sub-Series A: Photographs consists of contact sheets, negatives, prints and slides of the sculpture during various phases of development. Sub-Series B: Maquettes consists of a large scale model measuring 60 ½ inches high x 47 3/8 inches wide x 59 3/8 inches deep, and 5 small rectangular relief models measuring 6 ½ inches high by 9 ¼ inches wide. Sub-Series C: Drawings and Paintings consists of design renderings of the sculpture in pencil and pen, as well as several earlier works that are not specifically related to Forms in Transit.

Arrangement Note

This series is arranged in sub-series by object type:

Sub-Series A: Photographs

1. Contact sheets
2. Negatives
3. Prints
4. Slides

Sub-Series B: Maquettes

Sub-Series C: Drawings and Paintings

Biographical Note

Theodore Roszak (1907-1981) was two years old when his family moved from Poland to Chicago. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and moved to New York in 1926 to study with George Luks. In 1929, Roszak spent two years in Europe being exposed to the work of Giorgio de Chirico, Cubism, Expressionism, Fauvism, and the principles of Bauhaus design. He returned to New York in 1930 where he opened a studio on Staten Island. In 1933 and 1935, the Whitney Museum of American Art included his work in their First and Second Biennials of Contemporary American Painting. Roszak worked for the Federal Art Project during the mid-late 1930s and with Norman Bel Geddes for the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair. During World War II Roszak worked on an assembly line at the Brewster Aircraft Corporation in New Jersey, an experience that influenced his post-war sculptures. By the 1950s, Roszak had solidified his status as a leading Abstract Expressionist sculptor in the U.S., concerned with expressing the essence of flight, transformation and movement. He was one of five sculptors commissioned to create pieces for the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair that would remain in the park after the Fair closed. The resulting Forms in Transit was a rocket-shaped, 43 foot long work comprised of aluminum, steel, and sheet metal mounted on a massive concrete plinth. The piece dovetailed with the Fair’s celebration of space exploration and still stands next to the Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Bibliographic Note

• “Theodore Roszak” by Louise Weinberg for the Queens Museum visible storage installation.
• “Forms in Transit History” by NYC Parks and Recreation, accessed January 9, 2014: http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/flushing-meadows-corona-park/monuments/519

Acquisition Note

Donated to the QM by the Estate of Theodore Roszak (accession 1997.8) and the New York Hall of Science.

Series V: Press and Publications, 1962-1989, bulk 1964-1965

This series consist of books, newspapers, clippings, magazines, and other publications covering the Fair. Together, the materials document the Fair’s construction, development, activities, and milestones as well as its reception by the public and critics.

Many newspapers and clippings in the collection were rapidly deteriorating. Preservation copies were made of all fragile clippings. The originals of all items in stable condition were re-housed in acid-free folders. At MCNY, newspapers and clippings available through public library databases in the New York area were recorded, with all bibliographic details, in an Appendix (available upon request).

This series has been arranged in the following sub-series:

Sub-Series A: Books
Sub-Series B: Clippings
Sub-Series C: Newspapers
Sub-Series D: Serials

For publications by the Fair Corporation see Series I: Administrative and Series II: Promotional.

Language of Materials Note

Materials in English, except for one serial in Italian titled Epoca at MCNY.

Series VI-A: MCNY Photographs, 1960-1965

This series is arranged in six sub-series by creator. Original order was maintained when possible. Collections that did not contain evidence of original order were grouped by subject.

Sub-Series A: 1964 New York World’s Fair Publicity Department photographs, circa 1960-1965
Sub-Series B: P. Demontagut photographs, 1964-1965
Sub-Series C: William A. Dobak photographs, 1964-1965
Sub-Series D: M. Picker photographs, 1962-1965
Sub-Series E: Small photographic collections, 1964
Sub-Series F: World’s Fair photographs within larger collections, 1961-1965

Sub-Series A: New York World’s Fair Publicity Department photographs, circa 1960-1965 (MCNY)

This sub-series consists of prints from the Publicity Department of the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Most of the photographs depict design renderings and models of exhibits distributed prior to the opening of the Fair. There is also a small quantity of photos depicting the Fair in operation after it opened. Some of the photos are accompanied by captions providing contextual information and demonstrating the Fair’s marketing strategies.

The photographs are arranged in sub-series based on the Fair’s five “areas” and then filed alphabetically by exhibit. The Industrial Area is the most frequently depicted. The subsub-series I: General includes images of the Unisphere, grounds, employees, visitors, fountains, notable figures, and unidentified buildings.

This sub-series is arranged in six subsub-series:

SubSub-Series 1: Industrial Area
SubSub-Series 2: International Area
SubSub-Series 3: Federal and State Area
SubSub-Series 4: Transportation Area
SubSub-Series 5: Lake Amusement Area
SubSub-Series 6: General

Administrative History

Many of these photos are stamped "Return to Look Library.” Presumably, they were sent to Look magazine by the Fair’s Publicity Department for hopes of inclusion in the magazine. Although the gift paperwork is unclear, they were likely part of a donation to the Museum by Cowles Communications, Inc. in 1969, one of several large donations of negatives, contact sheets, and photographs by the publisher. Not all of the photographs bear this stamp, so it’s possible that some of the photographs originated from other unknown sources. However, all appear to be publicity photographs distributed by the 1964 New York World’s Fair Corporation.

Sub-Series B: P. Demontagut photographs, 1964-1965 (MCNY)

This sub-series consists of 210 Ektachrome slides donated by P. Demontagut. The collection features images from the perspective of a typical visitor going from one exhibit to another. The largest group of slides captures general scenes of the grounds. The second largest group of slides captures the Fair at night. Smaller quantities of images capture aerial views, building exteriors, exhibit interiors, the Port Authority Heliport, and the Fair’s harbor. There are two slides of buildings in Manhattan.

This sub-series is arranged in eight subsub-series:

SubSub-Series 1: Buildings
SubSub-Series 2: Interiors
SubSub-Series 3: Harbor
SubSub-Series 4: Heliport
SubSub-Series 5: Grounds
SubSub-Series 6: Night shots
SubSub-Series 7: Aerial views
SubSub-Series 8: Non-Fair

Biographical and Acquisition Note

Demontagut was a resident of the Bronx at the time of the donation. Other biographical information has not yet been located. MCNY Activity 29836, F2013.158.1-210.

Sub-Series C: William A. Dobak photographs, 1964-1965 (MCNY)

This sub-series consists of 161 color slides by William A. Dobak taken in 1964 and 1965. The collection captures activities and exhibits in all five Fair areas: Industrial, International, Federal and State, Transportation, and Lake Amusement. General scenes of the grounds, the Unisphere, visitors, sculptures, and fountains are also depicted.

The bulk of the images consist of aerial views (32 slides); fountains and fireworks at night (approximately 25 slides); the Belgian Village in the International Area (16 slides); and the United States building in the Federal and State Area (10 slides).

The original order of the slides has been maintained. Most likely the arrangement was created by the donor, or possibly by a prior Museum volunteer. To facilitate access, the slides are intellectually arranged in the inventory in the following subsub-series:

SubSub-Series 1: Industrial
SubSub-Series 2: International
SubSub-Series 3: Federal and State
SubSub-Series 4: Transportation
SubSub-Series 5: Lake Amusement
SubSub-Series 6: General

Biographical Note

William A. Dobak (1905-1987) was a lifelong employee of AT&T who took photographs as a hobby and a resident of Flushing, QueensMany of his images of the 1939 World’s Fair appear in Trylon and Perisphere: 1939 New York World’s Fair, which was published in conjunction with exhibitions at seven NYC institutions in 1989 on the 50th anniversary of the Fair.

Acquisition Note

Donated to MCNY by William A. Dobak’s wife, Norma Dobak, in 1991. Activity number 25676, X2013.161.1 – 161.

Sub-Series D: M. Picker photographs, 1962-1965 (MCNY)

This sub-series consists of 856 Kodachrome slides by M. Picker taken between 1962 and 1965. The collection features a wide array of subjects with careful photographic composition. There are multiple strengths within the collection. First, there are 186 slides capturing the construction of Fair, including a wide range of buildings and exhibits with written identifications on each slide. Second, there are 308 slides capturing International Exhibits; 74 slides of the Belgium Village exhibit; 30 slides of the African Pavilion exhibit; 50 slides of the Mexico exhibit; and 38 slides of the Spain exhibit. Third, there are 79 slides capturing the Fair’s Opening Day events and activities. The rest of the collection consists of smaller quantities of slides depicting the Federal and State area, Transportation area, Industrial area, Unisphere, Fair visitors, fireworks, and aerial views.

The original order of the slides has been maintained. Header slides introduce some sections and form the basis of the following 14 subsub-series:

SubSub-Series 1: Construction
SubSub-Series 2: Opening
SubSub-Series 3: International-Africa
SubSub-Series 4: International-Belgium
SubSub-Series 5: International-Mexico
SubSub-Series 6: International-Spain
SubSub-Series 7: International-Mixed
SubSub-Series 8: Federal and State
SubSub-Series 9: Transportation
SubSub-Series 10: Industrial
SubSub-Series 11: Unisphere
SubSub-Series 12: Fountains, Fireworks, and Aerial
SubSub-Series 13: General
SubSub-Series 14: People

Biographical and Acquisition Note

The official deed for this MCNY collection was not located, but a mailing label indicates that the slides were donated by Lester Picker, a resident of Havre de Grace, Maryland. Biographical information on M. Picker has not yet been found.

Sub-Series E: Small Photographic Collections, 1964 (MCNY)

This series consists of collections of 25 or less photographs arranged in four subsub-series:

SubSub-Series 1: General Electric Research Laboratory photographs
SubSub-Series 2: New York Herald Tribune photographs
SubSub-Series 3: Joseph Veach Noble photographs
SubSub-Series 4: Alfred C. Loonam photographs

The General Electric Research Laboratory photographs consist of black and white photographs of the Diamond Exhibit.

The New York Herald Tribune photographs consist of black and white photographs of the Dinoland Exhibit at the Sinclair Oil Pavilion.

The Joseph Veach Noble photographs are comprised of negatives and prints of the Industrial Area and the Unisphere. Noble was a Director of the Museum of the City of New York in the 1970s.

The Alfred C. Loonam photographs consist of three stereograms depicting the Monorail at the 1964/1965 World’s Fair. MCNY Activity 18162.

Sub-Series F: World’s Fair photographs within larger collections, 1961-1965 (MCNY)

This sub-series is comprised of photographs of the 1964 New York World’s Fair located within larger non-World’s Fair related collections.

This sub-series is arranged in two subsub-series:

SubSub-Series 1: Wurts Bros.
SubSub-Series 2: Turid Lindahl

The Wurts Bros. collection includes a small quantity of negatives depicting the Fair from 1961-1965 and several prints circa 1964. Turid Lindahl donated a single black and white photograph depicting the construction of the Unisphere in 1963.

Series VI-B: QM Photographs, 1960-1965

The majority of the Queens Museum’s photographic holdings on the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair were collected over several decades and interfiled by subject. Accession numbers track the provenance of the majority of the objects, although some were never formerly accessioned and are no longer linked to donors. Mediums include prints, slides, negatives and contact sheets. Select photographic collections are grouped by provenance due to their unique qualities or special significance and arranged by photographer, donor or exhibition.

This series has been arranged in the following sub-series. See sub-series descriptions for more detailed information:

Sub-Series A: Subject Arranged photographs
Sub-Series B: Bob Golby photographs
Sub-Series C: Jerry Kean and Van Williams photographs
Sub-Series D: Stephen Levine photographs
Sub-Series E: Photography in the Fine Arts Exhibition photographs
Sub-Series F: Henry Sealine and Arnold Silverstein photographs
Sub-Series G: Peter Rafael Bloch photographs
Sub-Series H: Albums

Series IV-A: Panorama of the City of New York and Series IV-B: Theodore Roszak “Forms in Transit” also contain photographs.

Sub-Series A: Subject Arranged photographs, 1960-1965 (QM)

These photographs capture diverse aspects of the Fair, including construction, pavilions, exhibits, sculptures, special events, scenery, visitors, and the larger Flushing Bay area. Mediums include prints, slides, negatives, transparencies, and contact sheets. The collection is most notable for its large quantity of vintage slides (close to 2000).

The photographs are arranged in the following sub-sub series. The General grouping includes visitors, notable figures, personnel, aerial views, and scenery.

SubSub-Series 1: Industrial Area
SubSub-Series 2: International Area
SubSub-Series 3: Federal and State Area
SubSub-Series 4: Transportation Area
SubSub-Series 5: Lake Amusement Area
SubSub-Series 6: Flushing Bay Area
SubSub-Series 7: General
SubSub-Series 8: Construction SubSub-Series 9: Design Renderings

Acquisition Note

These photographs were acquired from a number of sources over several decades and mixed together by Queens Museum staff. Many of the items have object numbers, while others are unattributed. The slides originated from five donors in the late 1980s and early 1990s and are all traceable via accession numbers. There are some reproductions from other institutions for which Queens Museum does not hold the rights.

Sub-Series B: Bob Golby photographs, 1964-1965 (QM)

This collection consists of 52 medium format 120mm color negatives with accompanying contact prints, 32 3x3 Agfachrome color slides, and 55 small color prints (mostly 3 ½ x 3 ½) that appear to have been deconstructed from an album.

Many of Golby’s photographs consist of bird’s eye views of distinct pavilions throughout the Fair. His subjects were approximately equally distributed throughout the Industrial, International, Transportation, and Federal and State Areas. He did not capture Lake Amusement attractions with the exception of the AMF Monorail. The General subsub-series consists of aerial views, visitors, fountains, sculptures, and the Greyhound Glide-a-Rides.

Arrangement Note

Prints and slides were physically and intellectually grouped by Fair area and then arranged alphabetically by exhibit. Negatives were cataloged at the item level, physically arranged in accession number order, and listed intellectually within the same schema as the prints and slides for ease of access.

This sub-series is arranged in six subsub-series:

1. Industrial
2. International
3. Federal and State
4. Transportation
5. Lake Amusement
6. General

Biographical Note

Bob Golby (born in 1901) was a professional photographer who primarily documented theater, dance, and opera in New York City from the 1940s to the 1970s. Many of his photographs were printed in the New York Times and his archive resides at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. He also photographed and donated images of the 1939/1949 Fair to the Museum.

Cross Reference Note

Golby’s 35mm Kodachrome slides have been interfiled by subject. See Series VI-B: QM Photographs, Sub-Series A: Subject Arranged.

Acquisition Note

Donated by Bob Golby to the QM in 1987, Accession 1987.110.WF64

Sub-Series C: Jerry Kean and Van Williams photographs, 1964-1965 (QM)

This collection consists of over 1,100 individual items. The bulk of the photographs are by Jerry Kean, with a total of 1,067 images: 853 transparencies, 137 lantern slides, and 77 photographic negatives. Van Williams’ contribution totals 129 images, consisting of 127 lantern slides and 2 medium format paper slides. A majority of the images document the Federal and State and International Areas of the Fair; however, the collection also includes images of the Industrial, Amusement, and Transportation areas. Architecture, exhibits, performances, sculptures, fountains, and fireworks are all captured. Stylistically, Williams’ took more close-up views than Kean.

Kean and Williams’ typed and handwritten itineraries, documenting five visits to the Fair over the course of two years, complement the photographs. The itineraries provide minute details of their days, including wait times to see popular pavilions, prices of snacks at concession stands, and lists of films and performances attended. One of the itineraries documents strategies to capture changing conditions of light at particular pavilions throughout the day.

Kean and Williams also donated a small quantity of paper ephemera that was numbered and interfiled by subject in Series III: Visiting and Series IV: Areas and Exhibits.

Arrangement Note

The collection has been catalogued at the item level and is physically organized in accession number order. A complete inventory is available upon request.

This sub-series is arranged in the following subsub-series:

1. Industrial
2. International
3. Federal and State
4. Transportation
5. Lake Amusement
6. General

Biographical Note

Jerry Kean is a Queens resident and fashion photographer whose work was featured in The Deseret News and The New York Times. He also served as the photographer for an exhibition of rich fabrics and costumes by Mario Fortuny held at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Art Institute of Chicago called Fortuny: Mariano Fortuny Venise (1981). In 2012, alongside Van Williams, Kean was in a photography segment on Fitchburg Access Television called “Talking Turkey about Photography”.

Van Williams, a native of Abilene, Texas, worked as an actor in off-Broadway productions and as a professional harpist who played with several orchestras in the United States. During his time in stage productions Williams developed an interest in photography. Eventually he became a professional photographer, serving members of the theatre community who needed portraits and composite shots. Additionally, he served as a photographer for several Broadway shows in the 1960s and 1970s. His work was published in New York magazine and The New York Times.

Acquisition Note

Acquired by the QM from Jerry Kean in 2013 (partial gift, partial purchase), 2013.1.1- 2013.1.1232.

Sub-Series D: Stephen Levine photographs, 1964-1965 (QM)

This collection consists of nine photographs of the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair taken by Stephen Levine. Four of the photographs capture the Mexican Trapeze Act performance outside the Mexican Pavilion, when the aerial act took place during the 1965 season of the fair. The remaining images capture daily slices of life: people resting, waiting, or observing. His subjects ranged from nuns to Asian families to portraits of women in their finest attire, demonstrating the diversity of Fair visitors.

Biographical Note

Stephen Levine’s work as a street photographer spans from the 1960s to the present. Levine was born in New York City but has been living in Trier, Germany for the past three decades. He started exploring photography as a young man and became an avid collector of images. After experimenting with color and digital images, he returned to his passion of black-and-white photography, engaging in all phases of production, from developing negatives to printing and enlarging. His specialty is capturing ordinary people in daily situations during his travels in Europe and New York.

Acquisition Note

Donated to the QM by Stephen Levine in 2008, Accession 2008.17.1-9.

Sub-Series E: “Photography in the Fine Arts” photographs, various creation dates; exhibited in 1965 (QM)

Photography in the Fine Arts: Museum Directors’ Selection for the 1965 World’s Fair was an exhibition held in the Eastman Kodak Pavilion during the Fair’s 1965 season. The exhibition was the vision of artist Ivan Dmitri (b. Levon West), who wanted to elevate the reputation of photography to that of the fine arts. To accomplish this feat, 11 of the nation’s leading art museum directors were charged with selecting 139 works to be displayed. The resulting exhibition featured work by Richard Avedon, Cornell Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Yousuf Karsh, Dorothea Lange, Irving Penn, and one hundred other photographers drawn from the worlds of art, photojournalism, and industry. Six years earlier Dmitri also helped form the Photography as a Fine Art Advisory Committee, which selected works for the inaugural exhibition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent Photographic Exhibition Gallery.

From July 18 – October 24, 2004, the Queens Museum recreated this momentous body of work, displaying 132 of the original photographs in the same manner in which they were shown in 1965. The exhibition also included Yousuf Karsh’s portraits of the museum directors and their statements on the relationship between art and photography. The collection was donated to the Museum the same year as the exhibition.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of 133 photographic prints, 11 photographic portraits and 11 wall texts. An inventory is available upon request which includes the photographer, title, dimensions, and museum director(s) that selected the work for the 1965 exhibition.

The objects have been maintained in the original format used for the 1965 exhibition (frames mattes, and plexiglass, with labels attached to the glass). The only exception is item 2004.7.1, which is matted but missing the frame, plexiglass and labels.

Acquisition Note

Donated to the QM in 2004 by E. Nobles Lowe and Margaret Breece Lowe, Accession 2004.7.

Sub-Series F: Henry Sealine and Arnold Silverstein photographs, circa 1963 (QM)

This sub-series is comprised of 20 negatives of various pavilions and exhibits under construction with a coffee truck in the foreground in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Several were also taken at Shea Stadium, which debuted just five days prior to the Fair. Henry Sealine and Arnold Silverstein owned the coffee trucks and contracted a photographer to capture their business as the Fair’s construction unfolded. The name of the photographer is unknown.

Acquisition Note

Donated to the QM by Henry Sealine and Arnold Silverstein in coordination with Hannah Bacharach, Accession 2011.23.

Sub-Series G: Peter Rafael Bloch photographs, 1964-1965 (QM)

This collection consists of thirteen photographs documenting Peter Rafael Bloch’s visits to the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair with his mother, Else Bloch. Bloch’s personal pass to the 1964 season is also included.

Biographical Note

Peter Rafael Bloch (1921-2008), an expert on Puerto Rican cultural production, was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Bloch spent much of his youth in England, Belgium, and Switzerland, after his family fled the Nazi regime. During his formative years he developed an interest in Hispanic theory and culture. Upon his arrival in New York City in 1949 with his mother Else, he began to immerse himself in the cultural life of the Puerto Rican community. Bloch went on to produce concerts, recitals, poetry readings, radio programs, and art exhibitions, and wrote several books and countless articles. He also established the Puerto Rican Library & Museum at La Hermosa Christian Church and founded the Association for Puerto Rican-Hispanic Culture in 1965. The Peter Rafael Bloch collection resides at the Leo Baeck Institute at the Center for Jewish History in New York City.

Acquisition Note

Carmen D. Lucca, President of the Association for Puerto Rican-Hispanic Culture, Inc. transferred this collection to the QM in 2011, Accession 2011.26. It also included printed ephemera which was numbered and interfiled by subject.

Sub-Series H: Albums, 1965 (QM)

This subseries consists of pages from an album donated by Harold Poss in 1990 reflecting the average visitor experience; and a leather bound album titled “For Those Who Produced the New York World’s Fair 1964-1965” produced by the Fair Corporation and introduced by Robert Moses.

Series VII: Commemorative Objects, circa 1963-1965

This series is comprised of souvenirs and commemorative objects that were sold at various outlets or distributed at the Fair. The QM collection contains hundreds of such items, many on display in their Visible Storage Gallery; while the MCNY collection contains approximately 25. Holdings include drinking glasses, beer steins, coffee mugs, buttons, pins, statuettes, figurines, jewelry, dolls, place mats, pennants, key chains, trays, ash trays, plates, games, and more. Printed materials include books, booklets, and comics. Textiles include banners, aprons, scarves, shirts, jackets, and table cloths. Items are alphabetized by object type in the inventory. Object names are based on definitions in Getty’s Art and Architecture Thesaurus.

For objects displayed in Fair exhibits, see Series IV: Zones and Exhibits.

Series VIII: Architectural Elements & Fair Artifacts, circa 1963-1965 (QM)

This series is comprised of three-dimensional objects that were either components of Fair structures or by-products of Fair operations. Highlights include the touch-tone phone used by John F. Kennedy in his televised ceremonial call to the Fair’s directors to begin the countdown to opening day; and a remnant of the concrete brise-soliel (sun-shading structure) that was installed on the New York City Building as part of the renovations directed by Architect Daniel Chait. See the inventory for an item-level list alphabetized by object type.

Series IX: Artwork, 1964-2009 (QM)

This series consists of artworks by five artists. Holdings contemporaneous with the Fair include four original drawings by Whitney Darrow, Jr., the famous satiric cartoonist, depicting Fair scenes and exhibits. Work from the 1990s and 2000s reflects a continuing preoccupation with the Fair and its architectural remnants. For example, Richard Plunz’s “New York Paleotectonic” consists of pieces from the Panorama of the City of New York arranged behind Plexiglas. Warehouses, single-family homes, tenements, piers, and ships form strata with particular sociological meanings. Anthony Auerbach’s “Empire State Pavilion” consists of stereoscopic images, projections and video images. The work stems from a photographic aerial survey of the Texaco map in the New York State Pavilion and speculates on how history is recorded in traces and inscriptions. See the inventory for an item level list.

Series X: Audiovisual, 1940-2002 (QM)

This series is arranged in three sub-series: Moving Images, Sound Recordings, and Oral Histories. See sub-series descriptions for more details.

Sub-Series A: Moving Images, 1940-1996 (bulk 1964-1965) (QM)

This sub-series consists primarily of amateur home movies and professional publicity footage in a variety of formats, including 16mm, 8mm, U-Matic, and VHS tapes. The VHS tapes were reviewed by the archivist, while other items were described via their labels and/or online research. Access to these materials is limited due to preservation and reformatting needs. Some of the corporate films have been digitized by other institutions and are available online.

Most of the amateur films are on VHS tapes and range in duration from short (15 minutes) to long (100 minutes). Compiled and edited after multiple trips, the home movies capture a personal family perspective not found elsewhere. Professional films were created by corporations such as Disney, DuPont, and Dodge; these aimed to excite the public with behind-the-scenes glimpses of exhibits and advertisements for technological innovations. There are also several copies of the classic publicity film To the Fair created by the Fair Corporation, and of Beauty for Ashes, a film by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority about the history of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Sub-Series B: Sound Recordings, 1964-2002 (bulk circa 1964-1965) (QM)

This sub-series consists of recordings in a variety of formats, including magnetic reel-to-reel sound tape, vinyl records, compact discs, and cassette tapes. Most items fit into one of three categories: souvenir recordings, promotional recordings, or sounds from Fair attractions/exhibits. Due to inadequate labeling, some of the items are only minimally described. Access to these materials is limited due to preservation and reformatting needs.

Examples of souvenir vinyl records include Take Me to New York, Take Me to the Fair, The Official Album of the New York World’s Fair; The Triumph of Man, a souvenir from the Traveler's Insurance Company exhibit, and “There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow," the theme song developed for Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress exhibit.

Exhibit recordings include music that accompanied fountain shows; choral and hymnal music used in the Vatican Pavilion; and the complete narration of the film Man in the 5th Dimension, which was shown 10 times a day in the Billy Graham Pavilion.

Promotional recordings consist primarily of interviews conducted by the Fair’s Director of Television Albert Fisher with musicians, actors, and celebrities for “World’s Fair Holiday,” the official radio series of the Fair. Interviewees include Joan Crawford and Pat Boone.

Sub-Series C: Oral Histories, circa 1988 (QM)

This sub-series consists of seven cassette tapes containing eleven individual interviews, along with four transcripts. Harold Blake, Robert Moses’ Executive Assistant during the 1964-1965 Fair, was interviewed by W.M. Blake III on November 12, 1988. The majority of the interviews are with average Fair workers and attendees, including a Greyhound bus driver, Swiss Pavilion receptionist, movie projectionist, and a Boy Scout. Phillip Johnson, designer of the New York State Pavilion, was also interviewed. Recording quality varies; two of the interviews are barely audible.

Acquisition Note

Many of the vinyl records and cassette tapes were purchased from Herb Rolfes, Accessions 1988.21 and 1988.32. Some items are copies obtained from other institutions and may be subject to copyright restrictions.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation for Museum of the City of New York

Title, date. Collection on the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, 1959-1967. Museum of the City of New York. Accession # (if applicable).

Preferred Citation for Queens Museum

Title, date. Collection on the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, 1930-2012. Queens Museum. Accession # (if applicable).

Acquisition Information

Materials originated from diverse sources including Fair visitors, employees, the Fair Corporation, amateur and professional photographers, media outlets, and avid World’s Fair collectors. Complete donor lists from each institution are available upon request. You may also consult the archivist for specific acquisition information for particular objects. For more information contact the Museum of the City of New York at research@mcny.org or the Queens Museum at info@queensmuseum.org.

Custodial History

The collections were compiled over several decades by staff members of the Museum of the City of New York and the Queens Museum. The collection is not housed collectively; materials are managed, respectively, by each institution, in their own collections storage facilities.

Related Material

Museum of the City of New York / Queens Museum:

Collection on the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair

Collections in Other Repositories:

• New York Public Library, New York World’s Fair 1964-1965 Corporation Records
• New York City Department of Records, Municipal Archives Collections, Department of Parks, 1850-1960
• MTA Bridges & Tunnels Special Archive
• Queens Historical Society
• Queens Library, New York World’s Fair Collection
• Donald G. Larson Collection on International Expositions and Fairs, California State University, Fresno
• World’s Fair Historical Society
• Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts
• La Guardia and Wagner Archives, La Guardia Community College
• National Museum of American History Library
• Wolfsonian–Florida International University

Processing Information

This project was made possible by a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Hidden Collections grant. The Museum of the City of New York and Queens Museum gratefully acknowledge the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in the CLIR program.

The collections were processed by Project Archivist Annie Tummino with assistance from Archival Fellows Hoang Tran, Wendy Jimenez, and Richard J. Lee, from March 2013-October 2014. At the outset of the project, the Archivist surveyed the collections at MCNY and QM, creating a processing plan that took into account both institutions’ collections. The Collection at MCNY was processed over the first four months, from March-July, 2013. The Collection at QM was processed over the next 14 months, from August 2013-October 2014.

Prior to processing, only rudimentary, incomplete, and outdated inventories existed to facilitate access to the materials. Diverse object types were often mixed together, such as photographs, printed materials and 3d souvenirs. The archivists physically re-housed and intellectually described these materials, arranging them in Series and Sub-Series.

At both institutions, world’s fair-related materials in physically disparate locations were intellectually united under the auspices of the finding aid. At MCNY this included Fair-related decorative arts items, textiles, theater material, sculptures, and toys which existed within previously established collections. At QM, this included objects stored offsite and on long-term view in their Visible Storage Gallery.

The majority of the materials at both institutions were grouped by subject rather than donor. This arrangement reflected prior institutional practice and the nature of the materials, which were mostly mass produced. However, exceptions were made for donations reflecting a more unique or personal viewpoint, such as photographs. Historical, biographical, and administrative histories were researched and incorporated throughout where pertinent. Complete donor appendixes were also created for each institution.

Local versions of the finding aid were also created for the Museum of the City of New York and Queens Museum to serve researchers who have narrowed their search to one institution.

Language of Materials

The majority of the materials are in English. At the QM one newspaper is in Czech and several items in the Collection on Dali’s Dream of Venus are in French; at MCNY one serial is in French.

Access and Use

Collections must be examined on site, with appointments made in advance. To make an appointment to examine the collection at the Museum of the City of New York, email research@mcny.org. To make an appointment to examine the collection at the Queens Museum, email info@queensmuseum.org. Collection use is subject to all copyright laws. Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing.

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Access Points

Personal Names:

  • Demontagut, P.
  • Disney, Walt, 1901-1966
  • Dobak, William A., 1905-1987
  • Fisher, Albert
  • Giebelhaus, Walter E.
  • Golby, Bob
  • Kean, Jerry
  • Moses, Robert, 1888-1981
  • Noble, Joseph Veach, 1920-2007
  • Oenslager, Donald, 1902-1975
  • Picker, M.
  • Roszak, Theodore, 1907-1981
  • Williams, Van

Corporate names:

  • Clarke & Rapuano
  • Lester Associates Inc.
  • New York World’s Fair 1964-1965 Corporation
  • Wurts Brothers (New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics:

  • Amusements
  • Architecture
  • Corporations, American
  • Exhibitions
  • Fairs
  • Industries
  • New York World's Fair (1964-1965 : New York, N.Y.)
  • Popular culture
  • Technology
  • Tourism
  • Transportation

Geographic subjects:

  • Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (New York, N.Y.)
  • Queens (New York, N.Y.)

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Inventory

[The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.]

Series I: Administrative ( 1959-1976 (bulk 1961-1964), 129 items)

Sub-Series A: New York World’s Fair Corporation ( 1960-1976, 55 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 1, MCNY Flat File P6 D36, QM Box 1, QM Box 2, QM Box 54, QM Box 59, QM Box 60, QM Box 127

Sub-Series B: Donald Oenslager papers (MCNY) ( 1960-1963, 31 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 1, MCNY Box 10, MCNY Box 14, MCNY Box 15

Sub-Series C: Models (QM) ( circa 1963, 27 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 65, QM Box 67, QM Box 154, QM Box 155, QM Visible storage

Sub-Series D: Technical Drawings (QM) ( 1962-1965, 13 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 55, QM Rolled

Sub-Series E: Design Renderings (QM) ( circa 1963-1964, 3 items)
Box - Folder: Offsite / Storage

Series II: Promotional ( 1960-1980, bulk 1964-1965, 127 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 2, MCNY Box 3, MCNY Box 14, MCNY Flat file P6 D36, QM Box 3, QM Box 4, QM Box 5, QM Box 6, QM Box 7, QM Box 54, QM Box 103, QM Offsite Rm B6, QM Offsite Rm B8

Series III: Visiting the Fair ( 1964-1989 , 210 items)

Sub-Series A: Admissions ( 1964-1965 , 14 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 3, QM Box 8

Sub-Series B: Maps ( 1964-1965 , 36 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Flat file: P6 D36, QM Boxes 10-12, QM Offsite: Rm B8

Sub-Series C: Guides ( 1961-1964 , 31 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 4, MCNY Box 9, QM Box 8, QM Box 9

Sub-Series D: Postcards ( 1964-1989, 123 items)

Sub-SubSeries 1: Official ( 1964-1989, 77 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 13, QM Box 40, MCNY Box 3

Sub-SubSeries 2: Non-official ( 1964-1989, 44 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 13, QM Box 40

Sub-Series E: Scrapbooks ( 1964-1965, 3 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 57-58, QM Box 61, QM Box 81

Series IV: Areas and Exhibits ( 1962-1966 , 251 items)

Sub-Series A: Industrial area ( 1963-1965 , 73 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 4, QM Boxes 14-16, QM Boxes 62-64, QM Offsite Rm B8, QM Visible storage

Sub-Series B: International area ( 1960-1965 , 77 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 4, MCNY Box 10, QM Boxes 17-19, QM Box 35, QM Box 63, QM Offsite Rm B8

Sub-Series C: Federal and State area ( 1963-1965 , 56 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 4, MCNY Stored separately, QM Boxes 20-21, QM Box 35, QM Offsite Rm B8

Sub-Series D: Transportation area ( 1964-1965 , 27 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 4, MCNY Box 14, QM Boxes 22

Sub-Series E: Lake Amusement area ( 1964-1965 , 13 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 4, MCNY Stored separately, QM Boxes 23

Sub-Series F: Flushing Bay area ( 1962-1965 , 5 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 23

Series IV-A: Collection on the Panorama of the City of New York ( 1930-1994 , 290 items)

Sub-Series A: Printed Materials (, 74 items)

Sub-SubSeries 1: Lester Associates ( 1961-1980 , 38 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 24, QM Box 103

Sub-SubSeries 2: Institutional records ( 1977-1994 , 36 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 25-28, QM Box 85

Sub-Series B: Photographs ( 1961-1994 , 178 items)

Sub-SubSeries 1: Raymond Lester & Associates photographs ( 1962-1992 , 64 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 29-30, QM Box 42, QM Box 51, QM Box 104, QM Box 109, QM Offsite Rm B8

Sub-SubSeries 2: Phyllis Bilick negatives ( 1980s-1990s , 59 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 51

Sub-SubSeries 3: Subject arranged photographs ( 196os-1980s , 53 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 42, QM Box 104, QM Boxes 110-111, QM Offsite Rm B8

Sub-SubSeries 4: Leonard Mahon photographs and IDs ( 1963-1965 , 2 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 54, QM Offsite Rm B8

Sub-Series C: Lester and Associates’ Sanborn Land Books ( 1930s-1950s , 3 items)
Box - Folder: QM Offsite Rm B8

Sub-Series D: Planning Parts and Removed Pieces ( 1963, 2012 , 26 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 68-80, QM Boxes 82-84, QM Boxes 86-90, QM Curatorial center, QM Offsite Rm B8

Sub-Series E: Audiovisual materials ( 1963-1993 , 9 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 91

Series IV-B: Collection on Theodore Roszak’s Forms in Transit sculpture ( 1930s-1970s , 88 items)

Sub-Series A: Photographs ( 1930s-1970s , 71 items)

Sub-SubSeries 1: Contact sheets ( 1964 , 1 item)
Box - Folder: QM Box 112

Sub-SubSeries 2: Negatives ( 1963-1964 , 56 item)
Box - Folder: QM Box 53, QM Box 112

Sub-SubSeries 3: Prints ( 1963-1964 , 13 item)
Box - Folder: QM Box 112

Sub-SubSeries 4: Slides ( 1963-1964 , 1 item)
Box - Folder: QM Box 112

Sub-Series B: Maquettes ( 1963-1964 , 6 items)
Box - Folder: QM Offsite Rm B6, QM Offsite Rm B8, QM Visible storage

Sub-Series C: Drawings and Paintings ( 1963-1964 , 1 items)
Box - Folder: QM Offsite Rm B6, QM Offsite Rm B8

Series V: Press and Publications ( 1962-1989 , 139 items)

Sub-Series A: Books ( 1962 , 3 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 31, QM Box 93

Sub-Series B: Clippings ( 1963-1971 , 49 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 5, QM Box 32

Sub-Series C: Newspapers ( 1961-1989 , 30 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 5, QM Box 92, QM Box 94

Sub-Series D: Serials ( 1962-1967 , 57 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 5, MCNY Box 10, QM Boxes 33-36, QM Box 95

Series VI-A: MCNY Photographs ( 1960-1965 , 151 items)

Sub-Series A: 1964 New York World’s Fair Publicity Department photographs ( 1960-1965 , 82 items)

Sub-SubSeries 1: Industrial Area ( 1960-1965 , 28 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Boxes 11-12

Sub-SubSeries 2: International Area ( 1960-1965 , 16 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 12

Sub-SubSeries 3: Federal and State Area ( 1960-1965 , 10 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 13

Sub-SubSeries 4: Transportation Area ( 1960-1965 , 12 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 13

Sub-SubSeries 5: Lake Amusement Area ( 1960-1965 , 5 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Boxes 13-14

Sub-SubSeries 6: General ( 1960-1965 , 11 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 14

Sub-Series B: P. Demontagut photographs ( 1964 , 8 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 17

Sub-Series C: William A. Dobak photographs ( 1964-1965 , 37 items)

Sub-SubSeries 1: Industrial ( 1964-1965 , 6 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 18

Sub-SubSeries 2: International ( 1964-1965 , 11 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 18

Sub-SubSeries 3: Federal and State ( 1964-1965 , 3 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 18

Sub-SubSeries 4: Transportation ( 1964-1965 , 4 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 18

Sub-SubSeries 5: Lake Amusement ( 1964-1965 , 4 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 18

Sub-SubSeries 6: General ( 1964-1965 , 9 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 18

Sub-Series D: M. Picker photographs ( 1962-1964 , 14 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 18

Sub-Series E: Small Photographic Collections ( 1964 , 7 items)

Sub-SubSeries 1: General Electric Research Laboratory photographs ( 1964 , 1 item)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 15

Sub-SubSeries 2: New York Herald Tribune photographs ( 1964 , 1 item)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 16

Sub-SubSeries 3: Joseph Veach Noble photographs ( 1964 , 4 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 14

Sub-SubSeries 4: Alfred C. Loonam photographs ( 1964 , 1 item)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 14

Sub-Series F: World’s Fair photographs within larger collections ( 1961-1965 , 3 items)

Sub-SubSeries 1: Wurts Bros. ( 1963 , 1 item)
Box - Folder: MCNY Stored separately

Sub-SubSeries 2: Turid Lindahl ( 1961-1965 , 2 item2)
Box - Folder: MCNY Stored separately

Series VI-B: QM Photographs ( 1960-1965 , 684 items)

Sub-Series A: Subject Arranged photographs ( 1960-1965 , 561 items)

Sub-SubSeries 1: Industrial Area ( 1964-1965 , 122 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 41-42, QM Boxes 96-98, QM Box 102, QM Box 113

Sub-SubSeries 2: International Area ( 1964-1965 , 78 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 41-42, QM Box 99, QM Box 102, QM Box 104, QM Box 107, QM Box 114

Sub-SubSeries 3: Federal and State Area ( 1964-1965 , 64 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 41-42, QM Box 102, QM Box 104, QM Box 107, QM Box 114

Sub-SubSeries 4: Transportation Area ( 1964-1965 , 66 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 41-42, QM Box 100, QM Box 102, QM Box 103, QM Box 114

Sub-SubSeries 5: Lake Amusement Area ( 1964-1965 , 24 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 41-42, QM Box 101, QM Box 105

Sub-SubSeries 6: Flushing Bay ( 196os , 3 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 101, QM Box 105

Sub-SubSeries 7: General ( 1964-1965 , 77 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 41-42, QM Box 101, QM Box 104, QM Box 1115, QM Offsire Rm B8

Sub-SubSeries 8: Construction ( 1961-1964 , 4 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 101, QM Box 101, QM Box 116

Sub-SubSeries 9: Design Renderings ( 1963 , 123 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY Box 116

Sub-Series B: Bob Golby photographs ( 1964-1965 , 86 items)

Sub-SubSeries 1: Industrial Area ( 1964-1965 , 18 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 43-44

Sub-SubSeries 2: International Area ( 1964-1965 , 16 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 44

Sub-SubSeries 3: Federal and State Area ( 1964-1965 , 14 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 43

Sub-SubSeries 4: Transportation Area ( 1964-1965 , 19 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 43-44

Sub-SubSeries 5: Lake Amusement Area ( 1964-1965 , 4 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 43-44

Sub-SubSeries 6: General ( 1964-1965 , 15 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 43-44

Sub-Series C: Jerry Kean and Van Williams photographs ( 1964-1965 , 7 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 37, QM Boxes 45-50

Sub-Series D: Stephen Levine photographs ( 1964-1965 , 3 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 104

Sub-Series E: “Photography in the Fine Arts” photographs ( 1965 , 1 item)
Box - Folder: QM Offsite

Sub-Series F: Henry Sealine and Arnold Silverstein photographs ( 1963 , 10 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 42

Sub-Series G: Peter Rafael Bloch photographs ( 1964-1965 , 13 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 106

Sub-Series H: Albums ( 1964-1965 , 3 items)
Box - Folder: QM Boxes 107-108, QM Offsite Rm B8

Series VII: Commemorative Objects ( 1963-1965 , 273 items)
Box - Folder: MCNY BCS, MCNY Box 1, MCNY Boxes 6-8, MCNY Box 10, MCNY Stored separately, QM Boxes 38-39, QM Boxes 117-153, QM Boxes 164-165, QM Offsite Rm B8, QM Visible storage

Series VIII: Architectural Elements & Fair Artifacts ( 1963-1965 , 13 items)
Box - Folder: QM Offsite Rm B6, QM Offsite Rm B8, QM Visible storage

Series IX: Artwork ( 1963-2006 , 6 items)
Box - Folder: QM Offsite Rm B6, QM Offsite Rm B8, QM Directors office

Series X: Audiovisual ( 1963-2002 , 118 items)

Sub-Series A: Moving Images ( 1964-1990 , 49 items)

Sub-SubSeries 1: 8mm ( 1964 , 7 items)
Box - Folder: QM Storage

Sub-SubSeries 2: 16mm ( 1964 , 16 items)
Box - Folder: QM Storage

Sub-SubSeries 3: U-Matic ( 1940-1965 , 9 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 156, QM Box 158

Sub-SubSeries 4: VHS ( 1964-1990 , 17 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 158

Sub-Series B: Sound Recordings ( 1964-1990 , 54 items)

Sub-SubSeries 1: Open Reel ( 1963-1964 , 36 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 157, QM Boxes 161-161

Sub-SubSeries 2: Cassette Tape ( 1964-1988 , 14 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 159

Sub-SubSeries 3: Compact Disc ( 1965-2002 , 4 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 161

Sub-SubSeries 4: Phonograph Records ( 1964 , 16 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 54, QM Box 162

Sub-Series C: Oral Histories ( ca 1988, 15 items)

Sub-SubSeries 1: Tape ( ca 1988, 11 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 159

Sub-SubSeries 2: Transcripts ( ca 1988, 4 items)
Box - Folder: QM Box 163

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