Publisher Information: Philadelphia: U. S. Sanitary Commission, 1864.
Stillé, Charles J. (1819-99). Memorial of the Great Central Fair for the U. S. Sanitary Commission, held at Philadelphia, June 1864. 211pp. 3 albumen photographs by Robert Newell mounted on inserted plate leaves. Philadelphia: United States Sanitary Commission, 1864. Original gold-stamped cloth, light wear at extremities and corners, spine a bit dulled. Fine.
First Edition. Philadelphia’s Great Central Fair, held at Logan Square from June 7 to June 28, 1864, was the largest and most successful of the “sanitary fairs” held to raise funds for the U. S. Sanitary Commission, a volunteer organization founded at the beginning of the Civil War to provide medical care for Union soldiers.
"In final form the fair had close to a hundred departments and booths offering a broad range of appeal: Arms and Trophies, Children’s Clothing, Horse Shoe Machine, Fancy Articles (homemade), Turkish Divan for Smokers, Fine Arts, Brewers, Wax Fruit, Trimmings and Lingerie, Button-Riveter, Horticulture, Art Gallery, Umbrellas and Canes, Curiosities and Relics, and Steam Glass Blower . . .
"The structures housing these wonders were no less spectacular than the contents. Built in just forty working days by volunteer craftsmen, the 200,000-square-foot complex featured Union Avenue, a 540-foot-long, flag-festooned central hall over which soared Gothic arches. The Avenue was flanked by rotundas to the south and north and other outbuildings, all interconnected by bustling exhibit corridors. Presiding over the entire Fair site was the Stars and Stripes, unfurled on a 216-foot flagpole" (Bryan).
The book’s three photographs depict the entire fair complex from a high vantage point, the 540-foot long central hall with Gothic arches, and the elaborate 40-inch high solid silver “Union Vase” incorporating figures of Liberty and the American eagle. K. L. Bryan, “Civil War Sanitary Fairs.” Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, 2012 [web].Book Id: 45067