The collection is open to the public by appointment.
Bruno J. Benedetti was born in 1917. A longtime Seattle resident, he attended the historic Rainier School at 23rd Avenue South and King Street, graduating in 1933. Weeks before the 67-year-old structure was demolished in 1957, Benedetti staged the last of the Rainier reunions held in the school auditorium. He continued to organize Rainier class reunions into the 1990s. During the Seattle World’s Fair, Benedetti worked for Seattle City Light as Editor of the Seattle City Light News. He retired from the company in 1982, and passed away on December 4, 2001 at age 84.
The collection consists of one 12x18 inch, hard cover scrapbook. The numbered pages contain newspaper clippings, magazine articles, tickets, exhibit brochures, souvenirs and other materials arranged in chronological order. Of particular interest, the scrapbook contains special souvenir editions of local company magazines commemorating the Seattle World’s Fair. Other unique items include a Century 21 application for employment, an Eye of the Needle restaurant menu, business envelopes postmarked with Century 21 logos, Bruno Benedetti’s World’s Fair identification card and examples of Century 21 graphics for official press use.
The main themes of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair (Century 21 Exposition) were science, space and the future. Months before the fair opened, fair organizers urgently sought corporate sponsors to develop educational exhibits that would also showcase their current and future products. The resulting exhibits were a unique combination of popular science, commercialism and entertainment. For example, Ford Motor Company’s “An Adventure in Outer Space” and Boeing’s “Spacearium” were among the most popular fair attractions. Seattle City Light consulted with the various electric utilities in Washington State and together they became the first major industry to sign up as an exhibitor. The end result of this collaboration was the dramatic Pavilion of Electric Power, containing a 40-foot high dam with splashing water and a giant relief map showing the state’s dams.
Seattle City Light also played a key role in fair operations by providing electric power to the grounds. As opening day approached, no one knew in advance the exact amount, timing and location of the power needs. Exhibitors were being signed up right until opening day, and others had not finalized plans to the point where they knew their power requirements. Compounding the challenge, the fairground area had previously been supplied by an overhead line system, which needed to be converted underground without interfering with last minute construction projects.
The fair opened on schedule on April 21, 1962 and closed six months later on October 21st. Nearly 10 million tickets were eventually sold, making the fair a financial success and leaving behind a permanent legacy of public buildings, landmarks and infrastructure at the site now known as the Seattle Center.
The Museum of History & Industry is the owner of the materials in the Sophie Frye Bass Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from MOHAI before any reproduction use. The museum does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.
Bruno J. Benedetti Century 21 Scrapbook, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle