Century 21 Collection, 1959-1963  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Title
Century 21 Collection
Dates
1959-1963 (inclusive)
Quantity
2 boxes , (1.33 cubic feet)
Collection Number
2010.3.20 (accession)
Summary
Guidebooks, ephemera and souvenirs from the 1962 Settle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).
Repository
Museum of History & Industry, Sophie Frye Bass Library
Sophie Frye Bass Library
Museum of History & Industry
P.O. Box 80816
Seattle, WA
98108
Telephone: 206-324-1126
Fax: 206-780-1533
library@mohai.org
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public by appointment.

Languages
English.


Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection includes a variety of souvenir material commemorating the fair, including guidebooks to the fair and to Seattle; local and national magazines with articles about the fair; and souvenir placemats, stamps and envelopes, and picture books of the Fair. Official reports document the fountain contest, planning of the Fair, the U.S. Science Exhibit, and Seattle Center in the year after of the Fair. Ephemera includes tickets to various fair areas and events; clippings about the fair, organized by subject; menus and maps; and flyers and brochures.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

Over 10 million visitors attended the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair (Century 21 Exposition) from April 21 to October 21, 1962. The 74 acre Exposition site was a mile north of Seattle’s downtown business area, and the grounds were divided into: World of Science, World of Tomorrow, World of Commerce and Industry, World of Art, World of Entertainment, Show Street, Gayway, Boulevards of the World, Exhibit Fair and Food Circus. Besides the Space Needle and Monorail, the Fair also featured a Skyride that ran across the grounds from the Gayway to the International Mall. Over 2500 live performance events were held during the Fair in various entertainment venues.

Century 21 press coverage included exposure in publications and broadcast media in every state. Over 2.5 million pieces of promotional materials were distributed. Tourist and collectible items of every type were produced by individual entrepreneurs and companies. Over 200 songs were written about the Fair, and over 50 recorded on vinyl disc. Fair related songs were sold as souvenir music sheets and recordings. Nearly 100 tunes were submitted to fair management in the hopes of becoming the official tune.

The fairground construction and renovation projects involved years of city planning, but several projects, including the Space Needle, Monorail and Washington State Coliseum were completed in a relatively short 18-month timeframe. More than half the structures built for Century were torn down when the fair ended in October 1962, but the fair left behind numerous public works, including the Coliseum, Monorail, Space Needle, Opera House, Center House and Science Pavilion. As originally planned, the new “Seattle Center” became a lasting cultural heritage for the region.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View selections from the collection in digital format here.

Restrictions on Use

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.

Preferred Citation

Century 21 Collection, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

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

Tickets and programsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1-3
Tickets
1962
1/4
Opening ceremonies
1962
1/5
Second Annual Conference of the Peaceful Uses of Space
1962
1/6-8
Gracie Hansen presents Barry Ashton’s “A Night in Paradise”
Includes press release and photograph of Willa Baty
1961
1/9
Seattle World’s Fair Civic Appreciation Ceremonies
1962 April 19
1/9a
"World of Harmony," barbershop singing performance
1962 July 8

Guides, brochures, books Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/10
Official Guide to Seattle Center
circa 1962
1/11
Century 21 Exposition: A United States World Exposition
circa 1962
1/12
Century 21 Exposition
circa 1962
1/13
Northwest Art Today: Adventure in Art Catalog of the Fine Arts Exhibition at the Seattle World’s Fair
circa 1962
1/14
The Spirit of Seattle by Harold Mansfield
1961
1/15
Alweg Monorail: the fascinating story of the world’s most modern transportation system
1962
1/15
2013.59: Alweg Monorail Technical Data
1962
1/16
Paris Spectacular Wax Museum
circa 1962
1/16b
2013.99: Your Adventure on Seattle's Space Needle
1962

ReportsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/17
Report of Seattle Civic Center Fountain Contest
circa 1961
1/18
Report of Century 21 Commission
1961
1/18
U.S. Science Exhibit Final Report (U.S. Department of Commerce)
1963
1/19
“The First Year,” report on Seattle Center’s operation in the first year following the Century 21 Exposition
1963

MagazinesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/20
The Argus Annual Collector’s Edition: A World’s Fair Comes to the Northwest
1962
1/20b
Time magazine
Including article on the Century 21 Exposition, pages 60-65
1962 April 27
2/1
Architecture West
1962 August
2/2
Cascades, magazine of Pacific Northwest Bell
1962 April
2/3
Sunset Guide to the Pacific Northwest
1962
1/21
Inserts and covers from Time, Architectural Record, Business Week and Alaska Sportsman
1961-1962
2/4
Saturday Evening Post
1961 November 25
2/5
Camping Trails featuring camping at the Seattle’s World’s Fair
1962 May
2/9
Life Magazine, "Fabulous Fair in Seattle"
1962 February 9

SouvenirsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/6
Souvenir placemats
circa 1962
1/22-24
Stamps and envelopes
First day issue stamps and collectible envelopes from the Fair, and a page of Space Needle stamps.
circa 1962
1/25
Souvenir metallic print of Science Center
circa 1962
1/26
Souvenir mailable photo albums
Small (approximately 2” x 3”) albums of 10 color photographs from the Fair, with back cover printed for mailing.
circa 1962
1/27
A Souvenir Picture Book of Washington, Seattle and the Seattle World’s Fair
circa 1962
1/27
Souvenir mailable box: “World’s Largest Cake”
Small box containing sheet of paper with information describing “Paul Bunyan’s 25,000-pound birthday cake” on display at the Fair
1961
1/27a
Circular guide showing distances and routes from Seattle to various U.S. cities
1962
1/27b
Set of five sound postcards
Five photo postcards with 33 1/3 rpm sound recordings cut into front of card.
1962
1/27c
Computer demonstration printouts
Includes a printout from the Bendix Computer Division demonstration reading "Congratulations. This ends a demonstration of how a computer is used to study the learning processes of man. This demonstrations was prepared in cooperation with the System Development Corporation, Santa Monica, Calif. and Bendix Computer Division of the Bendix Corporation, Los Angeles, Calif." Also includes a printout from a demonstration by NCR.
1962
1/27d
Four Viewmaster reels
Each disc contains 7 color photographs (2 images for each) to be viewed in "three dimension." Discs are titled: .1: Monorail & Fairgrounds; .2: Night--Space Needle; .3: Architectural Wonders; .4: The Amazing Exhibits.
1962
Box
3
Seattle Times World's Fair Souvenir Edition
Eight sections of a special edition of the Seattle Times reporting on various aspects of the Fair, such as "Space Age Frontiers," "Modern Living," and "City of Tomorrow."
1962 April 8

Press and advertising Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/28
Brochures promoting advertising opportunities
1962
1/29
Official Press Book, Seattle World’s Fair
1962
1/29b
2018.17.1: Century 21 Countdown newspaper, Vol. 1, No. 1
4 pages
Century 21 Countdown newspaper, Vol. 1, No. 2 is part of MOHAI collection 2010.82.
Summer 1959

Photographs and drawings Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/7
Children playing in fountain
circa 1962
2/8
People sitting on lawn with arches in background
circa 1962
1/30
Nine 4 x 5 contact prints of monorail and 6 contact prints of official visits, including Richard Nixon
circa 1962
1/31
Aerial view
Color half-tone reproduction
circa 1962
1/31b
Five women dressed in ethnic costume holding oversized Century 21 admission ticket
8 x 10 in.
The women are dressed in the traditional clothing of Norway, Greece, Japan, Sweden and China.
circa 1962
1/32
Drawings
2 Century 21 themed single frame cartoons (reproductions); 1 white on black drawing reproduction of monorail
circa 1962

EphemeraReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/33-46
Clippings
Clippings filed by subject under the following headings: Attendance, Science Center--Schedules—Special Events, Problems Fair and Post-Fair—Security, Staff and Fair Employees, Personalities, Leading up to World’s Fair (also closing of Fair), Building for Fair, Foreign Exhibits/ Foreign Visitors, World’s Fair Attractions, Admission—Rides, etc., Monorail—Transportation, Shows—Opera House, etc., Post-Fair Activities, Seattle Center (Post Fair).
circa 1961-1963
1/47
Menus
Menu from Hofbrau Haus; circular Eye of the Needle drinks menu.
circa 1962
1/48
Maps
Rand McNally Official Map of Seattle and the World’s Fair (2 copies) and Rand McNally Detail Map of the Seattle World’s Fair
circa 1962
1/49
Brochures-general fair
7 items
1962
1/49
Brochures-"See the Rest of the great Northwest"
Brochure from the Union Oil Company of California, with illustration of the Union 76 Skyride on cover.
1962
1/49a
2017.20.1: Brochures -" Hear Billy Graham at the World's Fair"
Card advertising event at Memorial Stadium with Billy Graham, Cliff Barrows and Geo. Beverly Shea.
1962 July 8
1/50-50a
Brochures-Exhibits
Pavilion of electric power, Japanese Pavilion, Swedish Pavilion, “Canned Salmon,” water-wheel generator, “Seattleite” concept car, 1962 Fords, Jaguar automobiles, Peace Corps, "The American Home of the Immediate Future" from the United State Plywood Corporation, Sermons from Science, Richfield Oil Company. Also, promotional brochures from various countries, presumably from exhibits, though without specific reference to Century 21: Taiwan, Brazil, Thailand, Mexico, and Berlin, Germany.
1962
1/51
Postcards and preprinted letter
Includes pre-printed “letter” in envelope describing the fair, to be addressed and signed by the individual; and a postcard advertising the Plaza Restaurant, with pre-printed message on front and menu on verso.
1962
1/52
Century 21 stickers
1962
1/52
Pink Centex ribbon
1962

MiscellaneousReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/53
Letter to Fair President Joseph Gandy from Chicago National Safety Council thanking Century 21 officials for accident prevention at the Fair
circa 1963
shelf
5a.4.9
2011.60.1-2: LP records of "The Canadian Tattoo," Hartley Records
circa 1962

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Century 21 Exposition (1962 : Seattle, Wash.)
  • Fairs–Washington (State)–Seattle
  • Geographical Names :
  • United States–Washington (State)–Seattle
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Ephemera
  • Photographic prints
  • Souvenirs