Leanna Gibbens Century 21 Exposition scrapbook, 1961-1964  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Gibbens, Leanna, 1901-1979
Leanna Gibbens Century 21 Exposition scrapbook
1961-1964 (inclusive)
1 scrapbook 14.5 x 12 x 6 inches
Collection Number
Scrapbook of materials, mostly clippings, documenting the Century 21 Exposition
Museum of History & Industry, Sophie Frye Bass Library
Sophie Frye Bass Library
Museum of History & Industry
P.O. Box 80816
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-324-1126
Fax: 206-780-1533
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public by appointment.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Leanna Gibbens was born in North Dakota on December 4, 1901. She graduated from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, where she was a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority and Phi Beta Kappa. After moving to Seattle, she served as president of the Soroptimist Metropolitan club and the Pacific Northwest Bell Telephone Pioneers. She was also active in the League of Women Voters. Gibbens died in Seattle on September 10, 1979.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of one 412-page bound scrapbook with a green and gold cover. The first two pages contain ticket stubs and used ticket booklets. The remainder of the scrapbook is pasted with newspaper articles arranged in chronological order documenting the Century 21 Exposition from the planning and construction stages to closing in October 1962. Later news stories describe demolition and other projects as the fairgrounds became the Seattle Center in 1964.

Newspaper articles with accompanying photographs from the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer describe construction projects, exhibit development, promotional activities, celebrity visits, and opening day events. Photographs include aerial city and construction views. Articles published during the fair give detailed descriptions of specific exhibits, performances, ceremonies, attendance, entertainments and various human interest stories.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

The Seattle World’s Fair (Century 21 Exposition) opened on April 21, 1962 and closed six months later on October 21. Excited news stories and dramatic photographs dominated the Northwest press before and during the fair. Ambitious construction projects such as the Space Needle, Monorail and Washington State Coliseum were completed in a relatively short 18-month time frame, adding to the sense of civic pride and anticipation. Celebrities, politicians and dignitaries traveled to the Northwest for the first time to promote the fair and their visits were documented in local newspapers and magazines. Articles, special newspaper editions and fair memorabilia were avidly collected and occasionally organized into large scrapbooks by area residents.

In the early 1960s, Seattle watched as the Space Needle and massive Coliseum (now Key Arena) took shape on a nondescript, 74-acre urban site just north of downtown. During the Century 21 Exposition planning process, various locations in Seattle were initially considered, but the lower Queen Anne site had been designated for a “civic center” as early as 1919. As the construction projects got underway, some of the oldest apartments and commercial buildings in the city were demolished to create space for the new fairground. When the gates opened at last on April 2, 1962, the throngs of visitors included thousands of Washington residents eager to see the exhibits, ride the Monorail and view Seattle from the top of the Space Needle.

Unlike the construction projects for most previous American expositions, many of the Seattle fairground buildings were intended as part of a long-range plan for a permanent civic center. During the fair, the principal buildings totaled almost 400,000 square feet of space. While some structures were demolished shortly after the close of the fair, others such as the Space Needle, Science Center, Opera House and Coliseum became part of a lasting cultural legacy for the city of Seattle.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

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

Leanna Gibbens Century 21 Exposition Scrapbook, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Century 21 Exposition (1962 : Seattle, Wash.)
  • Fairs--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Seattle Center (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Space Needle (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Geographical Names :
  • Queen Anne (Seattle, Wash.)
  • United States--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Clippings
  • Ephemera
  • Scrapbooks