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Designing Modern AmericaBroadway to Main Street$
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Christopher Innes

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300108040

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300108040.001.0001

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A Century of Progress

A Century of Progress

(p.101) 6 A Century of Progress
Designing Modern America

Christopher Innes

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the involvement of Joseph Urban and Norman Bel Geddes, alongside businessmen and civic leaders, in planning for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. The overarching theme for the event had been decided, reflecting an optimistic view of the twentieth century—“A Century of Progress”—and by the end of the 1920s no one was more clearly associated with modernity and the development of a uniquely American lifestyle than these two designers. Urban, at the height of his career, was just completing the New School for Social Research, which opened in 1930. Bel Geddes had already made a name for his streamlined designs. Appointment to the architectural committee publicly recognized the central importance of their work, as well as boosting it still further. Far from being present simply in an advisory capacity, they were two of the key figures responsible for creating and overseeing the whole layout of the fair.

Keywords:   businessmen, civic leaders, 1933 Chicago World's Fair, overarching theme, optimistic view, twentieth century, Century of Progress

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