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New York World's Fair, 1939-1940


  • Becker, Ron. "Hear - and -See Radio: In the World of Tomorrow: RCA and the Presentation of Television at the World's Fair, 1939-40." Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 21:4 (2001): 361-378.
    "Building the World of Tomorrow" marked the first public presentation of television. Fairgoers viewed news broadcasts and boxing matches, but with the U.S. entry into W.W. II, television was not brought into most American homes until the 1950's.
  • Cogdell, Christina. "The Futurama Recontextualized: Norman Bel Geddes's Eugenic World of Tomorrow." American Quarterly 52: 2 (2000): 193-245.
    Norman Bel Geddes, a designer known for his innovations in lighting, set, and theater design, developed 4 exhibits at the Fair. Eugenics formed the basis of Futurama, which showed his idea of the evolutionary hierarchy of the Anglo-American.
  • Cowell, Elspeth. "The Canadian Pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair and the Development of Modernism in Canada." Bulletin of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada (March 1994): 13-20.
  • Cull, Nicholas J. "Overture to an Alliance: British Propaganda at the New York World's Fair, 1939-40." Journal of British Studies 36: 3 (1997): 325-54.
    An integral part of British strategy to promote its empire in the eyes of the U.S. citizens in preparation for war was the British Pavilion at the Fair. President Roosevelt had invited King George VI to attend the fair: this was a big success for U.S.- British relations.
  • Fotsch, Paul Mason. "The Building of a Superhighway Future at the New York World's Fair." Cultural Critique 48 (Spring 2001):65-97.
  • Gelvin, James L. "Zionism and the Representation of Jewish Palestine at the New York World's Fair, 1939-40." International History Review 22 :1 (2000): 37-64.
    One American effort at promoting Zionism in the United States was a Jewish Palestine pavilion at the 1939 Fair, and was an exceptionally contentious display.
  • Groh, Karl F. "Rapid Transit to New York World's Fair I, 1939-40." Headlights 54: 3-4 (1992): 3-9.
  • Hart, Jeffrey. "Yesterday's America of Tomorrow." Commentary 80 (1985): 62-65.
    Hart provides a brief overview of the New York fair asserting that it was the international exposition that was the most successful in conveying the notions of "progress and enlightenment." Its planners had two motives: first, they wanted to show fair goers that the means for overcoming the Great Depression were available, and second, they wanted to showcase and promote democracy.
  • Kuznick, Peter J. "Losing the World of Tomorrow: The Battle Over the Presentation of Science at the New York World's Fair." American Quarterly 46: 3 (1994): 341-73.
    Scientists with the intention of popularizing science as more than just "gadgets, commodities, and magic," were denied an active role in the planning of the New York World's Fair. Scientists and their desire to present "pure science" at the fair were marginalized, thus foreshadowing the "corporate appropriation" of science for military and industrial ends.
  • Marchand, Roland."The Designers Go to the Fair, II: Norman Bel Geddes,the General Motors 'Futurama,' and the Visit-to-the-Factory Transformed." Design History:An Anthology. Ed. Dennis Doordan. Cambridge, MA:MIT press, 1995. 103-121.
  • Nye, David E. "The 1939 New York World's Fair." In American Technological Sublime. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1994.
    Nye refers to the 1939 World's Fair in New York as a "man-made sublime" event, which featured the "marriage of modernism and the vernacular of Broadway." Contributors to the Fair strove to demonstrate that modern technology and science could solve the problems of the world, specifically, the economic crisis of the time - the Great Depression.
  • Swift, Anthony. "The Soviet World of Tomorrow at the New York World's Fair, 1939." Russian Review 57:3 (1998):364-380.
  • Turim, Gayle. "Remembering a Fine Fair." Americana 17:3 (1989): 50-54.


  • Barrington, Thomas M. "A Vision of a Modern Future: a Fantasy Theme and Rhetorical Vision Analysis of the New York World's Fair of 1939." M.A. Thesis: Southwest Texas State University, 1992.
  • Cusker, Joseph P. "The World of Tomorrow: the 1939 New York World's Fair." Ph.D. Dissertation: Rutgers University, 1990, 1992.
  • Frydrych, Valerie Ann. "Building the Consumer of Tomorrow: Social Messages of the Spectacle at the 1939 New York World's Fair." Smith College, 1992.
  • Hagan, Carol A. "Visions of the City at the 1939 New York World's Fair." Ph. D. Dissertation: University of Pennsylvania, 2000.
  • Morshed, Adnan. "The Aviator's (Re)Vision of the World: An Aesthetics of Ascension in Norman Bel Geddes's Futurama." Ph. D. Dissertation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2002.
  • O'Malley, Christine Grace. "The ‘Design Decade' and Beyond: American Industrial Designers and the Evolution of the Consumer Landscape from the 1930s to the 1950s." Ph. D. Dissertation: University of Virginia, 2002.
  • Post, Pamela Lee. "East Meets West: The Model Homes Exhibits at the 1939-40 New York and San Francisco World's Fairs." Ph. D. Dissertation: University of California Santa Barbara, 2000.
  • Scullin, Kevin. "All the World's a Film: Multimedia Exhibits at the 1939 New York World's Fair." M.A. Thesis: Western Washington University, 1999.
  • Todd, Jesse T. "Imagining the Future of American Religion at the New York World's Fair, 1939-40." Ph. D. Dissertation: Columbia University, 1996.
  • Zimnica, Elizabeth. "Making History: Poland at the 1939 World's Fair in New York." M.A. Thesis: Queen's University [Canada], 1999.


  • Gelernter, David Hillel. 1939: The Lost World of the Fair. New York: Free Press, 1995.
    This work is a historical piece, but is told through fictional characters and dialog. It is based on contemporary literature of the fair, modern works, and personal interview with visitors. Includes photographs as well as a bibliography.
  • Handley, Susannah. Nylon: the Story of a Fashion Revolution: A Celebration of Design from Art Silk to Nylon and Thinking Fibres. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.
    Nylon was first introduced at the 1939 World's Fair.
  • Martins, Rui Cardoso. Nova Iorque, 1939. [Portuguese] Lisboa: Expo '98, 1996.
  • Museum of the City of New York. Drawing the Future : Design Drawings for the 1939 New York World's Fair. New York: Museum of the City of New York, 1996.
    This work accompanied the exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. It includes a brief overview of design at the 1939 fair and a catalog of the forty works that were chosen for the exhibition. Biographies of the artists are also included.
  • Portnoy, Mitchell, F. Mineral Day at the 1939/40 New York World's Fair. New York: New York Mineralogical Club, 2000.
  • Schnaffer, Ingrid. Salvador Dali's Dream of Venus: the Surrealist Funhouse from the 1939 World's Fair. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2002
  • Smith, Terry. Making the Modern: Industry, Art and Design in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.
  • Swan, Claudia, ed. 1939: Music and the World's Fair. New York: Eos Music, Inc., 1998.
    This work accompanied the Third Eos Music Festival which focused specifically on music from the 1939 world's fair. The music chosen for this fair is significant in that it allows us to view the "state of the world" just before it was plunged into the most transformative war in history. Along with music, areas such as art, architecture, and the "World's Fair Puppet Theater" are covered. Photographs are included.
  • Van Dort, Paul M. 1939: New York World's Fair Photo Collection. Sparks, Nev.: Paul M. VanDort, 2002.

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