This collection is intended for research, and deals with world’s fairs from 1851-present with some deliberate exceptions. For additional information about modern and future fairs, you can contact the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) or consult ExpoMuseum.com
Named in honor of the collector and donor of the original collection, the Donald G. Larson Collection on International Expositions and Fairs, consists of approximately 1,600 books and more than 6,500 pamphlets, postcards, photographs, sheet music, and other materials. At present, the collection is not catalogued, although the plan is to have the books catalogued into the Library’s online system as soon as time and staffing allows. There are also lists of all the photographs and postcards. Any researcher interested in the collection is welcome to contact the department for further information.
The collection also includes materials about fairs before 1851 (the precursors to what became world’s fairs and expositions) as well as fairs after 1940 (including fairs never held due to World War II). This Web page contains lists of all the fairs for which we have materials. The lists are arranged chronologically and then by city, with the official name of the fair, as well as any variant names or names for which the fair is more commonly known, denoted by an “x” in front of the name. Photographs for select fairs have been scanned and provided as thumbnail images. These photographs are just a sampling of what we have. All copyright laws are enforced and permission to use any image from our collection in a publication, exhibit, television/cable broadcast, multimedia production, or Web site should be obtained before taking any action.
Gifts of research materials to add to the collection are welcome, as are monetary donations to help support future acquisitions. To discuss any possible gifts or donations, please contact Tammy Lau via e-mail or call her at (559) 278-2595. For more general questions about the collection, please E-mail any queries to Special Collections. The more specific you are, the better we are able to help you. Also, if we know what area you are from, often we can direct you to pertinent resources in your vicinity. Please indicate whether you are able to travel to Fresno to do research or if this is a long-distance request. A phone number is helpful as well so we can call you to discuss your request with you and help you pinpoint what might be most useful for you. Amateur sellers wishing to offer us any materials for purchase should set a price before contacting us. We cannot provide any appraisals or offer a dollar amount. We recommend that potential sellers consult with a reputable dealer in their own area for valuations.