Guide to the Edward J. Orth Memorial Archives of the World's Fair
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0560
Creators:
Orth, Edward J.
Exhibition Collectors Historical Organization
Dates:
1835-2000, undated
1835-2000, undated
Languages:
Collection text is in
English
. Some materials in
Arabic
,
Czech
,
French
,
Hebrew
, and
Spanish
.
Physical Description:
130 Cubic feet
417 boxes, 23 map-folders
130 Cubic feet
417 boxes, 23 map-folders
Repository:
Collection documents the 1939 New York World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. Also includes material relating to other fairs, the Exhibition Collectors Historical Organization (ECHO), New York City tourism and The Walt Disney Company.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Collection primarily documents the conception, planning, construction, management, and operations of the 1939 New York World's Fair located in Flushing Meadows, New York. Materials provide historical context and cultural significance as recorded in publications, artwork, photographs, ephemera, postcards, maps, plans, exhibitor's literature, souvenirs, and motion picture film. Most of the materials were primarily created for people who attended the fair. Some of the materials include scrapbooks created by fair visitors to document their experiences. There is a significant amount of material relating to other fairs, New York tourism, the Exhibition Collectors Historical Organization (ECHO) and the World's Fair Collector's Society. Other forms of entertainment such as festivals, the Olympic games, and Disney World are also found among these materials. There is little information relating to Edward Orth's personal and professional life as a city planner. The collection is arranged into eleven series.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into eleven series.
Series 1, Edward J. Orth Personal Papers, 1915-1989, undated
Subseries 1.1, Correspondence, 1939-1989
Subseries 1.2, Other Materials, 1915-1989, undated
Series 2, Exhibition Collectors Historical Organization (ECHO) and World's Fair Collector's Society, Incorporated Records, 1942-1990, undated
Subseries 2.1, General Information, 1960-1988, undated
Subseries 2.2, Correspondence, 1942-1990, undated
Subseries 2.3, Classified and Wanted Advertisements, 1956-1988, undated
Subseries 2.4, Financial Records, 1976-1989
Subseries 2.5, Newsletters, 1969-1988, undated
Subseries 2.6, Membership Materials, 1970s-1989, undated
Series 3, New York World's Fair, Incorporated Records, 1900-1988, undated
Subseries 3.1, Administrative Files, 1900-1977, undated
Subseries 3.2, Amusement Zone, 1937-1940, undated
Subseries 3.3, Communications and Business Systems Zone, 1939-1965, undated
Subseries 3.4, Community Interest Zone, 1939-1949, undated
Subseries 3.5, Food Zone, 1939-1975
Subseries 3.6, Government Zone, 1939-1940
Subseries 3.7, Production and Distribution Zone, 1939-1940
Subseries 3.8, Transportation Zone, 1939-1940
Subseries 3.9, Ephemera, 1938-1988, undated
Series 4, Photographic Materials, 1939-1968, undated
Subseries 4.1, General, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 4.2, Amusement Area, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 4.3, Business Systems Zone, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 4.4, Communications Zone, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 4.5, Community Interest Zone, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 4.6, Food Zone, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 4.7, Government Zone, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 4.8, Production and Distribution Zone, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 4.9, Transportation Zone, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 4.10, Miscellaneous, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 4.11, Oversize Photographs, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 4.12, Color Slides, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 4.13, Color Transparencies, 1940-1942, undated
Subseries 4.14, Edward Orth, 1967-1968
Series 5, Scrapbooks, 1938-1981
Series 6, Postcards, 1906-1985, undated
Subseries 6.1, Amusement Area, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 6.2, Business Systems Zone, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 6.3, Communications Zone, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 6.4, Community Interest Zone, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 6.5, Food Zone, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 6.6, Government Zone, International, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 6.7, Government Zone, Federal and States, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 6.8, Production and Distribution Zone, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 6.9, Transportation Zone, 1939-1940, undated
Subseries 6.10, General, 1940, undated
Subseries 6.11, By Type, 1906-1985, undated
Series 7, Publications Related to World's Fairs, 1922-1989, undated
Subseries 7.1, Magazines, 1922-1988, undated
Subseries 7.2, Newspaper Articles, 1935-1989, undated
Subseries 7.3, Other Publications, 1937-1989, undated
Subseries 7.4, Other Subjects, 1962-1989
Series 8, Materials Relating to Other Fairs, 1851-2000, undated
Subseries 8.1, Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations or Crystal Palace Exhibition, 1851
Subseries 8.2, Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, 1853-1853
Subseries 8.3, International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures, and Products of the Soil and Mine or Centennial International Exhibition, 1876
Subseries 8.4, World's Columbian Exposition or Chicago World's Fair, 1893
Subseries 8.5, Exposition Internationale D'Anvers, Antwerp, Belgium
Subseries 8.6, Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition, 1897
Subseries 8.7, Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, 1898
Subseries 8.8, Expositions, 1901
Subseries 8.9, Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 1906
Subseries 8.10, Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition, 1907
Subseries 8.11, Alaska, Yukon, Pacific Exposition, 1909
Subseries 8.12, Panama-California Exposition, 1915-1916
Subseries 8.13, Bronx International Exposition of Science, Arts, and Industries, 1918
Subseries 8.14, Sesquicentennial Exposition, 1926
Subseries 8.15, Barcelona International Exposition, 1929
Subseries 8.16, L'Exposition Coloniale, Paris, 1931
Subseries 8.17, Olympics, 1932
Subseries 8.18, A Century of Progress International Exposition, 1933
Subseries 8.19, Expositions, 1933-1935
Subseries 8.20, Expositions, 1936-1937
Subseries 8.21, Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne, 1937
Subseries 8.22, Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939
Subseries 8.23, Festival of Britain, Britain, London, United Kingdom, 1951
Subseries 8.24, Milan Fair, 1955
Subseries 8.25, Exposition Universelle et venti Internationale de Bruxelles, 1958
Subseries 8.26, American National Exhibition, 1959
Subseries 8.27, New York's World Fair, 1961-1977, undated
Subseries 8.28, Century 21 Exhibition, 1961-1962
Subseries 8.29, International and Universal Exposition or Expo 67, 1967
Subseries 8.30, Long Beach, California, 1967-1968
Subseries 8.31, HemisFair 68, 1968
Subseries 8.32, Expo 70 or Japan World Exposition, 1970
Subseries 8.33, Expo 74 or International Exposition on the Environment
Subseries 8.34, Expo 75 or International Ocean Exposition, 1975
Subseries 8.35, American Revolution Bicentennial, 1776-1976, 1976
Subseries 8.36, Queen's Bicentennial Festival, 1975-1976
Subseries 8.37, Plovdiv International Exhibition of 1981 or Expo 81
Subseries 8.38, Kobe Port Island Exposition or Portopia 81, 1981
Subseries 8.39, Knoxville International Energy Exposition or 1982 World's Fair, 1982
Subseries 8.40, Louisiana World Exposition, 1984
Subseries 8.41, Games of the XXIII Olympiad, 1984
Subseries 8.42, The International Exposition, Tsukuba, Japan or The International Science Technology Exposition, 1985
Subseries 8.43, Queen's Festival, 1985
Subseries 8.44, 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication or Expo 86, 1986
Subseries 8.45, World Expo 88, 1988
Subseries 8.46, Universal Exposition of Seville or Expo 92, 1992
Subseries 8.47, Expo 2000, 2000
Subseries 8.48, Other Events and Celebrations, 1886-1989
Subseries 8.49, Combined Fairs, 1968-1994
Subseries 8.50, General information about world's fairs, 1964-1980
Series 9, Ephemera, 1892-1989, undated
Subseries 9.1, New York and New York World's Fair, 1892-1989, undated
Subseries 9.2, Other States and Countries, 1835, 1939, undated
Subseries 9.3, Motion Picture Film and Entertainment, 1937-1981, undated
Series 10, Audio Visual Materials, 1939, 1964-1965, undated
Subseries 10.1, Moving Images, 1939, 1964-1965, undated
Subseries 10.2, Sound Recordings, undated
Series 11, Oversize, 1835-1992, undated

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Edward Joseph Orth grew up with a strong interest in history, particularly the history of the 1939 New York World's Fair. Orth's visit to the fair as a twelve-year-old boy led to a life-long passion of collecting. At the time of his death, he had amassed enough materials to fill two homes in California. Orth also collected materials from several other fairs. In addition, he saved some of the records of the Exhibition Collectors Historical Organization (ECHO) and the World's Fair Collector's Society.
Orth was born April 19, 1927, to Andrew Joseph Orth and Florence Minnie Gordon Orth in Glendale, New York. In the 1930s, the Orth family lived in several locations in New York including Ridgewood, Brooklyn, Glendale, and Queens. The home that made the most impact in young Orth's life came in 1935 when the family moved to St. Albans, Queens seven miles from Flushing Meadow Park, the future site of the 1939 fair. Sadly in 1939 there were several deaths in the family including three grandparents. The severe loss of life limited family social activities but a drive by the future site of the fair provided Orth a glimpse of the Trylon and Perisphere. He would later remark that the sight appeared to be magic. In the summer of 1939, he went to the fair with his classmates from Public School 136. The next summer Orth and his father purchased a 10-admission ticket from an elementary school in Hollis, Queens, New York. He saved every souvenir and any information he could find about the fair. He filled scrapbooks with images from newspapers and postcards from the Curt Teich and Manhattan Postcard companies. When his family moved from an apartment to a house, he acquired a fair bench which was kept in the backyard.
In 1941, Orth attended Newton High School in Elmhurst, and Queens, New York. The high school offered a college preparatory program with heavy emphasis on mathematics, science, mechanical drawing, and workshop courses. Orth's education and training combined with the knowledge he gained from motion picture films viewed at the fair, including Thomas Edison's "The City of Light," Ford Motor Company's "Road of Tomorrow," "Democracy," and General Motors' "Futurama" provided the foundation and inspiration for a career in architecture and landscaping. He ultimately became a city planner for the state of California. By 1943, Orth was exploring used magazine and bookstores in New York City to acquire more fair materials before enlisting in the United States Army in 1945. Upon his discharge he resumed buying and trading fair postcards. From 1948-1953, Orth attended the University of California and the University of Connecticut where he studied architecture and landscape design. During these years he posted advertisements in various publications in his continued pursue for fair materials.
In March 1953, Mr. Orth moved to Los Angeles, California. There he formed lasting friendships with other collectors. By 1967, Orth and several of his closest friends including Peter Warner, Oscar Hengstler, David Oats, Larry Zim, and Ernest Weidhaas conceived the idea of a fair collector's organization. By the summer of 1968, the group had formally created the Exhibition Collectors Historical Organization (ECHO).
As time passed Orth became increasing concerned about the welfare of his collection. He wanted it to go to a museum rather than be sold in parts. In his will he stipulated that the collection would be given to the Smithsonian Institution upon his death. Jon Zackman, former Smithsonian employee, interviewed Orth's brother George and fair collector Peter Warner. Orth and Warner corresponded and traded objects over many years. Mr. Orth primarily covered the west coast area while Peter Warner was his east coast counterpart. Edward Orth died on September 6,1989 in Los Angeles, California at the age of sixty-two.

Administration
Separated Materials
Materials at the National Museum of American History
Artifacts from the collection include several thousand souvenirs and examples of memorabilia commemorating the fair to include buttons and badges, ceramics, glassware, clothing, costume jewelry, coins and medals, commemorative spoons and flatware, toys and games, and philatelic material which are all part of the Division of Home and Community Life's holdings (now Division of Cultural and Community Life).
Processing Information
Collection processed by Jon Zackman, museum specialist, 1989; Ron Simon, intern, 1998; Anne Jones, volunteer, 2014; Franklin A. Robinson Jr., archivist, 2014; and Vanessa Broussard-Simmons, archivist, 2014. Finding aid encoded by Alison Oswald, archivist, 2014.
Author
Vanessa Broussard-Simmons and Jon Zackman

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow. Viewing film portion of collection requires special appointment, please inquire. Do not use when original materials are available on reference video or audio tapes. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Preferred Citation
Edward J. Orth Memorial Archives of the New York World's Fair, Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Related Materials
Materials in the Archives Center
New York World's Fair Collection, NMAH.AC.0134
Landor Design Collection, NMAH.AC.0500
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Subject Category, World Expos, NMAH.AC.0060
Larry Zim World's Fair Collection, NMAH.AC.0519
Alice R. Hillis World's Fair Film, NMAH.AC.0531
Borden Company 1939 New York World's Fair Collection, NMAH.AC.1063
Memories of the New York World's Fair, NMAH.AC.0592
Archives Center World Expositions Collection, NMAH.AC.0825
Daniel H. Meyerson World's Fair Collection, NMAH.AC.0745
Division of Community Life World's Fairs Collection, NMAH.AC.1132
Princeton University Posters Collection, NMAH.AC.0433
Hills Bros. Coffee Company, Incorporated Records, NMAH.AC.0395
Smithsonian Speech Synthesis History Project, NMAH.AC.0417
Messmore and Damon Company Records, NMAH.AC.0846
Thomas Norrell Railroad Collection, NMAH.AC.1174
William L. Bird Holidays on Display Collection, NMAH.AC.1288
Wurlitzer Company Records, NMAH.AC.0469
Victor A. Blenkle Postcard Collection, NMAH.AC.0200
Materials at Other Organizations
New York Public Library The New York World's Fair 1939 and 1940 Incorporated Records, 1935-1945, MssCol 2233.
New York City 1939 World's Fair architectural drawings, circa 1935. Museum of the City of New York. Museum of the City of New York.
New York City 1939 World's Fair Collection, 1939-1940. Museum of the City of New York. New York World's Fair 1939/40 Collection. Queens Museum.
1939 New York World's Fair Postcards, Identifier: 1972-320, Audiovisual Collections Repository, Hagley Museum & Library

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Souvenirs -- 1930-1940 Genre_form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Exhibitions -- 1930-1940 -- New York (State) -- New York Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
World's fairs Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1930-1940 Genre_form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pamphlets -- 1930-1940 Genre_form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Guidebooks -- 1930-1940 Genre_form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Amusement parks--History Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Amusement parks--New York (State)--History Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Architecture--Exhibitions Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Architecture--New York (State)--New York Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Architecture--United States--Designs and plans Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Burlesque shows--New York (State)--New York--1930-1940 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Business history Business enterprises--United States--History Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chicago's Century of Progress Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Construction and civil engineering Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Construction industry--United States--Management--History Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Corporate culture--History Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Corporate culture--United States Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Engineering--History--20th century Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Exhibition buildings – New York (State) – New York Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Exhibition buildings--1920-1940 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Exhibitions -- Design Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Exhibitions -- 1930-1940 -- New York (State) -- New York Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fairs -- New York (State) -- New York -- History Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fashion--History--20th century Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (New York, N.Y.)--History Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Food in popular culture--New York (State)--New York Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Graphic arts--United States--History--20th century Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
International exhibitions Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
International Exhibitions Bureau Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lighting, Architectural and decorative--History--20th century Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Technology -- United States -- History -- 20th century Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transportation--New York Metropolitan Area--Planning Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transportation--New York (State) Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States --Foreign relations --1933-1945 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Urban parks--United States--History Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Urban design Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
World War, 1939-1945 -- Economic aspects -- United States Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Exhibition posters--1930-1940 Genre_form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Consumerism Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Consumers--History--20th century Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Flushing Meadows Park (New York, N.Y.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
General Motors Corporation Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Grand Central Parkway extension Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New York (N.Y.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Organizational behavior--United States--History Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Public relations--History Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New York World's Fair Commission Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Queens (New York, N.Y.) Buildings, structures, etc. Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Genre_form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ephemera -- 20th century Genre_form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Film transparencies Genre_form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motion picture film Genre_form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Posters -- 1930-1940 Genre_form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New York World's Fair (1939-1940 : New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives