World’s Congress Auxiliary Congress of Authors Collection
Scope and Contents
The WCX Congress of Authors collection (WCX-XA) consists primarily of the correspondence of the congress’s Committees of Organization and Cooperation, and the responses of the numerous authors invited to attend and participate in the congress. Some of the most interesting items in the collection concern the committees’ discussion on women’s participation in the congress. Several Congress of Authors committee members believed that literature was the area where “men and women [were] most nearly on a level,” and therefore should be accepted as members of the general committee. Others however, felt that women should continue to be relegated to a separate woman’s committee. Other particularly interesting letters refer to authors’ opinions of the United States – termed “that noisy frog-pond” by Henrik Ibsen -- and Chicago -- [I shall not] “expect ever to go to Chicago - unless it should someday turn out that Chicago is the place we are liable to go to after we die.”
- Creation: 1892-1893; 1926
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1893
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.
Biographical / Historical
The World’s Congress Auxiliary (WCX) of the World’s Columbian Exposition consisted of a series of meetings on almost every scholarly and cultural topic affecting the rapidly changing society of the late 19th century. In contrast to the material excesses of the Exposition, the congresses were organized as a tribute to the intellectual principles of the Fair, i.e., to promote understanding, intelligence and industry in the rapidly changing 20th century.
The Congress of Authors, a division within the Auxiliary’s Department of Literature, was held July 10-17, 1893 in the newly constructed Art Institute of Chicago at S. Michigan Avenue and E. Adams Street. The general object of the congress, as suggested by its organizers, was “to maintain the worth and dignity of Letters, and common interests and welfare of the literary calling.” The congress’s program considered the subjects of literary copyright, the rights and interest of authors, criticism and literature, literature for children, and aspects of modern fiction. A total of thirty-four papers, and six children’s compositions were presented. Over 200 world renowned authors were invited to participate, among them: Henry James, Harriet Monroe, Hezekiah Butterworth, Mary Mapes Dodge, Henry Blake Fuller, Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.
1.5 Linear Feet (in 2 boxes)
Language of Materials
The World’s Congress Auxiliary of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 consisted of a series of meetings, run by 19 departments, on almost every scholarly and cultural topic, and ran concurrently with the Fair from May 15 to October 28, 1893. The Congress of Authors, a division within the Auxiliary’s Department of Literature, was held July 10-17, 1893. This collection consists primarily of the correspondence of the congress’s Committees of Organization and Cooperation, and the responses of the numerous authors invited to attend and participate in the congress.
The WCX-CA is housed in one archival box consisting primarily of the correspondence of the Committees of Organization and Cooperation, and two scrapbooks consisting of the responses of the authors invited to the congress. The collection is arranged alphabetically.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated to the Chicago Public Library on April 17, 1926, by George Woodberry, Secretary of the Committees.
- World's Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.) (Organization)
- World's Columbian Exposition. World's Congress Auxiliary (1893 : Chicago, Ill.) (Organization)
- Woodberry, George Edward, 1855-1930 (Person)
- Guide to the World’s Congress Auxiliary Congress of Authors Collection
- Andrea Telli, 1991. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Johanna Russ, 2021.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English
Part of the Special Collections Unit at Harold Washington Library Center Repository
Harold Washington Library Center, 9th Floor
Chicago Public Library
400 S. State Street
Chicago IL 60605 United States