Crystal Palace Exhibition

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CRYSTAL PALACE EXHIBITION (1853), officially known as the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, was held in New York City in 1853. It was the first international exposition held in the United States. Inspired by and imitating London's Crystal Palace exhibition of 1851, a group of New York civic and business leaders, led by Horace Greeley, raised the necessary funds to stage the exhibition; to provide a place for the exhibition grounds, the city leased them Reservoir Square (now Bryant Park). The glass-and-iron structure that housed the exhibition became known as the "Crystal Palace." It was built in the form of a Greek cross and contained almost 250,000 square feet of floor space. Almost half of the 4,854 exhibitors came from twenty-three foreign nations. The opening, set for 1May 1853, was delayed until 14 July because so many of the exhibits were not ready; many did not open until September. This "Iliad of the Nineteenth Century" cost $640,000 and despite popular interest in the exhibition incurred a deficit of $300,000. It closed on 1December; efforts to revive it came to naught. The Crystal Palace was itself destroyed by fire on 5 October 1858.


Findling, John E., ed. Historical Dictionary of World's Fairs and Expositions, 1851–1988. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.

FrankMonaghan/c. w.

See alsoWorld's Fairs .