About This Site
This web site is a happy confluence of several of my interests: web design, education, Buffalo area history from 1890 - 1910, and the Pan-American Exposition of 1901. In 1999, I began to accumulate photos and documents about the Exposition because of those clever people who invented eBay. Then, as the centennial of the Exposition drew closer, it became apparent that no authorized entity in Western New York was going to present what was clearly, to me, the story people wanted to know. No one was going to try to answer the question, "What was it like to be there?" It seemed that I had an obligation to share what I am learning.
The Pan-American Exposition was a concentrated snapshot of 1901 people, their attitudes about everything and everyone, their social classes, their conflict between religious observances and commercial opportunities, and their happy surrender to the not-so-cheap thrills of the Midway. The Exposition was truly fun, fascinating and educational, expensive for most (too expensive for many), exhausting, and an experience those who visited it would remember the rest of their lives. Think of Disney World and the Erie County Fair combined, and you begin to imagine the 350 acres of the Pan-American.
President William McKinley visited the Exposition in September, as most people know. The day before his assassination in the Temple of Music, he spoke to thousands on the Exposition grounds. The excerpt below sums up why I will continue to 'mine' the microfilms in libraries, buy what I can afford, and gratefully borrow what others offer to share for this site:
"Expositions are the timekeepers of progress. They record the world's advancements. They stimulate the energy, enterprise, and intellect of the people, and quicken human genius. They go into the home. They broaden and brighten the daily life of the people. They open mighty storehouses of information to the student...
"These buildings will disappear, this creation of art and beauty and industry will perish from sight, but their influence will remain...Who can tell the new thoughts that have been awakened, the ambitions fired, and the high achievements that will be wrought through this exposition?"
Exactly. Enjoy this site. Tell your friends. Tell me if you want. History lives!
This site makes every effort to be true to the original source material used, whether it be newspaper clippings, magazine articles, letters, diaries, guidebooks, etc. What this means is that I have not made spelling 'corrections' or 'improvements' on the grammar used; the use of language by 1901 people is important if you want to hear their voices through their words.
I have also avoided censoring the information published here; that is, I have not withheld publication of articles or statements that would, by 2001 standards, appear to offend people of various ethnic or racial groups. 1901 people did not consider themselves racist or slanderous of people who were not white and urban, although you (a 21st century person) will easily be able to see examples where non-white, non-Anglo-Saxon, and rural people were considered legitimate sources of humor, condescension and entertainment. I have permitted 1901 people to speak for themselves. I do not attempt to explain why they thought the way they did. As a thinking human being (you wouldn't be visiting this website if you weren't), you can do that for yourself.
This undertaking could not have progressed without the generous and often enthusiastic support of others who believe the Pan-American Exposition's stories speak to people today. Here they are:
Kerry Grant, Ph.D. - Vice Provost for Academic Affairs & Dean of the Graduate School, University at Buffalo in 2001. A premier Pan-American collector, he has generously permitted me access to materials in his collection that I have not been able to purchase or otherwise locate for use.
Michele Gallant - Senior Staff Assistant to Dr. Grant, University liaison for the Pan-American centennial celebrationin 2001. A self-described 'pan-amaniac', she has searched out items and used her contacts to unearth information that I would not otherwise have found. And she had done so with great cheerfulness.
Patricia Carey - Senior Staff Assistant for the UB Institute for Local Governance and Regional Growth (RIN) in 2001. As a fellow toiler in the web world of communicating, Pat has been encouraging and at times admiring but, more importantly, she has taught me a great deal about the discipline required to organize large amounts of information for the virtual world.
Sue Muller - eBay seller from Ohio who scanned and emailed me an image of the contents of the Pabst concession menu at no charge, so that I could begin to learn how much it cost for visitors to eat and drink on the Exposition grounds. She'll probably never see this, but it was a delightful surprise to find a stranger so open-hearted. Her family had managed the concession in 1901.
Kathleen Brennan - who may or may not be deeply interested in this subject (she isn't saying), but patiently listens to my discoveries and offers valuable feedback on what might interest students of all ages.
Josephine Thiel - a retired Buffalo teacher who taught 4th grade at School 60, for contacting me about the Pan-American memories of Miriam Geismar Tabor
John Bewley and Brenda Battleson, University at Buffalo librarians - for sharing images and information about the Temple of Music and Exposition sharing my desire to make public as much knowledge about the Exposition as we find.
Christine Siwirski - the "spoon lady" of the Pan-American Collector's Society, for immediately coming to my aid in hunting up original selling prices for Pan-American souvenirs.
Bruce McCausland - Buffalo native who has placed online his great-grandmother's diary excerpts from 1901 and has permitted me to link to these very enlightening perspectives on what it was like to continually entertain your out-of-town relatives that summer.
For students needing to place citations in papers referencing this website, the site's title is "Doing the Pan." My name is Susan J. Eck. The site was begun in 2001 and is a work regularly expanded and revised. Its headquarters is Buffalo, NY.
If you require additional guidance on how to attribute this web source, look here.
And you MUST attribute whatever you find here. Information on the web was created by individuals, just as information in paper publications. Do the right thing.