Today’s post will try to convey a sense of what it was like to be a participant of this Expo. I have located plans of the grounds, illustrations of the exhibits, and studied the personal impressions of various reporters and writers.
I will also cover the different groups and categories I have researched in an attempt to locate more about the “Indian” exhibit.
I found the plan for the entire exposition grounds showing where the different countries are located in the main Expo Palace and the locations of the smaller buildings belonging to the various countries. You can click on the image to enlarge it. The shaded area is shown in greater detail below. The River Seine is to the right in the plan. The railroad stations are at the top right, just out of sight. The Royal Entrance is located at the bottom center.
What was it like to be at the Paris Exposition?
This next image is the close-up I made of the shaded area from above along with the section of the legend that applies to it.
I colorized the U.S. sections blue. The Bey Palace (#58) is the red spot on the right. The Egyptian Bazaar was located somewhere in the grey shaded area around “S”. The Ottoman Pavilion (#65, Turkey’s Mosque) is in the red spot in the center.
In the original item mentioning U-ta-wa-un (posted here), these three places are spoken of in the same sentence with him. Since the U.S. outdoor section is located near all these attractions, I speculate he was located here as well. Perhaps where the blue “X” is, or somewhere nearby.
An English light house (72) is located in the green spot at the bottom. You can usually find this landmark easily in the bird’s eye views.
The train station and one of the public entrances is just beyond view in the upper right of the plan. The many people who used this entrance and would have encountered each of these same exhibits along with my friend, U-ta-wa-un, shortly after entering the Expo grounds through that entrance.
- a model of the Suez Canal project (the real one was in the process of being built in 1867)
- Egyptian Temple & Palace
- camels and donkeys
- Mexican Temple
- Chinese Palace and theatre
- Japanese elephants
- restaurants and cafes
- Concert Hall
- International Club
Exhibitors and workers were probably expected to work all day, every day or at least all the hours and days the Expo was open to the public. Still, they would have time to form friendships with some of the foreigners working the nearby exhibits.This may be a bit naïve of me, but I figure those working the exhibits would have stolen bits of time here and there to go exploring. At the very least, exotic visitors from other countries came to them. Participants were always in visual range of the exhibits of many foreign countries. One way or another, all participants would have been exposed to all the different ingenuity and creativity of the world’s people without breaking a sweat.
Where are the Indians?
I attempted to discover our Natives in the printed catalogs and reports produced by our county as well as by France. In order to do so, first I had to figure out what Group and Class their exhibit belonged in. I found mention in the New York Times they belonged to Group 4 – Clothing, Including Fabrics, and Other Objects worn on the person. Only one class under this group seems to be appropriate, class 35 – Clothing for both sexes. U.S. had several shoe and boot makers entered into this class, but no Indians. I did not find any other countries with anything that might be described as indigenous clothing entered in this class. The articles in this class were on display within the main Expo Palace – not the place I would expect to find a village set up. So, despite the fact I am told the Indians were intended for group 4, it seems to be totally inappropriate.
I thought about what types of skills the Indians might be demonstrating and perhaps the finished products might be entered into specific classes. A complete search turned up one possibility, Group 5 – class 41 – Products of the Forest, which included baskets. The French had raw materials and finished goods on display. The U.S. had no entries for baskets or basket making.
The medical practice did have a number of different classes for products and procedures, but I found no mention of American Indian doctors or herbal remedies. I even looked for dentistry to see if my old friend was pulling teeth – nope, at least not on record.
Now, Group 10 – Articles Exhibited with the Special Object of Improving the Physical and Moral Condition of the People and within this group class 92 – Specimens of the Clothing Worn by the People of Different Countries sounds like a good fit. I found lots of wonderful illustrations of the costumes of the different countries and of different occupations, but no American Indians.
The next class in Group 10, class 93, having to do with housing was a vague possibility. The U.S. had a farm house, a school, and a cabin built from Louisiana wood. No Indian village or wigwam mentioned. I found some nice little illustrations titled “The Tents of Different Peoples” – none were American Indian.
So, Class 92 is where I think they should be found. Unfortunately, none of the catalogs and reports make any mention of U.S. entries in class 92. In fact the “General Survey of the Exhibition; with a Report on the Character and Condition of the United States Section” published in 1868, after the close of the Expo specifically states “No exhibitors” for this class. Class 92 was judged with the Norwegians getting the award.
I found no reference to specific exhibits of world costume, but the illustrations are full of costumed peoples of the world. I believe the costumes were worn by the workers brought by the various countries to “man the exhibits” in general. This is perhaps especially true of the workers at the various palaces, temples, restaurants, and cafes outside the main Expo Palace. They were Natives of the country they represented and wore the typical or specialized clothing of their country as part of their daily job at the Expo.
Well folks, I am sorry to say – at this point in my research, I have no idea where the American Indians are hiding, how many are in Paris, or what part they actually play in the Expo.
SOURCE OF ILLUSTRATIONS USED
- L’expostions Universelle de 1867 Illustree, vol. 1, 1867
- L’expostions Universelle de 1867 Illustree, vol. 2, 1867
- Grand album de l’Exposition Universelle 1867: 150 dessins par les premiers artistes de la France et de l’Étranger
See the Kanistanaux Map at Google.
Do you have any information to add or questions?
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