Losing the World of Tomorrow: The Battle over the Presentation of Science at the 1939 New York World's Fair

PETER J. KUZNICK American University

IN EARLY 1937, WATSON DAVIS DIRECTOR OF SCIENCE SERVICE, America's leading science news service, expressed the hopes of many members of the scientific community' when he stated: "The coming [19391 New York World's Fair should be a major opportunity for . . . science popularization.` That a fair with the stated theme of "Building the World of Tomorrow" could be predicated on anything but science, seemed inconceivable to many scientists. But Davis's public optimism masked scientists' growing apprehension that fair officials intended to devalue science's contributions to social progress and deny scientists a meaningful role in planning the fair. Subsequent developments partially confirmed these forebodings. Although the fair did ultimately venerate "science," those scientists most committed to popularization battled ineffectually as their understanding of the meaning and social uses of science and consequent approach to its popularization were ignored by corporate exhibitors, who narrowly defined science in terms of gadgets, commodities, and magic.'

Once satisfied that science would be given its proper due at the fair by corporate exhibitors, they parted company with fair critics and ceased to question the details of science's presentation. Clearly, by the late 1930s, science represented a force of tremendous actual and symbolic consequence in American life. Yet it was a force whose purposes and meanings were sharply contested. The struggle over its presentation at the 1939 New York World's Fair (NYWF) helps clarify a fundamental ongoing shift in American culture. As Warren Susman argued, world's fairs have represented "rites of passage" for Amecican society; they ease the transition to new ways of life with their own values and appropriate forms of social organization. From this vantage, the 1939 NYWF can be viewed as a struggle between conflicting visions of an emerging "culture of abundance," a struggle in which the corporate vision with the public as relatively passive, .though highly entertained, consumers dwarfed the scientific reformers' alternative, which, despite its own brand of elitism, envisioned citizens as informed participants in shaping, the emerging world of tomorrow.' In the culture at large, as at the fair, the scientists' vision offered meager resistance to corporate planners. The nascent consumer culture already suffused with advertising irrationality and awash in a flood of fragmented, decontextualized information found little use for either scientists' social vision or science's presumed rationality.

Still, the progressive scientists' challenge seriously disturbed fair officials, who feared the scientists could discredit their enterprise. Their attempts to ignore, mollify, or co-opt scientific critics repeatedly failed. The enormous chasm between the scientific reformers' view of science and the corporate view of science proved unbridgeable. Science had become too Potent a force of both legitimation and empowerment to allow for compromise. And scientific reformers' resolve had been hardened since the scientists' movement, out of phase with the earlier rise and decline of most reform and radical currents of the 1930s, was just peaking in the late 1930s, when the fair was being planned and executed. But the business community, having rebounded from its loss of power and prestige earlier in the Depression, proved equally determined to control the presentation of science to achieve its own goals.

Hence, beneath the fair's public veneer of festivity, carefully reticulated structure, and thematic coherence seethed heated debates reflecting profound political differences. Overall, the fair's presentation of the role and nature of science mirrored trends in the broader culture, where corporations had increasingly appropriated the imagery and dominated the practice of science and aggressively encroached upon the more independent realm scientists had earlier carved out and struggled to maintain.' As scientists fought to play a greater role in the fair and grappled with the problems of presenting pure science and the scientific method to a mass audience of fairgoers, they received a sobering object lesson in their declining power to shape either the direction or public perception of science in modem America. Alienated from both the corporations and the fairgoing public, scientists found themselves relegated to a marginal role in a fair that ostensibly trumpeted science's triumphs.

For some scientists, this setback at the fair represented more than just a blow to status and prestige. In the years prior to the fair, an important transformation had occurred within the scientific community as significant numbers of scientists repudiated the conservatism so recently characteristic of their profession and embraced a new ethic of responsibility that encouraged their participation in social and political reform efforts. Under the influence of this emerging scientists' movement of the late 1930s, many scientists had begun to rethink the relationship of science to society and to conceive forms of social organization better able to exploit science's potential.' The corporate domination of science at the fair rankled these newly politicized scientists, who perceived the gulf between their vision of socially responsible science and the corporate vision of mystified and commodified science, especially those convinced that scientific rationality represented the best antidote to fascist irrationality. Stirred by their antifascism and broader reform agenda, these progressive scientists seized control of and reinvigorated the languishing popularization movement. But the fair proved largely impervious to their efforts; it represented a lost opportunity to combat pernicious social tendencies and to promulgate their new vision of science and society.

Not all scientists took umbrage at corporate domination of fair science. Some of the more conservative scientific leaders, having sedulously cultivated closer ties with industry since the early 1920s, expressed scant concern over the fair's celebration of corporate science. Unlike the reformers, most of whom welcomed more federal funding of science, the conservatives feared that federal funding would politicize science and looked, instead, to business and philanthropic! support. Domination of science and popular culture had not become so entrenched that it could go unchallenged, 'an important group of politically conscious scientists threatened to expose the nature of this evolving corporate hegemony based, in part, on corporate appropriation of still contested symbols. Looking at the fair from this vantage, with the science popularizers representing a heuristically significant if, in practice, relatively weak counterhegemonic force, illuminates some of the more subtle ways in which science and culture bolstered capitalist power on the eve of the Second World War.'

Previous studies of the fair, some of which have deftly explored aspects of the corporate manipulation of science and technology in the celebration of consumerism, have generally overlooked the emergence of such important oppositional voices during the fair's planning. For the most part, such studies have assumed that the broad stratagems and specific blueprints drawn up by fair planners, industrial designers, and corporate exhibitors went effectively unchallenged.' That none has appreciated the subversive role played by science popularizer reflects, in large part, the longstanding failure to understand the deep political splits that rocked the scientific community during the latter half of the 1930s. 10 When articulate oppositionarl voices are overlooked, the resulting one dimensional views of the fair tend to reinforce consensus interpretations of this important transitional period in American history that presume more social and political harmony than actually existed."

Shifting Attitude toward Science Popularization

The scientific community's attitude toward science popularization underwent a significant transformation during the 1930s. The steady postwar ascent of scientists' status and prestige slowed abruptly in the early 1930s as a public searching for causes of the Depression blamed irresponsible scientists for creating technological unemployment. Scientists feared that growing public disfavor with technology was being used to justify deep cuts in scientific employment and research funds. Spokesmen for the scientific community almost all of whom still maintained university, not corporate, affiliations expressed particular alarm. Many felt a new urgency to convince a skeptical public of science's contribution to knowledge and material progress in order to guarantee a continued flow of research funds. As Davis admitted, "One of the chief objectives of science popularization ... is to convince the public that continued and ample support of scientific research is a proper and profitable function in the world in which we live."13

Not all popularizers, however, adopted this tack. Some, fearing that the profusion of scientific knowledge had created a dangerous disjunction between the scientific and popular approaches to life, viewed science primarily as a method and conceived their mission as educating the public in the scientific world view. Little consensus existed, even among scientists, about the precise nature of the scientific method. But most popularizers believed that, whether viewed as a more rigorous form of common sense or a specific set of operations, the scientific method represented the apogee of human reason. Emphasizing the need to help the public reach this intellectual plateau, biologist Benjamin Gruenberg, director of science education for the American Association of Adult Education (AAAE) and author of the 1935 book Science and the Public Mind, spearheaded a national campaign to upgrade the scientific competence of the American people.`

Despite such efforts, the quantity and quality of science popularization actually declined in the early 1930s as scientists increasingly abdicated responsibility to journalists and professional popularizers. 16 However, after the decade, scientists evinced a renascent interest in science popularization, which coincided with the most feverish stage of NYWF planning. Occurring several years after science had successfully rebounded from its early Depression doldrums, at a time when the most rancorous antiscientific sentiment had abated, this wave of popularization focused almost exclusively on the need to spread scientific thinking to the general public. In 1938: the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) established a Committee on the Improvement of Science in General Education, which conducted a study of science teaching in colleges. The association arranged with NBC for a series of weekly radio broadcasts titled "Science Everywhere" (in addition to its ongoing "Science on the March" series), established a special committee to make science speakers available for semipopular addresses, and contracted for a series of books on science for the lay public. Given their abhorrence of fascism and their desire for meaningful social reform, these scientists breathed new life into the progressive equation of science with democracy. Watson Davis, who only two years earlier had defended science popularization primarily as a safeguard against cuts in research budgets, now told an audience in mid\_ 193 8, "In these perilous times for so many areas of the world, we can not reaffirm too often that the scientific way is the democratic way. The methods of science will make democracy work if they find their way to the public,"19 When Ordway Tead, chairman of the New York City Board of Higher Education, addressed the February 12, 1939, meeting of the LBCDIF, he similarly maintained that the future of democracy depended on spreading the scientific attitude, which he saw as the "only antidote we know to that retreat from reason which in Europe is threatening civilization itself" 20

From this new vantage, many progressive scientists rejected old methods of science popularization that relied upon the sensational to titillate audiences with science's magical powers; they argued that such portrayals, by encouraging public credulity, actually increased susceptibility to irrational appeals. Gruenberg had earlier warned that popularization emphasizing the "spectacular and exciting" might "condition this public to further exploitation of its credulity and pave the way for quacks and frauds who can reinforce their blandishments with the magic words supplied by 'science;"21 Harvard geologist Kirtley Mather agreed and noted the widening "gulf . . . between the handful of scientific investigators and the great majority of individuals [created] a great danger that a new credulity is developing which is not greatly different from the old superstition," Astronomer and AAAS permanent secretary F. R. Moulton stressed that the association's "Science on the March" series had deliberately avoided presenting science as magic and "breathtaking discoveries or scientists as heroes. "Such methods," Moulton insisted, "would violate the very spirit of science and encourage beliefs in magic not only in science but also in all the affairs of life."23

While today there exists a substantial and growing literature desacralizing science, challenging its "objectivity" and democratic pretensions, and exposing the socioeconomic, gender, and institutional bases for the construction of scientific knowledge '24 during the 1930s, few questioned the superior epistemological status of the scientific method or the disinterestedness of scientists. Social scientists from John Dewey to Robert Lynd reinforced belief in the uniqueness of the scientific method and sought to apply it to a broad array of social problem solving. The public welcomed such applications. As a writer in the Atlantic observed, "the scientific method has obtained immense prestige in the eyes of the layman."25 Scientists did little to disabuse the public of this notion. Physiologist Ralph Gerard articulated the selfserving view of many scientists when he described the scientific "habit of mind" as "the flowing river that deposits a rich alluvial delta of newmade wisdom."26

Those who affirmed the importance of the scientific method to a democratic polity in the 1930s almost universally adopted the corollary belief that diligent application of the scientific method held the key to solving the broad range of seemingly intractable socioeconomic problems plaguing the nation. Most also believed that science underpinned the material abundance upon which social progress depended; they argued, in turn, that such scientific advance required increased funding for pure research. This formulation provided some common ground among the various approaches to science popularization and helped account for leftwing popularizers' seemingly odd conflation of pure research and social responsibility.

These beliefs formed the core of an evolving cluster of ideas that constituted the foundation of the emerging scientific world view, a world view that existed in uneasy tension with the dominant capitalist culture. Scientific reformers repeatedly pointed to the glaring contradiction between the universal material abundance made possible by science and technology and the rampant poverty created by existing means of production and distribution. In a major AAAS address, Chemistry and the Future," Columbia chemist Harold Urey, who placed second to Cannon in the December 1938 election for AAAS president, endorsed measures "to profoundly modify our social and economic institutions" in order to spread "abundance to many people and not to the privileged few only."27 Reformers particularly blamed laissez faire economics in this regard and called for the adoption of social and economic planning. Believing themselves motivated by the search for knowledge and social betterment, they looked contemptuously upon the greed and personal self-aggrandizement that seemed to motivate so many of their fellow citizens. Science writer George Gray astutely observed: "There is in many a scientist's attitude a gesture of repugnance toward moneymaking as a practice inconsistent with intellectual integrity.'"28 Speaking at the Mellon Institute in May 1937, Urey explained scientists' indifference to personal enrichment and corporate profit by identifying the social goals he believed really motivated scientific endeavor: "We wish to abolish drudgery, discomfort, and want from the lives of men and bring them pleasure, comfort, leisure, and beauty."29 As committed internationalists who saw the international community of science as the model for world peace and cooperation, Urey and other scientific reformers also repudiated nationalism and the participation of scientists in weapons-related research. 30 While sorne of these beliefs had been held by scientists for decades, the full cluster had only recently congealed into a coherent and oppositional world view; this led large numbers of scientists to conclude that the dominant culture inherently frustrated and even thwarted the achievement of science's potential. Under the influence of these ideas in the late 1930s, many scientists became politicized; some became radicalized. Those most radical rejected capitalism entirely and agreed with their more consciously Marxist British colleagues that corporate control of science sabotaged its true mission.

Upon his election to the AAAS presidency, Cannon, a socialist widely known for his outspoken antifascism as head of the Medical Bureau to Aid Spanish Democracy, issued an inaugural statement that succinctly expressed the beliefs of scientific reformers and popularizers when he implored his fellow scientists to spread "the spirit of the truth seeker" throughout "our distressed world," a spirit that "stands for tolerance as opposed to bigotry, for the welfare of all mankind as opposed to exclusive national and racial interests, for fighting the foes of humanity misery, ignorance and disease as opposed to human slaughter by human beings who abominably pervert scientific discoveries31

Thus, by the late 1930s, with science popularization perceived as integral to Popular Front antifascism and reform, a remarkable overlap had developed between scientific activists and popularizers. As a 1939 ACDIF fund-raising appeal stated, the committee "will support all measures designed to make science ... available to the public, in the firm conviction that the spread of knowledge will contribute much to weaken the effectiveness of anti-freedom and pro-war propaganda."32

Despite the sudden ascendancy of leftist and liberal scientists in the late 1930s, the power and influence of scientific conservatives did not entirely evaporate. Nobel prize-winning physicist Robert Millikan and engineer Frank Jewett, for example, remained steadfast in their advocacy of laissez-faire economics and closer ties between scientists and the corporate world. Millikan employed his version of the scientific method to attack Marxism and decry the shortsightedness of redistributionist reform schemes that proposed taxing the middle class to aid "the Mexican who works one day and then loafs till his food supply gives out and then works another day." Jewett, the research director for Bell Telephone Laboratories, used the scientific method to condemn radical social experimentation. Jewett's election to the presidency of the elite National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 1939 represented a forceful counterpoise to Ciinhon's election to the mass-based AAAS months earlier. Still firmly in control of the NAS and most other basic institutions of science and generally satisfied that adequate levels of research funding had been restored, the more conservative scientists took little part in the late 1930s resurgence of science popularization.

The Exclusion of Scientists from World's Fair Planning

The 1939 NYWF, whose planning and execution coincided exactly with this heightened interest in science popularization, appeared to represent a rare opportunity to educate millions of people in the method and social importance of science. But those science popularizers who harbored great expectations in this regard were quickly disappointed. Unlike the recent 1933 Century of Progress Exposition (COPE), which featured science and directly involved scientists in exhibit planning, preliminary planning for the 1939 NYWF virtually ignored science and excluded the scientists To some extent, this reflected the declining status of the scientific community in the interregnum between the two fairs. Scientists had been invited to participate in the Chicago fair of 1933-1934 just prior to the election of Herbert Hoover, the "Great Engineer," at a time when their prestige and influence had reached new heights. With the onset of the Depression, their position deteriorated. Racked by unemployment and the loss of research funds and blamed for technological unemployment and social irresponsibility, the scientists' status declined. Secre tary of Agriculture Henry Wallace publicly chastised them for their apathy. Sociologist Read Bain branded them "the worst citizens of the Republic." President Roosevelt, joining the critics in 1936, alleged: "In respect of the impact of science and engineering on human life social and economic dislocations as well as advance in productive power-- the facts are revealed with distressing clearness in public records of unemployment, bankruptcies, and relief. Scientists complained about their exclusion from New Deal jobs programs. Their frustrating participation on the president's short-lived Science Advisory Board (1933-1935) only underscored their inability to influence events during these crucial years. And while scientists' frustration mounted, corporations steadily increased the amount of applied scientific research conducted at corporate laboratories and encouraged corporate image makers to appropriate the symbolism of science for corporate purposes. As a result, fair planners could bypass the scientists with an impunity inconceivable a few years earlier.

Hence, from its inception, the NYWF offered little to encourage the scientists' hopes. It had originally been conceived as a straightforward business venture, inspired by the financial success of the 1933 Chicago fair. A group of powerful New York businessmen, who had been meeting informally for six months to discuss schemes for revitalizing the local economy, decided that a Chicago-type fair afforded the best prospect. They calculated an immediate infusion of one billion dollars into the New York economy. with a spin-off effect of ten billion dollars more. The fair's theme had been grafted on as an afterthought.

The board of directors chose Grover Whalen, a renowned promotional genius with conservative political and social instincts, as fair president and spokesman. Had the board made a deliberate effort, it could probably not have chosen someone further removed philosophically and temperamentally from the growing number of socially conscious scientists. As New York City's official greeter for fifteen years and as the city's administrator for the National Recovery Administration, Whalen orchestrated some of the era's most spectacular ticker-tape parades. When his longtime employer, Wanamaker's Department Store, lent him to the city in 1929 for a two-year stint as chief of police, he introduced a broad range of reforms, including the country's first anticommunist "Red Squad" and unprecedented levels of police brutality. In the uproar over these tactics, Whalen retreated to Wanamaker's, whose large display windows became a favorite target in subsequent political demonstrations.16 Whalen's 1955 autobiography, Mr New York, unabashedly details his 1937 trip to Italy; he complains about his exhaustion from incessantly giving the fascist salute and recounts his successful meeting with Mussolini, whom he ' convinced showcase the achievements of his regime at the NYWF.

Scientists quickly became aware of their exclusion from fair planning. In early November 1936, Newcomb Cleveland wrote to Whalen objecting to "the apparent omission of 'science' from consideration in connection with the plans for the Fair." Cleveland warned the AAAS about the situation. When C. Stuart Gager, director of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, publicly questioned board of design chairman Stephen F. Voorhees in early December about the fair's inattention to science, Voorhees conceded, the present plan is to have science recognized 'only in its applications."' In alerting the leaders of the scientific community, Gager conveyed his displeasure to AAAS president E. G. Conklin: "I do not, of course, need to go at all into any statement or argument concerning this for 1 believe that all those interested in the. progress of science would be of one mind as to the seriousness of omitting to recognize science and not merely through its practical applications .

Others shared Gager's outrage. Conklin expressed "amazement" and promised to present the matter to the AAAS council as well as to the World's Fair Commission .39 NAS president Frank Lillie sought the aid of Jewett, who had recently chaired the Science Advisory Committee at the Century of Progress Exposition. Jewett met with fair officials who admitted having overlooked fundamental science in their eagerness to exhibit applied science but promised to consider ways to remedy the situation. Skeptical of the reformers' criticisms and sharing little of their agenda for science popularization at the fair, Jewett expressed satisfaction with fair planners' response.and felt scientists should "avoid recommending the impossible when attempting to exhibit fundamental science in a. thing like a World's Fair.40

When, despite their assurances to Jewett, fair officials still took no meaningful steps to address the scientists' concerns, Gerald Wendt, director of the American Institute of New York City, called a meeting of representatives of scientific bodies for July 13, 1937. Thirty attended. Wendt reported on his conference with Robert Kohn, chairman of the Committee on Theme, who had informed him that fair authorities had no intention of erecting a science building but sought some means of integrating science within the commercial and governmental exhibits that comprised the bulk of the fair. Most in attendance rejected such an arrangement and agreed with Harold Urey, who, in demanding a separate science building, insisted that portraying a world of tomorrow based on anything other than science represented a ridiculous undertaking. Oscar Riddle, a leader in the popularization effort among biologists, concurred that science must be the centerpiece, of any vision of the future. The fair, he argued, must increase popular understanding of science; it must not simply represent the interests and attitudes of business.'41

While participants at the meeting reached no consensus on how to present science, they all felt that since science represented the key to the world of tomorrow, it deserved to be treated in its own right as well as dispersed throughout the fair. The next day, Watson Davis sent a telegraph to a fair official to indicate that the meeting's "dorninant note was criticism of lack of science plans by fair and opposition to idea expressed in latest fair booklet that industry now has all information necessary to build world of tomorrow which scientists feel is quite erroneous and part of misinformed anti-scientific propaganda."42 Hoping to avoid an open rift with the scientists, world's fair officials invited Gerald Wendt to join the fair staff as a consultant in charge of science. Wendt, a formerly prominent University of Chicago research chemist turned educator and popularizer, appeared to be an ideal choice for the job. Having served as assistant research director for Standard Oil of Indiana in the early 1920s and later having directed research for General Printing Ink Corporation, he understood the needs of corporate exhibitors. Intellectually and politically, however, he shared the concerns of his progressive scientific colleagues, whose left wing views he had increasingly adopted in recent years. Under his aegis, the American Institute became actively involved in promoting the science and society movement and encouraging scientists' participation in social problem, solving. Shortly after joining the fair staff, Wendt told a large audience at New York's Town Hall that "The social consequences of science are so dreadful to people because of that mutual blindness between scientists and society."43 During his tenure with the fair, his politicalcommitments intensified. In early 1939, he became a sponsor and active member of the New York branch of the ACDIF. Later in the year, he fought against the efforts of John Dewey, Sidney Hook, and their Committee for Cultural Freedom to drive a wedge between liberals and communists in the radical movement. In August, Wendt joined some four hundred other individuals, many of whom were prominently\ identified with communist causes, in signing an open letter "To All Active Supporters of Democracy and Peace," which forcefully con demned efforts to cause a schism within the antifascist Left by equating the Nazi and Soviet threats to the United States.'

Wendt initially conceived his role in the fair in unrealistically broad terms. Seeing himself as science's voice in the fair, Wendt intended to "coordinate all official and industrial exhibits from the science point of view, and ... insure so far as possible the complete presentation of science!' Assuming his new position on January 1, 1938, Wendt quickly assembled a distinguished Science Advisory Committee (SAC), with Albert Einstein as honorary chair.` Wendt simultaneously drafted a preliminary plan for science at the fair. But after innumerable" meetings with fair planners, industrial exhibitors, and representatives of the scientific community, he recognized that the obstacles in his path might prove insurmountable. "Any plan now presented must be a compromise," he reported, "since it must be constructed at a time when the major commitments of the World's Fair have been made, so that constructive planning can involve only minor changes or must require unexpected financing ." Nonetheless, he outlined a plan for integrating science throughout the fair that, if fully adopted, offered a last chance to mollify the scientific community and mitigate its growing ire.

According to Wendt's plan, the focal exhibits would all present the story of science's impact upon society. In addition, the fair would sponsor a special science exhibit that would elaborate on this theme by emphasizing the "new factors in present civilization which will determine the future with some forecast of that future." This exhibit would also house those basic sciences that would otherwise be ignored and stress the philosophy and method of science. Wendt hoped the industrial exhibits, over which the fair could exercise less control, would alsohighlight science in a manner somewhatconsistent with the fair'stheme. Wendt's guarded optimism stemmed, in part, from his beliefthat the Hall of Science at the 1933 fair set a precedent for exhibits designed "to build good public relations rather than to promote products."46 As Wendt put it in his June 24 report to Kohn: "The\ industries are featuring their competence in science and research as their chief claim to public trust and prestige."47

The case of Du Pont's participation in the fair suggests the complexity of motives and interests with which Wendt had to contend. Du Pont officials had expressed no interest in participating in the 1933 fair despite persistent efforts by fair organizers to involve the company. In 1934, however, four members of the Du Pont family were called to testify before Senate hearings on wartime profiteering by munitions manufacturers and publicly vilified as "merchants of death." Needing to refurbish the company's badly tarnished image, officials began a large-scale public relations drive; they hired the firm of Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn (BBD&O), launched the popular weekly radio show "Cavalcade of America," and produced major exhibits at museums and expositions, including the NYWE Du Pont's "Wonder World of Chemistry" at the fair, designed by Walter Dorwin Teague, deliberately avoided technical details unfamiliar to the public as it extolled the contributions of chemistry to modem living and displayed the marvels of Du Pont chemical products such as nylon. Most major chemical firms, however, chose not to participate in the fair in any capacity since they did not sell directly to the public; this caused Wendt to complain privately of their "backwardness."49

Fearing that the proposed diffusion of science throughout the fair would tend to mute its presence, Wendt recommended several means to guarantee its accentuation, including special guided science tours, a science information service at the fair, a series of pamphlets that would focus on science's cultural value, a book on science at the fair, and a series of international scientific conferences to which the world's leading scientists would be invited. Wendt clung to the hope that the fair would make a major cultural contribution: "Unless it is to be a fair to end world's fairs," he wrote, "it should be a strong educational force, ,should send the visitor home with new visions and ideals, and thus should have a profound influence on the outlook, and hence the history, of the country." He added the caveat that, in order to achieve such grandeur, the fair would have to "overcome the growing public conviction that the purpose of this fair is wholly commercial."50

On March 24, 1938, Wendt sent a progress report to participants at the previous July's conference; he expressed confidence that the SAC's competence, coupled with "the earnestness of the officials of the World's Fair in desiring to provide the maximum possible representation for science," had effectively addressed their concerns.51

Wendt's enthusiasm reflected, in part, his excitement over the dizzying prospect of reaching a primary audience expected by Whalen to surpass sixty million and a secondary one, through advertising and promotion, of hundreds of millions more. With its own newsreel, film, radio, and public relations departments, the fair promised to be the greatest media event of the decade. In addition, Wendt's Department of Science and Education planned special tours for students and organizations. The New York area public schools added courses on the fair to their regular curricula, which were to be taught based on educational guides provided by the fair. Local colleges offered three-credit courses on the fair. Special world's fair clubs were established in high schools and colleges.

While Wendt's vigorous efforts appeased some of the more moderate critics whose initial disapproval had been based on scientists' exclusion or science's threatened invisibility, not all leaders of the New York scientific community shared Wendt's optimism. Nobel prize-winning chemist Harold Urey, the discoverer of deuterium, who was probably New York's most prominent scientist at the time, refused to temper his criticism. In early 1938, Urey, a spokesman for the scientific Left who, would soon play a leading role in both the ACD1F and the AASW, rejected Whalen's invitation to join the SAC on the grounds that it was now too late to accomplish anything meaningful at the fair; he explained that had he been invited a year earlier he would have served enthusiastically. "I myself and many of my friends," Urey wrote, "feel rather critical toward the way that Science has been handled in the Fair." Urey chided fair officials for ignoring scientists in the planning process: "As a result we find that the map of the Fair as at present laid out gives us no place for pure scientific work at all." He objected to wasting space on the Trylon and Perisphere instead of a science building. "The world of tomorrow," Urey charged., perhaps naively, "will be built by ideas and not by meaningless symbols such as 'a sphere with a long shaft beside it."52 Critics, he warned, would harshly judge the fair's neglect of serious education: "It seems to me that the New York Fair will be very severely criticised, and very justly so, for managing its affairs entirely on a commercial basis and not from the standpoint of an educational program."" As if bearing out Urey's warning, high school principals and science teachers besieged Whalen in early 1938 with letters expressing dismay over the fair's cavalier attitude toward science education .

The National Association of Science Writers, at its April 27 meeting expressed similar concern over the seeming neglect of science at fair and passed a resolution instructing association president Waldemar Kaempffert, the extremely influential New York Times science editor, convey the association's misgivings to Whalen. In his letter to Whalen, Kaempffert who, unlike Urey, had joined the fair's SAC applauded Wendt's efforts to correct this "deplorable error on the part of the Fair's planners," but contended the space allotted to Wendt remained "utterly inadequate." Unless fair officials moved quickly to improve this situation, he chided, the San Francisco fair would certainly "outstrip the New York Fair in its presentation of science ."55 In an earlier letter, Kaempffeft accused Whalen of having "overlooked the responsibility of a World's Fair in the direction of education of the people who attend X' in his efforts to make it a "commercial success." The fair's\ decision to ignore pure science particularly irked Kaempffert, who angrily reminded Whalen that "the new things in the world of tomorrow will come from pure science which cannot be classified under any particular industry at the present time."16

KaempfFert added teeth to this private communique with a strong Times editorial on "Science and the Fair." Discounting fair officials' continued insistence that they lacked the space for a science building, Kaempffert urged that the area recently vacated by Nazi Germany be utilized. Science displays "should not be left to the industrial companies alone." Kaempffert argued. For at this "critical juncture ' " elucidation of science's social consequences and research method was paramount." In a book that appeared during the fair, Kaempffert, a leading member of the ACD1F and an enthusiastic backer of AASW popularization efforts, reiterated this crucial point: "If democracy is to save itself," he wrote, "the scientific outlook, the scientific method of detached appraisal of facts and situations, must become part and parcel of the common mind."51

Although criticisms voiced by Urey, Kaempffert, Riddle, Wendt, and other leaders of the New York scientific community were rarely couched in political terms, close reading reveals a political subtext that evidences a transformation in the thinking of the scientific community. In the late 1920s and early \ 1930s, national leaders of the scientific establishment had collaborated enthusiastically with COPE officials in planning the Chicago fair. Chicago-area scientists assisted in preparing exhibits. Eager to cement their growing ties to the corporate world, these scientists endorsed the fair's intention of highlighting the contributions of science in collaboration with industry. Few questioned the troubling implications of the fair's theme, as expressed in the official guidebook: "Science Finds_Industry Applies_Man Conforms." Critics of the NYWF, however, were commonly members of the highly politicized New York scientific community, which had been the seedbed of the scientists' antifascist movement. The most outspokenincluding Urey, Riddle, Kaempffert, and Wendt explicitly aligned themselves with left-wing causes and movements in the latter part of the decade and shared varying degrees of the anticorporate sentiment that pervaded these circles. Their repeated condemnation of the fair's commercialism and neglect of serious science education reflected their new values. Even their insistence on displaying "pure" science represented a repudiation of the fair's fixation on applied scientific research conducted largely by corporate laboratories and came to signify a broader demand for socially responsible, as opposed to commercially exploitative, science. Hence, for these critics of the fair, the qualitative issues surrounding the presentation of science outweighed the quantitative ones concerning the amount of science displayed.

A brilliant publicist and promoter, Whalen realized that such criticism could prove devastating and could saddle the fair with a reputation for crass commercialism. Thus, sensitive to the scientists' criticism, fair planners proposed a compromise; they offered to convert part of an existing structure into a hall for scientific and educational displays. But they refused to provide funds for the exhibits.

Science at the Fair

These exhibits eventually took shape as the science wing of the Science and Education focal exhibit, one of the seven fair-sponsored focal exhibits intended to provide conceptual and thematic coherence to each zone's disparate private exhibits.' While most of the focal exhibits showed how science and technology had improved life over the past 150 years, only the science focal exhibit explicitly showcased the scientific method and the urgency of its application to all aspects of modem life. In describing the exhibit, Wendt revealed a faith in valuefree science that was both epistemologically naive and historically unfounded in this exhibit the Committee will show the secret of success of science. Science has been so successful in its attack on nature and in solving the great problems of the universe because it has used always the precise experimental method of testing its ideas, of proving its conclusions, and has accepted these conclusions whether they were pleasant or unpleasant, whether they agreed with previous ideas or not. Science has never allowed emotion or personal prejudice to interfere with its logical thinking.61

Despite Wendt's efforts, the Science and Education focal exhibit, much like science education throughout the fair, proved to be a grave disappointment. The exhibit, cosponsored by the AAAE, failed to secure any funding until March 1939, at which point the Carnegie Corporation of New York pledged thirty-five thousand dollars to the science wing.62 When finally opened to the public on May 27, almost a month after the start of the fair, the exhibit was still incomplete. Even at its best, the exhibit\_consisting of an overhead model airplane, slides, and transparent murals offered meager competition for the carefully planned and abundantly financed private exhibits. 63 Wendt's initial report complained that due to layout, location, anti design, the building failed to arouse public interest and achieve the educational mission that was so central to his hopes for the fair.' In August, when the Department of Science and Education outlined special tours of the fair for elementary and high school students, it chose not to include a visit to the Science and Education Building in any of its two-day programs, not even the two-day tour especially designed for high school students with an interest in science.

Initially, Wendt and the SAC envisioned incorporating pure science within the science focal exhibit. But, by August 1938, it had become apparent how limited this focal exhibit would be. In July, Clark University biologist Hudson Hoagland informed fair officials that the San Francisco World's Fair, which was essentially a regional exposition that received far less input from large corporate exhibitors, had invited his colleague Gregory Pincus to contribute an exhibit on developmental physiology as part of an extensive exhibit in basic science being prepared by the University of California. Hoagland suggested that the exhibit be duplicated for the NYWE In his reply, Wendt expressed his admiration for the San Francisco Fair's decision to assign so much space to science and regretted that New York had not done the same and would have to turn down the exhibit. "I wish that our situation were analogous," he wrote, "but it is not.... The Fair, as such, will make almost no effort to do any real educational work in science itself."67 Still, many visitors viewed the fair as a celebration of science and welcomed the reassuring scientific future the fair promised. But this was not the scientists' science--it was corporate science, advertisers' science, magicians' science, and entertainers' science.\

Industrial exhibits dominated the fair's landscape. Most technically conformed to fair specifications not only by incorporating and occasionally even highlighting science68 but often by attempting to explicate the scientific principles underlying industrial technique. In the hands of these industrial corporations, however, science translated into applied science and was presented to the public in the form of commodities, technology, gadgets, and magic, all wrapped in thaumaturgic reassurances that, if given free rein, corporate wizards could conjure a future of happiness and abundance." Corporate exhibitors commissioned industrial designers, not scientists, to plan the exhibits."

The fair was clearly an exercise in mechanolatry; it represented the greatest affirmation of technological faith in a decade ambivalent about the fruits of technological promise. Many exhibitors drew large crowds by displaying futuristic machines. AT&T introduced Voder, a synthetic human-speech device. Borden demonstrated its automatic cow-milking Rotolactor. RCA, GE, Westinghouse, and Crosley provided many with their first glimpses of television." Westinghouse also offered Elektro, a colorful robot who smoked cigarettes and walked and talked on command. Those interested in space travel could choose between two different rockets.

In some exhibits, science took concrete shape as new commodities. Du Pont unveiled its synthetic wonder fabric "nylon," "lucite," and "butacite," a plastic whose elasticity made it ideal for safety glass. Kodak paraded its latest generation of cameras; Goodrich, its canvas shoes, rubber raincoats, shower curtains, and gloves. The Hall of Industrial Science displayed plexiglas and crystallite. In a somewhat different vein, GM's fabulously popular Futurama offered visitors the illusion of traversing the American landscape of 1960, observing modem streamlined vehicles navigate futuristic highways, and visiting a model Corbusian city.

Other exhibits mystified science through dramatic effects. GE's House of Magic was the master of special effects with its ten millionvolt bolts of man-made lightning hurled across a thirty-foot gap with accompanying booms of thunder. In GM's science show, an induction coil, which had no effect on a fragile violet, raised an iron frying pan to a temperature that fried an egg in an instant. GM's "talking flashlight" propelled sound across an auditorium on a: light beam. Using a screen coated with phosphorescent material, a GM "scientist-magician"72 shook hands with his own shadow, slapped it on the back, and rolled it up and put it away. GM also showed wool being made from milk and stockings from coal. Du Pont's modern-day alchemists dipped an ordinary teaspoon into a series of washes turning it to gold in a demonstration of electroplating. The Westinghouse exhibit included a "scientific curiosity shop" in which one could operate a grid glow tube and light a lamp by passing one's hand near a polished metal ball. An "electron gun" shot electrons into gas where they were seen as a luminous stream against a dark background. Or one could witness music transmitted across the room on a ray of light by means of selenium cells. And even those exhibits by Du Pont and GE that demonstrated laboratory techniques relied more on wizardry than education .73 While the mighty Oz, 1939's most famous wizard, might advantageously have hired BBD&O to recoup his sullied reputation, those at the NYWF appeared to be doing quite well on their own.

In an episode that presaged the fate of science education at the fair, Einstein rejected his own best judgment and participated in elaborate opening ceremonies staged to illuminate the fair with cosmic rays. The entire affair proved to be a comedy of errors. Only the first few words of Einstein's five-minute talk on cosmic rays could be understood by the crowd as a faulty amplification system, combined with Einstein's thick German accent, rendered his words incomprehensible. Then, fair officials and participating scientists set about to capture the ten rays needed to provide the requisite power, in a feat described as "modem temple magic."75 Ringing bells and flashing lights signaled the capture of each ray. But when the tenth ray was captured and the switch thrown to illuminate the huge light on the Trylon, the electrical system overloaded, which caused a power failure. Disappointed, the crowd turned its attention to the color, light, and sound display in the Lagoon of Nations. As the New York reported the scene: "The crowd dropped science in favor of a spectacle that they could applaud."76

But while science played a limited educational role at the fair, its entertainment value reached new heights. Joseph Wood Krutch counseled Nation readers to avoid the tiresome educational and cultural exhibits, but applauded the "showmanship ... so good ... that science and industry provide spectacles which could easily compete with acrobats and trained seals of a conventional circus. 1,77 In analyzing th popularity of GE's House of Magic, Business Week found that "not many in the packed audiences, understood the significance of the tricks they saw performed with thyratrons and stroboscopes. But they came away thrilled, mystified, and soundly sold on the company." 78 Most exhibit designers apparently shared Walter Dorwin Teagu'e's belief that the average visitor to the fair had his "mental receptivity" reduced to that of a twelve year old and planned accordingly.79 Admittedly, not all exhibits used science simply to mystify. In one midway show, the Congress of Beauties, Yvette Dare trained a macaw named Einstein to remove her bra to the beat of tom-toms from the neighboring Seminole Village.80 Not surprisingly, those, like Wendt, who had been committed to the fair's educational mission were sorely disappointed. Fairgoers refused to follow the painstakingly devised routing patterns designed to maximize the educational aspects of the fair. With the exception of the Democracity theme exhibit, the focal exhibits were generally bypassed in favor of the more spectacular commercial exhibits and the Amusement Zone."

Perhaps Ham Fisher's Joe Palooka cartoon of March 19, 1939, captured the education versus entertainment dilemma best. Joe Palooka goes to see Grover Whalen who takes him on a preview tour of the fair and expounds eloquently with big words on the fair's themes, its tribute to "man's ingenuity!" the Trylon and Perisphere and other examples of architectural creativity. Whalen: "And so we have seen the actual life of all peoples the past and the future of transportation, communication, production, health, social welfare, arts, religion, and the fruits of civilization." Joe Palooka: "Uh why er uh." Whalen: "I guess you'll have to admit it's the most complete exposition the world has ever seen. What would you say is the most important angle?" Joe: 'Vell ub if youse don't mindyouse aint menshunt ONE hot dog er soda pop stand." The final frame shows a puzzled Whalen scratching his head as Joe walks through the exit and waves goodbye."

In attempting to use the fair as an educational medium, science popularizers and other social reformers also ran headlong into the problem of mediating their efforts through an essentially commercial enterprise. Despite all the ballyhoo about commitment to the fair's theme, most observers remained skeptical. Life called it a magnificent monument by and to American business."84 The fair was also a monument to consumerism. An Esquire editorial captured this best: "The essence, the true import of the Fair ... lies in its unique ability to stimulate trade and commerce; its influence on style, customs, buying habits ... is a 'shot in the arm' with permanent ramifications."85 When the New Yorker ran an editorial entitled "They'll Never Be the Same Again," the projected change was not the shift in thought patterns from superstition to science but in consumer tastes from old buying habits to new ones. 86 Whalen, a former president of the New York Advertising Club, admitted candidly to club members that, if successful, the fair "would be the advertising precipitant for the next 3 to 5 years, the sales stimulant of the decade, and the advertising agencies' own laboratory."87 No wonder that New Republic editor Bruce Bliven retracted his December 1938 prediction of a democratic and visionary fair and charged that he had been "sucked in by Mr. Whalen's publicity department," and he even dismissed the focal exhibits as a "salesman's dream of democracy."88 Apparently, in the view of corporate planners, citizens would participate in that exalted world of tomorrow not as socially conscious, scientifically grounded decision makers but as a consumers within mass society.

Having entrepreneurs disregard the fair's stated principles irked more than just the scientists. The New Jersey Pharmaceutical Association denounced the use of pharmaceutical symbols in connection with the so-called Hall of Pharmacy. One past president commented: "We thought it was going to be a scientific exhibition, but instead we find it commercialized by hideous signs advertising proprietary products."89' A similar complaint was voiced by the twenty_one members of the Advisory Committee on Consumer Interests who resigned en masse when they were denied a voice in moderating some of the more egregious commercialism. Walter Lippmann accused GM's Futurama of another form of deceit: "General Motors has spent a small fortune to convince the American public that if it Wishes to enjoy the full benefit of private enterprise in motor manufacturing, it will have to rebuild its cities and its highways by public enterprise."90

The task of science popularizers was further complicated by individuals such as Whalen, whose commitment to self-promotion far exceeded his commitment to the social ideals of the fair. Much of the\ prefair advertising consisted of photos of the dapper fair president with scantily clad women. On a promotional tour of the, Midwest in July 1939, Wendt was infuriated to learn that most of the public relations work done with midwestern media still focused on Whalen himself. Wendt insisted that Whalen not be featured in future fair publicity. In a communique from Illinois, Wendt quoted the editor of the Peoria Journal Transcript who said he "never saw a louzier [sic] job of publicity.... When Grover Whalen smiles it may be news in New York, but we just don't give a damn."91 Apparently, the public relations staff had been faithfully carrying out the instructions of the fair's first\ director of publicity who told them: "We've got just one thing to sell at this fair--Grover Whalen ."92

As a final insult to the sensibilities of socially conscious scientistswith conditions rapidly deteriorating in Europe and Asia and the world on the brink of war--fair officials banned all discussion of the international crisis. Radio news reports, which had initially been broadcast over the fair's publicity system, were no longer permitted." Ironically, the fair tried to ignore politics at precisely the moment when many American scientists realized that to do so was to court disaster.

The ban on politics proved unenforceable. In October, the ACDIF held a panel discussion on racial prejudice in the Little Theater in the fair's Hall of Science and Education. Speakers included Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace, anthropologist Franz Boas, sociologist Hadley Cantril, and Assistant Superintendent of Schools for New York City William A. Hamm. Engineer Walter Rautenstrauch chaired the meeting. Convinced that a scientifically educated public would repudiate racism, the speakers systematically refuted the racist beliefs that proliferated in American society and affirmed the scientists' special responsibility to educate the public. During the discussion, when asked about the effect that cuts in the school budget were having upon such educational efforts, Hamm deplored what he considered the hypocritical attitude of the many businessmen who participated in the fair. While supporting Chamber of Commerce efforts to reduce expenditures on public education. "The World's Fair," Hamm objected, "is costing New York City seventy million dollars for the interests of the business men who are interested in saving three or four million dollars in education."91

Although Wendt, who identified with the Left and participated actively in antifascist and antiracist efforts, was put in the awkward position of having to defend the commodification and mystification of science at the fair by commercial exhibitors, he revealed his real feelings in his 1939 book Science for the World of Tomorrow, timed to appear simultaneously with the fair's opening. While valuing the industrial applications of science, Wendt emphasized that, in a democratic civilization, the top priority was to make science an integral part of an American culture in which science was understood and lived, not merely applied and consumed. Echoing the warning repeatedly voiced by politically active scientists in recent years, Wendt cautioned: "the age of science is not yet here. So long as science is thus set apart, so long as we are interested only in its products and not in its methods, those products will be used unscientifically, sometimes for good, sometimes for ill." Only the integration of the principles of science into everyday thinking offers the "prospect of a final conquest of stupidity that will compare with our conquest of nature."95

Wendt and the socially conscious scientists' hopes for the fair proved as unrealizable as their vision of a world of tomorrow has proven unattainable. Despite their efforts to extricate science from corporate Awerica and to recast its image as a socially responsible, democratic, and potentially liberating forcce--a beacon for a society floundering both politically and econornically--the corporate vision of a mystified and commodified science prevailed at the fair as it had in society at large.

It is ironic that a fair ostensibly devoted to celebrating the achievements of science should so dramatically exclude the scientists and downplay the vision of science embraced by most scientists who took an active interest in the fair. Fair planners and corporate exhibitors implemented their own clearly defined agendas, which conflicted with, and superseded, those of scientists, who had long since lost any monopoly over the imagery, display, or uses of science. The desire of most science popularizers to present science as pure and socially responsible, free from the taint of corporate imagery and commercial manipulation, proved incompatible with the purposes of those who set policy for the fair. Realizing this, mon scientific activists refocused their efforts in 1939 away from the fair to the ACD1F and AASW, organizations more limited in access to the public but otherwise better suited to the scientists' educational and political objectives.

Even if these science popularizers had been given the opportunity to implement their plans for the fair, there is little reason to believe they would have succeeded in overcoming the enormous obstacles they confronted. Their relative powerlessness at the fair saved them from having to grapple seriously with the difficulties of science education in such an environment. The disappointing science focal exhibit and the embarrassing Einstein cosmic rays fiasco suggest the enormity of the task of converting a world's fair into an educational forum. The problems they and others encountered would ramify far beyond the confines of the fair over ensuing decades. For in many respects, the fair represented a microcosm of America's emerging culture abundance, a culture thoroughly infused with both business values and commercialized mass entertainment, in which public discourse would increasingly take the form of entertainment or show business." 96 As Lewis Mumford, who participated in early fair planning before withdrawing in disillusionment, astutely observed in 1938, "The metropolis itself may be described as a World's Fair in continuous operation." While the scientists also sought a culture of material abundance, theirs they believed would enshrine rationality and critical intelligence, values glaringly absent firm the corporate vision of America. Advertising, a form of communication deeply ensconced in deception and psychological manipulation, was already ubiquitous. The expansion of electronic media, especially television, with its fragmented, decontextualized, narcotizing glut of information, would further blunt critical thought." Fittingly, perhaps, the commercial introduction of television in America began with the broadcasting of President Roosevelt's address to open the fair.

The world of tomorrow appeared sooner than most anticipated in 1939. Postwar reconstruction ushered in an era of technologically based prosperity in which the military would join industry in usurping the symbols of science and the labors of a growing proportion of its practitioners. The utopian promise of that imagined future, however, would go largely unrealized.99 But, given the benefits of economic expansion and the demands of ideological conformity, fewer and fewer citizens would question the fundamental assumptions buttressing postwar capitalism. Critics would more commonly chip away at its excrescences. Many scientific activists, for example, channeled their efforts into curbing the nuclear arms race. Fewer challenged the more fundamental transmogrification of science that allowed it to become the servant of the emergent military-industrial complex. Postwar American power and prestige would rest, in large part, on the superiority of American science and technology. The equation of science and democracy, once so central to the progressive scientists' fight against fascism, would be gradually transformed into an essential component of the ideology of cold war anticommunism.100 And, despite progressive scientists' persistent attempts to ward off these incursions against their vision of science and society, they found themselves largely unable to resist the encroachment of such powerful forces. Hence, the process of corporate appropriation set in motion during the interwar period and epitomized by the conflict over the presentation of science at the fair foreshadowed the domination of science by the military-industrial complex, which would use science for purposes once disdained by the scientists who fought unsuccessfully to have a voice in the 1939 NYWF.


1. For the purposes of this article, 1 will define the scientific community broadly to include not only natural scientists, medical researchers, and engineers but also those science popularizers and journalists who helped shape the public perception of science and its practitioners. Although sharp differences often existed among the various constituents of this community, this article emphasizes the unifying factors that set the scientists off from the rest of society, both in their own minds and in popular perception. James McKeen Cattell adopted a similarly broad approach in his authoritative American Men of Science. See J. McKeen Cattell, Preface to the First Edition," in American Men of Science: A Biographical Directory, ed. J. McKeen Cattell and Jacques Cattell (New York, 1938), v. 2. Watson Davis, "The Popularization of Science," 4 Feb. 1937, Science Service Papers, Smithsonian Institution Archives. 3. For fuller discussion of critical issues in science popularization, see Ronald C. Tobey, The American Ideology of National Science, 1919-1930 (Pittsburgh, Penn., 1971); John C. Burnham, How Superstition Won and Science Lost: Popularizing Science and Health in the United States (New Brunswick, N.J., 1987); Marcel C. LaFollette, Making Science Our Own: Public Images of Science, 1910-1936 (Chicago, 1990); David J. Rhees, "A New Voice for Science: Science Service under Edwin E.\ Slosson, 1921-29" (master's thesis, University of North Carolina, 1979); David J. Rhees, MeChemists' Crusade: The Rise of an Industrial Science in America, 1907-192T' (Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, f987); Bruce V. Lewenstein, Public Understanding of Science' in America, 1945-1965" (Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1987). 4. Leonard S. Reich, The Making of American Industrial Research: Science and Business at GE and Bell, 1876-1926 (New York, 1985); George Wise, R. Whitney, GE, and the Origins of American Industrial Research (New York, 1985); David Hounshell and John Kenly Smith, \ Science and Corporate Strategy: Du Pont R&D, 1902-1980 (New York, 1988). 5. Peter J. Kuznick, \ Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists as Political Activists in America (Chicago, 1987). 6. Warren 1. Susman, "Ritual Fairs," Chicago History (fall 1983):7. 7. For a fuller discussion of the "culture of abundance" concept, see Warren 1. Susman, Culture as History: The Transformation of American Society in the Twentieth Century (New York, 1984). Several of the trends discussed in this article are more fully developed elsewhere. For insight into the nature of developing consumer society, see Richard Wightman Fox and T. J. Jackson Lears, eds., The Culture of Consumption: Critical Essays in American History, 1880-1980 (New York, 1983); Roland Marchand Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920\_1940 (Berkeley, 1985); and T. J. Jackson Lears, "Some Versions of Fantasy: Toward a Cultural History of American Advertising, 1880\_1930," (1984): 349\_405. See David Nye, Image Worlds: Corporate Identities at General Electric (Cambridge, Mass., 1986) for a probing discussion of corporate image making. On the 1939 NYW17, see the articles in Helen A. Harrison, ed., Dawn of a New Day: The New York World's Fair, 1939\-1949 (New York, 1980), especially WarreR 1. Susman, "The People's Fair: Cultural Contradictions of a Consumer Society" and Joseph P. Cusker, "The World of Tomorrow: Science, Culture, and Community at the New York World's Fair." Also see Robert W. Rydell, "The Fan Dance of Science: American World's Fairs in the Great Depression," Isis 76 (Dec. 1985): 525\_42; and Joseph P. Cusker, "The World of Tomorrow: The 1939 New York World's Fair" (Ph.D. diss., Rutgers University, 1990). 8. For insightful approaches to the concept of hegemony, see T. J. Jackson Lears, "The Concept of Cultural Hegemony: Problems and Possibilities," \fs17 \f1 \i American Histori\-cal Review \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 90 (June 1985): 567\_93; and Raymond Williams, \fs17 \f1 \i Marxism and Literature \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (New York, 1977).\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi192 \tx192 9. See, in particular, Susman, "People's Fair"; Rydell, "Fan Dance"; and Jeffrey L. Meikle, \fs17 \f1 \i Twentieth Century Limited., Industrial Design in America, 1925\_1939 \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (Phila\-delphia, 1979). While Susman pays little attention to contested visions of the fair during the planning stage, he brilliantly examines the dialectic between popular acceptance of and popular resistance to the fair's vision once it had opened.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li206 \tx206 10. See Kuznick, \fs17 \f1 \i Beyond the Laboratory.\par \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \qj \fi192 \tx192 11. For a traditional consensus interpretation of the 1930s, see Richard Hofstadter, \fs17 \f1 \i The Age of Reform: From Bryan to FDR \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (New York, 1955). For a cultural interpreta\-tion that draws similar conclusions, see Warren 1. Susman, "Culture and Commitment," in Susman, \fs17 \f1 \i Culture as History.\par \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \qj \fi192 \tx192 12. With rare exceptions, the American scientific community was dominated by males throughout the interwar years.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li81 \tx81 \tqr \tx6363 \tqr \tx6413 \tab 13. Watson Davis, "The Public Be Informed," \fs17 \f1 \i Technology Engineering New \_\par \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \li81 \tx81 \tqr \tx6363 \tqr \tx6413 (1936). \tab \fs7 \f0 11\par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \li259 \tx259 14. David Lindsay Watson, \fs17 \f1 \i Scientists Are Human \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (London, 1938), 87; Watso\par \pard \tx259 \par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \qj \li76 \tx76 Davis, "Science and Civilization," in \fs17 \f1 \i The Advance of Science, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 ed. Watson Davis (Garden City, N.Y., 1934), 370\_71.\par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \li207 \tx207 15. Benjamin C. Gruenberg, \fs17 \f1 \i Science and the Public Mind \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (New York, 1935).\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi192 \tx192 16. \fs17 \f1 \i New York Herald Tribune \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 science writer John J. O'Neill complained in 1936, "there has been a decrease in the space devoted to science and technical subjects since 1931" (quoted in Burnham, \fs17 \f1 \i How Superstition Won and Science Lost, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 175, 247). Burnharn contends that media presentation of science peaked in 1930 and argues that scientists' abandonment of popularization led to the ultimate defeat of science and victory of superstition in American culture. Marcel Evelyn Chotkowski LaFollette's study of eleven popular magazines finds the number of articles on science peaking in 1926 (Marcel Evelyn Chotkowski LaFollette, "Authority, Promise, and Expectation: The Images of Science and Scientists in American Popular Magazines, 1910\_1955" [Ph.p. diss., Indiana University, 19791, iv).\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi192 \tx192 17. "Report of the Department of Science Instruction of the National Education Association," \fs17 \f0 \i School and Society \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 50 (19 Aug. 1939): 251.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi192 \tx192 18. For a more in\_depth treatment of the politicization of American scientists in these years, see Kuznick, \fs17 \f0 \i Beyond the Laboratory.\par \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \qj \fi192 \tx192 19. Watson Davis, "The Public's Way to Science," 12 July 1938, Science Service Papers.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi192 \tx192 20. Ordway Tead, "Science Instruction in a Democracy," \fs17 \f0 \i School and Society \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 49 (15 Apr. 1939): 469.\par \fs17 \f0 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \li226 \tx226 21. Gruenberg, \fs17 \f0 \i Science and the Public Mind, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 1\_2.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi192 \tx192 22. Kirtley F. Mather, "New Credulity for Old Superstition," \fs17 \f0 \i Journal \fs17 \f1 of \fs17 \f0 Adult Education \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (June 1935): 299.\par \fs17 \f0 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \qj \fi197 \tx197 23. F. R. Moulton, "Science By Radio," \fs17 \f0 \i Scientific Monthly \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 47 (Dec. 1938): 546. This theme receiwd considerable play at the 1938 year\_end AAAS meeting. Cornell professor \fs20 \f0 Ods \fs17 \f0 F. Curtis stated, for example, in his address as retiring president of the American Society of Plant Physiologists: "The public has become so accustomed to the seemingly miraculous accomplishments in the fields of science that instead of using the scientific method and examining evidence critically, building on a solid foundation, many people merely become more gullible and accept any claim, no matter how fantastic" (Otis F. Curtis, "Education By Authority or for Authority? Are Science Teachers Teaching ScienceT' \fs17 \f0 \i Science \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 90 [4 Aug. 19391: 100). \fs5 \f0 1\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi192 \tx192 24. See, for example, Stanley Aronowitz, \fs17 \f0 \i Science As Power: Discourse and Ideology in Modern Society \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (Minneapolis, 1988); Paul Feyerabend, \fs17 \f0 \i Against Method \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (London, 1975); Sandra Harding, \fs17 \f0 \i The Science Question in Feminism \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (Ithaca, N.Y., 1986); Evelyn Fox Keller, \fs17 \f0 \i Reflections on Gender and Science \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (New Haven, 1985); Thomas S. Kulm, \fs17 \f0 \i The Structure \fs17 \f1 of \fs17 \f0 Scientific Revolutions \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (Chicago, 1962); Magali Sarfatti Larson, "The Production of Expertise and the Constitution of Expert Power," in \fs17 \f0 \i The Authority \fs17 \f1 of \fs17 \f0 Experts: Studies in History and Theory, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 ed. Thomas L. Haskell (Bloomington, Ind., 1984); Karin D. Knorr, Roger Krohn, and Richard Whitley, eds., \fs17 \f0 \i The Social Process \fs17 \f1 of \fs17 \f0 Scientific Investigation \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (Dodrecht, 1980); Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar, \fs17 \f0 \i Labora\-tory Life: The Social Construction \fs17 \f1 of \fs17 \f0 Scientific Facts \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (Beverly Hills, Calif., 1979); Bruno Latour, \fs17 \f0 \i Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (Cambridge, Mass., 1987); Karin D. Knorr\_Cetina, \fs17 \f0 \i The Manufacture \fs17 \f1 of \fs17 \f0 Knowledge: An Essay on the Constructivist and Contextual Nature \fs17 \f1 of \fs17 \f0 Science \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (Oxford, 1981); Larry Laudan, \fs17 \f0 \i Progress and Its Problems: Toward a Theory \fs17 \f1 of \fs17 \f0 Scientific Growth \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (Berkeley, 1977); Harry Redner, \fs17 \f0 \i The Ends of Science: An Essay in Scientific Authority \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (Boulder, Colo., 1987).\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li206 \tx206 25. J. W. N. Sullivan, "Science and the Layrrian," \fs17 \f0 \i Atlantic \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 154 (Sept. 1934): 335.\par \page \lndscpsxn \fs17 \f0 \sect \sectd \linex0 \linemod0 \sbknone \lndscpsxn \pard \qj \fi182 \tx182 26. Ralph W. Gerard, "The Role of Pure Science," \fs17 \f1 \i Science \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 88 (21 Oct. 1938): 364, 366.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li186 \tx186 27. Harold C. Urey, "Chemistry and the Future," \fs17 \f1 \i Science \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 88 (12 Aug. 1938): 139.\par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \li182 \tx182 28. George W. Gray, "Science and Profits," \fs17 \f1 \i Harper's Monthly \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 172 (Apr. 1936): 539.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi182 \tx182 29. Harold C. Urey, "The Social Importance of Scientific Work," \fs17 \f1 \i Vital Speeches of the Day, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 15 June 1937, 526.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi182 \tx182 30. For a fuller discussion of the foundations of the scientific world view and the assumptions widely shared by science popularizers in the late 1930s, see Kuznick, \fs17 \f1 \i Beyond the Laboratory, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 43\_70.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi182 \tx182 31. Walter Cannon, "Urges Spirit of Truth Seeker," \fs17 \f1 \i Science News Letter, 7 \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 Jan. 1939,4.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi182 \tx182 32. C. Fayette Taylor to MIT colleagues, 11 Dec. 1939, Harlow Shapley Papers, Harvard University Archives.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi182 \tx182 33. Robert A. Millikan, "New Frontiers in Economic Progress: The Fallacies of Marx," \fs17 \f1 \i Vital Speeches of the Day, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 15 June 1938, 539\_40; Frank B. Jewett, "The Engineer and Current Trends in Economic Thought," \fs17 \f1 \i Western Society of Engineers \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 43 (June 1938): 101\_11.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi182 \tx182 34. For fuller treatments of the exhibition of science at Chicago's Century of Progress Exposition, see Rydell, 'Tan Dance," 525\_35; and Jain~s Marin, "The Popularization of Science at the Chicago World's Fair, 1933\_34," paper presented at the OAH meeting, 20 Apr. 1985. Rydell's otherwise insightful article confuses the consequences of the 1939 NYWF with the scientists' objectives in arguing that scientists consciously displayed science in a fashion that would "affirm the hegemony of the corporate state."\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi182 \tx182 35. Henry A. Wallace, "The Social Advantages and Disadvantages of the Engineer\-ing\_Scientific Approach to Civilization," \fs17 \f1 \i Science \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 79 (5 Jan. 1934): 3\_4; Read Bain, "Scientist as Citizen," \fs17 \f1 \i Social Forces 11 \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (Mar. 1933): 413; Franklin D. Roosevelt, "The Responsibility of Engineering," \fs17 \f1 \i Science \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 84 (30 Oct. 1936): 393.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi182 \tx182 36. Norman Thomas and Paul Blanshard, \fs17 \f1 \i What's the Matter with New York: A National Problem \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (New York, 1933), 136.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi182 \tx182 37. Newcomb Cleveland to AAAS, 16 Nov. 1936, James McKeen Cattell Papers, Library of Congress,' ~uscripts Division.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi182 \tx182 38. C. Stuart Gager to E. G. Conklin, 8 Dec. 1936, E. G. Conklin Papers, Seeley Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li186 \tx186 39. E. G. Conklin to C. Stuart Gager, 15 Dec. 1936, E. G. Conklin Papers.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi182 \tx182 40. Frank B. Jewett to A. L. Barrows, 15 Feb. 1937, National Academy of Science Papers.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi182 \tx182 41. American Institute of the City of New York World's Fair Committee, Summary of the Minutes of the July 13, 1937 Conference, undated copy in Science Service Papers.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li186 \tx186 42. Watson Davis to Frederick A. Gutheim, 14 July 1937, Science Service Papers.\par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \li239 \tx239 43. "Science is Advised to Accept Change," \fs17 \f1 \i New York Times, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 9 Jan. 1938, 2:1\par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \qj \li66 \fi192 \tx66 \tx258 44. Eugene Lyons, \fs17 \f1 \i The Red Decade: The Stalinist Penetration of America \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (New York, 1941), 349\_51.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi182 \tx182 45. As finally constituted, the committee consisted of Wendt, Einstein, Jewett, Gano Dunn, Maurice Holland, Karl Compton, R. H. McKee, Waldemar Kaempffert, Edmund, Sinnott, Robert Chambers, Paul Mann, and Charles Roth. The committee represented a compromise between the scientific establishment figures associated with the COPE and the newer breed of scientific social reformers.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi182 \tx182 46. Gerald Wendt, "Science at the New York World's Fair, 1939: A Preliminary Plan," 26 Feb. 1938, NYWI` Archives.\par \pard \tx182 \par \fs5 \f0 \pard \li82 \tx82 \tqr \tx405 1\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li587 \tx587 47. Gerald Wendt, "Final Report as Consultant on Science," 24 June 1938, NYWF\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \tqr \tx1394 11 .Archives.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \li400 \fi177 \tx400 \tx577 48. David Rhees,\_\_\_Makingthe Nation Chemically Conscious': The Popularization of Chemistry in America, 1914\_1940," paper presented at the History of Science Society, 28 Dec. 1984. For a discussion of the contribution of Teague and other industrial designers to the fair, see Meikle, \fs17 \f1 \i Twentieth Century Limited.\par \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \li587 \tx587 49. Gerald Wendt to Harrison E. Howe, 10 May 1938, NYWI7 Archives; Howe to\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \tx432 \tqr \tx6814 .i\tab Wendt, 12 May 1938, NYWF Archives; Gerald Wendt to S. D. Kirkpatrick, 8 Nov.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li451 \tx451 \tqr \tx2464 1938, NYW17 Archives.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li587 \tx587 50. Gerald Wendt, "Science at the New York World's Fair."\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li587 \tx587 51. Gerald Wendt to Watson Davis, 24 Mar. 1938, Science Service Papers.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \li400 \fi177 \tx400 \tx577 52. Despite their later iconographic significance, at the time the Trylon and Perisphere often received less than reverential treatment. One small newspaper, \fs17 \f1 \i Vista, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 described them as "the most dramatic and colossal phallic symbols that have ever been seen on the earth ... .. Vista's Tornorrow," \fs17 \f1 \i Time, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 3 Apr. 1939, 37.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \li400 \fi177 \tx400 \tx577 53. Harold Urey to Grover Whalen, 31 Jan. 1938, NYW17 Archives. Robert Kohn had earlier complained about the fair's paltry expenditure on educational exhibits compared to that of the Century of Progress Exposition. Robert Kohn, memo to members of board of design, 20 Sept. 1937, NYWF Archives.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \li400 \fi177 \tx400 \tx577 54. Martha Baggs to Grover Whalen, 16 Jan. 1938, \fs17 \f0 \b NYW17 \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 Archives; William M. Barlow to Grover Whalen, 14 Jan. 1938, \fs17 \f0 \b NYWIZ \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 Archives; Albert L. Colston to Grover Whalen, 17 Jan. 1938, NYW17 Archives; Alexander Efron to Gtover Whalen, 21 Jan. 1938, \fs17 \f0 \b NYW17 \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 Archives.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li587 \tx587 55. Waldemar Kaempffert to Grover Whalen, 29 Apr. 1938, NYWF Archives.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li587 \tx587 56. Waidemar Kaempffert to Grover Whalen, 2 Feb. 193 8, NYWF Archives.'\par \fs17 \f0 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \li599 \tx599 57\_ "Science at the Fair," \fs17 \f0 \i New York Times, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 29 Apr. 1938, 20.\par \fs17 \f0 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \qj \li416 \fi183 \tx416 \tx599 58. Waldemar Kaempffert, \fs17 \f0 \i Science Today and Tomorrow \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (New York, 1939), 274. Other members of the SAC who shared this view included Paul Mann, who wrote in 1939 that "it is through scientific thinking that democracy can be saved" (Paul B. Mann, "Why Not Teach Science Scientifically?" \fs17 \f0 \i Science Education \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 23 [Oct. 19391: 239).\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li419 \tx419 \tx597 \tx5229 \tqr \tx6814 \tab 59. For a fuller discussion of scientists' participation in COPE, see Rydell, 'Tan\par \pard \li419 \tx419 \tx597 \tx5229 \tqr \tx6814 Dance," 526\_35. \tab \fs5 \f0 0\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \li400 \fi177 \tx400 \tx577 60. Gerald Wendt to Waldemar Kaempffert, 5 May 1938, NYWF Archives; Grover Whalen to Waldemar Kaempffert, 18 May 1938, NYW17 Archives.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \li400 \fi177 \tx400 \tx577 61. Gerald Wendt memo "Science at the NYW17' to Joan Atkinson, 19 Aug. 1938, NYW17 Archives.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \li400 \fi177 \tx400 \tx577 62. Industrial designer George Sakeir's plan for the exhibit was not even approved until late February 1939 (Robert Kohn memo to the chairman of the board of design, "Focal Exhibit on Science and Education," 28 Feb. 1939, NYW17 Archives).\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \li400 \fi177 \tx400 \tx577 63. General Motors reportedly spent between six and seven million dollars on its Futurama ("What Shows Pulled at the Fair," \fs17 \f0 \i Business Week \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 4 Nov. 1939, 22).\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li587 \tx587 64. Gerald Wendt to Robert Kohn, 30 May 1939, NYW17 Archives.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \li400 \fi177 \tx400 \tx577 65. Department of Science and Education, "Educational Tours for Elementary and High School Students," 18 Aug. 1939, NYW17 Archives.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \li400 \fi177 \tx400 \tx577 66. Gerald Wendt, "First Report on Science Submitted to the Board of Design," 4 Mar. 1938, NYWF Archives. Wendt figured that chemistry and physics would receive some treatment in the industrial exhibits but regretted the "great dearth of the biological sciences" (Gerald Wendt, "Final Report").\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \li400 \fi177 \tx400 \tx577 67. Hudson Hoagland to Lorena Hickok, 26 July 1938, NYWF Archives; Gerald Wendt to Hudson Hoagland, 20 Aug. 1938, \fs17 \f0 \b NYW17 \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 Archives.\par \page \lndscpsxn \fs17 \f0 \sect \sectd \linex0 \linemod0 \sbknone \lndscpsxn \pard \qj \fi185 \tx185 Numerous universities and scientific societies offered science exhibits to the fair, but, not wanting to make space available that could be sold to private exhibitors, the fair turned them down (Wendt, "Final ReporC).\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi185 \tx185 68. The "Science Makes Jobs" theme could be discerned throughout the fair. GM's "Birth of Industries" show stated this most explicitly through a series of animated dioramas depicting how research had created nine new industries with sixteen million jobs.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi185 \tx185 69. Perhaps Frank Jewett's election to the presidency of the NAS in 1939 indicated the readiness of some scientists to raise the white flag and acknowledge corporate hegemony in the scientific realm. Jewett responded revealingly to a congratulatory message from James McKeen Cattell:\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li399 \tx399 1 fully appreciate the honor which this election offers but 1 must say that 1 \fs17 \f1 \i a~n \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 a bit surprised and more than a bit appalled at the idea of the Academy having an applied scientist and engineer as its President. Possibly, as your note indicates, it is a sign of some sort of evolutionary change in our concept of the relationship between fundamental and applied science. \_\par \fs17 \f0 \pard (Jewett to Cattell, 28 Apr. 1939, James McKeen Cattell Papers.)\par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \li192 \tx192 70. Meikle, \fs17 \f1 \i Twentieth Century Limited, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 189\_209.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi185 \tx185 71. Anticipating the potential for this new medium, the fair waited barely a month before holding a beauty contest to choose the "New York World's Fair Television Girl."\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi185 \tx185 72. Description of demonstrator in "Man Loses His Shadow in World's Fair Exhibit," \fs17 \f1 \i Science News Letter, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 12 Aug. 1939, 103.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi185 \tx185 73. Westinghouse donated a portion of its space to occasional demonstration of laboratory techniques by members of school,science clubs affiliated with the American Institute Science and Engineering Clubs. ' '\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi185 \tx185 74. Einstein, initially refusing the invitation, insisted that it would require a volume to begin to coherently explain cosmic rays but finally yielded to the entreaties of fair officials ("Einstein in New Triumph," \fs17 \f1 \i New York Times, 1 \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 May 1939, 6).\par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \li192 \tx192 75. "Cosmic Rays at the Fair," \fs17 \f1 \i New York Times, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 21 Mar. 1939, 22.\par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \li192 \tx192 76. "Cosmic R% Start Brilliant Display," \fs17 \f1 \i New York Times, 1 \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 May 1939, 6.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li211 \tx211 77. Joseph Wood KVUtch, "Report of the Fair," \fs17 \f1 \i Nation \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 148 (24 June 1939), 722.\par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \li192 \tx192 78. "What Shows Pulled at the Fair," \fs17 \f1 \i Business Week, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 4 Nov. 1939, 22.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi185 \tx185 79. Walter Dorwin Teague, "Exhibit Technique," \fs17 \f1 \i American Architect and A rchitec\-ture \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (Sept. 1937), cited in Meikle, \fs17 \f1 \i Twentieth Century Limited, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 199. Bell Telephor\-exhibit planner John Mills similarly assessed the mental capacity of a world's fair crowd with its short attention span and demand for constant diversion (John Mills, "World's Fairs and Bell System Exhibits," \fs17 \f1 \i Bell Telephone Quarterly 1 \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 [Jan. 19391: 2).\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li211 \tx211 80. Rydell, "Fan Dance," 540.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi185 \tx185 8 1. Shakespeare, faring even worse at the fair, was outdrawn ten to one by a nearby two\_headed calf. The fair's Old Globe Theatre cancelled production of streamlined versions of four Shakespeare comedies in July after drawing only 180 per day at an admission charge of twenty\_five cents per person. The same productions had recently thrived at the Chicago Fair and drew 2,500 per day despite charging sixty cents admission. Theatre management replaced Shakespeare with a vaudeville production called "The Hollywood Star Doubles," in which each cast member impersonated a film celebrity. From a gate\_receipts standpoint, perhaps the \fs17 \f1 \i New York Daily News \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 correctly read the popular mood when it called for a fair with a "carnival spirit \fs23 \f0 ... \fs17 \f0 a plentiful supply of girls and curls" and a liberal dose of nudity. Lloyd Lewis, "N.Y. Lets Bards\par \pard \tx185 \par \fs9 \f0 \pard \li6352 \tx6352 \tqr \tx6540 1\par \pard \tx6352 \tqr \tx6540 \par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \qj Die," \fs17 \f1 \i Chicago Daily News, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 17 July 1939, 14; \fs17 \f1 \i New York Times, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 22 July 1939, 12; "Go to Both Fairs," \fs17 \f1 \i New York Daily News, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 4 Feb. 1939, 13.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi185 \tx185 Compared with the reception of the fair's ambitious program of classical music concerts, however, the classical theater program can be considered a resounding success. On May 23, fair officials cancelled all remaining classical concerts \fs17 \f0 \b ("Music \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 Program Cancelled by Fair," \fs17 \f1 \i New York Times, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 25 May 1939, 30).\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li211 \tx211 82. Ham Fisher, "Joe Palooka" cartoon, 19 Mar. 1939, NYWIZ Archives.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li211 \tx211 83. Copy in NYWF Archives.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \li211 \tx211 84. \fs17 \f1 \i Life Magazine, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 6 (15 May 1939): 19.\par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \li192 \tx192 85. \fs17 \f1 \i Esquire \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 editorial reprinted in \fs17 \f1 \i World of Tomorrow 1 (1 \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 Jan. 1939): 2.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi185 \tx185 86. '11ey'll Never Be the Same Again,", \fs17 \f1 \i New Yorker, \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 reprinted in \fs17 \f1 \i World of Tomorrow 1 \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 (16 Nov. 1938): 2.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi185 \tx185 87. Grover Whalen address to Advertising Club of New York, 1939, NYWF Archives.\par \fs17 \f0 \pard \qj \fi185 \tx185 88. Bruce Bliven, "Fair Tornorrow," \fs17 \f1 \i New Republic \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 97 (7 Dec. 1938): 119\_21; Bruce Bliven, "Gone Tornorrow," \fs17 \f1 \i New Republic \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 98 (17 May 1939): 40\_42.\par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \li192 \tx192 89. "Criticize Pharmacy Hall," \fs17 \f1 \i New York Times, 1 \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 July 1939, 20.\par \fs17 \f0 \b \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 \pard \qj \fi180 \tx180 90. \fs17 \f0 \b Quoted in Susman, "People's Fair," 225. \fs17 \f0 \plain \fs17 \lang1036 While stopping short of Lipprnarm's \fs18 \f0 conclusion, GM president Williarn S. Knudsen admitted: "Our chief hope in develop\-ing the exhibit is to point out the importance of future highway progress as related to broad economic benefits for everyone." "Today at the Fair," 28 May 1939, NYW Archives.\par \fs18 \f0 \pard \qj \fi180 \tx180 91. Gerald Wendt memo to Thomas J. Donovan, 27 July \fs23 \f0 14~g,' \fs18 \f0 NYWI7 Archives; Gerald Wendt memo to Thomas J. Donovan, 20 July 1939, NYWI7 Archives.\par \fs18 \f0 \pard \qj \fi180 \tx180 92. Earl Wilson, "Striped Pants Couldn't Keep Up With Him\_So Fast Did Whalen Work for the Fair," \fs17 \f1 \i New York Post, \fs18 \f0 \plain \fs18 \lang1036 28 Oct. 1939, 3.\par \fs18 \f0 \pard \li192 \tx192 93. Sust6n, "People's Fair," 26.\par \fs18 \f0 \pard \qj \fi180 \tx180 94. ACDIF, "The Genetic Basis for Dernocracy" (1939, mimeographed, New York), 1\_25.\par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs18 \f0 \plain \fs18 \lang1036 \pard \li192 \tx192 95. Gerald Wendt, \fs17 \f1 \i Sciencefor the World of Tomorrow \fs18 \f0 \plain \fs18 \lang1036 (New York, 1939), 306, 300.\par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs18 \f0 \plain \fs18 \lang1036 \pard \qj \fi180 \tx180 96. Neil Postman, \fs17 \f1 \i Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age ofShow Business \fs18 \f0 \plain \fs18 \lang1036 (New York, 1985).\par \fs17 \f1 \i \fs18 \f0 \plain \fs18 \lang1036 \pard \li192 \tx192 97. Lewis Mumford, \fs17 \f1 \i The Culture of Cities \fs18 \f0 \plain \fs18 \lang1036 (New York, 1938), ;65.\par \fs18 \f0 \pard \qj \fi180 \tx180 98. See John C. Burnharn's assessment of the interface between some of these broader cultural trends and science popularization in \fs17 \f1 \i How Superstition Won and Science Lost, \fs18 \f0 \plain \fs18 \lang1036 226\_52.\par \fs18 \f0 \pard \qj \fi180 \tx180 99. Warren Susman, "Did Success Spoil the United States? Dual Representations in Postwar America," in \fs17 \f1 \i Recasting America: Culture and Politics in the Age of the Cold War, \fs18 \f0 \plain \fs18 \lang1036 ed. Lary May (Chicago, 1989), 19\_37.\par \fs18 \f0 \pard \qj \fi180 \tx180 100. Bruce V. Lewenstein,\_\_\_PublicUnderstanding of Science,' in America, 1945\-196Y' (Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1987).\par } Peter J. Kuznick, an associate professor of history at American University in Washington, D.C., is the author of Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists as Political Activists in 1930s America (Chicago, 1987). He is currently working on a book on science, scientists, and the war in Vietnam. This article has benefited from the suggestions of many friends and colleagues, including Warren 1. Susman, Susan Kuznick, James B. Gilbert, Lily Kay, Robert Rydell, Stanley Goldberg, Charles McLaughlin, David Rhees, Robert Frost, James Mann, David Thelen, T. J. Jackson Lears, Gary Kulik, Michael Kazin, Sally Gregory KohIstedt, Bruce Lewenstein, Ronald Tobey, and David Glassberg. American Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 3 (September 1994) 1994 American Studies Association