Alan Trachtenberg


Chapter 07: WHITE CITY


"October 12. --The Discovery.--It was wonderful to find America, but it would have been more wonderful to miss it." Pudd'nhead Wilson's mordant calendar entry in Mark Twain's bleak comedy of race and class, Pudd'nhead Wilson, with its w icked pun on "wonderful," may well have seemed apt to at least some of the book's readers when it appeared in 1894. It was the year of the great railway strike which spread like a prairie fire from its origins in Pullman, Illinois. An epic insurgence of s ympathy in the form of a national boycott in support of the Pullman strikers, the event pitted the United States Army against the American Railway Union, and the clash resulted in the most destructive civil violence since the Civil War. But the previous s ummer, when close to 30 million people had trekked by railroad to visit the Fair staged in Chicago on reclaimed swamplands on the shores of Lake Michigan, in commemoration of the four hundredth anniversary of that same discovery, Pudd'nhead's coy remark w ould not have made a hit. Surely Chauncy M. Depew's view of the occasion carried the day. In his oration at the dedication ceremonies in October 1892 (the Fair itself would not open its gates until May of the following year), the New York senator and indu strialist summed up the common belief. "This day be longs not to America, but to the World. The results of the event it commemorates are the heritage of the people of every race and clime. We celebrate the emancipation of man." Of course, what he meant, a nd what the Fair would proclaim, is that America

represents the world, is itself the world's heritage, itself the emancipation of man." Inviting the world to come and see (though not to stay: Depew included a timely warning against unrestricted immigration, against admitting "those who come to undermine our institutions and subvert our laws"), White City would d isplay just how wonderful America had become.

How shall we take this event, which lasted but a summer-an oasis of fantasy and fable at a time of crisis and impending violence? Given its time and place, the Fair invites ironic scrutiny as few other events and objects in the age. Not the gesture alone of planting a new "city upon a hill" for the world to admire, but the accidental setting of that gesture between the financial panic of 1893 and the strike of 1894 makes White City seem a fitting conclusion of an age. The fruition of the alliance between "the word Culture" and corporate powers, it closes out an era. But it also inaugurates another. It lays bare a plan for a future. Like the Gilded Age, White City straddles a divide: a consummation and a new beginning.

We shall take it as a pedagogy, a model and a lesson not only of what the future might look like but, just as important, how it might be brought about. And in our analysis we shall look rig& only at what it says but at what it fails to say, what it k eep& hidden. For example, as a model city it taught a lesson in the coordination of spaces and structures. some 400 buildings covering almost 700 acres of once swampy land dredged and filled and inlaid with canals, lagoons, plazas, and promenades, and a preserve of woods. Based on Olmsted's unifying ground plan, it taught the public utility of beauty, the coordination of art with the latest mechanical wonders: railroads, dynamos, electrical bulbs. It was, of course, a city without residences, though it offered advice in great detail about how families might live in cities of the near future: the model electrical kitchen, for example. How did its manifest harmony of parts (and in the central Court of Honor, of architectural style, height of buildings, color: a uniform whiteness) come about? The overt message stressed the structure of authority, a structure which gave to the Director of Works, Daniel H. Burnham, a free hand in selecting designers, architects, engineers, and approving their plans. Burnham's task seemed a model "commission," aloof from politics and practical economics, answerable only to the corporation which employed


it: a private entity created by the laws of the state of Illinois as "World's Columbian Exposition" and authorized to raise capital by selling stock certificates. The Official Manual of the Fair consisted of the bylaws of this body, an account of its structure (board of directors elected by stockholders, standing committees), many lists of names of the prominent Chicago citizens among its ranks (businessmen, bankers, lawyers), and a complete text of the Act of Congress which authorized a "World's Columbian Commission" of appointed officials to deal with the corporation in matters of selection of site and specification of buildings and exhibits. The overt message about the origins of the Fair appeared, then, in the chain of authority devolving from legislative acts to private enterprise, a structure which gave the Department of Works its own authority and freedom to coordinate spaces and buildings according to its own lights.

The manual did not mention "labor." But one covert message about how a model future might be built lies in Walter Wykoff's account of his experiences as a "road builder" on the fairgrounds in the spring of 1892. A Princeton graduate who had undertaken an "experiment" of tramping across the country to learn firsthand how the world looks and feels from the point of view of a working stiff, Wyckoff published his extraordinary narrative of hard knocks and wrenched perspectives in Scribner's and then in two volumes. In the second, The Workers: An Experiment in Reality: The West (1899), he described his experiences as a laborer on the fairgrounds. His employment there was a happy reprieve after a bleak winter of unemployment on the streets of Chicago. Now he finds himself with "wholesome labor in the open air," and has no complaints. He lives in a temporary "hotel" on the site "of the future 'court of honor' " with about four hundred other workers. They include "half a score of nationalities and of as many trades," including the unskilled, "who work in gangs." "Housed and fed in this one house," they seem altogether in an ideal situation. Yet the picture contains an ambiguous note: "Guarded by sentries and high barriers from unsought contact with all beyond, great gangs of us, healthy, robust men, live and labor in a marvelous artificial world. No sight of misery disturbs us, nor of despairing poverty out in vain search for employment." Regimentati on on one hand, artificial security on the other: the picture suggests that White City's proposal for a future


includes a distinct solution to the labor problem." "Work is everywhere abundant and well paid and directed with the highest skill. And here, amid delicate, web-like frames of steel which are being clothed upon with forms of exquisite beauty, and amo ng broad, dreary wastes of and dunes and marshy pools which are being transformed by our labor into gardens of flowers and velvet lawns joined by graceful bridges over wide lagoons, we work our eight hours a day in peaceful security and in absolute confidence of our pay." A work force tranquilized by security, by beauty of environment, and by barriers and sentries which protect it from "unsought contact with all beyond": such is the utopia of labor implied.

Of such weavings of the overt and covert is White City made. By design, the Fair set itself against what lay beyond its gates. It enforced its lessons by contrast. The irony of opening its gates almost at the exact moment in May 1893 when banks and factories closed theirs in the worst financial panic of the nation's history only highlights the contrast, the dialogue of opposites between the Fair and the surrounding city, between White City and the great city of Chicago. As Julian Ralph pointed out in Chicago and the Worlds Fair (1893), a book written for Harper's and "approved by the Department of Publicity," Chicago displayed an energy and an exuberance in need of discipline: its politics, for example, showing the worst features of the spoils system, while its parks, governed by a commission above politics (responsible business leaders appointed by the county or state, not the city itself), represented a hopeful direction. With its own corporate structure, its chain of command, and its contented labor force (in fact, a number of strikes delayed construction), White City would show how a place like Chicago might be governed as well as how it might look. Just as the ground plan of the Fair implicitly rebuked the monotonous grid of Chicago's streets, so the Department of Works and its master plan rebuked the rule of mere competition, of commercial domination over beauty and order. By model and example, White City might thus inaugurate a new Chicago, a new urban world.

Much has been written about that master plan and its execution: Burnhams single-mindedness, for example, in choosing a uniform neoclassicism in uniform whiteness for the Court of Honor, and his preference for New York architects over local


Chicago firms who in the previous several years had pioneered in original skyscraper designs. In architectural histories, the story of the White City is riddled with "ifs": if John Wellborn Root, Burnham's partner, had not died before he had a chance to influence the shape of the Fair; if Root and Louis Sulliva n had been able to take charge, how different the results might have been. As it is, Burnham's name has been tainted with charges of betrayal, of turning against the regional Chicago School in favor of the Paris-trained New York group and their elegant ac ademicism. Sullivan charged many years later that the Fair set back American architecture an entire generation. Whether it did or not, more important is the implicit notion in White City of an architecture, an art and a culture, appropriate to the immedia te future. More important than the battle of styles between the New York and Chicago schools is the conception embodied in the total design of White City of how space might be ordered and life organized.

Like the structure of the organizational command behind it, the Fair took its stand on symmetry of form, most strikingly in the Court of Honor, a harmonious arrangement of the major buildings on orthogonal axes alongside bodies of water and open plaz as. Here, symmetry proclaimed the immediate message, the underlying spatial form speaking directly to the senses through the prestige of neoclassical monumentality. The message joined form to monument, each building and each vista serving as an image of t he whole. Here, symmetry asserted itself as an unmistakable conquering presence. But the Court of Honor represented only one portion of the master plan. Less immediately apparent was the symmetrical order of the entire fairgrounds, Am design embracing a d iversity of buildings, styles, exhibitions, and events. As a style, neoclassicism was reserved for the Court of Honor. But radiating from that center, a principle of balance and order governed the entire fairgrounds.

In the Rand McNally Handbook (Andrew McNally was one of the chief backers of the Fair and member of the board of directors), Daniel Burnham explained to the public how the Fair's unfamiliar organization of space should be understood. After des cribing the work of transforming the "desolate wilderness" and "dreary landscape" of the original site, he wrote:


Three distinct motives are apparent in the grouping of the buildings. Those about the Grand Basin--the Administration, Manufactures, Agriculture, Machinery, Electricity, Mines, and also the Art Building-are essentially dignified in style; those lying farther to the north-the Horticultural, Transportation [Sullivan's contribution], and Fisheriesbeing less formal, blend readily with the more or less homelike headquarters buildings of the States and foreign governments, which are grouped among the trees of the extreme northern portion of the grounds. Upon the Midway Plaisance no distinct order is followed, it being instead a most unusual collection of almost every type of architecture known to man-oriental villages, Chinese bazaars, tropical settlements , ice railways, the ponderous Ferris wheel, and reproductions of ancient cities. All these are combined to form the lighter and more fantastic side of the Fair.

It might seem peculiar that Burnham should describe the Midway, with its mixture of modern machinery and vernacular buildings, as fantastic -reproductions," implying that the real and the original were to be found in the academic classicism of the Co urt of Honor. But the spatial divisions proclaimed just what Burnham implied, that reality must be sought in the ideality of high art. The Court of Honor provided the center around which the rest of White City was organized in hierarchical degree; indeed, the carnival atmosphere of the Midway Plaisance confirmed by contrast the dignity of the center. And, of course, the center represented America through its exhibitions, the ou tlying exotic Midway stood for the rest of the world in subordinate relation.

The design, then, encompassed a schematic set of contrasts, and by this it further promulgated its message of unity through subordination. But the heart of the message did not lie in the geometric form alone; it lay in the fact that the formal center of the Fair was derived from "art," from "culture." The Fair insinuated this primacy at every turn. Its organized spaces and classified exhibitions were an intellectual edifice indispensable to the message, as were the religious, educational, and scholarly events of the World's Congress Auxiliary. The motto of them events and meetings schedul ed throughout Chicago during the months of the Fair articulated the message of White City: "Not Matter, But Mind; Not Things, But Men." If the Fair displayed matter and things, the Congress reflected on their meaning.


Organized into twenty departments and 225 divisions, the Congress represented the incorporation of mind and spirit with matter and things, of culture with material progress. Under classifications such as Temperance, Moral and Social Reform, Social an d Economic Science, Labor, Religion, and Woman's Progress, the Congress named those intellectual and social categories through which progress might be discerned and further problems identified: problems which remain to be solved in the spirit of unity, of "congress." The many discussions and scholarly exchangesthe session of the American Historical Association at which Frederick Jackson Turner read his epochal paper on the frontier, for example-represented culture in its intellectual practice, as fully in tegrated into the vision of White City as were the plastic arts in the master plan. The Congress served, in the overall design, as the intellectual equivalent of the visible art which made matter and things palpable on the fairgrounds.

"Not Matter, But Mind; Not Things, But Men". the art of White City took the same motto. The distinctions in the motto were critical, reinforced everywhere in White City as part of the exposition's basic message. By itself, matter stood at a distance from art; the products of labor and science occupied a realm of their own. But art provided the mode of presentation, the vehicle, the medium through which material progress manifests itself, and manifests itself precisely as serving the same goals as art : the progress of the human spirit. Here, too, a subtle contrast functioned as method. Just as the departments of the Congress represented a conceptual map of the realm of mind and spirit, so the division of the Fair's exhibitions into twelve departments mapped out the activities that constitute civilized society: agriculture, mining, machinery, transportation, invention, and so on. Quite apart from the location and style of the buildings housing each exhibition, the classification system served as a gui de to one meaning: the material. Exhibitions provided further breakdowns of categories into the names of corporate business: General Electric, Westinghouse, Krupp of Germany. Progress thus appeared in the form of goods produced by capitalist enterprise, a dding the name of private ownership to the products of labor. The substance of the exhibitions offered, then, not simple matter and things but matter and things as commercial products.

Between the abstract name of the department and the specific


name of a company may have seemed to lie a contradiction: one proclaiming an activity of society as a whole, the other a certain system of production, distribution, and ownership. Virtually alone in recognizing this split, Edward Bellamy wrote: "The underlying motive of the whole exhibition, under a sham pretence of patriotism is business, advertising with a view to individual money-making." Certainly, the mode of presentation hardly disguised the commercial trade-fair aspect of White City, as a mark etplace of display and sales. And neither was the "art," also a superimposed name (the name of antique styles recovered by academic research as "neoclassicism"), designed to deny and disguise its own act of concealing on the outside the steel frameworks w hich were the true support of buildings. "The engineering has been of a magnitude never reached before," wrote Burnham. Machinery Hall, built by a Boston firm, covered a floor space of more than seventeen acres, its roof supported by "vast arched trusses which," states the Rand McNally Handbook, "are built separately of iron and steel in such a manner that they may be taken down and sold for use as railroad train-houses or State exposition buildings." It housed "a monster elevated traveling crane" and a 2,000 horsepower engine running two dynamos, "each lighting 10,000 incandescent lights." The use of alternating-current electrical power to illuminate the entire fairgrounds was one of the event's unique achievements. What did the building look like ? The design, "thoroughly classical in all of its details," was "copied from the best types of the Spanish Renaissance." Like all the principal buildings of the Court, it was covered with a composite plaster-like material called "staff." Painted white, st aff was applied throughout the Court, as Burnham writes, on "sculpture, ornamentation of almost every kind, the construction of balustrades, vases, facing for docks." It was staff which permitted what one observer called the "architectual spree" of the Fa ir: the facing of steel-frame buildings with an allusive facade, an illusion of marble and classic monumentality. Staff provided the means of covering steel with architecture, the mechanical with the artistic, and, especially in the incrustation throughou t the Court of allegorical statuary attached to buildings, the material with the spiritual.

Over the eastern entrance of the Machinery Hall appeared a pediment with "Columbia" seated on a throne, bearing a sword


in one hand and a palm of peace in the other (a motif similar to the commanding female figure of the Republic, Columbia, dressed in gold, at one end of the central lagoon, carrying a globe surmounted by an American eagle in one hand, and a liberty po le and cap in the other). "Honor" stands on her left, "Wealth" at her feet, "throwing fruits and flowers out of a horn of plenty." In addition to a group of inventors, the pediment includes "two groups of lions, representing brute force subdued by human g enius, which is represented by two children." Buildings were composed, then, as pictures of art, thus establishing the place of culture in relation to the activities of society embodied by the exhibits within.

A model of the true, ideal shape of reality, and in the methods of attaining that shape, the World's Columbian Exposition made itself relevant almost exactly to the extent that the world outside its gates did not conform to its symmetry. What may str ike us as ironies are instead contradictions held in momentary balancenot a confusion of values, as historians have suggested, but an effort to incorporate contrary and diverse values under the unity of a system of culture in support of a system of societ y. The architect Henry Van Brunt, writing in Century before the Fair opened, made the matter explicit:

In order, therefore, to present a complete and symmetrical picture of modern civilization, it is necessary that the Columbian Exposition should not only bring together evidences of the amazing material productiveness which, within the century, has ef fected a complete transformation in the external aspects of life, but should force into equal prominence, if possible, corresponding evidences that the finer instincts of humanity have not suffered complete eclipse in this grosser prosperity, and that, in this headlong race, art has not been left entirely behind. The management of the Exposition is justified in placing machinery, agricultural appliances and products, manufactures and the liberal arts, the wonderful industrial results of scientific investi gation, and other evidences of practical progress, in the midst of a parallel display shaped entirely by sentiment and appealing to a fundamentally different set of emotions. It is the high function of architecture not only to adorn this triumph of materi alism, but to condone, explain and supplement it, so that some elements of "sweetness and light" may be brought forward to counterbalance the boastful Philistinism of our times.


The Fair seemed thus an Arnoldian program of social unity through culture. "Was it real, or only apparent?" Henry Adams was not certain that the "look of unity" worn by White City represented a genuine and lasting "rupture in historical sequence." Bu t, he wrote, "one's personal universe hung on the answer, for, if the rupture was real and the new American world could take this sharp and conscious twist toward ideals, one's personal friends would come in, at last, as winners in the great American char iot-race for fame."

"Look here, old fellow," one of Adams's close friends, the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, was reported to have said to Burnham during a planning session, "do you realize that this is the greatest meeting of artists since the Fifteenth Century?" In its completed form, White City seemed indeed the triumph of a distinct community of artists, architects, scholars, and patrons: a community whose social commitment to the reforming power of beauty had grown and deepened during the crisis of the Gilded Age . In March, before the opening of the Fair, they gathered in Madison Square Garden in New York to pay tribute to Burnham, and among the more than two hundred guests were names high on the list of Arnold's apostolate: Charles Eliot Norton, the editor and p oet Richard Watson Gilder, the inevitable E. L. Godkin, Olmsted, President of Johns Hopkins Daniel Coit Gilman, the architects Richard Hunt and Charles McKim, men of practical affairs like the businessmen Henry Villard, Marshall Field, Lyman Gage, and Abram Hewitt-and the admiring William Dean Howells. Norton spoke of the general design of the Fair as "noble, original, and satisfactory," and of the Court of Honor as "a splendid display of monumental architecture," showing how well "our ablest architects have studied the work of the past." On such occasions, the voices of culture rang loud in self-praise, for the Fair proclaimed, at last, their role.

That role appeared as the making of a landscape of fantasy in which goods might be displayed as progress, as emblems of a beneficent future. The final message of the Fair concerned the method of making such a future: through a corporate alliance of Is business, culture, and the state. But another part of the message was precisely to keep that alliance aloof, not so much hidden and disguised but above reproach, beyond criticism. And, for this function, art and culture served simply to dazzle the senses in


visible "beauty," to bathe the mind in delight. "I went to the fair at once," wrote Owen Wister in his diary, "and before 1 had walked for two minutes, a bewilderment at the gloriousness of everything seized me ... until my mind was dazzled to a stan d still." Delight to the point of bewilderment: such seemed the work of high art. "I studied nothing, looked at no detail, but merely got at the total consummate beauty and grandeur of the thing: -which is like a great White Spirit evoked by Chicago out of the blue water upon whose shore it reposes." So wrote Wister, enthralled by the White Spirit. Just such responses to the ordering and tranquilizing effects of the highest art William James must have had in mind in explaining in a letter to his brother Henry that, though he would not go to Chicago, "everyone says one ought to sell all one has and mortgage one's soul to go there; it is esteemed such a revelation of beauty. People cast away all sin and baseness, burst into tears and grow religious etc., under the influence!!"

The influence of beauty arrayed as public monuments had a somewhat similar effect even on critics of the social order which lay beyond the gates of the Fair. White City, wrote Henry Demarest Lloyd, "revealed to the people possibilities of social beauty, utility, and harmony of which they had not even been able to dream." Its image of coordination and cooperation for the end simply of beauty was a vision to lighten "the prosaic drudgery of their lives." Even Eugene V. Debs spoke of "the lofty ideal" of the Fair, its "healthful influences ... upon the national character." He made these observations in an editorial in the Locomotive Firemen's Magazine against a plan to keep the fairgrounds closed on the Sabbath, thereby depriving many worki ng people of the chance to look "upon the beautiful in art as well as nature, a form of worship," Debs remarked, "entirely devoid of cant and hypocrisy, superior to any worship narrowed by creeds and dogmas." In another article during the summer, Debs wou ld describe the Fair as primarily a tribute to labor. But for one moment at least White City seemed to him a secular church, exactly the place for Sunday worship.

It was left to William Dean Howells to draw the appropriate conclusion. Writing as the "Altrurian Traveler" in his utopian novel of angry social criticism then running serially in Cosmopolitan, Howells exempted the Fair from his assaults on se lfish-


ness and greed, holding it up as the very model for a better future: "glorious capitals which will whiten the hills and shores of the east and the borderless plains of the west." He is reminded of home, the Altruria Howells portrays as the true, the original, the real America:

Of the effect, of the visible, tangible result, what
better can I say than that in its presence I felt myself
again in Altruria? The tears came, and the pillared porches
swam against my vision; through the hard nasal American tones,
the liquid notes of our own speech stole to my inner ear; I
saw under the careworn masks of the competitive crowds, the
peace, the rest of the dear Altrurian face; the gay tints of
our own simple costumes eclipsed the different versions of the
the Paris fashions about me. I was at home once more, and
my heart overflowed with patriotic rapture in this strange
land so remote from ours in everything, that at times Altruria
really seems to me the dream which the Americans think it.

The future latent in White City seemed to Howells to he an America that once was.

Henry Adams, on the other hand, persisted in viewing the Fair in his usual hard light of politics and power, drawing quite different conclusions for the future. In spite of the 'Babel of loose and ill-joined ... thoughts and half-thoughts and experim ental outcries" he detected on the fairgrounds, "Chicago was the first expression of American thought as a unity." The meaning of that apparent unity and its effect on him became clear when he returned to Washington in time to learn that Congress had reso lved the long-standing money controversy by repealing the Silver Act and confirming a single gold standard, at the behest of bankers and capitalists. Realizing that his own "antiquated dislike of bankers and capitalistic society" had made him little bette r than a crank," Adams recorded that now, especially after the Fair, he seemed better able to accept the new realities. "All one's friends, all one's best citizens, had joined the banks to force submission to capitalism," he wrote, finally resolving the h esitation and vacation of the American people between "two forces, one simply industrial, the other capitalistic, centralizing, mechanical." Chicago had represented to him, subliminally at least, the defeat of the "simply industrial," the final victory of the centralizing, me-


chanical, and incorporated society of capitalism. Indeed, if capitalism "were to be run at all, it must be run by capital and by capitalistic methods; for nothing could surpass the nonsensity of trying to run so complex and so concentrated a machine by Southern and Western farmers in grotesque alliance with city day-laborers." And that exactly proved the lasting lesson of Chi cago, of White City.. that the new society required the corporate version of "capitalistic methods," including the array of culture before the senses. In the glow of White City, Populism looked as grotesque as the notion of direct rule by "the people" seemed now a "nonsensity."


The message of the Columbian Fair may have been clear, but actual lessons varied with perspective. If it stood for culture, its symmetry indicated relative positions of value, even of inclusion and exclusion. American blacks stood beyond the gates, p etitions for an exhibition, a building, or a separate department all rejected. They were denied participation in the Fair, in its administration, on the National Commission, even on the construction force and ground crews (except as menials). Indians foun d themselves included among the exhibitions of the ethnology departmerit, part of a display (in Julian Ralph's words) "to exemplify the primitive modes of life, customs, and arts of the native Peoples of the world." Quoting the chief of that department, R alph writes that native Americans will appear as "a living picture ... each family to be living in its native habitation; the people to be dressed in native costume, surrounded by characteristic household utensils, implements, and weapons, and engaged in their native occupations and manufactures": not exactly a Wild West show, but nevertheless a spectacle of the "savage" in a lower state of progress. Prominent blacks organized an independent 'Jubilee" or "Colored People's Day," at which the distinguished Frederick Douglass renamed White City "a whited sepulcher." Former slave, author, and statesman, Douglass attended the Fair a s commissioner from Haiti-not as citizen of his own country. In his speech at the "Jubilee" he clarified one of the lessons of the distinctions incorporated into the Fair's spatial scheme, the contrasts between the Court of Honor and the Old World customs

and folkways, the African, Asian, and Islamic people sprawling in their costumes along the Midway Plaisance: "As if to shame of the Negro, the Dahomians are here to exhibit the Negro as a repulsive savage." Yet a significant portion of the civilization celebrated in White City, Douglass pointed out, represented the labor of black Americans.

Images implied and stated of blacks and Indians served the total pedagogy. No social image served more significantly, however, than that of women. This was the moment, as the Fair proclaimed, when women (like artists) came into their own. By the initiating Act of Congress, a Board of Lady Managers served alongside the World's Columbian Commission. A separate department both of exhibition and of the World's Congress, the world of women furthermore possessed a building of its own: a building, moreover, designed by a female architect (the only American building whose design was open to competition), decorated, arranged, and furnished entirely by women. At the Congress, more than three hundred women read papers on a variety of topics concerning the history and social position of their gender: Elizabeth Cady Stanton on suffrage, Susan B. Anthony on politics, Jane Addams on housework and factory work. Champions of women's political rights and of radical reform were accorded places at the Congress, as indeed were advocates of single-tax and public ownership at other sessions. But they did not appear among the more socially proper figures of the Lady Managers, nor did militant notes ring prominently in the exhibitions. Instead, the prevailing note was domesticity, the unique, and uniquely virtuous, powers of women as mothers, homemakers, teachers, and cooks.

The very prominence of women at the Fair heightened the ambiguities in their conceived role. The Women's Building, designed by Sophia Hayden in a harmonious neoclassical style, struck the artist Candace Wheeler favorably as "the most peacefully human of all the buildings. . . like a man's ideal of woman--delicate, dignified, pure, and fair to look upon." Adorned with murals representing "The Primitive Woman" (by Mary Mac-Monnies) and "Modern Woman" (by Mary Cassatt)-the one welcoming her man home from the hunt, the other engaged in happy pursuits of art, of music and dance-the building occupied the significant site of the exact junction between the Court of


Honor and the Midway Plaisance, just at the point of transition from the official view of reality to the world of exotic amusement, of pleasure. Housing exhibits of domestic labor, virtue, and order -exhibits of the ordering hand of women-the building represented the conceptual opposite, the most pointed moral contrast, to the excitements of the Midway. Similarly, the dominating sixty-foot statue by Daniel Chester French of a female figure representing the Republic presiding over the Court of Honor in taught the populace what to make of the Midway's own "World's Congress of Beauties," a parade of belly dancers and "Forty Ladies from Forty Countries."

Labor, too, was represented, but in a manner finally not entirely pleasing to Eugene Debs. Praising the Fair for its educational value, Debs echoed Frederick Douglass in his reversal of the hierarchical placement of labor and culture: "The Fair, after all was the sublimest testimony the world has ever heard or seen, in all the centuries of the civilizing, elevating, liberalizing force of labor. Everywhere, from the turnstiles through which the millions passed to review the wonders of the Fair-over all, above all, surrounding all, the imagination, without an effort, could see written, as vivid as electric light, the announcement that the Columbian Fair is monumental of the achievements of labor." How clearly this lesson was in fact written in the fantastic sky of the Fair is hard to tell, but certainly the architects of the Court did their best to conceal the message. Debs's meaning, however, lay at a deeper level than the merely tangible signs of human labor in physical constructions; it lay in a theory of political economy denied implicitly throughout the structures of the Fair, its organizing and controlling corporation, and its design: "We are quite willing to admit the alliance between money and labor in the accomplishments of great undertakings, but this must be said, because it is true that the greater credit is due to labor, because it is the creator of the capital with which, where justice holds the scales, it is in ceaseless harmony."

But where in fact did justice hold the scales? Within the year, Debs was indicted and jailed for refusing to obey a federal injunction against the boycott by the American Railway Union of the major railroad lines. Called in support of a bitter strike by members of ARU against the Pullman Palace Car Company, the sym


pathy boycott led to the firing of participating workers, and the halting of rail traffic across the land. President Cleveland had issued an injunction on the pretext of protecting the flow of mail, and over the pmotests of Governor Altgeld of Illinois, ordered troops to restore order. Anger and bitterness-at the successive wage cuts at Pullman, the intervention of the government on the side of the railroad companies-brought Chicago to near hysteria in June and July of 1894, just one year after the wonders of the Fair. Incited by fear of wider class conflict and conflagration, community support of the strikers began to wane, the boycott lost its strength, the Pullman workers their strike, and the American Railway Union sank to defeat. After serving his six months' sentence in 1895, Debs left jail a socialist, arguing now for government ownership of capital as the only solution to the social crisis, the only way to restore justice to labor, its rights in the wealth it produces.

The Pullman strike, its burning railroad cars, and the path of ugly violence it traced through Chicago, seems the most dramatic external instance of history playing tricks on the White City. What starker contradiction than the strike and the themes o f the Fair? But the relation of events lay even deeper. The model industrial town of Pullman and White City articulated quite similar intentions. Pullman, too, arose from a design, a planned community conceived by a single architect, S. S. Beman (responsible for the Mines and Mining building at the Fair), who designed the factories and homes and supervised construction. The aim was to create an environment conducive to steady work, good morals, and industrial peace. The community had attracted world attention as an experiment in industrial relations, and in 1885 the economist Richard T. Ely visited the town to see for himself whether Pullman succeeded "from a social standpoint." A liberal reformer sympathetic to socialism, Ely reported his findings in an article in Harper's New Monthly Magazine. Did Pullman fulfill the ideal of helping each individual "to participate as fully as his nature will allow, in the advantages of the existing civilization?" The report was mixed.

The first impression of the town gave Ely a striking contrast with the typical "Coketown" image of industrial centers: "Not a dilapidated doorstep nor a broken window." The streets were in perfect condition, with young, promising shade trees. The


prospect pleased the eye. "Unity of design and an unexpected variety charm us as we saunter through the town." Green lawns and a pleasant diversity of style lent the dwellings of workers an unexpected look. "French roofs, square roofs, dormer-windows turrets, sharp points, blunt points, triangles, irregular quadranglets, are devices resorted to in the upper stories to avoid the appearance of unbroken uniformity." Everything about the architecture is praiseworthy and desirable. Moreover, the town prov ides a public square, an "Arcade and Market-house"-and an elegantly furnished library "with Wilton carpets and plushcovered chairs." "It is avowedly part of the design of Pullman to surround laborers as far as possible with all the privileges of large wea lth," writes Ely, wondering what the "ordinary artisan, unaccustomed in his own home to such extravagance," must think of this. But Mr. Pullman believes in "the commercial value of beauty," as his world-renowned sleeping cars indicate. He intends his town to be at once a "philanthropic undertaking" and "a profitable investment," and this conjunction of ends gives Ely his theme. Does it really pay, in all senses, to "provide beautiful homes for laborers, accompanied with all the conditions requisite for wh olesome living both for the body and the mind?"

The Pullman venture preceded White City. It applied culture to "the social problem," as a calculated "investment" for the sake of obedience and acquiescence. But aestheticism of the sort represented by the design of the town, Ely implies, is alien to the daily lives, and especially to the work experience of Pullman's employees. The very aim to "elevate" laborers carries troublesome paternalistic overtones. In fact, looking more closely at the social order of the town, Ely discovers that "the citizen is surrounded by constant restraint and restriction and everything is done for him, nothing by him." "It is benevolent, well-wishing feudalism, which desires the happiness of the people, but in such way as shall please the authorities." He finds "an all-p ervading feeling of insecurity. Nobody regards Pullman as a real home." Has culture forged "new bonds of dependence?" "There is repression here as elsewhere of any marked individuality," Ely concludes, and adds a chilling prophetic image: "Everything tend s to stamp upon residents, as upon the town, the character expressed in 'machine-made."'

In a pamphlet prepared by the Pullman Company for visitors


to the White City, the unnamed writer explains that Pullman is "'a town ... where all that is ugly, and discordant and demoralizing, is eliminated, and all that inspires to self-respect, to thrift and to cleanliness of thought is generously provided." George Pullman was a member of the executive committee of the Chicago Company, subscribed $100,000 to the corporation, and mounted an impressive display in the Transportation Building designed by Louis Sullivan: not only two tracks of Pullman cars, but, just inside Sullivan's "golden door," a plaster replica of the town. The town and the Fair replicate each other in illuminating ways, and the events of the year after the dismantling of the Fair also dismantled the notion that in culture alone resides a power to enforce obedience, to teach acquiescence and consent. In the end, it took armed federal troops to rescue Pullman from the failure of its ideal.

And what of Sullivan's doorway, often praised as the only original creation of the architecture of the Fair? In his Autobiography of an Idea (1924) the aged pioneer of modern building and prophet of democracy vented his ire against White City: "an appalling calamity," causing at least fifty years of damage to American architecture. It was "an imposition of the spurious ... a naked exhibition of charlantry in the higher feudal and domineering culture." Its idea of culture was a "virus," "snob. bish and alien to the land." Under different circumstances "there might have arisen a gorgeous Garden City, reflex of one mind, truly interpreting the aspirations and the heart's desire of the many, every detail carefully considered, every function given its due form, with the sense of humanity at its best, a suffusing atmosphere: and within the Garden City might be built another city to remain and endure as a memorial within the parkland by the blue waters, oriented toward the rising sun, a token of a co venant of things to be, a symbol of the city's basic significance as offspring of the prairie, the lake and the portage." Sullivan's reproach to the Fair rests on an alternative vision owing much to Whitman's call for a culture of democracy.

What sort of alternative did Sullivan's "golden doorway" represent, the portal which opened upon Pullman's exhibit, and


hundreds of others, including several impressive cannon and guns and rifles from the Gun and Armor Works of the Bethlehem Iron Company? It was clearly out of keeping with the classicism of the Court, though still a recognizable classical form, a Roma n arch cut into a wall. The rounded arch recedes in smaller concentric arches, much decorated with Sullivan's unique floral ornamentation, and covered with bright gold leaf. Was it an expression of a wheel, of a basic element of transportation? Or of unit y? Or simply of a doorway into a hall of mechanical wonders? Some jaundiced observers took the "golden doorway" as "a symbol of the Gilded Age itself"; H. C. Bunner remarked in Scribner's that it "does the completest justice to the Pullman car end of our civilization." The comment touches the heart of Sullivan's dilemma: is a serious architecture of celebration possible in a society whose functions have become corporate business, "capitalistic," as Adams wrote, rather than "simply industrial?"

In the retrospect of An Autobiograpby of an Idea, White City precipitated Sullivan's dilemma of vocation. It was, in his eyes, a dilemma of culture itself, a shift in the direction of American architecture away from the path he and Root, follo wing the lead of H. H. Richardson (who had died in 1886), had wished to take. Sullivan understood that original direction as toward a native organic architecture, a kind of building which, being both native and organic, would represent the highest respons ibility of the architect: as he put it in Kindergarten Chats (published in 1918, though written in 1901), "to initiate such buildings as shall correspond to the real needs of the people." Democracy, the people, democratic culture: these terms fall throughout Sullivan's copious writings (all the more copious as his active career declined). In an early lecture of 1885, Sullivan had called for a native expression in architecture, a "national style" answering to "the wishes of the public, and ministeri ng to its conceptions of the beautiful and the useful." Such a style would be organic in the sense of representing both the social function of the building (as the golden door represents a portal) and the structural purposes of the parts of the bui lding, especially those parts normally consigned by architects to their engineers. In the concept "form follows function," Sullivan vested his ambitions for an architecture true to its place, its purpose, and the needs of its public. Such buildings would not be mere scaffoldings for pictures of ancient build-


ings, clusters of stylistic allusions to traditions irrelevant to America. Their ornamentation, for example, would not be "stuck on" but would flow organically (and, in the case of his own original language of ornaments, would draw upon floral forms) from the artist's feeling for his work. "A building which is truly a work of art," he wrote in Engineering Magazine (August 1892), "is in its nature, essence and physical being an emotional expression ... it must have, almost literally, life." Both "mass-composition" and ornamentation must "spring from the same source of of feeling." Such buildings, replacing the "feudal and hence now at artificial system of thinking and feeling" being, foisted on Americans, would contribute to the making of "Democratic-Culture." Indeed, "America is the only land in the whole earth," he wrote in 1901, "wherein a dream like this may be realized; for here alone tradition is without shackles, and the soul of man free to grow, to mature, to seek its own."

In an essay on the Fair, the noted architectural critic Montgomery Schuyler quoted Burnham as saying: "The intellectual reflex of the Exposition will be shown in a demand for better architecture, and designers will be obliged to abandon their incoherent originalities and study the ancient masters of buildings." The remark has been interpreted as a rebuke to the followers of Richardson, and to Sullivan especially for the exuberance of his tall buildings, the Wainwright and Guaranty buildings, and the 18, massive Chicago Auditorium with its richly ornamented interior and its high, elegant tower (all of these, together with the Transportation Building, executed by Sullivan in partnership with Dankmar Adler). But the issue between Sullivan and Burnham (fought out in Sullivan's monologue of 1924) was more than a difference over style, between Richardson's mode of Romanesque in brick and masonry and the academic neoclassicism Burnham came to champion during and after the Fair. The deeper issues concerned both the character and the social function of public buildings, their role as pedagogics of culture. Burnham's views would capture the day, and in the City Beautiful movement of the next twenty years (after 1893) would leave their mark in public structures and spaces, in park systems and boulevards, throughout the nation. Though finding a fulfillment in the career of Frank Lloyd Wright, Sullivan's views in 1893 would suffer a defeat, not unlike and in some ways strikingly similar to


that of Populism. For architect and embattled farmer alike evoked as their final authority the name of "the people."

In Sullivan's voice, however, like Whitman's, the name rang more with an abstract hope than with any specific experience of closeness with a public his buildings served. Writing most rapturously about the form in which he achieved his greatest triump hs, the skyscraper, Sullivan betrays a failure to reckon with new social realities, the very realities which Burnham seemed much better to understand and to serve. In "The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered" (1896), Sullivan speaks of "social co nditions" which have resulted "in a demand for the erection of tall buildings." What these conditions are he claims it is not his purpose to discuss: "I accept them as the fact." Instead, he turns to the technical conditions, the physical problems posed b y the tall building. His account of the problems and of the organic (or functional) principles for their solution is as eloquent as were his actual solutions of the 1890's. But it is clear that while he refuses to discuss the social meaning of the tall of fice building, he does conceive of the form as an expression of individual power: materialistic, to be sure, but capable of transformation through art into a spiritual expression-an expression, moreover (in his words), "of the people, by the people, and f or the people." A physical problem of technics, the tall building is also an opportunity to express an emotion. The emotional power of the skyscraper lies in its sheer height, its loftiness. "This loftiness is to the artist-nature its thrilling aspect. It is the very open organtone of its appeal. It must be in turn the dominant chord of his expression of it, the true excitant of his imagination." Obeying that impulse to celebrate height and aspiration, the artist will create "a living form of speech, a na tural form of utterance ... an architecture that will soon become a fine art in the true, the best sense of the word, an art that will live because it will be of the people, for the people, and by the people."

It is hard to imagine words, in 1896, more deeply out of touch with the new corporate world of merging trusts and monopolies, of concentrated political power, than these elegant but sad cries of belief. Sullivan wished to celebrate business enterpris e as heroic activity: a notion inherited from an earlier age of laissezfaire, of epic individual efforts. Richardson had seemed to show the way in his sole commercial building, the great Marshall Field


Wholesale Store in Chicago (now demolished) of 1885, about which Sullivan wrote: "Four-square and brown, it stands, in physical fact a monument to trade, to the organized commercial spirit, to the power and progress of the age, to the strength and re source of individuality and force of character." Richardson's use of Romanesque forms not as ornamentation but as forms expressing the inner structure of the building, and especially the properties of his materials, his granites and brown stones, seemed t o suggest a direction: not toward a specific style but toward expressive design. By the 1890's, Richardson's exclusive use of masonry walls had become outmoded by the use of steel frameworks. Sullivan persisted in the spirit of Richardson, designing his b uildings from the inside out, as celebrations of what he believed remained the organic relation of business enterprise to the life of "the people." All deviations from such a high sacral calling aroused his raging condemnation. "Such structures are pro foundly anti-social, " he howled about an academically designed New York skyscraper in 1901. With their "growl of a glutton for the Dollar," they "are undermining American life." Thus did the imitative architecture desired by corporate clients eventua lly clarify for Sullivan the character of those "social conditions" crying for the erection of towers.

His golden door may well have seemed an ironic touch on the imperial fagades of White City, but the hint remained ambiguous; a clearer set of implications about the meaning of the Court, as events of the following summer would disclose, lay just thro ugh Sullivan's portal, in the model of Pullman. Montgomery Schuyler, admirer and articulate expounder of the Chicago School, cast his own ironical and judicious eye on the same glittering scene, and reached closer to the heart of White City, to the secret of its spectacle. Schuyler attributed the "success" of "the cloud-capped towers and the gorgeous palaces" to three specific elements of design: unity, magnitude, and illusion. The three terms name the very devices of imperial spectacle. Unity comes from the classical forms which, having lost touch with their origin, become simply forms [my emphasis], which can be used without a suggestion of any real structure or any particular material." Insubstantiality, then, is the very essence of White City unity: forms without substance. And, in place of substance, magnitude, "inordinate dimensions" distracting from the empty ges-


tures of facades: "the magnitude of the buildings was everywhere forced upon the sense." As for illusion, even "a casual glance" reveals that these are "examples not of work-a-day building, but of holiday building, that the purpose of their erection is festal and temporary." This is precisely the point. The illusion reveals itself as illusion, "a triumph of occasional architecture." That very fact, the ephemerality of the show, made White City all the more ideal: the momentary realization of a dream. "They have realized in plaster that gives us the illusion of monumental masonry," SchuyIer concludes, "a painter's dream of Roman architecture."

The imperial implications of that Roman dream would soon materialize in more brutal forms, in the Cuban and Philippine invasions of 1898, in McKinley's "Open Door" to incorporation beyond these shores. The "whole present tendency of American life is centrifugal," noted Howells at the end of the century, but "I do not attempt to say how it will be when, in order to spread ourselves over the earth, and convincingly to preach the blessings of our deeply incorporated civilization by the mouths of our eig ht-inch guns, the mind of the nation shall be politically centred at some capital." Preoccupied with Altruria at the time, Howells did not seem to notice that White City had already anticipated such a central capital for the "mind of the nation."

For a summer's moment, White City had seemed the fruition of a nation, a culture, a whole society: the celestial city of man set upon a hill for all the world to behold. It seemed the triumph of America itself, the old republican ideal. But dressed n ow in empty Roman orders, that ideal had taken on another look and signified another meaning: the alliance and incorporation of business, politics, industry, and culture. The spectacle proclaimed order, unity, coherence-and mutuality now in the form of hi erarchy. White City manifested the conversion of the old ideal, its transvaluation into not a communal but a corporate enterprise. Business and politics provided the structure, the legitimacy of power, the chain of command. Industrial technology provided the physical power, forces of nature mastered and chained to human will, typified by tens of thousands of electric bulbs controlled by a single switch. And culture served as the presiding


genius, orchestrating design and style, coordinating effort. Illumination, clarity of design, a perfectly comprehensible ground plan dividing the Fair into distinct regions-all such signs of lucidity seemed to proclaim mystery overcome by an artfully composed reality: a reality composed, that is, in the mode of theatrical display, of spectacle. White City seemed to make everything clear, everything available. This indeed had been the prime function of industrial expositions in the nineteenth century, to display the fruits of production as universal culture, to construct of the performances of economy a modern spectacle. Moreover, in choosing neoclassicism as its dominant style, White City made obvious allusion to European Baroque, to the monumental neoclassicism of capital cities in which radial avenues, open plazas, and facades of columns signified royal power, the authority of the state on display.

White City implied not only a new form of urban experience but a new way of experiencing the urban world: spectacle. Visitors to the Fair found themselves as spectators, witnesses to an unanswerable performance which they had no hand in produc ing or maintaining. The Fair was delivered to them, made available to them. And delivered, moreover, not as an actual place, a real city, but as a frank illusion, a picture of what a city, a real society, might look like. White City represented itself as a representation, an admitted sham. Yet that sham, it insisted, held a truer vision of the real than did the troubled world sprawling beyond its gates.

In sum, White City seemed to have settled the question of the true and real meaning of America. It seemed the victory of elites in business, politics, and culture over dissident but divided voices of labor, farmers, immigrants, blacks and women. Elit e culture installed itself as official doctrine of the Court, claiming dominion over the "low" confined to the outskirts of the Midway. In retrospect, the Fair has seemed not only a culmination of the efforts of ruling groups since the Civil War to win he gemony over the emerging national culture but a prophetic symbol of the coming defeat of Populism and its alternative culture, the alternative "America" it proposed. White City expressed the very outlook later manifested by McKinley and the Republican ban ner of "peace, prosperity, progress and patriotism," as well as the overseas crusades to spread the blessings of "our deeply incorpo-


rated civilization." The power to say what was real, what was America, seemed now safely in the hands of property, wealth, and "the word Culture."

But the ragged edges of 1894 implied that even in defeat advocates of "union" over "corporation" retained their vision, their voice, and enough power to unsettle the image of a peaceful corporate order. At stake in the sympathy boycott of the American Railway Union was more than a legal right, but a way of life and a world view. Arguing before the Supreme Court in October 1894, in defense of Eugene Debs, who had been speedily convicted of violating a federal injunction against the boycott, Clarence Darrow presented the legal issue in the light of a broader defense of the right of workingmen to associate in the first place. It makes no difference whether the members of the American Railway Union were themselves personally at odds with the Pullman Company, he argued. "They doubtless believed that their fellow laborers were unjustly treated, and did not desire to handle the cars of a corporation that was unjustly treating their brothers who were engaged in a struggle with this company." It was the very right to consider each other "brothers" that Darrow insisted upon. "The right to cease labor for the benefit of their fellows" lay at the heart of labor unions. "If no man could strike except he were personally aggrieved, there could be no strike of a combination of workingmen," he explained. For "the theory on which all labor organizations are based is that workingmen have a common interest, and that 'an injury to one is the concern of all.' " "Mutual aid" is "the very object of combination and association." To deny this principle, which indeed the court would do in denying Darrow's plea, "would leave each individual worker completely isolated and unaided to fight his battle alone against the combined capital everywhere vigilant and aggressive, to add to its own profit by reducing the wages and conditions of those who work."

The crux of Darrow's losing argument lay in his joining this familiar notion of mutuality with a developing concept of collective rights which lay "beyond equality." He put the issue pointedly. "Politically and theoretically the laborer is now a free man, the equal of the employer, the equal of the lawyer or the judge.


But freedom does not consist alone in political rights, or in theories of government, or in theories as to man's relations with the state." Effective freedom lay in the right of workers to combine and act in union, in solidarity. "The present system of industry" makes this larger freedom essential, for "so long as steam and electricity are applied to machines in any such manner as at present," and "hundreds and thousands of men must work for single employers," "great masses of men working together to a common end, and subject to regulations from a common head" must enjoy the right of collective action for mutual aid. Political economy itself raised the old mutuality to a new, more radical condition: the need for solidarity among an entire class of pe ople. It was this need which welled up out of Pullman and spread along the railroad network across the land, as it had more spontaneously in 1877. The need arose from conditions, Darrow argued, which lay at the base of industrial life. It also arose from motives, principles, beliefs-from an entire culture-at sharp odds with the implied obedience and deference, the ethos of incorporation celebrated at Pullman and at White City. "No doubt it is difficult for some people to understand a motive sufficiently h igh," he concluded, "to cause men to lay down their employment not to serve themselves but to help some one else. But until this is understood, the teachings of religionists and moralists will have been in vain."

Darrow spoke out of the accumulated experience of labor, of workers and farmers in the age of incorporation, evoking the spirit of the Knights of Labor as well as the Farmers' Alliance. He spoke in a losing cause before the highest court in 1894, des cribing a vision of a new political concept arising from a culture of common need. In more figurative language, Eugene Debs invoked that same vision in images sharply at odds with the culture of Pullman and White City. Pausing for a moment to reflect on t he events of 1894 while still in their midst, Debs wrote, in "Labor Strikes and Their Lessons" (published by John Swinton in his 1894 volume on the Pullman strike): "on one hand, a eat corporation, rich to plethora, rioting in luxuries, plutocratic, proud , and powerful." And on the other, "not a picture of houses and lands, lawns and landscape, 'sacred grass,' violets and rose-trees, sparkling fountains and singing birds, and an


atmosphere burdened with the aroma of flowers, but of human beings living amidst such surroundings and toiling for a pittance doled out to them by their employers-as a Heber might say: 'Where every prospect pleases,' and only man is wretched." ---Eve ryhonest patriotic Ainerican" should understand the need to resist such "brazen heartlessness." Indeed, the "great lesson" of the strike at Pullman is "that it arouses wide-spread sympathy." Debs continued:

This fellowship for the woes of others-this desire to help the unfortunate; this exhibition of a divine principle, which makes the declaration plausible that "man was made a little lower than God," and without which man would rank lower than the devi l by several degrees-should be accepted as at once the hope of civilization and the supreme glory of manhood. And yet this exhibition of sympathy aroused by the Pullman strike is harped upon by press and pulpit as the one atrocious feature of the strike. Epithets, calumny, denunciation in every form that malice or mendacity could invent have been poured forth in a vitriol tide to scathe those who advocated and practised the Christ-like virtue of sympathy. The crime of the American Railway Union was the pr actical exhibition of sympathy for the Pullman employees.

Thus did the events of 1894 reveal to Debs and Darrow not only corporations (and the state) pitted against striking workers, but a clash of cultures: the pleasing prospect against the bonds of sympathy, of solidarity.

That tension would persist in America, submerged in periods of prosperity and wartime nationalism, only to reappear at moments of stress and crisis: the Depression of the 1930's, the agitations of the 1960's and 1970's. To be sure, since World War 11 a larger number of workers have shared in the abundance of an incorporated America and have seemed to accept its cultural premises. A wider diffusion of comfort and the goods of culture (as well as education) seems to have overshadowed the vista of a solidarity grounded not in consumption but in equality, the dignity of labor, and the sympathy of common need. Yet it seems evident, almost a hundred years since White City and its aftermath at Pullman, that the question remains unresolved. In the conflict of perspectives disclosed in Chicago in 1893-94 lay one of the deepest and most abiding issues accompanying the incorporation of America.