The Women's World's Fair of 1925 was held April 18-25 in the American Exposition Palace. It attracted more than 160,000 visitors, and consisted of 280 booths representing 100 occupations in which women were engaged. The fair was the idea of Helen Bennett, the manager of the Chicago Collegiate Bureau of Occupations, and Ruth Hanna McCormick, a leading clubwoman and Republican politician. Women publicized and ran the fair; its managers and board of directors were all women.
The fair had the double purpose of displaying women's ideas, work, and products, and raising funds to help support women's Republican Party organizations.
The booths at the fair showed women's accomplishments in the arts, literature, science, and industry. These exhibits were also intended as a source for young women seeking information on careers. Among the exhibitors at the fair were major corporations, such as Illinois Bell Telephone Company and the major national and regional newspapers.
Local manufacturers, banks, stores, and shops, area hospitals, and women inventors, artists, and lawyers set up booths demonstrating women's contributions in these fields and possibilities for employment. Women's groups were represented by such organizations as the Women's Trade Union League, Business and Professional Women's Club, the Visiting Nurse Association, the YWCA, Hull House, the Illinois Club for Catholic Women, and the Auxiliary House of the Good Shepherd. The 1925 fair raised $50,000 and was so successful that it was held for three more years.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.