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View, Illinois, Springfield, State Fair, Antique Broadside Print, 1915


Illinois State Fair Poster
American: 1915
29.75 x 20.5 inches, overall

Colorful large broadside poster advertising the 1915 Illinois State Fair in Springfield. The top half shows a panoramic bird’s-eye view of the fairgrounds, flanked by trompe-l’oeil examples of the ribbons awarded to prize-winning livestock hanging from a garland of roses. The bottom half has the words “Illinois State Fair, Sept. 17 to 25” in outline block letters above an oval sepia photograph of the Woman’s Building and two smaller inset tinted photographs of the Dome Building and the Coliseum, flanked by stylized illustrations of corn stalks and wheat stalks. Text along the bottom advertises “Special Attractions Day and Night” and “World’s Greatest Auto Racers, Aeroplane with Parachute Drop,” and “Pain’s $10,000 Spectacular Fireworks Display known as the ‘War of Nations’ Playing 260 People.” The photographic images are subtitled with building dimensions and cost. At the top, above the rose garland, are listed the officers of the State Agricultural Board, the agency that administered the fair. The poster is imprinted with the union “bug” lower right — an emblem that indicates it was printed by a union shop, member of the Allied Printing Trades Council, St. Louis chapter, which also has members in the portion of Illinois near St. Louis, Missouri.

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By the year this poster appeared, the Illinois State Fair was administered under the supervision of the State Board of Agriculture as an economic development and educational opportunity for the state’s farmers. The September 11, 1915, issue of The Prairie Farmer contained an article by the secretary of the Board that stated: “It, today, occupies a leading position as the greatest and most complete agricultural and industrial fair of the world” and served the people of Illinois “as one of the most far-reaching educational agencies in all that pertains to advanced agriculture.” The statement further explains, “Within the last 15 years additional educational value has been given the Illinois State Fair by the State Board of Agriculture through the establishment on the grounds, in the beautiful Woman’s building, of a Domestic Science School, to which young ladies from each county in the state may come and where they are taught for two weeks the latest improved methods in sanitary housekeeping and the preparation of foods.”

Full text from top: “Len Small, President, Kankaee; J.F. Prather, Treasurer, Williamsville; B.M. Davison, Secretary, Springfield. 1915. Springfield. Illinois State Fair, Sept. 17 to 25. Woman’s Building, 93 x 84 feet, $27,800. Dome Building, 222 x 222 Feet, $69,500. Coliseum, 326 x 225 Feet, $63,000. World’s Greatest Auto Racers. Aeroplane with Parachute Drop. Pain’s $10,000 Spectacular Fireworks Display known as the ‘War of Nations’ playing 260 people. Special Attractions Day and Night.” Blue ribbon: “First Premium Class A Section 11 Dairy Cattle Illinois State Fair Springfield 1915.” Red ribbon: “Second Premium Class B Section 1 Heavy Horses Illinois State Fair Springfield 1915.”

Union “bug” label: Allied Printing Trades Council Union Label St. Louis 70.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall toning, handling and wear. Some dampstains, abrasions and minor losses recently professionally restored, and also mounted on larger support sheet providing extra margins for framing.


Davison, B.M. “History of the Illinois State Fair — 1853 to 1915.” Prairie Farmer. 11 September 1915. Online at Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections: (15 April 2019).

Additional information


20th Century