Exposition Universelle • Paris 1878

L’Album-Guide contient: La vue des Principaux Monuments de Paris, le Plan de l’Exposition, le Plan de Paris, le Plan detaille des differents Theatres, les Services Maritimes, l’Organisation des Services publics, Postes, Telegraphes, Moyens de Transport, Omnibus, Voitures publiques, Tramways, Chemins de fer de banlieue, Promenades dans les environs de Paris; et un mot, tout ce qui est de nature a interesser le Voyageur et l’Etranger venant a Paris. Nota. – Une Table des Matieres se trouve a la fin de cet Album.
Administration: 36 , Boulevard Haussmann (Chaussee-d’Antin). D. Lubin, Editeur et Concessionnaire Exclusif. [Amiens, Imp. T. Jeunet]. 1878. (Ex) Item 4943082 oversize

The International Exposition or World’s Fair served for over 150 years as a primary arena for the display of national prestige. Manufactured product and the resources that produced it – natural, inventive, managerial – provided the common means by which nation could be measured against nation. Progress was regarded as visible, tangible and local. Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to objects. Achieving individuals were inducted into Legions of Honor. In today’s world focused on speed, process, and individual celebrity, certainly in terms of public visibility, the Olympics have superseded the International Exposition as an arena for estimation by others.

For over one hundred years, the Library has been building its collection of materials relating to international expositions. Frederic Vinton, librarian from 1873 to his death in 1890, recognized the importance of these materials by listing them in his 894 page Subject Catalogue of the Library of the College of New Jersey (Princeton, 1884), under the headings: London international exhibition, 1851; Paris expositions, 1844, 1867, 1878 ; Philadelphia exposition, 1876; Vienna exposition, 1873. Since then, such materials have been gathered by such units as the Art Library, the Geology Library, the Architecture Library, Graphic Arts, the Theatre Collection, Numismatics, General Rare Books, as well as in the general circulating collection.

This latest addition, an Album Guide is the rare first edition of this charming large format guide for English and American visitors to the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1878. It is not listed in WorldCat.

The following description of the contents is provided by Ed Smith of Pickering & Chatto (London) — “The work, complete with a large folding coloured Paris street map (and on the verso a map of the regional railways) provides all the information necessary for the visitor in negociating the language barrier on their way to, and at, the exhibition. After a brief introduction ‘to the elements of the language’, the first section provides useful phrases on the journey to France (‘the Landing and Custom House’, ‘At the Railway Station’ etc). This is then followed with further phrases useful at the hotel, when eating and drinking, at the Tobacconist or Hairdresser, and even when needing to take a bath. Part II gives details of exchanges and weights and measures, Paris Omnibuses (apparently much more comfortable than in London), Theatres, Music Halls, Promenades and Gardens, and a list of the entertainments to be given at the exhibition. The final section contains the professional and commercial list, bankers, doctors, milliners, perfumers, chemists and dentists, to name but a few. The work concludes with an advertisements section, both for Paris and London businesses. … This exposition was on a far larger scale than any previously held anywhere in the world. It covered over 66 acres (267,000 m²); the main building in the Champ de Mars occupying 54 acres (219,000 m²).

The illustrations and illustrated advertisements are of particular interest, as they are documenting the ephemeral nature of exhibitions, certain business, commercial design and places of entertainment, such as the 22 theatres colour-illustrated seating plans, together with price lists. On p. 7 is a half-page size woodengraved bird’s eye view of the exhibition ground.

Each double-page of this album has a large view of thestreet, landmark or square where the businesses advertised for are located. The highlights among the illustrated advertisements are: a full-page woodengraved composition of views of the workshops and the large shop of the manufacturer of sweets and chocolate Au Fidèle Berger (p. 2), a full-page tinted lithograph of the Grands Magasins de la Paix (p. 40), and a half-page advert for a shoe manufacturer printed in black, silver, gold and bronze (p. 46), a full-page advertisement for the ‘magnificent Summer Garden’, the Alcazar d’ Été near the Champs Élysées. There is advertising for various shipping companies, as well as a section of illustrated advertisements for hotels in Paris and French holiday resorts. Numbered page 99-100 is a large folding handcoloured map, Le nouveau guide de l’étranger dans les 20 arrondissements de Paris, (Paris : J. Gaultier, 1878), 50 x 67 cm.

Provenance: From the fashion shop run buy the Madames Biays in the Rue d’Échelles, whose advert is on p. 53, with their name stamped in gilt on front cover.”

22 thoughts on “Exposition Universelle • Paris 1878

  1. Hallo,

    I do research about the mandolin orchestras, that took part at this exibition in 1878. It’s espesially interesting for me the name of the groups or orchestras and the name of the musicians. Also I’m seeking for all the fotos about it. If somebody could help me, please mail:


  2. I am looking for information on a shotgun I got from my grandfather. It is stamped John Patstone 25 High Street South Hampton Silver Medal Paris 1878. Trying to find out if there was a contest, manufacturers medal. ? Any help would helpful. Thanks Rick

  3. Offering the Paris Exposition book, art lithos and story…” 1878 Chefs d’ Oeuvre D’Arts” gold cover embossed, large and heavy with hundreds of art masters lithographs, wonderful example. good condition, make an offer. 760-877-9009

    • I have a copy of ths book also. Do you know its value or perhaps if you’ve sold your copy you wouldn’t mind telling me what it sold for? Thank you.

  4. Does anyone know if photos exist of the British Exhibitors, stands at the 1878 Paris Exposition Universelle??

    I am trying to find any images of the stand of James Fussell Sons & Co of Mells, near Frome in Somerset, who exhibited agricultural edge tools and steel bar. I believe they were in section 50.

    This was probaly a last ditch attempt to salvage a firm that was in decline, in 1895 they wer taken over by Isaac Nash of Belbroughton – 250 years of edge tool making in Somerset came to an end.

  5. I am very interested to see this material at Princeton. If anyone has any photos of the machinery on exhibit at the 1878 exposition, I am seeking images. My particular aim is to find an imaged of the Marsh Reaper that was on display, or any list of exhibitors in the machinery area. The name Gammon is of special interest. Thank you for any input.

  6. I wonder if the advertisement mentioned above includes a view of the “magnificent Summer Garden.” And, if so, how I might obtain a reproduction.
    Thank you,

  7. I am interested in confirmation that my g/ uncle Charles Knees entered his glazed kid leather in the Exposition Universelle Internationale in Paris 1878. I have a letterhead of his business from Oshawa, Onterio, Cnanda with the stamp of the Exposition on it. He may have lived in New York at the time of the Expo.

  8. Thanks for sharing this information !

    I was wondering if these books can be found in the library for me to read ?

  9. I am interested in Brown-Westhead & Moore Co. that had china in the exhibition. My ggreat uncle S. Jenks worked for BWM and his pieces were in the exhibit. I would like very much to see what information is contained in this book. Please tell me how I can see it.
    Thank you, Carol

  10. Hello, I have looking for the catalogue for this exposition, I research about harmonium, a musical instrument. Can you send some page with information abour Rodolphe & Fils, it wons the first prize. My mail is uls.sebastian.carrasco@gmail.com

    Thanks a lot.

    • ligeantiam allymplaMr. Ayers, I have the photo book you seek, from Paris. Address on back of my photo book is Levy ET Cie, 44 Rue Letellier, Paris. This book was purchased at the Worlds Fair and Exposition in Paris, at the turn of the century. If interested, please reply. I found it in a Goodwill store in Sacramento in 1968. All photos are in excellant condition; the cover has some wear and tear.

  11. Hello,
    Can you help me? I need page Spain (ref. guitar Altimira) of Exposition Paris 1878.


  12. Hi!
    I´m looking information about Justo de Gandarias, he participated in Exposition Universelle Paris 1878 and he won, please help me, I have some pictures but I thing is not enough, for me it´s very important becase he was my great great grand father, if you have pictures of him can you send me it?
    Thank you

  13. As an antique collector, this must be a great collector’s treasure!

    The plan of Paris looks really amazing given the design by the people at that time.


  14. Dear Mr Allaster,

    I am doing some research on a work of art that was reputedly exhibited at the Paris 1878 International Exhibition and would be very interested in seeing any illustrations your book might contain of the Chinese or Japanese stands, in the hope that it might be depicted. If there are indeed illustrations of the stands, I should be very grateful if you could send me images of these by email.

    Thank you in advance,

    Yours sincerely,
    Benedikte Moss

  15. i have a big picture of the 1878 expostion in paris with measures 67 x 90 cm.

    if you are interested let me know, i can sent other pictures

  16. Dear Mr Hughes
    I have a complete book from
    the Paris 1878 Internation
    Exhibition ” named”
    Chefs-Doeuvre D’Arts, edited and authored by Edward Strahan. I would be more than happy to e-mail
    photo’s to you for your
    review if interested.

    Yours truly,
    Paul Allaster
    Fonthill Ontario Canada

  17. I wonder if the advertisement mentioned above includes a view of the “magnificent Summer Garden.” And, if so, how I might obtain a reproduction.
    Thank you,
    Colta Ives

  18. I am looking for a coloured map of Paris labelled ‘Souvenir of Universal Exhibition 1878’ which I discovered at the front of a book in English about French ‘Impressionist’ painters – both the author and title of which I have forgotten. Help! John M. Hughes

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