1904 St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Expo Special Day Pass from President's Office

1904 St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Expo Special Day Pass from President's Office

I've seen a variety of passes to the 1904 expo for general use, the media and so on. This is a rare one seldom if ever seen. It was bound in a booklet with no cover or outside identification, just several of these tear-off coupon passes. As they're from the president's office of the fair, they no doubt were used only for special guests not for "ordinary" folks who might have been exhibitors, performers, the press and so on.

In the course of selling world's fair material for more than 40 years, I have seen one other seller offering one of these that clearly was torn out of the book of tickets. I assume since there is absolutely no text or design on the small pad of tickets that they were kept in the president's office and needed no identification as they weren't available to any directors or managers to use and never circulated for use by other staff.

How many booklets of about 10 were printed? Impossible to tell and I'm sure the numbers on each ticket have no particular significance as we know that more than 97,000 weren't printed. The numbering was no doubt started at a random place or perhaps these numbers were integrated into all passes; in other words, the various types of passes were numbered consecutively. A press pass might be 95,555 or 97,385 and likewise with other complimentary day passes. So perhaps at this point, some 95,000+ TOTAL complimentary passes had been issued. I assume that this number is separate from employee/concession ticket booklets which also have a number.

Every world's fair did their tallies and accounting differently. For example, the World's Columbian Exposition counted ALL non-paying admissions together, an employee, an exhibitor, a member of the board, a dignitary of a foreign country, etc.

The Columbian Expo reported 28 million total visits—clicking over on one of the turnstiles when entering the grounds regardless of who the person was. Thousands of employees of the fair or of concessions were logged in EVERY DAY OF THE FAIR. When the final accounting was done, about 1/4 of all the turnstile entrances were nonpaying individuals. Seven million was a huge number, until you begin doing the arithmetic and consider several thousand employees visiting every day the fair was open, which instantly would be a significant portion of the 7 million nonpaying ttendees.

St. Louis, like all fairs, reported total attendance but I have never seen a breakdown as I have with the WCE. I have worked for decades researching all things to do with the WCE, writing a blog and three books about it. I would assume that some serious hunting would turn up comparable information about the 1904 exposition.

I think it is quite safe to say that of whatever accounting was done in St. Louis, just a small handful (a few hundred?) came from using this type of pass.