State Poetry at the Columbian Exposition, 1893


The California Poppy Room.

The California Poppy Room.


California Poppy Room

Her poppies fling a cloth of gold
O'er California's hills,
Fit emblem of the wealth untold
That hill and vale and plain unfold
Her fame the whole world fills.
—Di Vernon


A Review of The Past Four Hundred Years

By John W. Woodside, National Commissioner From Pennsylvania

Let us turn back o’er History’s page,
Recall in calm review
The great events, which marked the age,
Since Fourteen Ninety-two.
We see three tiny sails appear
Off seaport town of Spain;
A Westward course, at once they steer
Out o’er the boundless main.
They soon are lost to sight of land,
With Spanish flag unfurled,
The great Columbus in command,
Bound for an unknown world.
For days, and weeks, and months they sail,
The crews rebellious grow,
ТNone will return to tell the taleУ
Was muttered deep and low,
The great Commander stood his ground.
His faith, his hopes were high,
Until the objects, floating round
Warned him that land was nigh,
As he sailed on, the shades of night
Grew thick around his bark,
When to his joy, a shining light
Flashed on him through the dark
Columbus knew his voyage done,
What raptures through him thrilled,
To find his victory had been won
His lifetime hopes fulfilled.
How little did he dream, or know,
This spark across the sea,
Throughout the coming years would grow,
Into the torch of liberty,
Would cast its cheering rays
Across old oceans waves,
And beckon to this genial clime
The good, the true, the brave.
It offered to each patriot band
Oppressed by tyrants’ rod,
A welcome to this Western land,
Where they could worship God.
The Huguenots when sore distressed,
Were beckoned by the light,
And found that joy, and peace, and rest,
So welcome to their sight.
The scots who had with Erin grown
Found here a resting place,
No better people ere was known
Than this Scotch-Irish race.
The English Quakers in despair,
With Penn from Britain, came
And founded on the Delaware,
The State which bears his name.
It brought the Puritans to this land,
That good, old sturdy stock,
The Mayflower, steered by unseen hand
Came straight to Plymouth Rock.
Thus was this country settled wide
By Providential plow,
With people who stood side by side
For all the rights of man,
And later on, when England sought
To force obnoxious laws,
With one impulse the people fought
In Freedom’s glorious cause.
For Independence, they declared,
Nor faltered to rebel,
To ring out liberty, they dared,
From Independence Bell,
Round Lexington and Bunker Hill,
What memories still entwine
What patient sufferings greet us still
From Valley Forge, and Brandy wine:
They fought on many a bloody field,
Till Фneath a Southern sun
At Yorktown did Cornwallis yield,
And peace at last was won.
And then when prospects should be bright
We found our darkest hour.
Unless our States could all unite,
Around some Central power.
This plan at last was found,
The best the world e’re saw,
In which the rights of man are bound
By Constitutional law.
The nation since has grown,
In spite of family jars,
And now our flag is shown
Just fourty-four bright stars.
The nation now a continent wide,
There rests a Sovereign State,
Clear from Atlantic’s surging tide
Out to the Golden Gate.
Here sixty million people find
Sweet homes of peace and rest,
And thank that Providence so kind,
Which has this nation blest.
Four hundred years have passed away,
Since old Columbus grand
First looked on that October day,
Upon this Western land.
ФTis true, what Columbus sought,
Was path to India’s clime,
But greater good for man was wrought
In God’s appointed time.
He holds the nation in His hand
May He still be our friend,
May this be Freedom’s chosen land,
Till time shall have an end.
Let us in this memorial hour
Bid all mankind prepare
To view this symbol of our power
The World’s Columbian Fair.


Silver Queen

Isabel Sherrick Werdell, for the Colorado mining exhibit

Go, radient one, and tell thy world

The wonders you have seen;

The snow crowned mounts, the silver hills,

The valleys rich between.

In silence eloquent, oh speak,

Thou lovely Silver Queen.


Go, gracious one, and show the world

Our dignity of state;

Our hearts so true and miners bold,

Who wrest the crown from fate.

Go, noble queen, and show the world

Thou art the Gold King’s mate.


Go, queenly one, and lift thy hand

Against the base and mean;

Thy silver star points to the right;

No wrong can stand between.

Upon they throne proclaim to all

That silver still is queen.


Go, lovely one, and take thy place

Beside the King of Gold;

Columbia’s queen as once thou wert

Ere thy birthright was sold.

Go with thy gems and silver on

O, queen of noblest mold.


In The Massachusetts Building

James Taft Hatfield

Much have I marvelled at these deeds of Art,
Palace and statue, fountain, colonnade;
The fruits of labor, the fair spoils of trade,
And many a trophy sent from teeming mart;
The pictured canvas, too, hath played its part,
And hath its deep and lasting impress made;
Yet naught hath my imagination swayed,
Or stirred the high pulsations of my heart,
Like this gray building, whose pretenceless wall
Enshrines the honored names who live again,
And in whose precincts shadowy footsteps fall,
Let others bring earth's wealth before our ken;
The Ancient Mother, high among us all,
Hath proudly gathered here her crop of Men.



credits: "California Poppy Room," World’s Columbian Exposition Illustrated (January 1894), 304.
"A Review of The Past Four Hundred Years," World’s Columbian Exposition Illustrated (November 1892), 206.
"Silver Queen," World’s Columbian Exposition Illustrated (October 1893), 217.
"In the Massachusetts Building," The New England Magazine 15:6 (February 1894), 750.



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Part I: Excerpts from the Education Art Series, N. D. Thompson Publishing Company, St. Louis, Missouri, 1893, in a weekly series of 20 portfolios


Part II: Poems and Architecture in the State Buildings, by David Greenstein Vassar '05


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