The present issue of the Journal takes us from the colorful din of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair to the bucolic downstate coal belt. In “Types and Beauties: Evaluating and Exoticizing Women on the Midway Plaissance at the 1893 Columbian Exposition,” Rachel Boyle traces the intersection of racial and gendered discourses in the representations of foreign women published in souvenir books commemorating the World’s Fair. Written by and for white American males, popular souvenir books such as Midway Types offered photographic and textual documentation of the staged foreign scenes that attracted male fairgoers on the Midway Plaissance.
Lisa Cushing Davis’s fascinating article, “Hegemony and Resistance at the World’s Columbian Exposition: Simon Pokagon and The Red Man’s Rebuke” situates a key moment at the Exposition—Chicago Day—in the ironic and often tragic history of nineteenth-century United States Indian policy. That story, of course, was then and is still now integral to the history of the city’s birth and subsequent rise. The central tension between assimilation and resistance for native peoples in the late nineteenth century is richly illuminated in the person of Simon Pokagon, leader of the Potawatomi.
In “Strip Coal Mining and Reclamation in Fulton County, Illinois: An Environmental History,” Greg Hall shifts the study of twentieth-century Illinois coal mining into the growing field of environmental history. Pushing beyond categories employed by social, economic and labor historians, Hall uses Fulton County as a case study in what an environmental history of Illinois coal mining might look like.