May 13, 2020

The 1939 NY World’s Fair had a daily paper! Today at the Fair was published daily during the 1939/40 NY World’s Fair and was was sold on the fairgrounds for 5¢ or via a monthly subscription for $1.75. ($1 and $32 in today’s $.) One of my main characters in We Came Here to Shine, Max, works at the paper. I had been trying to decide what job my second main character would have at the fair (My other character Vivi is a swimmer in the Aquacade) and when I found out there was a daily fair paper I was so excited. I had wanted Max to be a journalist and now it made sense—she could work at Today at the Fair.

The reason I wanted Max to be a journalist is because I had been inspired by the TV show Good Girls Revolt which was itself inspired by Lynn Povich’s book The Good Girls Revolt. I wanted to explore and write about what life was like for a young female aspiring journalist (even though the show was based in the late 60s and the novel is set in 1939). (Side note, I loved Good Girls Revolt and was so bummed Amazon canceled it after only one season.)

Each issue of Today at the Fair was eight pages and filled with articles, the schedule of that day’s events, photographs, advertisements, etc. I bought 2 actual copies from eBay (8/20/39 and 9/3/39) and it’s incredible to leaf through the brittle, yellowed pages.

I also read through each issue that’s archived on, including the 6/10/39 issue all about the visit by the King and Queen of England (they make an appearance in my novel too).

More World’s Fair Wednesday posts…