Using the Central Files

Begin your investigation of the Fair records in the Central Files by following the steps below. Remember to also consult the departmental records: they contain equally valuable material and constitute the bulk of the Fair Corporation records.

1. Read the descriptions of the Central Files in this guide.

The Central files are divided into five main sections. Be sure to read the overview and description of each section:

In addition to providing context for understanding your Central Files Index search results and the documents themselves, reading the descriptions will help you identify entire groups of records germane to your research and understand the considerable overlap in the operations and subjects that these files document.

2. Review the Central Files Correspondence Classification

The correspondence classification provides a more detailed breakdown of the filing system within the five main sections. Browsing the classification scheme is a way of taking a broader approach to the files than searching particular names or keywords in the index.

3. Search the index

The database offers access to the card index maintained by the New York World’s Fair Central Files staff. Search the index and select the results that best match your request. Your selection will return an image of the relevant index card(s) and instructions for interpreting the cards.