Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of History

Content Description

1 online resource (iv, 164 pages) : illustrations (some color), maps (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Ivan Steen

Committee Members

Warren Roberts, Ray Sapirstein


Advertising campaigns, Advertising

Subject Categories

History | United States History


American exhibitions after 1853 were linked to motivating themes and the celebration of historical events, while presenting at various times a prophetic implication. They were cultural, political, social, scientific, educational, and promotional extravaganzas, and at times a direct response to a depressed economy. The fairs presented ingenuity from the smallest mouthwatering pickle to the automobile. Amusements ranging from decadent peeps shows to thrilling rides sparkled within the various Midway Plaisances. Architecture became a marketing strategy, especially within the later fairs. Advertisements abounded via posters, pamphlets, magazine and newspapers ads, radio, newsreels, and finally television. An underlying theme, one that appears to run throughout the heart of each and every American fair, was the urge to make money. Indeed, they were business and promotional ventures extraordinaire. Economic devastation abounded worldwide in 1939 - it was the era of the Great Depression. During this tumultuous time emerged the 1939 New York World's Fair, boasting the theme The World of Tomorrow. It was the most ambitious American international exposition since the phenomenal 1893 World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago. Considering the approval of a distinctively modern amphitheatre to draw people to the metropolitan area, and the debentures targeting city businesses, it was apparent that the fair's greatest economic impact was meant for New York City. However, the New York Bureau of State Publicity had another goal in mind. An advertising campaign was initiated titled Selling New York State to the Nation 1939, and prepared for Allan Reagan, the director of the bureau, by the Barlow Advertising Agency of Syracuse, New York. The campaign's primary focus was to encourage out-of-state travel by the Midwest region through the "entire" state of New York. In order to succeed, they needed to discourage travelers from taking the quick route through Pennsylvania. Their tactics were an obvious, concerted effort to sell not only New York City but the entire State of New York. This dissertation presents the Barlow Advertising Agency's campaign as one that not only stimulated the economic growth of the State of New York, yet was the precursor to the current "I Love New York" campaign.