A Bibliological View of the World’s Fair in 1867
The World’s Fair opened on the 1st April 1867 in Paris was the fourth exhibition of the type but it exceeded the preceding ones with its size and the number of visitors. The assumption of world’s fairs was to promote free commerce, compare achievements and provide an opportunity for competition in all areas. Among many exhibited products were also books. An interesting question from the point of view of bibliology is who exhibited what, how the exhibits were evaluated, how the public received them and whether books influenced public taste and sensitivity. Much information concerning these issues may be provided by the analysis of the documents, among others, summing up the activity of the international jury evaluating everything related with the book. The reports on the sessions of the jury, discussing individual departments, presenting the context in which individual editions were created, awarded prizes, indicating the features which impressed the jury. Another interesting source are the presentations of individual publishers, printers, binders and illustrators. The exhibition became an occasion to characterise the situation of printing industry in France, quoting data on employment figures, its legal status, production costs, number of printing presses, export of books, number and type of periodicals, etc. These data were frequently compared with production in neighbouring countries. The confirmation of the exhibition’s significance for the contemporaries were numerous, sometimes illustrated publications issued on the spot and published in foreign periodicals, constituting a testimony of the attitude to the book and reading as well as propagating new solutions in typography and graphic art in the time when the interest focused not only on the effect but also on the production process itself.