University of Texas San Antonio

A Guide to the San Antonio Fair, Inc., Records. Series 08: Printed Materials, Scrapbooks, and Other Volumes, 1963-1968

Descriptive Summary

Creator San Antonio Fair, Inc.
Title: San Antonio Fair, Inc., Records
Dates: 1960-1995
Dates (Bulk): (Bulk 1964-1968)
Creator Abstract: San Antonio Fair, Inc., incorporated in December 1962 to formally organize the planning, fundraising and designing of HemisFair '68 (the 1968 World's Fair) in San Antonio, Texas.
Content Abstract: The records of the San Antonio Fair, Inc., document the planning, lobbying, financing and construction of HemisFair '68. The records consist of correspondence, meeting minutes, committee reports, financial records, newspaper and magazine articles, press releases, photographic materials, blueprints, maps and plats, artwork, oral history interview transcripts, scrapbooks of clippings and ephemera, and audiovisual materials (film and sound recordings). Most of the records predate the opening of the fair.
Identification: MS 31
Extent: 276.4 linear feet (560 boxes)
Language Materials are primarily in English, with some materials in Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
Repository: University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections

Historical Note

San Antonio Fair, Inc., incorporated in December 1962 to formally organize the planning, fundraising and designing of HemisFair '68. When HemisFair '68 opened on April 6, 1968, it held the honor of being the only "world's fair" that year to be sanctioned by the Paris-based Bureau of International Expositions and the first world's fair ever to be held in Texas. The fair, held in downtown San Antonio, Texas, was open for six months from April 6, 1968 to October 6, 1968.

The idea for HemisFair '68 originated in 1958, with a handful of San Antonio businessmen who had a vision of a world's fair in San Antonio, Texas. Department store executive Jerome K. Harris proposed a fair to be held in 1968 to celebrate 250th anniversary of the founding of San Antonio and the shared cultural heritage of San Antonio and its Latin American neighbors. His idea gained the support of San Antonio Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez, and local businessmen William R. Sinkin, H. B. (Pat) Zachry, and James Gaines, who soon began to cultivate support for HemisFair '68.

The organizing of the fair demanded years of planning, coordinated investment, the support of all levels of city, state, and federal government, and massive time and commitment from the persons involved. HemisFair '68 was financed by: 450 San Antonio underwriters (local business firms and individuals); voter-approved San Antonio City bonds; Urban Renewal Agency funds; an appropriation of $4,500,000 by the Texas State Legislature; and two appropriations ($125,000 in 1965 and $6.75 million in 1966) by the U.S. Congress.

In keeping with Jerome K. Harris's original idea of celebrating the shared cultural heritage of San Antonio and its neighbors, the theme of HemisFair '68 was "The Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas." Approximately twenty governments and ten corporations participated and sponsored educational and entertainment pavilions communicating the theme to visitors.

Figures for attendance fell short of the initial predictions of 7.2 million persons, and were actually closer to 6.4 million people. Contributing factors which may have influenced the lower-than-expected attendance included the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King two days before the fair opened and the assassination of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in June 1968.

Despite the organizers' disappointment regarding attendance, hosting and constructing HemisFair '68 had a broad impact on San Antonio, including fostering urban renewal in the downtown area, retail development along the San Antonio River Walk, and expansion of the local tourism industry.

HemisFair '68, the 1968 World's Fair, was the only formally sanctioned world's fair held in the world during 1968 and was the first officially recognized world's fair ever held in the southern half of the United States.

Following is a chronology of the events related to the planning of the HemisFair.

Chronology of Events, 1962-1968

January 28, 1962 U.S. Representative Henry B. Gonzalez meets with William Sinkin, a leading local department store executive to discuss a "Fair of the Americas" to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the founding of San Antonio.
February 15, 1962 Gonzalez and William R. Sinkin meet with 38 other leading civic leaders at the Grenada Hotel. A nine-man Planning Council is established and spends the remainder of the year collecting and analyzing data and meeting with, and lobbying, local business, political and commercial leaders.
December 29, 1962 San Antonio Fair, Inc., is granted a charter by the State of Texas. Incorporators for the organization are Sinkin, James M. Gaines (a broadcasting executive with WOAI radio and television stations), and H. B. (Pat) Zachry (industrialist, construction magnate and philanthropist).
January-March 1963 Economics Research Associates (ERA) of Los Angeles is commissioned by the San Antonio Fair, Inc., to conduct a preliminary economic feasibility study of a fair in San Antonio. Favorable results are released on April 3. ERA conducts a series of subsequent studies as well.
April 1963 Underwriting campaign under the direction of businessman Marshall T. Steves is officially launched. National Bank of Commerce makes the initial pledge of $100,000 on March 23.
April 11, 1963 The first Executive Committee of San Antonio Fair, Inc., is formed. Permanent officers are: Honorary Co-Chairmen of the Board, Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez and Mayor Walter W. McAllister; Chairman of the Board, H.B. (Pat) Zachry; President, William Sinkin; Vice-Presidents, Marshall Steves and James M. Gaines; Secretary, John Daniels; and Treasurer, Bill Flannery.
October 9, 1963 The original underwriting goal of $6 million is surpassed. More than $7.5 million in pledges had been received by the end of September 1963.
December 23, 1963 Ewen C. Dingwall, former Vice-President and General Manager of Century 21, the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, is named Executive Vice-President.
January 23, 1964 The historic German-English School, built in 1868, is chosen as headquarters for HemisFair executive offices.
January 28, 1964 A seven-proposition $30 million bond issue, which includes provisions for a new civic center and the city's portion of the Urban Renewal land purchase price is overwhelmingly approved by local voters in every city precinct.
February 1, 1964 A 90-acre site in downtown San Antonio is selected and approved and site architects engineers begin correlating designs.
February 18, 1964 First annual meeting of Board of Directors.
March 11, 1964 Frank Manupelli is named General Manager.
April 1964 O'Neil Ford and Allison Peery are named as coordinating and site planning architects.
April-May 1964 Robert Benjamin, of InfoPlan, a Mexico City public relations firm, tour Central and South America and begin cultivating contacts for HemisFair.
June 29, 1964 HemisFair staff moves from temporary quarters to the newly renovated top floor of the north building of the German-English School.
August 1964 Promotional tours begin in major Mexican cities.
October 1, 1964 Formal discussions regarding federal participation begin at a seminar in Washington D.C. featuring keynote speaker Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Mann, President Lyndon Baines Johnson's top Latin American expert.
October 1, 1964 William W. Phillips of Paris, France, appoint HemisFair European Coordinator and official liaison to the Bureau of International Expositions (B.I.E.), the official governing body recognizing and regulating world's fairs.
October 28, 1964 Urban Renewal Agency allocates nearly $12.5 million for purchase of the fair site. By the end of October 1964, a total of nearly $50 million had been pledged to support HemisFair.
November 24, 1964 William Sinkin resigns as President due to business pressures. He remains as an advisor and is named an additional Honorary Co-Chairman and head of the Opening Events Coordinating Committee.
November 26, 1964 The initial land purchase of the fair site is made.
December 8, 1964 Marshall Steves is elected President to replace Sinkin. John H. White is elected First Vice-President. Seven other vice presidents are named in a radical realignment of the board structure.
January 1, 1965 Architectural offices open in HemisFair headquarters.
February 9, 1965 Texas Secretary of State Ben Barnes addresses the second annual Board of Directors meeting.
March 2, 1965 Formal application for U.S. participation and endorsement is submitted.
April 6, 1965 Official rules and regulations conforming to B.I.E. standards are adopted.
May 4, 1965 Ewen C. Dingwall resigns as Executive Vice-President over a difference of opinion on policies with the Executive Committe. Dingwall remains actively involved with the fair, becoming a Washington consultant and publishing a weekly newsletter for HemisFair executives regarding federal participation.
May 12, 1965 William Phillips gives preliminary presentation to B.I.E. in Paris. Texas State Senate passes HemisFair Bill appropriating $7.5 million.
May 27-28, 1965 Texas State House of Representatives passes bill of $4.5 million at request of Governor John Connally.
June 21, 1965 Companion Bills are introduced in U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez and the U.S. Senate by Senate Ralph Yarborough requesting funding for a study of federal participation in HemisFair.
August 2, 1965 Fair dates (April 6 through October 6, 1968) are set by Executive Committee.
August 12, 1965 James Gaines is named Executive Vice-President.
September 14, 1965 Governor John Connally accepts appointment as Commissioner General of Fair.
September 28, 1965 Senate Passage of HemisFair bill. HemisFair symbol is developed and officially adopted.
October 1965 Marshall Steves, Paul Howell and Carlos Freymann tour 13 European capitols lobbying for B.I.E. support.
October 6, 1965 HemisFair bill passes unanimously by House.
October 21, 1965 Favorable review of HemisFair application by B.I.E. classification committee.
October 22, 1965 House and Senate agree on HemisFair bill. President Johnson signs the bill officially recognizing the HemisFair and appropriating $125,000 for a preliminary study and architectural fees.
November 11, 1965 President Johnson signs a proclamation authorizing Secretary of State Dean Rusk to invite foreign countries to participate in the HemisFair and also recognizing Governor Connally as Commissioner General of the Fair.
November 17, 1965 Official approval by the Bureau of International Expositions.
December 29, 1965 Secretary of State Rusk sends invitations to 114 countries to participate in HemisFair.
January, 1966 Urban Renewal Agency turns site over to the city.
January 15, 1966 Governor Connally unveils plans for Institute of Texan Cultures (Texas State Pavilion) at press conference.
January 28, 1966 Pearl Brewing Co. becomes the first of 19 industrial exhibitors to announce participation.
March 1966 HemisFair medal is signed into law by President Johnson.
April 1, 1966 Lady Bird Johnson visits fair site.
April 7, 1966 Mexico becomes the first of 23 foreign governments to announce participation.
July 24-August 1, 1966 Governor Connally leaves for a Latin American good will tour. He signs Panama on July 26. On August 1, he has to cut his trip short because of the Charles Whitman sniper shootings at the University of Texas at Austin.
August 9, 1966 Agreement is reached on preservation of 20 historic homes on fair site. Tower of the Americas construction let to H.A. Lott, Inc. and Darragh & Lyda, Inc. ("Lyda-Lott").
September 1, 1966 House passes $10 Million HemisFair bill.
September 14, 1966 James Gaines resigns.
September 15, 1966 Official visiting B.I.E. delegation arrives.
October 6-7, 1966 Senate and House pass $7.5 million HemisFair bill.
October 8, 1966 Final home on site is turned over to the fair.
October 16, 1966 President Johnson signs HemisFair bill.
October 21, 1966 Senate-House Committee vote $6.75 million appropriation for federal participation.
October 26, 1966 President Johnson signs appropriation bill.
November 16, 1966 Frank Manupelli named Executive Vice-President, replacing Gaines.
December 3, 1966 Bonds for Tower of the Americas construction is approved 2-1 by voters.
December 6, 1966 Mural by Carlos Merida is commissioned.
February 15, 1967 Pearl Pavilion groundbreaking
February 20, 1967 Institute of Texan Cultures groundbreaking
February 28, 1967 James Gaines recalled (he would later resign again).
March 2, 1967 New York Press Conference
March-April 1967 Latin American Ambassadors Visit
April 8, 1967 Federal Pavilion groundbreaking
September 19, 1967 Texas International Trade Center is announced.
September 26, 1967 Woman's Pavilion is announced.
April 6, 1968 HemisFair '68 opens.
October 6, 1968 HemisFair '68 closes.

Scope and Content Note

The records of the San Antonio Fair, Inc. span the years 1962 through 1995 and document the planning, lobbying, financing and construction that resulted in HemisFair '68. The records consist of correspondence, minutes of meetings, committee reports, financial records, newspaper and magazine articles, press releases, photographic materials, audio recordings, oversized maps and plats, artwork, and scrapbooks of clippings and ephemera. The bulk of the records are correspondence to and from Fair executives. Also well documented in the records is demolition on the site and construction of the fairgrounds. Most of the records predate the opening of the fair, with the bulk dates 1964-1968. There are a few materials from after the Fair, particularly from the 20th anniversary in 1988.


Due to size, this inventory has been divided into 12 separate units which can be accessed by clicking on the highlighted text:
Series 1: Executive Officers
Series 2: Comptroller's Office
Series 3: Legal Department
Series 4: Entertainment Department
Series 5: Visitor and Exhibitor Relations Department
Series 6: Site Development Department
Series 7: Public Relations Department
Series 8: Printed Materials and Scrapbooks
Series 9: Trinity University Archives
Series 10: Ephemera
Series 11: Oversize Architectural Drawings, Blueprints, and Plans
Series 12: Audiovisual Materials


Access Restrictions

This collection is housed at UTSA's Main Campus and must be accessed via the John Peace Library Special Collections reading room. To request access, please use the Collections Request Form.

Researchers are required to wear gloves provided by staff when reviewing photographic materials.

Original audiovisual materials are closed to patron use. Some use copies are available in the collection.

Usage Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the San Antonio Fair, Inc., Records must be obtained from University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.

Index Terms

Personal Names
Gaines, James.
Gonzalez, Henry B. (Henry Barbosa), 1916-
Harris, Jerome K.
Sinkin, William, 1913-
Steves, Marshall T.
Zachry, Henry Bartell, 1901-1984
HemisFair (1968 : San Antonio, Tex.)--Buildings.
HemisFair (1968 : San Antonio, Tex.)--History.
HemisFair (1968 : San Antonio, Tex.). Woman's Pavilion.
San Antonio Fair, Inc.
Exhibitions--Texas--San Antonio--Planning.
Fairs--Texas--San Antonio.
Tourism--Texas--San Antonio.
Urban renewal--Texas--San Antonio.
San Antonio (Tex.)--History.
45 rpm records.
Audiovisual materials.
Black-and-white film.
Blueprints (reprographic copies).
Color film (film).
Oral histories.
Sound recordings.
Local Subjects
HemisFair '68 (The 1968 World's Fair)
San Antonio History
Travel and Tourism
Urban Development and Growth

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], San Antonio Fair, Inc., Records, MS 31, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.

Acquisition Information

The San Antonio Fair, Inc. Records were donated to the Trinity University Library in October 1968, immediately following the closing of HemisFair '68. The records came to Trinity from the executive offices of San Antonio Fair, Inc., at the fair's headquarters in the German-English School. They remained at the Trinity University Library until May 1985. During this time, many records were lost due to mold and a lack of proper preservation. When the records were transferred to the San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) in 1985, they were stored in the Library's Hertzberg annex, where they were re-boxed and given some preservation treatment. The SAPL donated the records to University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections in 1992 (Acc. 1992-05).

Processing Information

Processed by T. Matthew De Waelsche, April 1998, and Angela McClendon, October 2007.

This collection was processed with support from Marshall Steves of San Antonio, Tex. Preservation reformatting of audiovisual materials was completed in 2007 with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation and the Institute of Texan Cultures.

Accessions described in this finding aid: 1992-05, 1998-06, 1998-42, 2001-41, 2004-27.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, and TARO 2 EAD Editing Instructions.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 8: Printed Materials, Scrapbooks, and Other Volumes

Series Abstract
This series includes manuals, rules and regulations, handbooks, studies and reports and miscellaneous booklets and brochures. News coverage of HemisFair '68 is well documented in this series, with several newspaper clippings and journal and magazine articles. Some local, national, and international newspaper clippings have been collected in scrapbooks; "Publicity Books" contain newspaper clippings from local newspapers only, including the San Antonio Express and San Antonio Light.
Box Folder
479 1 Rules and Regulations, Manual, Handbooks, miscellaneous
1 Reports and Studies
1 Congressional Hearings; Congressional Record
1 Economics Research Associates Reports (some bound, some loose in folders), 1963-1965
2 Economic Feasibility of a Major Exposition Fair and Exposition in San Antonio during 1968, April 1, 1963
2 Economic Impact of the Proposed HemisFair, November 11, 1963
2 A Development Program for the HemisFair, January 31, 1964
2 Development Program for HemisFair
3 Economic Feasibility of a Theme Structure for HemisFair, November 18, 1964
3 Feasibiltiy of a Permanent Stadium in HemisFair, February 8, 1965
Box Folder
480 1 Feasibility of a Permanent Stadium in HemisFair, February 8, 1965
1 Feasibility of a Permanent Parking Structure, July 15, 1965
1 Study of Concession Policies and Practices, July 23, 1965
1 Detail Planning and Estimating of Concession Revenue August 25, 1965
1 Sample Rules and Regulations and Lease Agreements
1 For Concessions, August 25, 1965
2 Southwest Research Institute
2 A Convention Center for the City of San Antonio, July 1964
3 Air Conditioning Studies, September 1965
3 Feasibiltiy of Methods of Air Conditioning HemisFair
3 Buildings City Public Service Board
3 Feasiblitiy of Air Conditioning Systems for HemisFair
3 1968, Silber & Wallis, Consulting Engineers
4 Results of a Survey and Recommendations by the Public Convention Facilities Sub Committee of the Convention
4 San Antonio Chamber of Commerce October 15, 1965
5 Theme Structure The Tower of the Americas, W.C. Gilman, & Co., Inc., December 16, 1965
6 McConnell Automation Co. Progress Review, September 29, 1967
481-482 Brochures and Booklets, Guides, HemisFair publications feature articles
Arranged chronologically.
Latin American Newspapers
483 1964-June 1967
484 July 1967-December 1968
United States Newspapers
485 1964-1967 January
486 1967 February-April
487 1967 May-June
488 1967 July-August
489 1967 September-October
490 1967 November-1968 January
491 1968 February-March
492 1968 March-April
493 1968 April
494 1968 May
495 1968 June-July
496 1968 July-August
497 1968 September-October
Newspaper Articles by Subject
Box Folder
498 1 Tower of the Americas, 1967 October-1968 January
2 Woman's Pavilion
3 United States Pavilion
4 Czechoslovakia
5 Restored houses
6 Concessions
7 Convention Center
8 HemisFair medallion
9 Construction work
10 Canada
11 Fair postage stamp
12 Housing
13 Parking
14 Religious expression
Box Folder
499 1 Magazine and journal articles
2 La Villita parking garage controversy, 1968 January
3 Clippings, 1968 February
4 Countdown, 1968 January-March
5 Clippings, 1968 March
6 Clippings, 1968
7 Post-Fair clippings
Box Folder
500 1 Ticket sales clippings
2 V.S.I. (Visitor Services, Inc.)
3 Witte exhibit
4 Clippings, 1967 November
5 Countdown, 1967 June-December
6 Clippings, 1967 December
7 Local newspaper clippings, 1968 January
501 Publicity clippings, 1967 October-1968 September
Scrapbooks and Publicity Books
Publicity Books, 1963-1968
Publicity Books contain clippings from local newspapers.
Arranged chronologically. Note: Publicity Books III and IV, most likely containing materials from May 1965 to June 1966, are missing from the collection.
Box Folder
502 1-2 HemisFair [Publicity Book] I: 1963 March 31-1964 July 25
3 [HemisFair Publicity Book II]: 1964 August 4-1965 30 April
4-5 HemisFair Publicity Book V: 1966 July 1-1967 January 28
6-7 HemisFair Publicity Book VI: 1967 January 26-1967 July 27
8-9 HemisFair Publicity Book VII: 1967 August 1-1967 November 14
10-11 HemisFair Publicity Book VIII: 1967 November 14-1968 March 19
12 HemisFair Publicity Book IX: 1968 March 21-1968 April 4
Box Folder
503 1 HemisFair Publicity Book IX: 1968 March 21-1968 April 4
2-4 HemisFair Publicity Book X: 1968 April 1-1968 May 2
5-7 HemisFair Publicity Book XI: 1968 May 1-1968 May 31
8-10 HemisFair Publicity Book XII: 1968 June 1-1968 June 30
Scrapbooks, 1963-1968
OM1 Scrapbook, "November 1963 thru December 1964"
Scrapbook, "HemisFair Newspaper Clippings, 1964-1965"
OM2 Scrapbook, "State, National, & International Press Clippings, 1965"
Scrapbook, "State, National, & International Press Clippings, 1966"
OM3 Scrapbook, 1965-1968
OM4 Scrapbook, 1966-1967
OM5 Scrapbook, 1967-1968
OM6 Scrapbook, 1968
OM7 Scrapbook, "Local Press Clippings, January through December 1964"
OM8 Scrapbook, "Local Clippings for 1965"
OM9 Scrapbook, "Local Clippings, January 1965-"
OM10 Scrapbook, "Local Clippings, 1966 January-May"
OM11 Scrapbook, "Local Clippings, 1966 June-September"
Scrapbook, "Press Clippings of B.I.E. Visit, Sept. 1966"
OM12 Scrapbook, "Local Clippings, 1967 January-March"
OM13 Scrapbook, "Local Clippings, 1967 April-June"
OM14 Scrapbook, "Local Clippings, 1967 July-September"
Other Volumes, 1968 and undated
OM15 Registration Book, 1968
OM16 Registration and Schedule Books