TR and the "Negro Exhibit"
- I've been promising this reference for quite some time, but only just
re-located the book in question.
"The Forgotten 'Negro Exhibit' "
African American Involvement in Buffalo's Pan-American Exposition, 1901
by William H. Loos, Ami M. Savigny and Robert M. Gurn
Foreword by Lilian S. Williams
Monograph, 8.5 x 11, 36 pages plus cover, stapled.
Buffalo and Erie County Public Library
"The appointment of an African American commissioner for the Pan American
Exposition did occur as early as April of 1899. He was not from Buffalo and
may have received so little local publicity that Buffalo's African American
community was unaware of his presence.
The commissioner was Gaius C. Bolin, and he was selected by none other than
Governor Theodore Roosevelt. ... This information appears in the book
published by the State of New York entitled, "Report of the Board of
General Managers of the Exhibit of the State of New York at the
Pan-American Exposition." All of the commissioners were appointed on April
21, 1899. There is no mention of Bolin's race in the State's report, but a
photograph of each of the nine commissioners is reproduced in this volume
..., and it is unquestionable that Bolin was African American."
There's more information about Bolin to substantiate this claim and
scattered minor reference to TR.
I'd never heard about this before, nor did some TRA folks to whom I'd
The monograph is relative rare because of internal "politics" at the
Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. One could try getting a copy from
them, but it's doubtful that they have any. Failing that, I could xerox the
monograph provided I don't get swamped with requests.