The famed 1915 world's fair held from February 4 to December 4, 1915 ostensibly celebrated the August 1914 opening of the Panama Canal, but San Francisco really wanted to celebrate its rebirth and show off its spiffy new look less than ten years after being decimated in the 1906 earthquake. Among the dozen large halls erected to showcase various exhibitions was one for Agriculture. Offered here is a small grouping of items belonging to Alfred N. Abbott (1862-1929), a noted Illinois state representative, farmer, president of the Illinois State Farmers' Institute and Deputy Commissioner of the Illinois Commission to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Item #46486
Not only was Abbott Chairman of the Illinois Commission's Agriculture, Livestock and Dairying standing committee, which created their most elaborate exhibit, but as a well-known corn farmer he was an entrant as well. Abbott was among the 77 Illinois entrants awarded bronze medals, and his printed certificate "For 10 Ears of Red Corn" is the centerpiece of this grouping. Measuring 23½" X 19," this ornate "diploma" was designed by C.A. Huston, engraved by M.W. Baldwin and printed on special Japanese paper at the Bureau of Printing and Engraving in Washington. Very good, with the most minor wear only. It is accompanied by the heavy 2.75" diameter bronze medallion housed in the original two-piece circular case. Near fine. Designed by Augustus St. Gaudens' pupil John Flanagan and struck at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, the obverse depicts nude male and female figures symbolizing the uniting of the world's two largest oceans, the Pacific and the Atlantic at the Isthmus of Panama and the phrase "DIVINE DISIVNCTA IVNXIT HOMO" along the bottom (Latin for "The Divine Difference Unites Mankind"); reverse the Exposition's 435-tall centerpiece, the Tower of Jewels, surrounded by laurel leaves. Also present are two commemorative buttons: 1) 1" diameter button depicting the "Illinois State Building" at center and surrounding caption reading "Illinois Commission to the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition," purple satin 3½" ribbon reading "Illinois Day" in gold attached; and 2) 7/8" diameter silver-finish medallion (tieback pin) with text "South Dakota Fund / Panama-Pacific / Exposition / San Francisco / 1915" atop background of corn stalks and mining gear. Lastly is a book, "Report of the Illinois Commission to the Pamama-Pacific [sic] International Exposition," Chicago, IL, small 4to, green cloth with gilt front board lettering and device, 95pp, illustrations. Very good. Faint edgewear. Abbott appears prominently among the officers and members, again on the Standing Committees officers, and here and there throughout the text. He is also pictured on the collage images of commission members on page 8. So elaborate was the agricultural exhibit of this commission that a special "Illinois Agricultural Exhibit" report is included, and among the medal winners listed Abbott earned a silver medal for "Calico Corn" and bronze medals for "Early White Dent Corn" and "Bloody Butcher Corn" (the certificate present here). No doubt the photograph "Exhibit of Corn Products in Agricultural Booth" includes some of Alfred Abbott's ears! A remarkable little collection from one of the movers and shakers in the world of Illinois corn.