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“I världsutställningar­nas tid”. New book about world exhibitions.

The World Exhibitions at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century were a brilliant arena for business, but also for the royal houses. This is made clear in a “I världsutställningarnas tid” (loosely translated as “In the Time of World Exhibitions”), a new book from Business History Publishing, which depicts the epoch, the exhibitions, the companies and the royalty in words and pictures.

Prince Albert of Great Britain made the London World’s Fair in 1851 his life’s work. King Oscar II of Sweden was depicted in wax, chocolate and live images at the Art and Industry Exhibition in Stockholm in 1897. Princess Christina inaugurated the Swedish pavilion at the World Exhibition in New York in 1964 and ended up on the ballot papers when she took the subway to the exhibition area. The collaboration between the royal family and the business community runs like a common thread through the history of the major exhibitions.

I världsutställningarnas tid. Kungahus, Näringsliv & Medier (Business History Publishing, 2017) tells about the actions of royalty in the new mass media public that arose in the wake of industrialization. Over the years, royalty gave glory to a number of exhibitions, but at the same time the exhibitions helped to update the image of the monarchy in a changing society. The role of royalty was not just about inauguration speeches and ceremonies – often they were also actively involved in the events’ origins, focus and content. Business and royal houses acted in medial symbiosis.

The authors of the book are Göran Alm, Anders Houltz, Björn Axel Johansson, Pelle Snickars and Jenny Stendahl. With examples from Sweden and other countries, they describe how royalty and business have benefited from being seen together in connection with world exhibitions and other major exhibitions.

The book is richly illustrated with pictures from, among others, the Bernadotte Library at Stockholm Castle and the Center for Business History’s archives. Here are some samples:

Project team

The book is published by Business History Publishing. Project team at the Centre for Business History, which owns the publishers, was:

Art director was Eva Wilsson.