Jun 5th 2018

Although the right to vote was still over 20 years away, the prominent ladies of Chicago’s Gilded Age began exerting their power as leaders of social society and cultural tastemakers. Historian Sally Kalmbach discusses how these women also played an integral role in creating the 1893 World’s Fair and cultivating Chicago’s successful future.

The Woman’s Building at the Fair was designed, decorated and administered entirely by women and showcased women’s achievements in the arts and design as well as industry, science, politics, and philanthropy internationally.

Sally Sexton Kalmbach is a fourth generation Chicagoan whose family founded a Chicago-based coffee and tea company in the early 1880s, at the same time Potter Palmer was developing the Gold Coast. She has taught classes in Chicago history at the Newberry Library and gives speeches and tours on topics including Chicago’s Gold Coast, the Columbian Exposition of 1893, and prominent families of Chicago’s Gilded Age. Ms. Kalmbach examines how these women also played an essential part in creating the World’s Fair, cultivating Chicago’s successful future as an internationally-recognized center for art and culture and in furthering women’s rights.

Elevators service all three floors of the Driehaus Museum. The wheelchair accessible entrance is located at 50 East Erie Street, next door to the museum’s main entrance.


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