E.R. Walker Photograph Album

Dates 1893
Size 1.5 linear feet in 1 box, including 41 photographs
Repository Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number spe.f00115
Immediate Source of Acquisition Purchased in 2019 from Buckingham Books.
Conditions Governing Access Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.
Preferred Citation When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is E.R. Walker Photograph Album, [Image #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library
Finding Aid Author Spenser Bailey, supervised by Johanna Russ, August 2019. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Johanna Russ, 2021.


E.R. Walker was an official photographer for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Walker produced at least 175 different images for the Exposition. Fair visitors could select the photographs they wanted from these available images to build customized souvenir albums. This appears to be one such album, made up of 41 selected images.


In 1893, Chicago hosted the World’s Columbian Exposition, a World’s Fair celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas. The Fair took place in Jackson Park, on Chicago’s South Side, and ran from May through October of 1893. During those six months, more than 27 million people from around the world visited the Fair. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, and architect and planner Daniel Burnham, collaborated with many other luminaries to bring the Fair into existence.

While very few physical reminders of the Fair exist today, a visual record of the Fair survives in photographs. Though handheld cameras were just coming into common use, visitors were prohibited from taking their own photos. Rather, visitors were to purchase souvenir images taken by official Fair photographers.

Charles Dudley Arnold is the best known of these official photographers, but he was not the only one. E.R. Walker was another contracted photographer for the Exposition. Uniquely, his images often include Fairgoers, giving a sense of scale to the photographs, as well as documenting how people moved through the spaces. Walker continued operating a photography studio in Chicago until at least 1899, and afterward in Hollywood, California.

Scope and Contents

Walker produced at least 175 different images for the Exposition. Visitors could select the photographs they wanted from among these 175, building customized souvenir albums. This appears to be one such album, made up of 41 selected images. Titles are taken directly from the album. The album numbering scheme omits number 9.


Images are listed in the original order they appear in the album.

Related Materials

  • C.D. Arnold Photographic Collection
  • Ellsworth-Arnold Photograph Albums
  • World’s Columbian Exposition Glass Plate Lantern Slides
  • World’s Columbian Exposition Miscellaneous Photographs
  • World’s Columbian Exposition Snapshots Collection

Subject Headings

World's Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.)

Collection Inventory

Image 1 Proctor’s Superb Statue of “The Cowboy.”
Image 2 Magnificent View of the South Canal.
Image 3 Potter’s Massive Statue of “Plenty.”
Image 4 The Fisheries Building – that “Architectural Dream.”
Image 5 Idyllic View of Manufactures Building.
Image 6 Horticultural Palace.
Image 7 Beautiful View of Administration Building, showing Lagoon and Bridge in foreground.
Image 8 Zorn’s “In an Omnibus,” that sensation of the Art Gal[lery].
Image 10 The Woman’s Building.
Image 11 Proctor’s Colossal Elks.
Image 12 The Magnificent Peristyle.
Image 13 La Rabida.
Image 14 Old Vienna.
Image 15 Machinery Building.
Image 16 Court of Honor.
Image 17 “The Cossack’s Answer” (original painting of which is owned by the Czar).
Image 18 Statue of the Republic.
Image 19 The Art Gallery.
Image 20 Main Entrance to Agricultural Building.
Image 21 Beautiful Vista from Wooded Island, showing Administration Building in Background.
Image 22 St. Gauden’s Statue of Columbus.
Image 23 Caravels Nina and Pinta.
Image 24 Upper Balcony of Administration Building, with view of Gigantic Torches.
Image 25 South Entrance of Art Gallery.
Image 26 New View of Court of Honor.
Image 27 Proctor’s “Indian on Horseback.”
Image 28 A Scene on Midway.
Image 29 The Illinois Building (just burned down)
Image 30 Agricultural Building.
Image 31 Transportation Building.
Image 32 View of State Buildings.
Image 33 Main Entrance Electricity Building.
Image 34 Battle Ship “Illinois.”
Image 35 Javanese Village.
Image 36 Bernadelli’s Statue of Christ and the [illegible]
Image 37 U.S. Government Building.
Image 38 Detail of the Famous “Golden Door.”
Image 39 Electricity Building.
Image 40 Mining Building.
Image 41 The Celebrated Statue of “Fortune.”
Image 42 View of South Lagoon East from Golden Door.
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