Rea Warg Papers

Dates: 1948-1950; 1985 (Bulk dates, 1950)
Size: 0.25 linear feet, including 1 folder photographs
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: C00024
Provenance: Materials donated by DePaul University Special Collections. DePaul obtained the material because Rea Warg served as Dean of the Goodman School of Theater when DePaul took it over in 1979. This material does not relate to Warg’s work with Goodman/DePaul.
Access: No restrictions
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: Rea Warg Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library
Processed by: Johanna Russ, October 2015

Historical / Biographical Note

The Chicago Railroad Fair was held in the summer of 1948 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first steam locomotive in Chicago. The Fair was staged in Burnham Park, along Lake Michigan, between 21st and 31st Streets, and was largely sponsored by railroad companies. While there were numerous events and exhibits, the Fair’s main attraction was the pageant, “Wheels A’Rolling,” which played four times per day with crowds as large as 20,000 spectators. The Fair was so popular that it was held again in 1949, drawing around 5.5 million visitors in its two-summer run. In 1950, a new name and theme were chosen, with the Chicago Fair featuring the pageant, “Frontiers of Freedom.”

The stage manager for these pageants was Rea Warg, working under director Helen Tieken Geraghty who had also produced pageants for the Century of Progress World’s Fair in 1933-1934. Rea Warg studied stage management at the Goodman School of Drama, graduating around 1947. Following the outdoor pageants for Chicago’s fairs, she led a long career managing, directing and producing shows. She also taught classes at Goodman, and in 1978 was named Acting Dean of the Goodman School of drama. It was during this time that DePaul University incorporated Goodman into its institution, saving the school from financial demise.

Scope and Content

This small collection contains clippings, photographs, and documents pertaining to Rea Warg’s stage management of the Chicago Fair’s “Frontiers of Freedom” pageant in 1950. Of significance are Warg’s handwritten notes on casting and negotiations with the Actors Equity union. Minor information is included about the Railroad Fair of 1948-1949.

Subject Headings

  • Fairs—Illinois
  • Warg, Rea

Container List

Box 1 Folder 1 Chicago Fair materials, 1950
Railroad Fair ticket, 1948
Box 1 Folder 2 Clippings, 1950; 1985; undated
Box 1 Folder 3 Photographs, Frontiers of Freedom – Chicago Fair, 1950
Print this page