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Website has photos of Omaha's 1898 World's Fair, setting for "The Swan Gondola"

"Amid the music of a hundred bands, the cheers of a hundred thousand people ..." the 1898 Wold's Fair opened in Omaha, in the words of an article from the Tribune newspaper of New York City.

This is just one great quote from the website on the fair provided by the Omaha Public Library and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with the help of Timothy Schaffert, author of the new novel set at the fair. "The Swan Gondola," Schaffert's fifth book and his first historical novel, was reviewed by several major newspapers.

If it is not quite enough for you to read the book, if you want more about what it was like at the 1898 Omaha World's Fair, see this website that includes thousands of items including photographs and newspaper pages (

Thirteen pages from the Omaha Daily Bee detail art at the fair, for example. The writer, Ethel Evans, sometimes includes a long paragraph about just one painting of the many on display. Our present-day printed newspaper would not describe, say, a painting at the Omaha Summer Arts Festival one day, and then another one the next day, and so on. Newspaper reporters wrote much more in 1898 than they do now.

The buildings of the fair, a very common subject of the photographs, were constructed in what is today's north Omaha. Pictures often show the sky and open land in the background of the fair, and sometimes the bluffs Council Bluffs were named for. Many photos show the people working at or attending the fair and reveal much about these people.

The fair, also known as the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, drew millions to Omaha over six months.

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