Food Products of the Worldby Mary E. Green
THE great achievement of the minds who conceived, builded and gave to the people the World's Columbian Exposition (1883) was both the magnitude of the whole project and its perfection. In scope it was limit-defying and yet of wonderful completeness. The large things were perfect and right. As
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From CHAPTER I. THE IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD PRODUCTION:
THE great achievement of the minds who conceived, builded and gave to the people the World's Columbian Exposition (1883) was both the magnitude of the whole project and its perfection. In scope it was limit-defying and yet of wonderful completeness. The large things were perfect and right. As in the sphinxes and portrait-statues of Egypt, the only sacrifices made were those of detail, never those of proportion. The artists and builders of the nineteenth century learned well these principles, dim though they appear in the shadowy perspective of the past, and if detail has been subordinated to mass or here and there lost sight of, the value of the whole has been but slightly reduced. This exposition will remain as the most perfect lesson ever written for the learning of man prior to the dawn of the twentieth century. Books are made and being made; the press of this whole land has been and still is enlisted in the service of the thought awakened. The Art Gallery has been the free lance of scores of writers; the Liberal Arts building the mine and treasure-house of a universe of artisans; woman has been discovered, re-discovered and then discovered again; Izaak Walton, revivified, has been set up as the deity of the Fisheries building; the oil of sentiment, full measure, has been poured upon the stormy waters of far-away La Rabida; the sea, earth and air have verily given up their secrets and their deities of trident and thunderbolt are with us again.
On account of this immensity and completeness certain exhibits at the great fair were more popular than others, while even a casual visitor could not fail to observe that some received less attention than their absolute merit warranted. This was, usually, because the importance of these exhibits was too lightly estimated, or because their place, with its need of honor, was not fully established in our world of industry. Perhaps on this latter account one building received somewhat less than its share of appreciation, although its exhibits have been pronounced by authorities as relatively more complete than any on the grounds. I refer to the Agricultural building. Common-place? Perhaps, perhaps not. The majority of exposition visitors, limited in point of time and matter of money, rushed headlong through exhibits, pell-mell, helter-skelter, attracted chiefly by whatever savored of sentimentalism, amusement and excitement. What could not be described by one of these terms was quite likely to be set down as common-place, and for this reason we heard comparatively little of our agricultural and food exhibition. Though a legion of visitors, interested and amazed, passed through the aisles of the Agricultural building during the summer of 1893 and examined the exhibits, food or food production unfortunately is not a fad and its champions are strangely silent. The faddists dwell now-a-days in the realms of religion, art and reform, unmindful of the necessity of agricultural interest and thankless for the labor of those who, through the production, preservation and scientific preparation of food, have made possible our wealth of science, literature and art. As the Agricultural building stood, during those months of enchantment, immense, strong, uncompromising, facing the inlet waters of beautiful Lake Michigan and the statue of the Republic, bridging the distance between the promise of higher science and artisanship as seen in the Liberal Arts building, and the relics of aboriginal agriculture and cookery in the Anthropological building on the south, so stands the fact of agriculture to-day in our national economy. As the building stood there, continuing with its columned walls the colonnade over the gateway of the lake, it formed part of the peristyle, and we remember that now no less than in the days of the Greeks did the peristyle enshrine a deity; theirs a god of power, ours a deity of liberty, whose being is progress and whose spirit, law. As we saw the walls of this building encircled by figures, bearing in their outstretched arms the signs of the zodiac, we thought again of our agricultural interests, encircled by the heavens and dependent upon their moods and seasons for prosperity. As this building stood, proud, ornamented with groups of sculpture, garlanded with flowers and decorated with pastoral scenes that recall the husbandry of Virgil, so from our food production spring the beauty and grace of our present civilization. Without the productiveness of agriculture our arts and industries could not exist....
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