Events

International Eisteddfod 1893

A crowning achievement for Chicago's Welsh community was the International Eisteddfod which took place on the grounds of the World's Columbian Exposition during four glorious days in September 1893.

  • Date
    September 5, 1893
  • Add. Dates
    September 6, 1893, September 7, 1893, September 8, 1893
  • Addresses
    Jackson Park, Chicago, IL

In February 1890 the announcement was made that Chicago had been chosen as the city that was to host the celebration to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' landing in America. The World's Columbian Exposition, or World's Fair (as it was commonly known), took place from May1st to October 30th, 1893 on a previously barren plot of land south of the city. The 600 acre site was transformed into a gleaming small city comprised of 14 impressive large buildings, and almost 200 smaller ones, set around a network of lagoons and canals. Over 27 million visitors were recorded as attending the six month long Fair, which featured participants from over 40 countries. 

The Welsh people of the city recognized this as an opportunity to showcase the special talents of their own countrymen and quickly started planning for an International Eisteddfod. After initially requesting seven days for their festival they eventually agreed upon the four that were allocated to them in September for the use of Festival Hall on the grounds of the Fair; the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th.

Planning began in earnest in 1891 when  "A NATIONAL AND EISTEDDVODIC (sic) CALL AND INVITATION was sent out.  It read, in part: 

"THE WELSH PEOPLE OF AMERICA TO THE WELSH OF THEIR FATHERLAND:

Greeting: Across the Atlantic, with one voice from continent to continent, the NATIONAL CYMRODORION SOCIETY, in the name of all the Welsh People of the New World, send their most earnest INVITATION to the Welsh People of Great Britain, and especially to the managers and promoters of the NATIONAL EISTEDDFOD, to come to their aid, and cooperate with them in holding conjointly, on an imposing scale, with BARDIC and MUSICAL dignity worthy of the the Antiquity, Literature and Music of the CYMRY, a GRAND INTERNATIONAL EISTEDDVOD in Chicago in 1893, during the WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION...

Will the Welsh People neglect their grandest and most exceptional opportunity of exhibiting their literal and musical characteristics? "THEY WILL NOT!" is the united voice of the CYMRY OF AMERICA and their descendants, and we pray that the same will be the voice of GWALIA. No nationality other than the Welsh can bring to the EXPOSITION a literary institution so ancient, unique and characteristic as the NATIONAL EISTEDDVOD...

Fellow-countrymen of GWALIA, lovers of the EISTEDDFOD - its traditions, its literature, its harp and song, its art, and its true Keltic fellowship - on behalf of the NATIONAL CYMRODORION SOCIETY and the WELSH of AMERICA, we most affectionately subscribe ourselves, Yours in bonds of National Love,

OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL EISTEDDFOD, CHICAGO 1893

Chairman, SAMUEL JOB (1), Pullman, Ill

W.E. POWELL (3) (Gwilym Eryri),   W.H. PHILLIPS (11),   

EVAN LLOYD,   REV W.C. ROBERTS, D.D.,   

REV JENKIN LLOYD JONES,   D. CHARLES HARRIS,  

JOHN EDWARDS,   D.R. JONES, South Chicago,  

R.O. DAVIES (Moriog),   D.V. SAMUELS,  

JOHN P. JONES (7),   REV JOHN WYNNE JONES,  

REV ELLIS ROBERTS,   JOHN W. OWEN,  

REES PRICE (Ap Mawrth),  THOMAS OWEN

Recording Secretary, E.G. LLOYD (Llwydfab)

W. APMADOC, Secretary, Chicago, Illinois.   June 1891"

Note: Numbers in parentheses correspond to numbers next to photos of individuals in the image below - Eisteddfod Board of Directors