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Dear Mr. DiCesare,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located an authority file and 23 records series relating to the U.S. Centennial Commission. We also searched for "Centennial International Exposition," "Grand Centennial Exposition," "International Exhibition of 1876," and "Centennial Exhibition" and located some additional record series. For more information about these records, please email the reference units listed as the contacts in the Catalog descriptions.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from various NARA units. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.
We also located results in the Library of Congress Catalog using “International Exhibition, 1876”; "Centennial International Exposition"; and "Centennial Exhibition." Additional combinations of search terms may produce more results.
The records of the United States Centennial Commission and the United States Centennial Commission - International Exhibition of 1876 are at the Philadelphia City Archives. In addition to the records listed under the heading “Archival Records” in the main catalog entry, be sure to click on the various departments listed such as Awards, as this brings up additional records created by the specific departments.
The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art’s collection United States Centennial Commission records, 1876-1879 consists of microfilm of the records relating primarily to the Fine Arts Section of the Centennial Exhibition, copied from the originals at the Philadelphia City Archives
Joseph R. Hawley (1826-1905) served as president of the United States Centennial Commission from 1873 to 1876. Collections of his personal papers are at the Library of Congress and the Connecticut Historical Society Museum and Library.
Ulysses S. Grant was president of the United States at the time, and attended the opening ceremonies. His papers are at the Library of Congress.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and other state and local organizations such as libraries and historical societies may also have holdings on this topic. Also, many states set up exhibits at the Exhibition, so you may wish to contact the various state archives and state libraries concerning these exhibits.
We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!
Thanks for your assistance.