Edith Marion DeBlois collection fo Expo 67 publications and ephemera
Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library
PO Box 3630
Wilmington, Delaware, 19807
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Edith Marion Gladney was born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1920, the daughter of native Canadian Eva Elizabeth Powis and Englishman Reginald Gladney. She called herself “Babs” as a child, which she modified to “Babbie” in later life. Her parents divorced when in 1933, and her mother later married A. E. D. Tremain of Montreal.
Edith Gladney was very interested in foreign travel as a young girl, but her first opportunity came at the age of nineteen, when she visited the New York World’s Fair. The outbreak of World War II a few months later caused her parents to abandon plans to send her to finishing school in Switzerland, so she took a nursing course and spent most of the war working in a munitions factory as an inspector. In 1945 she married Howard Crawford DeBlois, a wounded veteran of the Royal Engineers and moved to the industrial city of Shawinigan, about 100 miles from Montreal. Howard DeBlois died in 1948, and Edith and their daughter remained in Shawinigan living on his pension.
Edith DeBlois took great interest in Expo ‘67 from the moment it was announced that Montreal would host a world’s fair. For her, it seemed an opportunity to experience the cultures of foreign countries that had been denied her by the war. She purchased a season pass and moved in with a friend in Montreal, and her daughter, who was then at McGill University, would meet her at the fair for concerts. She attended the fair almost daily.
The fair rekindled Mrs. DeBlois’s interest in foreign travel, and thereafter she made frequent trips using economical package tours. She died in 2000.
The materials collected by Mrs. DeBlois include a variety of publications and ephemera associated with the 1967 International and Universal Exposition held in Montreal, also known as Expo 67.
The collection includes many of the official guides and maps issued by the fair, as well as specialized pamphlets dealing with particular themes or exhibits. Mrs. DeBlois also compiled a series of scrapbooks documenting her attendance at various exhibits and performances. The scrapbooks contain mostly newspaper clippings on activities at the fair, but also programs, postcards, announcements, a head scarf, and ephemera such as fair-themed napkins, drinking cups and utensils. The collection includes an official “passport” that was issued to ticket holders, that could be stamped by the various foreign pavilions in the manner of a real passport, and “visas” for admission to specific foreign exhibits. Of particular note is a booklet from the Soviet pavilion.
The collection also includes and official guide to the 1939 New York World’s Fair, a brochure on Czechoslovakia from the 1958 world’s fair in Brussels, and a variety of tourist brochures from Mrs. DeBlois’s later travels.