“The Great Palace of American Civilization”: Allen Eaton’s Arts and Crafts of the Homelands, 1919-1932


  • Diana Greenwold University of California, Berkeley




homelands, immigrant gifts, Allen Eaton, multiculturalism,


Allen Eaton’s Arts and Crafts of the Homelands exhibition premiered in Buffalo, New York in 1919, where it drew record crowds to the Albright Gallery. Iterations of the display soon opened in Albany, Rochester, and then in several other cities across the United States. Arts and Crafts of the Homelands showcased European craftwork of local immigrant groups to celebrate a model of early twentieth-century American pluralism. This article examines the aims of exhibit organizers, immigrant presenters, and native-born visitors to these exhibitions. The structure of the displays—which highlighted domestic tableaux of old-world objects—obfuscated the contemporary contributions of immigrant groups to American cultural and economic forums. I argue, however, that local groups took advantage of the exhibit’s performance spaces to assert their active presence in American public life.


Author Biography

Diana Greenwold, University of California, Berkeley

Diana Greenwold is a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently a Douglass Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is at work on her dissertation, “Crafting New Citizens: Immigrant Craft Workshops in American Settlement Houses: 1884-1945.”




How to Cite

Greenwold, D. (2014). “The Great Palace of American Civilization”: Allen Eaton’s Arts and Crafts of the Homelands, 1919-1932. Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture, 3, 98–116. https://doi.org/10.5195/contemp.2014.56



Special Section: Exhibition Complex Symposium