FAIRS: Gibson's Surprise

A popular and publicity success, the New York World's Fair of 1939 was a financial flop. By midseason, exhibitors and merchants holding $28,000,000 of its 4% debentures had forced out overconfident Grover Whalen, put Banker Harvey Dow Gibson (Manufacturers Trust Co.) in charge of the books. In September, to help the Fair pay its bills, bondholders had to sacrifice their 40% lien on the gate receipts. During 1939, the bonds dropped from 80 to 17.

When he opened the 1940 Fair this spring, Banker Gibson was not overconfident. Said he, "If everybody who comes to the Fair has a good...

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