Indeed, the bicentennial celebration reflected a distinctly corporate capitalism.
Thus the bicentennial wedded the idea of free information to the mechanism of free market capitalism in a campaign to sell "Man's Right to Knowledge."
In keeping with tradition, many bicentennial events involved a limited scholarly audience.
In December 1951 the Bicentennial Central Committee formally adopted an exhibit as a bicentennial project.
These were reproduced in complete sets of 60 panels and smaller sets of 25 panels to be loaned to museums, libraries, and other organizations in the United States and Canada (Columbia's bicentennial, 1956, p.
Although the bicentennial logo featured the statue of Columbia's alma mater seated with an open book on her lap, planning was well advanced before libraries joined the observance.
As the bicentennial year approached the ALA's increasing commitment to intellectual freedom coalesced with growing concerns among publishers about censorship attacks.
"Our librarians" wrote Eisenhower, "serve the precious liberties of our nation: freedom of inquiry, freedom of the spoken and the written word, freedom of exchange of ideas." Echoing the bicentennial theme, Eisenhower declared that democracy depended on these principles for its very life and criticized those who would deny others the opportunity to study communism in its entirety: "its plausibilities, its falsities, its weaknesses." (16) On June 25, 1953, the American Book Publishers Council and the ALA Council both endorsed the Freedom to Read Statement.
By the start of the bicentennial, libraries had become a symbol of the celebration theme and by hosting the panel exhibit would provide a means to reach an expanded audience.
Notices in library journals had urged librarians interested in hosting the exhibit to contact Richard Powell, Columbia University law professor and director of the bicentennial. (19) Libraries of all sorts had volunteered.
Columbia had sought active alumni participation in the bicentennial through regional committees in each area of the country.
Libraries with and without the panel exhibit used the bicentennial theme as a backdrop to displays of works from their own collections.
Louis Post-Dispatch on March 7 and in the Linden [NJ] Observer on April 1 were nearly identical, announcing the exhibit to be held at the library, outlining the five exhibit themes, describing a typical panel that showed an elderly citizen at a New England Town Meeting, quoting from James Madison, and adding a comment by Richard Powell on behalf of the bicentennial. Local news outlets could also insert information appropriate to their communities.
Tallying the results, the Bicentennial Committee estimated that 900,000 people had seen the exhibit in more than 400 sites in the United States and Canada and another 700,000 people in nearly 300 places abroad (Columbia's bicentennial, 1956, p.