Here is the compartment of a people who live very quickly, who quickly create a past for themselves, and if it cannot yet be said that there is an American civilisation, we can already foresee the moment quite soon when this civilisation will be an incontestable fact.
The Universal Exhibitions held on American soil have shown this, and those who have seen Chicago and St. Louis do not doubt it. But even in the participation of the United States in the European World's fairs, it can be seen that the American is gradually developing a conception of life of his own: he is giving himself a style. It is true that the United States department at the Brussels Exhibition did not have the considerable importance of the large Sections. But for those who carefully examined the stands decorated with the star-spangled flag, the great Republic of the New World had very sufficiently marked its place in our Exhibition for the visitor to realise its economic power and its social strength. The machines and products exhibited sometimes lacked elegance; they were presented without research if not without ingenuity, but they had that secret beauty of necessary things, the beauty of the active and well-ordered workshop, and perhaps this is the true American beauty? The civilisation that is being formed in this vast new continent is a little narrowly utilitarian. Let us admire that it at least has the beauty of utilitarianism and that it offers us the example of this intense work, which also has its aesthetic. Admire also this: there was nothing useless in the American section of the Exhibition! This Exhibition was, if you like, only a visiting card - we know that the United States was not officially represented and that the American Section was due to private initiative - but this visiting card was significant.
©Livre d'Or de l'Exposition Bruxelles 1910