12 Facts About Chautauqua


Chautauqua was an adult education and social movement in the United States, highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s.

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The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, showmen, preachers, and specialists of the day.

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The next year, 1874, the New York Chautauqua Assembly, was organized by Methodist minister John Heyl Vincent and businessman Lewis Miller at a campsite on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in the state of New York.

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The Chautauqua movement beginning in the 1870s may be regarded as a successor to the Lyceum movement earlier in the 19th century, from the 1840s.

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Such a Chautauqua was generally built in an attractive semi-rural location a short distance outside an established town with good rail service.

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Flood stopped editing the magazine in 1899, and journalist Frank Chapin Bay, schooled by Chautauqua, took over; the magazine became less a general magazine and more the official organ of the organization.

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Early religious expression in Chautauqua was usually of a general nature, comparable to the later Moral Re-Armament movement.

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One example, Lakeside Chautauqua, is privately owned but affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

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In contrast, the Colorado Chautauqua is entirely nondenominational and mostly secular in its orientation.

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Chautauqua was considered wholesome, family entertainment and appealed to middle classes and people who considered themselves to be respectable or aspired to respectability.

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Over time, as vaudeville became more respectable, Chautauqua became more permissive in what they considered to be acceptable acts.

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