Chautauqua Speakers Bureau
What is Chautauqua Speakers Bureau?
President Theodore Roosevelt once called Chautauqua "the most American thing in America," and President Garfield said "Chautauqua was to show the world how to use leisure." What began in 1874 as a Sunday school teacher training quickly spread from southwestern New York State across the country. Chautauqua brought "culture" in the form of concerts, orations, classes, and uplifting entertainment to hundreds of isolated communities across the nation. The Colorado Chautauqua Assembly was begun in Boulder in 1898. The summer community immediately became one of the most popular spots in Colorado. Hundreds came daily.
For many Americans, Chautauqua provided their only education in both cultural and societal topics. Local and regional Chautauquas offered Americans the opportunity to listen to lectures by famous orators of the day, to discuss political, economic, and social issues, and to enjoy performances by actors and musicians.
By the early 1930s, Chautauqua had lost much of its attraction, due in part to the increasing availability of radio and movies.
In the 1970s, the modern humanities Chautauqua movement was spawned in North Dakota. Modern-day humanities scholars took to the stage and breathe life into the words of historical and literary figures through interpretive characterizations. The format has grown under the support and direction of state humanities councils across the U.S. Each year, more scholars take up the challenge and develop presentations.
These programs are designed to
inform the audience about the lives and work of historical figures, as
well as offer a basis for lively discussion about the relevance of these
people and their ideas in today's world.
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