Chautauqua offered education, entertainment

PC-booker t washington.jpg

 By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
August 28, 2013

Chautauqua was a popular educational movement of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries in America. Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout the rural United States until the mid-1920s. When the Chautauqua came to town, it brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians and specialists of the day. Former President Theodore Roosevelt once stated that the Chautauqua is “the most American thing in America.”

This undivided back postcard shows “A view on the Chautauqua Grounds, Clarinda, Iowa. Booker T. Washington speaking.”

Chautauqua was popular with residents of isolated rural areas because they had a strong thirst for knowledge, in the absence of any resident theatre or opera house companies or universities, for example. By the mid-1920s when Circuit Chautauquas were at their peak, they appeared in more than 10,000 communities to audiences of more than 45 million people. By about 1940, the Tent Chautauquas had run their course and disappeared.

Booker T. Washington was a popular Chautauqua speaker and always drew large crowds of people. Washington was born into slavery in 1854 in Hale’s Church, Va. Always curious, Washington’s hunger for education was relentless; he paid for his own college education at the Hampton Agricultural Institute in Virginia by working as their custodian. Washington went on to become a university professor at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, eventually passing away in November of 1915.

One of the many quotes from Washington’s book “Up From Slavery” gives some insight to the man: “I will not say that I became discouraged, for as I now look back over my life I do not recall that I ever became discouraged over anything that I set out to accomplish. I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed, and I never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed.”

Comments are closed.

  • Mt. Washington still a peaceful respite

    November 12th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News November 12, 2014 This postcard published by the Webb-Freyschlag Mercantile Company shows a peaceful view […]


    Eagle’s lodge once a place of history

    November 5th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News November 5, 2014 This week we take a look at the Queen Anne-styled James Ogelbay […]


    Haunting Halloween Greetings

    October 28th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News October 29, 2014 Marked by old greeting postcards like these, the tradition of Halloween traces […]


    KC’s first fire fighters honored

    October 21st, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News October 22, 2014 In March 1867, the Missouri Legislature granted permission to allow Kansas City, […]


    Majestic hours once lived on Armour Blvd

    October 14th, 2014
    by

    This postcard published by the Elite Postcard Company of Kansas City doubles as an advertising postcard for the Jenkins Music […]


  • Parade's a downtown tradition

    October 7th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News October 8, 2014 This week’s historic postcard is a Real Photo postcard that shows a […]


    It’s American Royal time again!

    September 30th, 2014
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News October 1, 2014 About two years after the opening of the “new” Hannibal Bridge over […]


    Oldsmobile Rhythmic ride!

    September 23rd, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News September 24, 2014 This marketing postcard was produced by the Oldsmobile Motor Company for Kansas […]


    Brush Creek synonymous with Plaza living

    September 16th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News September 17, 2014 This Kodachrome postcard published in the late 1950s shows the numerous apartment […]


    Grand Old Opera house

    September 9th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News September 10, 2014 The Grand Opera House located at Seventh and Walnut is this week’s […]


  • Local Weather