Tag Archives: archives

Chautauqua, no matter what it means: Distinctively American

Jon Schmitz is not Chautauqua Institution’s archivist and historian for nothing. He looks among the many stones unturned and finds the source of history that, for many, has gone unnoticed. Sometimes he affirms what often was thought to be true — and sometimes he doesn’t.

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WATCH: Chautauquan Daily Circa 1950

George Cooper introduces a video series in which he will discuss The Chautauquan Daily of the 1950s. [CLICK "READ MORE" BELOW OR THE HEADLINE ABOVE TO WATCH THE VIDEO]

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Carol Duehme, Jon Schmitz, Will Glover and David Strange pose in the Oliver Archives Center with a copy of The Journey of the English-Speaking Union. Photo by Adam Birkan.

Bell Tower Scholars bring history of English-Speaking Union to Chautauqua

Will Glover has made the journey to the Chautauqua Institution since 1998, but this year’s trip was punctuated with a number of special events. Adorned in white, he graduated from the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, and on July 30, he presented Chautauqua’s Archives with a copy of Gerard Noel’s The Journey of the English-Speaking Union, a book chronicling the 90-year history of the organization responsible for his introduction to Chautauqua.

An economist, writer and teacher, Glover was the recipient of the Bell Tower Scholarship in 1998, an award presented to a teacher from the ESU for professional development. The award includes tuition and boarding for up to four weeks at Chautauqua and a stipend for travel expenses. Chautauquan Carol Duhme funds the annual scholarship.

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Roots of Chautauqua: radical to see and to understand

It takes one to know one; that is truism. To see, one must understand; to understand, one must see: that is truth. Or is it French? Or is it radical?

“Too often, ‘radical’ has been taken to be someone who is left-wing or using extreme means to accomplish reform,” said Jon Schmitz, Chautauqua archivist and historian. “But it really means someone going to the root of the matter to solve a problem.”

Schmitz will present “Four Radicals at Chautauqua: Fr. Edward McGlynn on the Single Tax, Arabella B. Buckley on Modernism in Religion, John Dewey on Education, Arnold Schoenberg and Serialism.”

Part of the Oliver Archives Heritage Lecture Series, the presentation is at 3:30 p.m. today in the Hall of Christ.

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Patriotism!: More than a flag, more than a pin on a lapel

On April 6, 1917, the United States Congress responded to President Woodrow Wilson’s request and officially declared the country in a state of war. Many people had expected it. Two and a half years earlier, Europe erupted in battle, but the U.S. kept itself neutral. German maritime transgressions, a sense of U.S. responsibility to freedom and democracy, and finally a sense of the country’s vulnerability, led Wilson to make his request. Chautauqua Institution followed.

The 1917 Season would be Chautauqua’s 44th Assembly. As the June 29 edition of The Chautauquan Daily said, it would be a “War-time Chautauqua.”

Ida Tarbell, a former Chautauquan Daily writer and editor, and later muckracker and activist against corporate monopoly, spoke two times that summer, once about “Doing Our Bit” and a second about “Fear of Efficiency.” The Daily reported that the “Famous writer believes that people of the country are doing well in preparation for the coming struggle.”

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The road to Americanization: Interpreting the US to the ‘other’

Though isolationist in principle through and to the end of World War I, the United States was not immune to the war’s influence. There was an economic influence, as the nations at war, once regular trading partners, invested more and more of their money in munitions.

By 1916, the Allies were running short of money and depended on the U.S. for loans, a point that did not escape the attention of British economist John Maynard Keynes. According to David Fromkin, Keynes, “speaking for the British Treasury, warned the Cabinet that by the end of the year, ‘the American executive and the American public will be in a position to dictate to this country.’ ”

How does the youngest in the family react when the older siblings are fighting? Throwing his or her own fit in an effort to further disrupt the chaos? Or, maybe, taking a deep breath, searching her own identity, discovering his own good beliefs, the youngster becomes herself, a self-reliant, self-reflective individual, independent but receptive to his place in the family.

Chautauqua Institution and its platform for 1916 showed some such actualization, acting as a superego of these United States. “Americanization Week” began on Monday, July 17, and consisted of four lectures by Dr. E.A. Steiner, one by Mr. W.W. Husband and one by the Rev. James J. Coale. The week ended with a “Question Box,” in which Chautauquans submitted questions for all three speakers on the topic of the week.

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BTG life members to host luncheon

Now that the Bird, Tree & Garden Club House Tour is history, it is time to make reservations to attend the BTG luncheon for life members and hear what Mary Lee Talbot has learned after researching 100 years of BTG history. “What I’ve Learned So Far” is the topic Talbot will share with luncheon members at 12:15 p.m. Aug. 3 in the Athenaeum Hotel parlor.

“Over the last 100 years, the BTG has engaged in a lot of serious work but has done it with a great deal of fun and style,” Talbot said. “We are going to look at a few of what I think have been really interesting pieces of fun that they engaged in — like pageants, parties, receptions and the love of poetry.”

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Betty and Arthur Salz spent six years researching short biographies of the people for whom the streets of Chautauqua are named. Chautauqua: The Streets Where You Live contains maps of Chautauqua from its beginning and photos of the people who contributed to the growth of Chautauqua. Photo by Lauren Rock.

Chautauquans write history of streets and their namesakes

Who put the Bliss in Bliss Avenue? What did Mr. Massey do to get his name on a street that runs half the length of the grounds? And why are so many streets named after poets — did they all visit Chautauqua?

Those questions started to nag at Betty and Arthur Salz about seven years ago, after having spent their summers at Chautauqua for more than 40 years.

“We lived on Morris, on Roberts, and then we bought a house on Ames in 1971, and had no clue about any of these men, and nobody else seemed to know,” Betty said.

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