Tag Archives: Jon Schmitz

For eighth year, Archives to celebrate Chautauqua Giants

There are many giants at Chautauqua — not measured by physical stature, wealth, size of house or material possessions, but by the contributions they have made to the Chautauqua community. Now in its eighth year, a celebration of five Chautauqua Giants will commence at 3:30 p.m. today in the Hall of Christ. The presentation is part of the Oliver Archives Heritage Lecture Series.

The event first occurred in 2006 as part of a week themed “Five Giants.” Jon Schmitz, Chautauqua archivist and historian, said that Tom Becker asked him to do a presentation on the “Giants of Chautauqua.” Schmitz, in turn, asked five people to choose five Chautauquans, “living or dead, famous or unknown, people they knew or never met, and to say a few words about why they believe they made a special contribution to Chautauqua.”

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Max Rohrbaugh | provided photoPoster for the American Red Cross blood drives during World War II.

History of blood transfusion teaches lessons about patient autonomy

Two speakers will address issues of human health at 3:30 p.m. today in the Hall of Christ as part of the Oliver Archives Heritage Lecture Series. Dr. Max Rohrbaugh, anesthesiologist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, will speak about “Historical Perspectives on Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Refusal of Blood Transfusion.” Jon Schmitz, Chautauqua Institution archivist and historian, will sort out some of the comparisons people generally make between the Canadian and American health care systems.

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Courtesy of Chautauqua Institution ArchivesThe Chautauqua Amphitheater, circa 1959.

Chautauqua: Rumors of its decline have been greatly exaggerated

What goes up must come down, so goes the saying. But in matters as complex as human life or, say, Chautauqua Institution, it may be better described as rising and declining. In talking about the Institution, Jon Schmitz, Chautauqua archivist and historian, will add resurgence to his 3:30 p.m. lecture today in the Hall of Christ.

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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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Norman Carlson | provided image
“THE SCENE OF A HORRIBLE DOUBLE TRAGEDY,” blares the caption headline of this December 1894 news sketch in all-capitals bold type. It continues: “The [Shearman] home near Jamestown, N.Y., where Mrs. [Shearman] and daughter, Mrs. Davis, were foully murdered last week.” The double murder is the subject of historian Norman Carlson’s 3:30 p.m. Heritage Lecture today in the Hall of Christ.

Dramatic history provides snapshot of community at Heritage Lecture

Local historian Norman Carlson said an incident like this serves as a snapshot. Carlson was referring to the first unsolved murder in Chautauqua County, which he will speak about at 3:30 p.m. today in the Hall of Christ.

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Oliver Archives Center assistant Amanda Holt reads and organizes the Miller Family Papers before the collection is sent to Rutgers University to become part of the Thomas A. Edison Papers Project. Photo by Michelle Kanaar.

Miller Family Papers to add Chautauqua chapter to Edison project

Sometime in the next months, the 16 gray coffin-like archival boxes holding the Miller Family Papers will leave the Oliver Archives Center in Chautauqua, N.Y., and journey to Rutgers University, N.J., to become part of the Thomas A. Edison Papers Project at Rutgers.

A note of clarification is required. The Miller Family Papers are the collected correspondence, diaries and memorabilia of the family of Lewis Miller, one of Chautauqua Institution’s founders. The papers include the letters of Mina Miller Edison, the second wife of Thomas Edison. The Thomas A. Edison Papers Project is a research center based at Rutgers University, and it is described as “one of the most ambitious editing projects ever undertaken by an American university.”

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CLSC Young Readers program saves ‘The Greatest’ for last

Did you know that three days before his assassination, President Abraham Lincoln had a dream about his death?

Or that Lincoln’s son Robert Todd Lincoln was present at four presidential assassinations?

Those interesting tidbits and more are in the ninth and final book for this season’s Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle’s Young Readers Program. Award-winning documentarian and historian Rick Beyer’s The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told is filled with facts that will prove valuable in your next trivial pursuit.

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Grant, a strong and gentle man who enjoyed novels

The experiment at Fair Point did not happen without help. John Heyl Vincent and Lewis Miller knew people — they had earned attention.

For example, Vincent knew Ulysses S. Grant, a general, a parishioner, a president. And through Vincent’s arrangement, Grant came to Chautauqua in 1875 while he was president. His visit earned attention for the fledgling Institution and could be credited with much of the Institution’s early success.

To speak of Grant, his early association with Vincent and Chautauqua, and to share his early findings as he researches and writes a book about Grant, Ronald White will give a talk titled “Grant at West Point: ‘Much of the time, I’m sorry to say, was devoted to novels.’ ”

As part of the Oliver Archives Heritage Lecture Series, White will speak today at 3:30 p.m. in the Hall of Christ. White is an award winning author — his most recent book, A. Lincoln: A Biography, was published in 2009 and is a New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times bestseller.

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