Yes, Virginia there is another Chautauqua. In fact, there are 17 Chautauquas which form the 23-year-old Chautauqua Trail, also known as the Chautauquas of North America.
It is 10:15 a.m., and Chautauqua’s morning bustle has begun. The Daily paper boy’s call is accompanied by the shuffle of feet and voices as Chautauquans begin to head for the Amphitheater lecture. It can all be heard from the United Church of Christ Randell Chapel. But the noise seems to fade as Roman Catholic Deacon Ed McCarthy and Jane, his wife, begin the daily Service of Blessing and Healing.
Mention the Children’s Temple, and most Chautauquans will look puzzled — and justifiably so. It might have vanished entirely from awareness, but for that mausoleum of old buildings and the plaque.
The history of Newton Hall is a potpourri. It mixes the story of an archaeological museum dedicated to Middle Eastern/Holy Land artifacts, the biography of Chautauquan Augustus O. Van Lennep, and a mystery which remains unsolved today.
On Feb. 28, 2015, Chautauquan Carol Duhme received the Dean’s Medal for her service to the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. In the 1990s, she received an honorary doctorate from Eden Theological Seminary.
HAROLD WAGNER | Courtesy of the Chautauqua Institution Archives Chautauqua dignitaries gather at the Norton Hall Cornerstone laying ceremony Aug.
Edith and Steve Benson’s Chautauqua cottage sits at 19 Wiley, surrounded by an aged picket fence. Pushing open the gate, walking under the arched trellis draped in akebia and along a short curved stone walkway dripping with yellow roses, blue Russian Sage and the hardy remnant of a purple clematis up to the Benson’s porch is akin to visiting a home from a bygone era.
Writing the “Women Behind the Memorials” column this season, I relearned that history is not tidy. It is sprawling, unexpected, and a singular incident bumped into me in an almost — dare I say it — ghostly way.
There are three observations, among many, gleaned from reading The Chautauquan Daily reporting of Eleanor Roosevelt’s eight visits to Chautauqua from 1927-1937. First: how farsighted her concerns and comments were, particularly in the July 7, 1930, and the July 25, 1933, speeches. Second: the reporting, which inadvertently describes the contrast in the freedom of movement Roosevelt enjoyed to the impenetrable gauze of security which wraps national political figures today. Third: how vivid and observant the reporting was, especially Elizabeth Hall’s July 26, 1933, Daily “Ground Wires” column.
Geraldine Gebbie Bellinger bought Chautauqua’s Amphitheater in 1935. Well, to be precise, she joined her daughter, Janet, and sister, Marion Bertram Gebbie, and made a $5,000 sentimental purchase of the Amp. It was a donation to the “Save Chautauqua Fund” and was one of the larger single contributions to the three-year effort to rescue the Institution from its creditors.