The Traveling Chautauqua

Presentation Title: Putting CULTURE into AgriCULTURE: The Influence of the Traveling Chautauqua on Farmers

During the late 1800s the Chautauqua movement was in full bloom. The Chautauqua Institution on Lake Chautauqua, NY, founded in 1874, is considered by many as the “Mother” Chautauqua. Soon, “daughter” Chautauquas were springing up in many communities across the nation. By 1900 they were hundreds of Chautauquas across the county providing education, entertainment, and cultural events in various formats ranging from a few days to all summer.

However, many folks in rural America did not have ready access to the Chautauqua. So the “circuit” or traveling Chautauqua came into existence. The trains would carry the Chautauqua troop from one rural community to the next. Thus the farmer and his family could benefit from the Chautauqua.

In this presentation, we look at the traveling Chautauqua and examine the impact it had on rural America.