Book Title: Circuit Chautauqua: From Rural Education to Popular Entertainment in Early Twentieth Century America
Publisher: McFarland Publishing
Author: John E. Tapia
In the late 19th century the chautauqua movement became a popular form of adult education and entertainment in the United States. Using noted lyceum speakers (such as Teddy Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryan) and local talent, the movement spread throughout the country and was particularly popular in the rural areas of the Midwest. An overview of the lyceum and of adult education in 19th century America is followed by an examination of the rise of the circuit chautauqua, from its standardization and commercialization to the specific jobs involved in the program. The chautauqua lecturer, musical features, dramatic arts and childrens activities are fully covered. Its popularity during the 1920s is detailed as is its demise, brought on by the Great Depression and the rise of the film industry.