'A Message and a Mission for the Times':
In 1874, in the semi-wilderness of western New York, the first summer session of
the Chautauqua Assembly was held. This site asks several questions about the early Chautauqua Institution: Why did
it begin? What was its purpose? How did it grow and change? Who went there, and what did they do?
The Chautauqua Idea will examine and contextualize the beginnings of the
Chautauqua movement, and discuss its growth and development throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth
The Chautauqua Experience will re-create the experience of early
Chautauquans during the summer session. The first section looks at Chautauqua as a utopian space, and the second
looks at some of the specific programs and activities in the early seasons.
The Incorporation of Chautauqua argues that eventually Chautauqua came to
resemble the very society and institutions it was initially set up in opposition to.
Throughout the site links will be in red, and images and text outlined in red are links to galleries of images and full-text articles.