What is Chautauqua?

"Bag Tied in the middle" / "The place of mists"

-Local native Americans

"The place of the leaping fish"

-Seneca Indians

"Indian archaeologists of high authority...tell us that once the Jat-te-ca tribe hunted around its borders, and that their name was by the French voyageurs softened into the word Chautauqua."

-Harpers Weekly, August 21, 1880

"Chautauqua: The Town behind the Fence; with War, and selfishness and Care Shut Out; with Peace, and Brotherhood and High Ideals, Shut In."

-Jesse L. Hurlbut, August 9, 1924

"Chautauqua is the most American thing in America."

-Theodore Roosevelt

"If you have not spent a week at Chautauqua, you do not know your own country."

-Edward Everett Hale

"Chautauqua is a place "beautiful for situation," where Nature and Art unite to bless all who land on its shores, wander among its forests, float on its waters, enter its halls, and enjoy its fellowships.

Chautauqua is an idea, embracing the "all things" of life – art, science, society, religion, patriotism, education – whatsoever tends to enlarge, refine, and ennoble the individual, to develop domestic charm and influence, to make the nation stronger and wiser, and to make Time and Eternity seem to be what they are – parts of one noble and everlasting whole.

Chautauqua is a force, developing the realities of life in the consenting personality; applying to the individual the energies that make for character – wisdom, vision, vast horizon, ever-brightening ideals, strength of resolve, serenity of soul, rest in God, and the multiplied ministries that enable the individual to serve society."

-John Heyl Vincent, 1905

"A local Chautauqua proper is widely different from any other thing that may be compared with it. It is not a country picnic, nor a prize exhibit of talent, nor a political convocation, nor a financial enterprise, nor a cheap imitation of a college, nor a camp meeting, nor a 'select' and 'exclusive' summer resort..."

-E.H. Blichfeldt, "What a Chautauqua is Not," The Chautauquan, 1912

"If any assembly reaches the point where it can not provide good, simple, wholesome fare, in tent or cottage, or boarding hall, for the poor school teacher and the ambitious student at a moderate price, where the best seats in its amphitheater are reserved for moneyed patrons, where dress and ostentation and bumptiousness drive modest and timid people into the back corners, where only prosperous and influential interests can get a hearing on its platform, and the utterance of things which mean hope for the nation, physically, mentally and in character is forbidden--if any assembly should ever reach this point, then whatever we call it, in heaven's name let us not call it a Chautauqua."

-"What a Chautauqua is Not," The Chautauquan, 1912


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