|Text on Button||Wonderland Chautauqua Club|
Illustration of waving American flag with black text on a white background.
|Back Paper / Back Info||
St Louis Button Co
The Chautauqua club was a traveling series of lectures with the goal to educate Americans, specifically Americans living in rural areas. This began in 1874 when a businessman, Lewis Miller, and a Methodist minister, John Heyl Vincent formed the club in Lake Chautauqua, New York to educate people to become Sunday school teachers. It evolved into a combination of education and entertainment, with lectures and performances, eventually inspiring dozens of other similar clubs. The idea was to bring the culture of American cities to a broader audience. After over sixty years the Chautauqua clubs began to dwindle with the onset of the Great Depression. During its height, it shaped conversations on American social issues, culture, and politics and was even described by Teddy Roosevelt as “the most American thing in America.”
The Chautauqua club was part of a greater increase in focus on American education and was preceded by the Lyceum movement. Today the legacy of the Chautauqua club still exists in New York State. The Chautauqua Institution continues the same ideas of the late 19th century, with programs, lectures, symphony performances, theater, and opera.