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The Story of Chautauqua   By: (1843-1930)

The Story of Chautauqua by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

First Page:

The Story of Chautauqua

[Illustration: Lewis Miller (1878)]

The Story of Chautauqua


Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, D.D.

Author of "The Story of the Bible," "Teacher Training Lessons for the Sunday School," etc.


With 50 Illustrations

G. P. Putnam's Sons New York and London The Knickerbocker Press 1921

Copyright, 1921 by Jesse L. Hurlbut

Printed in the United States of America

This book is dedicated to the honoured memory of the two Founders of Chautauqua

=Lewis Miller= and =John Heyl Vincent=



AN ancient writer I forget his name declared that in one of the city states of Greece there was the rule that when any citizen proposed a new law or the repeal of an old one, he should come to the popular assembly with a rope around his neck, and if his proposition failed of adoption, he was to be immediately hanged. It is said that amendments to the constitution of that state were rarely presented, and the people managed to live under a few time honored laws. It is possible that some such drastic treatment may yet be meted out to authors and perhaps to publishers as a last resort to check the flood of useless literature. To anticipate this impending constitutional amendment, it is incumbent upon every writer of a book to show that his work is needed by the world, and this I propose to do in these prefatory pages.

Is Chautauqua great enough, original enough, sufficiently beneficial to the world to have its history written? We will not accept the votes of the thousands who beside the lake, in the Hall of Philosophy, or under the roof of the amphitheater, have been inoculated with the Chautauqua spirit. We will seek for the testimony of sane, intelligent, and thoughtful people, and we will be guided in our conclusions by their opinions. Let us listen to the words of the wise and then determine whether a book about Chautauqua should be published. We have the utterances by word of mouth and the written statements of public men, governors, senators, presidents; of educators, professors, and college presidents; of preachers and ecclesiastics in many churches; of speakers upon many platforms; of authors whose works are read everywhere; and we present their testimonials as a sufficient warrant for the preparation and publication of The Story of Chautauqua .

The Hon. George W. Atkinson, Governor of West Virginia, visited Chautauqua in 1899, and in his Recognition Day address on "Modern Educational Requirements" spoke as follows:

It (Chautauqua) is the common people's College, and its courses of instruction are so admirably arranged that it somehow induces the toiling millions to voluntarily grapple with all subjects and with all knowledge.

My Chautauqua courses have taught me that what we need most is only so much knowledge as we can assimilate and organize into a basis for action; for if more be given it may become injurious.

Chautauqua is doing more to nourish the intellects of the masses than any other system of education extant; except the public schools of the common country.

Here is the testimony of ex Governor Adolph O. Eberhardt of Minnesota:

If I had the choice of being the founder of any great movement the world has ever known, I would choose the Chautauqua movement.

The Hon. William Jennings Bryan, from the point of view of a speaker upon many Chautauqua platforms, wrote:

The privilege and opportunity of addressing from one to seven or eight thousand of his fellow Americans in the Chautauqua frame of mind, in the mood which almost as clearly asserts itself under the tent or amphitheater as does reverence under the "dim, religious light" this privilege and this opportunity is one of the greatest that any patriotic American could ask... Continue reading book >>

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