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The institution — Chautauqua should be viewed primarily as an unconscious educational adaptation of the old Frankish idea of the folkmote or public open-air assembly The historic survival of this ancient institution is seen in the American mass meeting, popular convention, or New England town meeting. A religious outgrowth of the folkmote in the southern states was the camp meeting. The Chautauqua lake assembly, established in 1874 at Fairpoint, on the site of an earlier Methodist camp meeting, still retains many religious and some political characteristics of the older assemblies. Amid the multiform developments of modern Chautauqua, the observer should hold closely to the original and central idea of a summer meeting for popular educational and religious purposes. The institution is a camp meeting for culture and religion. Bible study and the biblical training of Sunday school teachers were originally and still are dominant educational features. When General Grant visited Chautauqua the chancellor publicly presented him with a Bible. Grant took it but characteristically said nothing. The control of the institution is in the hands of a legal corporation representing religious as well as secular interests. The work is not carried on for pecuniary profit to the stockholders, but primarily for philanthropic purposes and for Christian popular education.
The highest exponent of the institution is its present chancellor, Dr. John H. Vincent, one of the two original founders. He best represents the broad religious, and patriotic spirit of Chautauqua. He infused into it the idea that all sound learning is sacred, and that the secular life may be pervaded by a religious spirit. Accordingly he has added to biblical study and higher training for Sunday school teachers the greatest variety of allied subjects; for example, history, literature, languages (ancient and modern), art, science, music, elocution, physical culture; in short, education in general.
The following tabular view of the Chautauqua system of summer study and rational recreation at Chautauqua lake and of home reading and study was published in bulletin No. 29 of the University of the State of New York:
. College of Lib
. The Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle. A four years' course of
general reading. [Certificate granted. Does not count for degree.]
. Specialized Courses for contin- *:::::::
Pedagogy. Teachers' Reading Union.
. School of Theology. Correspond- (Hebrew and Old Testament.
ence instruction. [Degree Greek and New Testament.
B.D.] Biblical and doctrinal theology.
eral Arts. Cor-
and biology. study looking
toward the degrees of
. College of Liberal Arts. (Personal instruction by B.A. and B.S
[No degrees except well-known men in all
. Schools of so Study of the Bible as a great classic and inspired
. Classes in art, music, physical culture, elocution, kindergarten, cte.
extra fee is charged. The attendance is large.
. Lecture Courses on o: Progressive courses by one lecturer. No
. Public Lectures and Addresses by men and women prominent in various
departments of life.
Recreative and aesthetic elements, concerts, dramatic recitals, stereopticon entertainments, etc.
The passing visitor will, perhaps, form his opinion of Chautauqua from the popular and recreative sides, but he should know that, as in an American or English college, which sometimes seems to exist exclusively for athletics and student amusement, there is a good deal of serious academic work. The bulletin above mentioned, says: “For the many there are popular lectures, concerts, entertainments; for a somewhat less number there are philosophical, scientific and literary lectures in progressive courses; for the comparatively few are provided means for careful study under able and well-known instructors. The Chautauqua assembly should be judged, not by its recreative exercises, but by its educational classes. The former attract the crowds from which the latter are recruited, and the revenue from the many supports the higher departments. All these elements combine to form a community life which, as a whole, makes for intelligence and arouses interest in higher education.” The Chautauqua literary and scientific circle (called, for short, the “C. L. S. C.,”) was founded in 1878, and represents the first great popular differentiation from the original Chautauqua which was, and is still, a summer educational meeting on the Chautauqua lake shore. The C. L. S. C. is a well-directed system of home reading in literature and science carried on in connection with local reading circles, and practically aided by many good suggestions in a monthly magazine called The Chautauquan. The course of reading occupies four years, which are called respectively the Greek year, the Roman, the English and the American, from the relative prominence given to the history and literature of those four countries. An interesting feature of the course for 1899–1900 will be a so-called “Reading journey through France," published in The Chautauquan, and taking the reader on an imaginary journey through France, introducing him to the historical associations of the places visited, and thus forming an admirable preparation for a visit to the Paris exposition in 1900, or for a more extended study of France which the C. L. S. C. will take up two years hence. The textbooks on England and the United States, Greece and Rome, and other subjects, social and economic, are pre
pared by good writers representing American colleges and universities. With all of the four regular courses in history are combined corresponding literary and cultural studies in art and religion. Natural science also forms a feature of every course. In the American year, the special subjects are, besides religion, American history, literature, government, diplomacy, social institutions and physiology. The entire expense for the required books and for the illustrated magazine is now about five dollars per annum. In former years the text books were purchased at reduced rates from regular publishers, but in recent years Chautauqua has maintained its own press and employed its own writers, who understand the special needs of a Chautauqua constituency. All readers are now registered at the central office of the C. L. S. C., in Cleveland. The course of reading is carried on in leisure hours by Chautauquans at home, but once a week they come together in local circles in neighborhoods and villages all over the country and, under the best local guidance they can find devote an evening to the discussion of topics suggested by The Chautauquan and other private reading. The number of these local reading circles during the past twenty years has been about 10,000. The total enrollment of Chautauqua, readers has been about a quarter of a million. Of course, by far the larger number fail to complete the four years' course, but it is estimated that about one-half have done consecutive reading for two years. A saving remnant of perhaps 40,000 continue to the end and win a simple certificate testifying to the fact that they have completed the four years' course of Chautauqua reading. There is no degree awarded to the holders of these certificates, but the graduates of the C. L. S. C. are encouraged to form local educational clubs and to continue along lines of special historical and literary study. For example, this very year (1899) the writer, who is a member of the “educational council" of Chautauqua, was asked to recommend a course of reading in Russian history. There are literally scores of specialized
courses for continued reading and study in history, litera-