• Chautauqua Institution and Movement

    Chautauqua Institution and Movement

    In the late 1800s to early 1900s, there was a great interest in America in learning and improvement, particularly in the areas of music, literature, philosophy, art, religion, and theater. The Chautauqua Institution supported that trend and became a national movement.

    Chautauqua Institution And Movement

    Fun Facts

    • The Chautauqua Institution opened in 1874 at Chautauqua in southwestern New York. It sits on 2,700 acres next to Chautauqua Lake.

      Chautauqua Institution

    • It was started by inventor Lewis Miller and Methodist Bishop John Heyl Vincent. Their goal was to provide a teaching camp for Sunday School teachers.

      John Heyl Vincent

    • The first classes were primarily about Bible studies and the geography of the Holy Land as it was during Christ’s life.

      Holy Land

    • Each year, the organization added new classes. Soon programs included philosophy, music, literature, and theater. People could attend ballets, symphonies, theater, and concerts, as well as daily lectures on religion, literature, philosophy, and politics.
    • The first attendees stayed in tents. Later cottages were built and then hotels and inns.
    • In time, the Chautauqua ideals spread to other communities to become a movement serving more than 10,000 communities and 450,000 people.
    • After World War II, the movement lost traction and most locations closed.

      World War II

    • The Chautauqua Institution still offers a 9-week summer program for children and adults. In addition to activities related to literature and arts, attendants can play golf and tennis, stroll on the beach, or go sailing on the lake.
    • The Chautauqua Prize is given annually to a writer producing an exceptional literary work. The prize is $7,500 and a week’s stay at the retreat.
    • The Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle is a book club that was started in 1878 by Vincent and continues today.


    1. Traction: movement, force
    2. Literary: about literature or books

    Questions and Answers

    Question: Are there still locations elsewhere in the country?

    Answer: At least 18 Chautauqua locations still exist from Maine to Tennessee to Illinois to Colorado.

    Flag of Colorado

    Learn More

    Visit the Chautauqua Institution’s website.


Cite This Page

You may cut-and-paste the below MLA and APA citation examples:

MLA Style Citation

Declan, Tobin. " Chautauqua Institution and Movement - American History For Kids ." American History for Kids, Jul 2024. Web. 12 Jul 2024. < https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/chautauqua-institution-and-movement/ >.

APA Style Citation

Tobin, Declan. (2024). Chautauqua Institution and Movement - American History For Kids. American History for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/chautauqua-institution-and-movement/

Cite this Page