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The University of Iowa Libraries

Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

Barry Illinois Chautauqua Collection
MsC 150.16
Collection Dates: 1915-1923

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

Copyright: Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials.

Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.

Acquisition and Processing Information: Donated by Margaret Rutledge, whose ancestors were instrumental in bringing Chautauqua to Barry, Illinois.

Photographs: None









Scope and Contents

Materials in this collection provide a behind-the-scenes look at how Chautauqua became a reality for one community. Correspondence, newspaper clippings, pages from a family history, and talent brochures are present. Much of the correspondence relates to the years of B.B. Watson's involvement.

Biographical Note

Two generations of the Watson family, including Jon B. Watson, his brother, William Walcott Watson, and W.W.'s son, B.B. (Bret Bonnell) Watson, were instrumental in creating the independent Barry Chautauqua. The idea began as a method of counteracting the influence of carnivals on young people. A unique aspect was that a season ticket would admit the holder to twelve Chautauqua entertainments for one dollar. As the length of the annual Barry Chautauqua decreased from ten to six days, the crowds increased, thereby necessitating needs for a larger tent. The local committee contracted with various Chautauqua bureaus for talent, including lecturers, musicians, magicians, and other entertainment.

Related Materials

Records of the Redpath Lyceum Bureau, MsC 150  Please note the list of additional mini-collections of Chautauqua material at the end of the Redpath finding aid.

Box Contents List

Box 1





Newspaper clippings (transcriptions)

Talent brochures: Chicago Festival Quintet; Hazen Kelley, Ambulance Driver; Dr. Robert MacGowan; Vierra's Hawaiians; Hon. J. Frank Hanly; Mrs. Juliet V. Strauss; Orpheum Concert Company

Watson Family history (pages related to Barry, Illinois Chautauqua)