In Algona in 1918, a seven-day Chautauqua was held. Musical programs
preceded lectures both afternoons and evenings. A morning lecture was also
scheduled. Under direction of the junior worker, assisted by Reno the
Magician, children presented a circus. They made animal costumes, dressed
as clowns, did acrobatics and stunts. This was presented to everyone on closing day.
The Chautauqua program from Algona, Iowa, is typical of programs printed
both for advance advertising and use during the week of Chautauqua.The
week’s schedule and pictures and description of talent were standard.
Occasionally the “rules” for the week (ticket prices and conditions; words
from the manager), possibly advertising by local businesses, and the names
of underwriters for the season, were added. Bureaus often had a standard
program printed, and changed the place and dates .
Talent appearing in Algona that year included comedian, singer, and
interpretative reader Jess Pugh; Scottish singer Knight MacGregor; Private
Ernst Lovell of the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary forces and prisoner of
war; Dr. Charles E. Barker presenting the lecture “How to Live One Hundred Years”; among many others.
Programs such as this are filed throughout the Towns/Cities series of the
Redpath collection, along with contracts, correspondence, and some
||Chautauqua was an important vehicle for bringing culture, learning, and self-improvement
to communities throughout the country and Canadian provinces. In 1904, Keith Vawter,
Redpath Bureau agent operating out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, developed circuit or tent
Chautauqua, which reached even more towns and cities, basically in the Midwest. The
Redpath Chautauqua collection, donated by the Redpath office in Chicago, is comprised of
records and material of the Redpath Bureau: talent brochures (which have been digitized) music; pictures and postcards; material related to towns and cities in the United States and Canada; agent and employee records; business and financial records; periodicals, books, and articles; theses; essays; and miscellaneous items such as tickets and receipts.