The Chautauqua Institution was started in 1874 by the Normal Department of the Methodist Episcopal Church as a two-week program to instruct Sunday school teachers of all Protestant denominations. The program proved to be a popular combination of worship, education, and recreation and each year brought thousands of visitors to the beautiful shores of Chautauqua Lake. As Chautauqua became a model of for lifelong learning and the good use of leisure time, hundreds of similar sites were built across the continent. The Chautauqua program included lectures, classes, symphony concerts, opera, theater, art, and recreations such as golf, tennis, swimming, and sailing. In time, the movement embraced all denominations and faiths. Today Chautauqua offers a vacation filled with many opportunities in a setting that could be from a century ago.
Author Bio: Jonathan David Schmitz, institution archivist and historian, has a broad perspective on the influences that produced Chautauqua and how it has evolved. Coauthor William Flanders, who has worked most with the postcard collection, has had a lifelong interest in local history and especially that of Chautauqua Institution.
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