Chautauqua Movement

Aimed at promoting popular education, this American movement began at Lake Chautauqua, New York, in 1874, when John H. Vincent,* first chairman of the International Sunday School Lesson Committee and later Methodist Episcopal bishop, began a brief summer course for Sunday school teachers. In 1878, as the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, it began to provide popular education through home reading in literature, science, etc. It holds an annual assembly at Chautauqua during July and August, marked by outstanding lectures and artistic presentations. Home study courses are accredited by New York University. Readers meet each week in local areas for discussion. Four years of work are available, but most complete no more than two. The movement has been so successful that the word “chautauqua” has come to mean any educational assembly on this pattern.