The opening week of the 1959 Season took for its lecture theme “Aging With a Future.” Planned by Chautauqua Institution in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare’s Special Staff on Aging, the program would include four 10:45 a.m. morning lectures, one evening Amphitheater lecture, a series of three separate workshops on gerontology and a concluding symposium that would preview the White House Conference on Aging.
Page 5 of the July 4, 1957, issue of The Chautauquan Daily features a cartoon titled “The Changing Scene.” There are two panels, the first of which depicts a scene from 1907 — a family of six is about to sit down to dinner: a maw, a paw, one daughter and three sons. But the heat is unbearable, and a general air of disarray characterizes the scene.
The Chautauquan Daily introduced the 1957 Season as it does all seasons: with familiar optimism and joy. W. Walter Braham, Chautauqua Institution president at the time, and Ralph McCallister, the vice president in charge of program and education at the Institution, outlined why they anticipated a “Summer Assembly Of ‘Extraordinary Success.’ ” There would be a full religious program and a gala event heralding the art association’s opening.
“Dr. Kershaw, Of TV Fame, Speaks Today,” a front-page headline announced. The article went on to explain that A.L. Kershaw was an Episcopal minister “who attained national prominence on the $64,000 Question TV program” and “will return to the Chautauqua platform today at 10:45 A.M. when he inaugurates the morning lecture series in the Amphitheater.” [CLICK “READ MORE” BELOW OR THE HEADLINE ABOVE TO WATCH THE VIDEO]
To read The Chautauquan Daily in July 1956, a little bit here, a little bit there, might unfold something like this: “Last month was the wettest June since 1951, according to City Weather Bureau reports. A total of 4.44 inches of rain fell.” [CLICK “READ MORE” BELOW OR THE HEADLINE ABOVE TO WATCH THE VIDEO]
In spite of a Syracuse University program that offered summer-school courses for college credit; a bevy of Amphitheater speakers who examined issues such as the United Nations and the Korean War; a new ballet program; and the sound of New Orleans Jazz, 1950s Chautauqua was, in writer Jeffrey Simpson’s words, a time “when complacency and conservatism were the order of the day, and Chautauqua, in its life on the Grounds, was in an especially conservative mode.” [CLICK “READ MORE” BELOW OR THE HEADLINE ABOVE TO WATCH THE VIDEO]
William F. Clinger served in the U.S. Navy from 1951 to 1955. He was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1962. He was elected in 1979 as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served until 1997. He was appointed to the Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees in 1997. But before all that, Clinger was a student at Johns Hopkins University and a reporter for The Chautauquan Daily. [CLICK “READ MORE” BELOW OR THE HEADLINE ABOVE TO WATCH THE VIDEO]
As a young reporter, Clinger investigated and publicized young people’s points of view. The Daily’s Aug. 3, 1950, issue contains an article with Clinger’s byline, titled “Increased Number Call Institution ‘Home’ During Summer Months.”
The article began, “Chautauqua’s population has seen a startling increase in the number of teen-age and college students who call Chautauqua ‘home’ during the summer.”
George Cooper introduces a video series in which he will discuss The Chautauquan Daily of the 1950s. [CLICK “READ MORE” BELOW OR THE HEADLINE ABOVE TO WATCH THE VIDEO]
As it had for many years, the name The Chautauquan Daily topped the July 3, 1950, edition of Chautauqua Institution’s summer paper, the first issue of the season.
Added in the 1945 season, a subtitle followed: News of a Famous American Center of Culture. The first headline read “Tradition Marks 77th Season Opening.”
The front page included photos of four men: Ralph McCallister, vice president, in charge of program and education at the Institution; Edgar Fisher, professor at Sweet Briar College who would deliver Week One’s morning lecture series; Hugh Thompson, a nationally known baritone of the Metropolitan Opera Association who would sing that night in the Amphitheater; and Samuel M. Hazlett, president of Chautauqua Institution.
At the opening of the 1918 Season, Arthur E. Bestor, Chautauqua Institution president, gave an address titled “Mobilizing the Mind of America,” a title that might be said to reflect a general attitude of the platform that summer. It was important to win the war, no doubt. But there were other things to be done and other lessons to be learned.
“This war is different from all the wars which have gone before,” Bestor said. “It is a war of nations, not of armies. It involves all the material resources, all the mechanical and scientific mobilization of entire populations.”
For United States citizens, it was something new.
On April 6, 1917, the United States Congress responded to President Woodrow Wilson’s request and officially declared the country in a state of war. Many people had expected it. Two and a half years earlier, Europe erupted in battle, but the U.S. kept itself neutral. German maritime transgressions, a sense of U.S. responsibility to freedom and democracy, and finally a sense of the country’s vulnerability, led Wilson to make his request. Chautauqua Institution followed.
The 1917 Season would be Chautauqua’s 44th Assembly. As the June 29 edition of The Chautauquan Daily said, it would be a “War-time Chautauqua.”
Ida Tarbell, a former Chautauquan Daily writer and editor, and later muckracker and activist against corporate monopoly, spoke two times that summer, once about “Doing Our Bit” and a second about “Fear of Efficiency.” The Daily reported that the “Famous writer believes that people of the country are doing well in preparation for the coming struggle.”