The Complete Chautauquan

Scholars in Humanities Council Chautauquas

By Jeffrey Scott Maxwell

Chautauqua Scholars Bring History to Life

When a humanities scholar takes it upon himself or herself to portray a figure or character from history, he or she will usually prepare one, two or even more years for the part.  To portray a person from history requires voluminous amounts of research and preparation.  Scholars who continue to portray numerous characters over time continue to read and re-read information about each of the characters.  People who are not necessarily scholars can dress up in a costume and pretend to be someone else, often with great skill; they are known as actors.  But the scholarship comes with becoming intimately familiar with the person they portray through indepth research, and that is frequently revealed in scholars' responses to audience questions.  When a person is able to answer skillfully in character the questions of chautauqua audience members, then he or she can be considered a chautauqua scholar.

Chautauqua Scholars on the Web

Below is a list of people who I have found mostly from the Internet, but also from personal contacts. The appearance of an individual on this page is not necessarily an endorsement, because I have only seen for myself about fifty or so characters performed in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas by various scholars who have appeared here from all over the country.  I have had the good fortune to see some great scholars and also some below average ones and every level in between.  I usually keep my opinions about who the below average ones are, but ask me about the great ones, and I will rattle off a quick dozen for you sometime, and I also have some favorites who are not necessarily on the "great scholar" list, but would definitely appear on the "great people" list.  

A Note to Scholars and Others

If you are a chautauqua scholar and you do not appear on this list and wish to do so, please e-mail me.  Please let me know if there are any changes that need to be made, websites that I have missed that should be linked to, or other housekeeping duties that I should perform.  I am interested in collecting and archiving all printed materials -- fliers, ads, brochures, companion readers, news clippings, and press packets -- from all humanities council chautauquas and circuits for each year of operation since 1976.  Please write to me at Alphabet26@aol.com with what you can offer to send me, and I will send you my mailing address.  I will reimburse you for actual postage fees for items I request.  Please do not send any materials or event souviners that must be purchased before checking with me to see if I need them or want to purchase any specific items. Thank you for helping to make this Website truely The Complete Chautauquan.  Please keep in mind that any articles or reviews submitted to The Complete Chautauquan become the property of Jeffrey Scott Maxwell, and I retain the rights to all local content -- Copyright © 2000 by Jeffrey Scott Maxwell.

"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation." ~ Oscar Wilde

"To others we are not ourselves but a performer in their lives cast for a part we do not even know that we are playing." ~ Princess Elizabeth Bibesco

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and each man plays more than one role." ~ William Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." ~ Edith Wharton, 1862-1937

Here is the list of scholars:

Chautauqua Scholars
The Complete Chautauquan

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  • Albers, Everett [North Dakota]
Contributions to Modern Humanities Chautauqua:
"The Executive Director of the North Dakota Humanities Council since it began in 1973, Mr. Albers is the founding president and continuing director of the Great Plains Chautauqua Society, Inc. He has edited and co-edited humanities texts for the Council and Society as well as for the Grass Roots Press, including The Legacy of North Dakota's Country Schools, Behold Our New Century: Early 20th Century Visions of America, and the series The Way It Was: The North Dakota Frontier Experience. In 1998, Albers received the highest award for public service in history from the State Historical Society of North Dakota. He holds an M.A. in English from Colorado State University." ~ From the NEH page of Directors of the State Humanities Councils.

Contact Information:
4933 Columbus Avenue
Bellingham, Wa 98226
Phone: (360) 676-9334
E-mail: Cubic@nas.com

Additional Information:
"I've had enormous amounts of fun portraying Woody Guthrie over the last two years, including a trip to Okemah, Woody's home town, last summer to perform at the Guthrie Free Folk Festival." (06/25/01)

"I have developed another program on the Great Depression, called 'Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People'. This is a series of songs and stories about the Depression, using a lot of Woody's songs." ~ From Carl Albert in e-mails to The Complete Chautauquan. (6/27/01)

Additional Information:
"Félix D. Almaráz, Jr., Professor of History at the University of Texas at San Antonio and former president of the Texas Catholic Historical Society and current editorial board member of the JTCHC, has been appointed by Texas Governor Ann Richards to the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board, making him the only professional historian on the board. Almaráz, in addition, has published articles in the JTCHC, the New Mexico Historical Review, and the Great Plains Quarterly. He served in 1992 on the Executive Council of the Texas State Historical Association, and in March 1993 was elected second vice-president of the Texas State Historical Association. According to Dr. Almaráz, his most cherished honor, however, is being the father of a baby girl, whom he and his wife Dolores named Felisia Dolores (born in May 1991). Dr. Almaráz also writes a bi-weekly column on borderlands history for the San Antonio Express-News." ~ From the Catholic Historical Society.

Additional Information:
Click here for additional information provided to The Complete Chautauquan by Judy Gail. (06/25/01)

  • Beardsley, Edward H. [South Carolina]
    • Benjamin Franklin {SCUniv1995}
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt
    • Theodore Roosevelt
In the News:
"Edward H. Beardsley (History) completes his 30th year at USC having arrived in 1966 with a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Wisconsin. The author of three books , Dr. Beardsley teaches the history of American science and medicine and the United States history survey. For students in the latter course, he has introduced four one-man shows where he performs as Ben Franklin, Teddy Roosevelt and FDR." ~ Michael J. Mungo Teaching Awards in the University of South Carolina General Faculty Meeting Minutes: April 23, 1996.

In the News:
"Ron Whittington as William "Judy" Johnson and Chuck Chalberg as Branch Rickey. Judy Johnson, Negro League star third baseman, .349 career hitter, and pennant-winning manager, discusses the complex legacy of integration in professional baseball with Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager who signed Jackie Robinson in 1947." ~ From Who You Can Meet in Philadelphia on the Living Legacy Chautauqua Website. (Added 06/25/01)

In the News:
"Elena Dodd, will appear as Eleanor Roosevelt July 14, 2001, at Perry Square in Erie, PA, as part of the 7th Annual Amerimasala Festival. Her appearance is sponsored by Living Legacy Chautauqua at the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in Philadelphia, PA. For further information, contact Sharon Holt." ~ From Who You Can Meet in Erie and Who You Can Meet in Reading on the Living Legacy Chautauqua Website.

"Elana Dodd, will present Eleanor Roosevelt. Mrs. Roosevelt was instrumental in shaping the US approach to internationalism and human rights after WWII. She understood that her freedom grew through enlarging the freedoms and rights of others. Mrs. Roosevelt also keenly understood the importance of individual citizens in the work of defeating inequality and oppression, noting often that unless people give human rights meaning in their own neighborhoods, factories, schools, farms, and offices, they "shall look in vain for progress in the larger world." (ER, 1958) To be held in March, sponsored by the YWCA. Contact Sharon Holt." ~ From Who You Can Meet in Chester on the Living Legacy Chautauqua Website. (Added 06/25/01)

Additional Information:
Click here for additional information provided to The Complete Chautauquan by Judy Gail. (06/25/01)

Contact Information:
Sally Ann Drucker
Email: druckes@sunynassau.edu

Additional Information:
Wyatt Earp is a descendant of the historic Wyatt Earp.

Contact Information:
Nancy Engel
720 Tidewater Circle 6C
Macon, Georgia 31211
Phone: (478) 746-8961
Email: nancyengel@juno.com
      or: nancyengel@mindspring.com
Web Site: http://nancyengel.home.mindspring.com

Additional Information:
Michael Fuller does a first person program for the Missouri Humanities Council. The program is entitled "Civil War Heroes and Heroines of Missouri." He portrays James Erwin Yeatman, a prominent citizen of St. Louis. Prof. Fuller's outfit, including glasses, is based upon a photograph of his 1860 era ancestor. He discusses the divided nature of sentiment in Missouri concerning the Civil War and the brave actions of both Confederate and Union sympathizers among the populace. Slides can be a part of the story, but usually he does the program without slides. He often points out individuals in the audience who resemble the actual historic individuals in his narrative. Sometimes, he brings an 1860 era concertina (squeezebox) to pass the time with period songs until the program begins. He can play, but he doesn't sing (very well)! He always tells stories of both sides in the conflict - even to groups who want only a one sided story.
Dr. Michael Fuller is a Professor of Anthropology at St. Louis Community College with 19 years of teaching experience. He has participated as a Missouri Humanities Council scholar for almost a decade. He received the Governor's Award for Educational Excellence in 1999 and has received several teaching awards from St. Louis Community College.

Additional Information:
"I, Judy Gail, and my colleague Carrie Sue Ayvar, are on the Speakers Bureau of the Florida Humanities Council. We present live impersonations of Mary Barr Munroe, outspoken community activist who founded the Southern Tropical Audubon Society in her effort to save the egrets from poachers, Royal Palm Park which later became Everglades National Park, and who was the founder and first librarian of the Coconut Grove Library which grew out of her controversial Pine Needles Club in which she taught children of color how to read; Rosie Weiss known as "Mother of Miami Beach," who founded virtually every social service department on the Beach while fighting prejudice in a time where signs on the Beach read, "No Jews, No coloreds, No dogs;" and Ivy Stranahan, known as "Little White Mother" to the Seminoles who, to this day, revere her for her work in getting them their land in Dania, sending several of their children off to school -- these children later became the leaders of the tribe who brought the Seminoles to their point of modernization and wealth today, was President of the Florida Federation of Women's Club's Suffrage Movement, and more. Another talented storyteller and actress, Rosa M. Douglass, portrays Marian Newhall Horwitz O'Brien who built up the town of Moorehaven, established Clewiston, was shot at for insisting that African American farm workers must live in the town in which they work and not have to go home at night to another town because of their color, and was elected mayor of Moorehaven before women had the right to vote.

"Mary Barr Munroe, Rosie Weiss, and Ivy Stranahan are presented in solo performances. In a program called Pioneer Women of Florida, Mary Barr Munroe, Rosie Weiss, and Marian Newhall Horwitz O'Brien are presented together.

"In a duet called Making A Difference: The Pioneering Spirit in Florida, Ivy Stranahan and Rosie Weiss are presented together as pioneers instrumental in the development of two of the most bustling cities in southern Florida: Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale. In this duet, in addition to each woman presenting the story of her life and accomplishments, the two engage in a dialogue that reveals the accomplishments of other historical Florida pioneers as well as fascinating tales of barefoot mailmen, colorful cowboys, and the effect that the railroads had on Florida's growth.

"The programs include sing-a-long old-time tunes from the eras of the women, and costumes and a set evoking their historical times.

"Carrie Sue Ayvar and I [Judy Gail] have received a Florida State Touring Grant for our dual program. We have also received a Broward Student Enrichment Grant for the same. We have also presented our programs for some local Chautauqua chapters." ~ From Judy Gail in e-mail to The Complete Chautauquan. (06/25/01)

Publications Related to Chautauqua:
  • Cast of One: One-Person Shows from the Chautauqua Platform to the Broadway Stage.  Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1989.
  • "A TPQ Interview: John S. Gentile Talks with Lou Burton," Text and Performance Quarterly, 11 (1991): 141-152.
  • "The Wyoming Chautauqua's Contesting the Constitution," Literature and Performance, 8 (1988): 57-65.

Contributions to Modern Humanities Chautauqua:
"Mr. Jenkinson began to experiment with first-person historical characterizations in 1978. He directed the Great Plains Chautauqua from 1981-88, while developing humanities interpretations of Meriwether Lewis, Hamlin Garland, and Thomas Jefferson. Since 1988 he has developed portrayals of John Calvin, John Wesley Powell, Jonathan Swift, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The award-winning Great Plains Chautauqua has served as the model for Chautauqua programs in West Virginia, Missouri, Mississippi, Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and California. Mr.Jenkinson is the nation's leading authority on Chautauqua programming in the humanities." ~ From Jenkinson's Biography on his Thomas Jefferson Website.

Testimony of Clay S. Jenkinson, Visiting Scholar at the University at Nevada-Reno, before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies on February 16, 1996

In The News:
July 29-Agust 3, 2001 -- Lewisville, Ohio: Lewis & Clark Tour: Bitterroot Mountains.  Clay Jenkinson appears as Meriweather Lewis.

July 20-August 3, 2002 -- Lewis & Clark Tour: Great Explorers of the West. Clay Jenkinson appears as Meriweather Lewis and John Wesley Powell.

August 10-16, 2002 -- Lewis & Clark Tour: Art of the Journal - Bitterroot Mountains. Clay Jenkinson appears as Meriweather Lewis.  

September 15-20, 2002 -- Lewis & Clark Tour: Great Falls Portage and the Marias.  Clay Jenkinson appears as Meriweather Lewis.

Contact Information:
Marlene Katz
12714 Cedar
Leawood, KS  66209
Phone: 913-681-0840
Fax: 913-681-1876
Email: storytime@kc.rr.com

In the News:
Read A Conversation with Helen Lewis by Kristin M. Johnson from the Summer 1999 issue of The Scene, a quarterly publication of Humanities Iowa.

In Memory of Sophia Mastrandreas-Dadas:

"On October16, 1997 WOMEN IN HISTORY suffered the death of its founder, Sophia Mastrandreas Dadas. Her dedication and commitment to the group and the energy she brought to the troupe and her performances were boundless. With the founding of WOMEN IN HISTORY, Sophia sought to bring the past to life. Her mission was to share lessons from the American women whose determination and achievements are often overlooked. Sophia's remarkable achievements are not unnoticed. Her broad vision remains alive in the continuing work of the group. Her zeal and her great compassion will not be forgotten." ~ From In memory of: Sophia Mastrandreas-Dadas on the Women in History website.

In the News:
"Charles Everett Pace, a founding member of The National Chautauqua Tour, veteran member of the Great Plains Chautauqua, as well as, solo public humanities scholar/artist, has presented Public Humanities programs to a national and international audience for over twenty years.

"Mr. Pace presents one-man, "chautauqua" style, historical characterizations of three national figures: (1) Frederick Douglass, nineteenth century abolitionist, orator, editor and statesman; (2) W. E. B. Du Bois, 19th and 20th century scholar, artist, editor and a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and, (3) 20th century human-rights activist, Malcolm X.

"He will be appearing on July 13, 2001 at the Art Annex in Erie, PA, as part of the 7th Annual Amerimasala Festival. His appearance is sponsored by Living Legacy Chautauqua. For information, please email Sharon Holt." ~ From Who You Can Meet in Erie and Who You Can Meet in Reading on the Living Legacy Chautauqua Website. (Added 06/25/01)

Contact Information:
Contact: Philip Rose
Rosalee Productions
Phone: 212 877-5538
Fax: 212 877-5641

Additional Information:
"Elizabeth Perry portrays Stanton in a one person play:
'Sun Flower' - The Life and Loves of Elizabeth Cady Stanton" ~ From Elizabeth Perry in e-mail to The Complete Chautauquan. (06/25/01)

Contact Information:
Miriam Reed, Ph.D.
Miriam Reed Productions
P.O. Box 2781
Beverly Hills, CA 90213
Phone/Fax:  917-710-2354
Email:  MiriamReed@usa.net
Website:  http://www.CelebrateWomen.org

2001 Speaking Dates for Donna Ross as Jessie Benton Fremont
  • July 15 - Battle of Lexington State Historic Site at 4:00 PM
  • September 18 - Joplin Museum Complex in Schifferdecker Park at 7:00 PM
  • September 22 - United Methodist Women's League, 3301 W. Broadway, Columbia, Missouri at 11:00 AM

Additional Information:
Jim Sayre as President Abraham LinclonLeft: Jim Sayre as President Abraham Lincoln - photo taken in Springfield, Illinois. Click on image for a larger view.

"I began my presentation of The Great Empacipator in the year 1983, by entering a look-alike contest. It has been an enjoyable experience for me for these many years. We have had the opportunity to travel from Florida to California speaking for Schools, churches, civil war re-enactments, conventions, and many other events." ~ From Jim Sayre in e-mail to The Complete Chautauquan. (06/26/01)

Contact Information:
Leah Schwartz, Ph.D.
Professor of English
School of Liberal Arts and Professional Programs
Maryville University
13550 Conway Road
St. Louis, MO 63141-7299
Office:  ABAC 3263
Phone:  314-529-9409
Voicemail:  314-529-9201 + 409#
Fax:  314-529-9965 (SLAPP office)
Email:  schwartz@maryville.edu
Website:  http://aralweb.itr.maryville.edu/leah

Contact Information:
Paul S. Vickery, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, History
Oral Roberts University
Phone: (918) 495-6078
Phone: (918) 446-0818
E-mail: Pvickery@oru.edu

In the News:
"Dr. Paul Vickery (Ph.D (history), Oklahoma State University) will portray Bartholome de las Casas, a 16th-century Spanish monk who at first condoned and then condemned Spanish oppression of New World natives. Every festival site has a large and diverse local Hispanic population to serve. The presence of de las Casas will establish directly the historical importance of the Spanish in the New World, an historical fact that would challenge the casual sense of many Americans that the continent was settled only by people of north European descent. De las Casas is also a case of conversion – of someone willing to learn to respect the humanity of other people (Native Americans in his case) and to change his own behavior and challenge the behavior of authorities around him." ~ From Who You Can Meet in Reading on the Living Legacy Chautauqua Website. (Added 06/26/01)

Contact Information:
Melissa Waddy-Thibodeaux
10835 Villa Lea Lane, Houston, TX 77071
Phone: 1-877-866-SHOW (7469)
Pager: 713-274-6199

Additional Related Projects:

  • Harriett Tubman in 'Grandma Moses' in The Underground
  • Grandma Moses - 'A Christmas Story' - stories from the Underground Railroad.
  • Sojourner Truth - 'Aren't I A Woman' - famous speeches by Great African-American Woman
  • Stagecoach Mary - Women of the West Series - Antiques and western artifacts are displayed during character re-enactment.
  • "Peanutology" - The stories of George Washington Carver and all his invenions and discovery of the peanut. (Historical and Agricultural education)
  • Lorraine Hansberry in some of her historical speeches on her literary works during the 1960's.

Additional Information:

All the above have been portrayed within the last 15 years and mostly all are accommodated with music and slides/videos. These and other originally written works from our Traveling Children's Storybook Theater founded in 1980. The characters listed are performed by M. Waddy-Thibodeaux and other ethnic nationalities perform characters such as Custer's Last Stand and Geronimo, Cinco de Mayo Dance Festival Workshops, etc.

I am currently touring "Characters in History" Program which brings actual people from the past, back to today, to speak about the accomplishments made in their times and how they actually lived. The stories are entertaining, funny and the "truth" and all of this is cultivated into a strong LITERACY issue whereas, for example, Harriet Tubman alias "Grandma Moses" makes everyone, boys and girls and men and women, promise her that they will increase their reading and she encouraged members of the underground railroad to continue on their journey and to never "give up"!!!! Audience participation is also part of the workshop presentation and will fit all ages.

In the News:
"Ron Whittington as William "Judy" Johnson and Chuck Chalberg as Branch Rickey. Judy Johnson, Negro League star third baseman, .349 career hitter, and pennant-winning manager, discusses the complex legacy of integration in professional baseball with Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager who signed Jackie Robinson in 1947." ~ From Who You Can Meet in Philadelphia on the Living Legacy Chautauqua Website. (Added 06/25/01)


Page Created 06/24/00
Copyright 2000-2001
By Jeffrey Scott Maxwell
Last Updated 07/01/01