The Complete Chautauquan

2001 Tulsa Chautauqua Articles and Photos

By Jeffrey Scott Maxwell

History at the Mansion is Ponca City's Version of Chautauqua

06/17/01 I had the great opportunity to visit the Tulsa Council Chautauqua in the Ponca City, Oklahoma, site at the Marland Mansion. A great white tent set at the foot of the historic building held the platform for music and historic portrayals -- humanities chautauqua staples.  

It was Wednesday, June 13, when the scholar on stage was Altus, Oklahoma, Professor Michael Hughes who portrayed film director and radio pioneer Orson Welles.  Suzan King, serving as master of ceremonies in the persona of Georgia O'Keeffe described Hughes as a trooper when it was revealed that he went on stage ill. The audience probably wouldn't have known otherwise because of the above average presentation he gave that night. Hughes' skill as a storyteller is his strongest point -- and that served him well on Wednesday.  

Other scholars who appeared in Ponca City were Hank Fincken as Thomas Edison, Dorothy Mains Prince as Mary McLeod Bethune, and Chuck Chalberg as Branch Rickey.  The Complete Chautauquan was well greeted by the scholars (as seen in the picture) as well as the Ponca City Chautauqua Council members. At left are Suzan King, Hank Fincken, and Dorothy Mains Prince. It is hoped that the relationship between Ponca City and the Tulsa Council Chautauqua will continue for many years.

Tulsa Celebrates Ten Years of Original Programming

06/014/01 It began when members of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa attempted to bring the Great Plains Chautauqua Society to Tulsa in 1990. When cuts in funding thwarted Tulsa's efforts to host a Chautauqua, Marilyn Inhoff-Tucker, a humanities instructor at Tulsa Community College, had the vision to start Tulsa's own Chautauqua. Ten original annual programs later, Tulsa celebrated in June what has become an Oklahoma institution. Members of the chautauqua committee are committed to presenting to Tulsans -- and Oklahoma residents in other towns where the Tulsa Chautauqua has visited -- the best programs of any chautauqua available. In this they have created a loyal following.

Hundreds of Tulsans and members of surrounding communities and states were witnesses to some outstanding programs during the week of June 5-9, 2001. Collectively, this was possibly one of the most experienced groups of scholars Tulsa has seen. Hank Fincken and Chuck Chalberg were new to Tulsa, but they brought characters they have much experience with, and characters whom Tulsans knew in Thomas Edison and Branch Rickey. Veteran Chautauquans returning to Tulsa were Dorothy Mains Prince as Mary McLeod Bethune, Michael Hughes as Orson Welles, and Tulsa favorite Suzan King -- also a Tulsa Community College professor -- who portrayed Georgia O'Keeffe. These five scholars have individually developed and portrayed over 25 different characters.

This year, the Tulsa Council Chautauqua was also presented in the Oklahoma towns of Henrietta and Ponca City. Discussion has already begun on the topic selection for the 2003 Chautauqua as well as the 2007 Chautauqua to be held during the Oklahoma State Centennial celebration year. In just a couple of weeks, the auditions for the 2002 Tulsa Chautauqua will be finished. Also, 2004 marks the 100th Anniversary of the first circuit chautauqua to appear in Tulsa -- that should prove to be an interesting year for the Tulsa Chautauqua as well as The Complete Chautauquan (when I hope I will be able to use the research that I have put hundreds of hours into).  And the latest information I have is that a Winter Chautauqua is coming to Tulsa next winter.  The Chautauqua Movement is alive and well in the City of Tulsa.

For more information on the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa Chautauqua, visit The Complete Chautauquan: Tulsa Council Chautauqua, the Tulsa Chautauqua Website, the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, or the Oklahoma Humanities Council.

Chautauqua Brings History to Life for Students

06/04/01 Tulsa (Okla.) Chautauquans were joined by community members and parents who were new to Chautauqua when the Second Annual Student Chautauqua was held at the big tent on the campus of OSU-Tulsa. This year the committee decided to try a new approach by giving the young scholars a night of their own, which preceded the Tulsa Chautauqua on June 5-9. Students chosen from Tulsa area schools -- Carver Middle School, Collinsville High School, and Metro Christian Academy -- presented their characters on the Chautauqua platform on June 4. Students who will also present characters at the Tulsa Chautauqua throughout the week are as follows: June 6 - Sarah Childress Polk portrayed by Caroline Leithner; June 7 - Zelda Sayre-Fitzgerald portrayed by Katrina Harrell; June 8 - Catherine Beecher portrayed by Stephanie Ibemeri; and June 9 - Flannery O'Connor portrayed by Jana Schubert. Winners of the Student Chautauqua competition received cash prizes. Chautauqua is free to the public due to donations and support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Oklahoma Humanities Council, and the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa.

The Complete Chautauquan Collection On Display

05/01/01 The Tulsa (OK) City/County Library is host to a collection of Chautauqua memorabilia from my collection of Chautauqua books, periodicals, advertising and souvenirs now through June 7. There are three sections of the display on the downtown library's second floor in May -- One features the characters of this year's Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa Chautauqua to be held June 5-9 at the OSU-Tulsa Campus; the second features a display of the history of the Tulsa Chautauqua to commemorate its tenth year of original programs; third is my display on the history of the Chautauqua Movement and its various aspects.
Click on the photo to see a larger view.

The Road to Chautauqua Brings History to Tulsa

04/06/01 Some exciting people were seen this week on the road to Chautauqua. The five people at the left are the historic figures who will be featured on the platform of  The Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa Chautauqua tent on June 5-9.  This year the Tulsa Chautauqua will present its tenth original program with the theme "Navigators of the American Century."  From left to right are Thomas Edison presented by Hank Fincken; Mary McLeod Bethune presented by Dorothy Mains Prince (sitting); Branch Rickey presented by Charles Chalberg; Orson Welles presented by Michael Hughes; Georgia O'Keeffe presented by Suzan King (sitting). The Chautauqua tent will be located on the OSU-Tulsa campus near the Conference Center again this year.

"The Road to Chautauqua" fund raiser was the first event held in the historic Harweldon Mansion, the home of The Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, since its newly completed extensive remodeling project. Chautauqua supporters moved from one room to the next to visit with each of the scholars who had their own themed food and decor as well as a chance to win door prizes. At the end of the evening, drawings were held for prizes from each scholar's room and other donated items.
Visit: The Complete Chautauquan: Tulsa Counsel Chautauqua.

Tulsa Chautauqua 2001 - Navigating a Changing World: The American 20th Century
Presented in Tulsa (June5-9), Ponca City (June 11-15), and Henrietta (May 28-June 1), OK

Tulsa Chautauqua 2000 - The Evolution of the American West: Myth and Reality
Presented in Tulsa (June 6-10), Ponca City and Enid, Oklahoma

Tulsa Chautauqua 1999 - Voices of Ragtime: Visions of Our Future Past
Presented in Tulsa, Ponca City, and Enid, Oklahoma

Tulsa Chautauqua 1998 - Early America: The Struggle for Freedom

Tulsa Chautauqua 1997

Tulsa Chautauqua 1996

Tulsa Chautauqua 1995

Tulsa Chautauuqa 1994 - A Crisis of Conscience: Reflections on the Civil War

Tulsa Chautauqua 1993 - Americans Abroad
Presented in Tulsa (June 4-8) and Choctaw (June 11-15), Oklahoma

Tulsa Chautauqua 1992 - The Progressive Era: 1890-1920 
Presented in Tulsa (June 5-9) and Ponca City (June 12-16), Oklahoma

NEW: Learn about the original Tulsa Chautauqua by visiting
The Complete Chautauquan: The Tulsa Chautauqua Assembly.

NEW: Learn more about Chautauqua activities in Oklahoma
as well as Oklahoma and Indian Territories prior to statehood in
The Complete Chautauquan: Chautauqua in Oklahoma.


Page Created 06/23/01
Copyright © 2001
By Jeffrey Scott Maxwell
Last Updated 06/23/01