“Swarthmore Chautauqua, 1927”

Carroll County Times article for 25 June 1995

By Jay A. Graybeal

During the early part of this century, the coming of summer meant that the Swarthmore Chautauqua would soon be coming to town. This unique movement grew out of a summer school founded at Chautauqua Lake, New York, in 1874. Westminster hosted its first Chautauqua Week in 1912 and became an annual event. Shortly before the 1927 season, The Times editor H. P. Gorsuch urged his readers to attend the event in his “FRONT PAGE EDITORIAL.”

On next Wednesday afternoon, July 6, the Swarthmore Chautauqua will open in Westminster and for one week will present good clean, inspiring, entertaining, educational programs, each afternoon and evening.What does this announcement mean to you?

If you have attended these annual events, since 1912, our first Chautauqua, or the ones of more recent years it will mean the anticipation of a week of pleasure, diversion and profit.

If you have not been a member of Westminster’s Chautauqua family the announcement may mean very little to you, and the purpose of this article is to suggest that you purchase a season ticket this year and enjoy a week of fine vocal and instrumental concerts, delightful entertainments, lectures upon vital subjects, by distinguished men, for the low price of 25 cents for each afternoon and evening program. Absolutely the greatest genuine bargain week of pleasure obtainable, and only made possible by the cooperative Chautauqua plan. The entire week of pleasure for less than you often spend in one day or evening for entertainment and refreshments.

That so many people in Westminster and the surrounding country, who enjoy and appreciate good music, good entertainment and instructive lectures fail to realize the wonderful opportunity Swarthmore Chautauqua offers is one of the unsolved mysteries of our community. Of course Chautauqua has always had a few “knockers” who can see nothing good in anything that provides entertainment, instruction, recreation and pleasure for the people of the community. Then we have always had a few “high brows” whose stupendous culture, ultra refined tastes, and profound profundity make it impossible for them to endure such musical artists as Elsie Baker and Grover Tilden Davis, such speakers as the distinguished Chinese lecturer, Dr. Tehyi Hsich, and such entertainments as “Little Minister” and “Applesauce”; a few of the splendid events of last year’s program. But the “knockers” and “high brows” are a very small minority in our community and they do not concern Dr. Pearson, that Prince of Men, who has made Swarthmore possible, or the local committee, but he and the committee do want to interest the hundreds of people who would enjoy and appreciate the fine features of Chautauqua, but have never attended.

If you are in this class and have not taken advantage of this unusual opportunity to have a part in this pleasure and joy Chautauqua has brought right to our home town for 17 years, buy a season ticket and you will learn that it is the best and also the lowest cost happiness investment you have ever made.

Junior Chautauqua is one of the most valuable features of Chautauqua and provides a real season of training and joy for the boys and girls. Certainly every parent should have their children between the ages of 6 and 14 take part in Junior Chautauqua. A season ticket costing $1, enrolls them as a member and gives five sessions of “Junior Town” government, stories, songs, games, stunts and good times galore, with the entertainment given by the members on the last afternoon.

In addition to all this the dollar ticket entitles the holder to attend all the afternoon and evening programs. Every child in Westminster should have a Junior ticket. Give your children a real vacation for $1.

It is impossible to give a detailed account of the entire weeks program, but will call attention to some of the events a season ticket will provide for you at 25 cents for each.

Everyone loves good band music, and the Boys’ Brass Band for the Jacksonville School for the Deaf produces better harmony and plays better music than many big professional bands. No one should fail to hear this marvelous band composed of boys who have never heard a sound. Another big event that is on the program is “Patsy,” a three-act comedy, a great New York success that ran 300 nights at the Booth Theatre. It will be presented by New York professionals. A man who paid $4 to see “Patsy” in New York went to see it at Chautauqua and said the production was just as good and with a season ticket only cost him 25 cents. The Aida Brass Quartet will be a most pleasing number of the week. It is composed of four attractive young ladies, who have won a Metropolitan reputation and are famous Radio artists.

The Christine Bingham Co. will be the musical attraction on the fourth day. Miss Bingham is a popular soprano and violinist, and will have with her the noted New York tenor, Mr. Lynskey.

The opening day musical program will be given by the Oliver Trio and each of the trio is an artist worth hearing.

On the last night the famous humorist, Jim Pugh, who is said to be the most original humorist and entertainer now on the American platform.

On the first evening Ross Crane of the Art institute of Chicago, will talk in his inimitable way on “The Greatest Hobby in the World.” The mystifying art of ventriloquism, when given by Frederick Trappe, a master of the art, not only delights the children, but the grown ups. He will be here the last afternoon. Wallace Bruce Amsbary will lecture on “Laughter and Life.” He is a noted Western educator and poet. A speaker we will all want to hear is Cora Wilson Stewart, a woman whom Senator Underwood said was the greatest speaker he had ever heard, and the most brilliant and eloquent woman on the American platform. She is the founder of the “Moonlight Schools” of Kentucky.

Two other great lectures will be by Henry Goddard Leach, editor of “The Forum” magazine, and Captain Dinsmore Upton who began life with the “gang” and now is a big brother to the street urchins and one of the big men of the country today. On the fourth day there will be an Art exhibit and an interesting talk by Robert Paterson of the American Federation of Art.

In closing let us urge you to secure season tickets for the adult members of your family and Junior tickets for the children 5 to 14 years.

Photo Caption: Chautauqua pin,with the slogan “Boost Our Town,” c. 1925. Historical Society of Carroll County collection.