The Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC) began in 1878 as one of the first correspondence courses in the United States. It allowed people who could not attend college to obtain the fundamentals of a college education. The program grew to a kind of traveling education and entertainment show called the Chautauqua Movement, and was very popular through the mid-1920s, until the rise of readily-available automobiles and wireless radios made it easier both for people to go to larger cities for education and for entertainment to be broadcast into their homes. The Chautauqua Institution still exists in Chautauqua, New York.
Frank X. Mullen has been performing as a Chautauquan since 1998. He has portrayed historic figures from Babe Ruth to Benedict Arnold and will be performing at the Main Library as Huey P. Long on April 10th, beginning at 2:30 PM. Humanities Chautauquans like Frank dress up as their “characters,” give monologues on their lives, and answer audience questions in character, creating a mix of education and entertainment that is like nothing else.