Chautauqua was a movement that focused on moral education and self-improvement through programs on reform, religion, and culture. The movement was useful for advancing the cause of "womanhood" and provided a space for women to discuss important issues of the day. By the 1890s, women had succeeded in making it a space that promoted woman suffrage. The Ottawa Chautauqua was one of these significant spaces that supported discussions of women's rights. This presentation will examine how women used the Chautauqua platform to engage in political activism, particularly suffrage and temperance, and how this early movement laid the groundwork for contempoary issues of feminism and gender equality.
By Sarah Bell, PH.D. , University of Kansas
Development Officer at the Watkins Museum of History, Lawrence, KS