|All are from the Cooper Postcard Collection, Mississippi Department of Archives and History.|
Chautauqua, an adult educational effort to bring entertainment and culture to rural America, was founded by Methodists in Lake Chautauqua, NY, in the late 1800s. The movement, which was nondenominational, swept the nation. It reached the height of its popularity in the 1920s.
President Theodore Roosevelt has been quoted as saying Chautauqua "is the most American thing in America."
Other states may have had more famous locations, but Mississippi was definitely part of the Chautauqua movement -- witness this "daughter" Chautauqua hotel and beautiful lake in Crystal Springs.
Personally, as a kid growing up in the 1950s/60s, I had no clue what the Chautauqua movement was about. My first exposure to it was via the Elvis Presley's 1969 movie "The Trouble with Girls," in which he played the manager of a traveling Chautauqua show.
I've always been curious about this bit of Americana and finding these postcards finally prompted me to look it up.
For further reading about the Chautauqua movement, please see this link. For more information on one of Presley's more unusual movies, and whose a supporting cast included John Carradine, Dabney Coleman and Vincent Price, see this link.