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William A. Smith Collection

Identifier: 01EIU-039

Scope and Contents

This collection contains postcards, books, pamphlets and other ephemera pertaining to chautauqua camps as well as postcards from across Illinois that feature schools and recreational facilities.  While there are chautauqua materials from all over the United States, the majority of the collection focuses on Illinois.  The inclusive years are 1887-1950s but the majority of materials fall between 1900-1925.


  • Created: 1887-1959; U.S. and international postcards approx. 1960-1990
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1900-1925


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on use of the collection.

Biographical or Historical Information

Chautauquas were retreat camps, primarily for adults.  The Chautauqua movement can be traced to 1874 at Lake Chautauqua, New York when a group of Protestant ministers began a training camp for Sunday school teachers.  Chautauquas grew in popularity and spread throughout the country.  The actual format of chautauqua programming varied within each camp.  Some were more religious based, while others focused more on entertainment.  The chautauqua movement peaked in the 1920's but declined as radio and other new technologies created new forms of entertainment and recreation for Americans.   Source: Russell L. Johnson, ""Dancing Mothers" The Chautauqua Movement in Twentieth-Century American Popular Culture," American Studies International 39:2 (2001).

Note written by William Smith was a professor of Recreation Administration at Eastern Illinois University.


8.00 boxes

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

This collection is arranged into seven series: chautauqua postcards, non-chautauqua postcards, photographs, chautauqua program pamphlets, chautauqua research and ephemera, chautauqua press publications, and Illinois postcards.

Physical Access Requirements

Photos should remain in protective plastic sleeves.

Source of Acquisition

William Smith

Method of Acquisition


Laura Mondt
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

600 Lincoln Ave
Booth Library
Charleston IL 61920 US
217-581-7534 (Fax)