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21st Annual Chautauqua

Chautauqua 2019
The 1960’s in Delaware:  A Decade of Turmoil and Transformation
21st Annual - Sept. 19-21, 2019 - Lewes, Del.

What is a Chautauqua?

Chautauqua takes its name from a series of adult education programs that were first held at a campsite on the shores of Lake Chautauqua in upstate New York during the late 19th century. Chautauquas spread throughout America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries bringing speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day to a wide cross-section of the nation’s rural and small-town population. Circuit Chautauquas (also known as Tent Chautauquas) were an itinerant manifestation of the movement. Programs would be presented in tents pitched in a field near town. After several days, the Chautauqua would fold its tents and move on to the next community. The popularity of Chautauquas peaked in the mid-1920s, after which radio, movies and automobiles brought about the gradual disappearance of the movement by the 1940s.
Reborn in the 1970s as a vehicle for humanities education, modern Chautauquas are organized around a core program in which actor-historians take on the persona of celebrated historical figures, speaking and interacting with audiences. Modern Chautauquas have been presented annually in Delaware since 1999 featuring a wide variety of historical figures including Mark Twain; Woodrow Wilson; Teddy Roosevelt; Abigail Adams; Abraham Lincoln; Amelia Earhart; Dolley Madison; Eleanor Roosevelt; Edgar Allan Poe; the Lone Ranger; John Philip Sousa; and Delaware’s own Pvt. James Elbert, Maj. Allen McLane, F.O.C. Darley and Clifford Brown.
Delaware’s 2019 Chautauqua is being presented as a partnership between the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Zwaanendael Museum, the Lewes Historical Society and the Lewes Chamber of Commerce. This program is partially funded by a grant from Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Featured Speakers

Bob Gleason Photograph

Bob Gleason was trained in theater by performing in 60+ productions at West Chester University. A member of the Army’s Special Services Chorus, he shared his four-octave vocal talents as a goodwill ambassador touring the US and Germany.

Mr. Gleason has been especially popular at schools, museums, historic sites and libraries throughout the United States including the White House Visitor’s Center, Ford’s Theatre, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, Mount Rushmore, the Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, Constitution Hall, the National Constitution Center, Independence Hall, Bartram’s Garden, Betsy Ross’ House, the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge and many more. In-depth historical research and audience interactivity have become hallmarks of Mr. Gleason’s historical portrayals.

Characters portrayed by Bob Gleason: John Bartram, Alexander Graham Bell, Christopher Columbus, Thomas Edison, Galileo Galilei, William Howe, Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln, Samuel Morse, Thomas Paine, Charles Willson Peale, William Penn, Edgar Allan Poe, David Rittenhouse, Benjamin Rush, Gilbert Stuart, Baron von Steuben, Mark Twain, John Wanamaker, James Wilson, John Witherspoon, Frank Lloyd Wright – and many, many more.
Henley Photograph

Keith Henley’s background is one of great diversity. He graduated from South Carolina State College with a major in chemistry and minor in mathematics and biology. Later, he went on to study theatre education at Camden County College in Blackwood, N.J. He currently owns and operates J.O.Y. Productions, Queenie’s Homemade Sweets and Catering, and Alpha Designs. In addition, he is the artistic director and choreographer for Folkloric Heritage Culture Arts Company Inc. of Cherry Hill, N.J.

Keith began his historical interpretation career with Historic Philadelphia Inc. and has since worked for American Historical Theatre and History First Hand, and has performed for the Smithsonian Associates Teaching American History program, Historic Germantown, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia as well as local libraries.

Characters portrayed by Keith Henley: Henry Box Brown, George Washington Carver, Langston Hughes, Matthew Henson, Martin Luther King, Jr.


11:45 a.m.

Preserving African-American History in Delaware: Highlighting Vibrant Communities Through Research and the Green Book
Carlton Hall, historian for the Delaware State Historic Preservation Office

A presentation on the Green Book, a travel and vacation guidebook for people of color during the segregation era.

1:00 p.m.

Vietnam Mailbag
Nancy E. Lynch, journalist & Rick Lovekin, Vietnam veteran

Lynch, author of the award-winning book, Vietnam Mailbag, Voices From the War: 1968-1972, and Lovekin share their experiences of the war from letters and correspondences from that period.

2:15 p.m.

Deadly Storms of the Delmarva Coast
Michael Morgan, author and historian

Morgan will discuss the storms that have affected the coastline along Delmarva, among them, the Ash Wednesday nor’easter of 1962.

3:30 p.m.

Dover International Speedway: 50th Anniversary of Racing at the Monster Mile
Mike Lewis, manager of communications, Dover International Speedway

6:00 p.m.

Martin Luther King, A Man of Conscience
Keith Henley of the American Historical Theatre

Actor-historian to portray the noted civil rights leader.

7:15 p.m.

Lyndon B. Johnson
Bob Gleason, American Historical Theatre

Actor-historian to portray America’s 36th president.

1:00 p.m.

Fashioning America’s Space Suit – The Story of the Local Company That Outfits Our Astronauts
Bill Ayrey, retired quality manager and company historian, ILC, Dover

2:15 p.m.

Menhaden Industry in Lewes
Robert Kennedy, Lewes resident and director of the town’s Board of Public Works

3:30 p.m.

Governor Carvel of Delaware
Dick Carter, special projects director for the Delaware Senate and chairman of the Delaware Heritage Commission

6:00 p.m.

Smooth Sound Dance Band

A component of the Milford Community Band playing songs of the 1960s

7:30 p.m.

Good Ol’ Freda

Documentary film about The Beatles’ secretary.

1:00 p.m.

We Came in Peace: 50 Years on the Moon
Eric Mease, Delaware Humanities speaker

2:15 p.m.

Radio Theater
Possum Point Players Radio Theater

3:30 p.m.

The Enduring Influence of 1960s Fashion
Nancy Alexander, executive director, Rehoboth Beach Historical Society

5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

60’s Revival Band

Music and dance. Dress in your best 1960s attire.

Contact Us

Zwaanendael Museum
Address: 102 Kings Highway, Lewes, DE 19958
Phone: (302) 645-1148
Operating Hours: April 1-October 31
Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Sunday, 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m
Email: Bridget Warner – Site Supervisor