Welcome to the website of the Alumni Association of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle. Our association takes CLSC graduates from Recognition Day and leads them into a post-graduate life of maintaining class spirit and individuality, life-long learning by offering several post-graduate degrees, and support of the greater CLSC by maintaining the strength of the Alumni Association and developing ideas that support and enhance the total CLSC and thus Chautauqua Institution.
This website is designed as an information and communication tool among the alumni to enable them to both contribute to and take from the Alumni Association as much as possible.
History: The CLSC is the oldest, continuous book club/home reading course in America. Introduced in 1878 by Bishop John Heyl Vincent, one of the two founders of Chautauqua Institution, it has graduated a class from the four-year reading course every year since 1882. The program is run by Chautauqua Institution: its selects the books, keeps the records, and distributes diplomas at the annual graduation(Recognition Day). In 1892, the collection of graduated CLSC classes joined together to form the Alumni Association and took as their first task the building of Alumni Hall. This headquarters of the association, opened in 1893, has served and continues to serve as a gathering and meeting location for the many classes of the CLSC and most of the summer-season offerings of the Alumni Association. It is also the repository of the historic class banners (50 of the most fragile banners rest in our state-of-the-art climate-controlled room in the Oliver Archives Center) and CLSC books from 1878 to the present.
Pioneer Hall is maintained by the CLSC Alumni Association and is located just across Cookman Avenue from Alumni Hall. Built by the class of 1882, it has been maintained by the classes of 1938, 1956, 1963, 1997 and now the class of 2009. It contains memorabilia of the Class of 1882 and is as close to a museum as you can find on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution. Tours are available on a weekly basis during the season.