2024 Events

Click on the button below to see the full calendar of 2024 Alumni Association Events.  Click on an event to see the details of that event. 






Chautauqua's Heart


Chautauqua's Heart Reading Challenge 2024

12/22/2023 10:16 pm

Chautauqua’s 150th Anniversary Special 2024

CLSC Alumni Reading Challenge


Chautauqua’s Heart

Open to all Chautauquans!


To celebrate this momentous year, we've curated a selection of books with ties to Chautauqua. If you read three books from this list, one of which is mandatory, you'll earn the special 150th commemorative pin. Graduates can proudly wear this pin on their stoles. The challenge kicks off on January 1, 2024, and concludes on December 31, 2024.


Our goal: To familiarize Chautauquans with our history across diverse eras and perspectives, and to commemorate our 150th anniversary.


Sign Up For this Challenge: Upon completion of the challenge, you can collect your pin by either visiting Alumni Hall or by signing up through our online form and communicating with us here.


You will find the complete list of books below.  If you are interested in the locations and availability of these titles, including e-books, please click the tab above labeled "Chautauqua's Heart Reading Challenge".  




Chautauqua’s Heart: A History of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle

by Mary Lee Talbot 2017 or 2023.



In addition, read any two of the following historical books:

*denotes a CLSC selection that can be used towards graduation or earning your next guild level


History of Chautauqua:

The Chautauqua Movement by John H. Vincent 1886

The Story of Chautauqua by Jesse L. Hurlbut 1921

*Chautauqua: An American Place by Rebecca Richmond 1943

The Chautauqua Movement: An Episode in the Continuing American Revolution by Joseph E. Gould  1961

Three Taps of the Gavel by Alfreda L. Irwin   1987

*Chautauqua: A Center for Education, Religion, and the Arts in America by Theodore Morrison   1974

*Chautauqua: An American Utopia by Jeffrey Simpson   1999

Chautauqua: Its Architecture and People by Pauline Fancher  1978

Invitation to Chautauqua by Rebecca Richmond 1953

I’ve Seen Chautauqua by Susan Bond 1946


Biography and Memoir:

Lewis Miller: A Biographical Essay by Ellwood Hendrick  1925, reprinted 1994

John Heyl Vincent: A Biographic Sketch by Leon H. Vincent   1925

Chautauqua Salute: A Memoir of the Bestor Years by Mary Francis Bestor Cram  1990

Chautauqua’s Hostess: Winnie of the Wensley by Wendy Lewellen    2012


Programs and Affiliated Organizations:

100 Years of Beauty: A History of the Bird, Tree, and Garden Club by Mary Lee Talbot  2013

Founding Women: Inspiration and Impact on Chautauqua and the Nation by Janet Northrup  2009


Poetry and Fiction:

Mosaic by Members of the Chautauqua Poetry Circles 1952

From the Bishop’s Garden by Chautauqua Poetry Circles 1948

Letter from Chautauqua by Marjorie Bertram Smith   1967

Nancy Hartshorn at Chautauqua by M.E. McPherson 1882

Four Girls at Chautauqua by Isabella “Pansy” Alden  1876

The Chautauqua Girls at Home by Isabella ‘Pansy” Alden  1877 

Four Mothers at Chautauqua by Isabella “Pansy” Alden  1913

*The Hall in the Grove by Isabella “Pansy” Alden  1882

Eighty Seven by Isabella “Pansy” Alden 1887

Ethel Morton at Chautauqua by Mabell S.C. Smith 1915



Thank you for taking on the challenge, and best of luck!


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The Stewards of Alumni Hall: Charlotte and Bill Crittenden

10/27/2023 9:40 am

The Stewards of Alumni Hall: Charlotte and Bill Crittenden


We are deeply saddened to inform you of the passing of Charlotte Crittenden, a prominent member of the CLSC Alumni Association. Charlotte and her husband Bill’s dedication to the CLSC is present through virtually every part of the organization, but we would like to take a moment to reflect on the exemplary sense of service and community they embodied by sharing a few of the lesser known details about these two amazing people.


Many of you know Charlotte from her work on the banner committee, but her connection to fabric didn’t stop at Chautauqua.  In 1963, she enrolled at Cazenovia College. Following her graduation, she pursued her passion for art and fabrics by attending a design school. After graduating, Charlotte ventured to New York City, where she applied her creative expertise to client businesses and established a quaint artistic boutique within her apartment. 


In 1967, Charlotte completed the CLSC program, which happened to be one of the last years where graduation requirements included taking tests and writing essays based on the books that were part of the curriculum. Following her graduation, Charlotte quickly became deeply engaged in the CLSC Alumni Community, immediately becoming a meaningful part of the association. Charlotte and Bill first crossed paths at Chautauqua, later tying the knot in Chautauqua County at Chestnut Hill, just downhill from Chautauqua Institution. 


At the time, Nately Ronsheim and Becky Habenicht were the driving forces behind the preservation and conservation efforts of the banners. Eventually, Becky, after providing training, entrusted Charlotte with the responsibility of caring for the banners.


In collaboration with her husband Bill, who served as VP of Building Maintenance, Becky and Charlotte recognized the need for a dedicated banner room. They joined forces with conservator Gwen Spicer to create a comprehensive guidebook covering various aspects of fabric and banner preservation. This guidebook delved into topics such as temperature and humidity control, specific hanging techniques, the delicate handling of fragile banners, and a specialized vacuuming method that is still used to this day.


Charlotte passionately put her expertise to work by not only repairing but also crafting new banners, with her husband Bill's class of 1975 proudly displayed at the Amphitheater. She played a pivotal role in the development of the banner room, meticulously overseeing every detail, from procuring specialized rack holders to installing glow-in-the-dark signs as a safety measure. Over the years, Charlotte actively guided and educated other people on proper banner care and maintenance, emerging as a leading authority on the subject.


During their summers, Charlotte and Bill gave Docent Tours, allowing them to intimately acquaint themselves with every facet of Alumni Hall. They possessed a keen eye for identifying any necessary repairs or updates. Their responsibility extended to ensuring that the first floor of the building was adorned with appropriate furnishings, and they meticulously oversaw the selection and quality of each item. Whether it was the stitching in a cushion or the lighting in a room, their commitment to the stewardship of Alumni Hall was unwavering.


Charlotte and Bill's dedication extended beyond the building's interior. They were integral members of the team that initiated the brick project, and they also took it upon themselves to secure an additional 60 chairs for the Hall of Philosophy, enhancing the experience for all who visited. Their watchful eye and proactive approach left an indelible mark on the Chautauqua community.


Charlotte is survived by Bill and their sons Webster and Matthew. We conveyed to Bill our desire to celebrate the rich and immersive life he and Charlotte shared, particularly at Chautauqua and we express our gratitude to Bill for taking the time to reminisce and reflect with us. His enduring message was that he wanted people to be aware of the immense enjoyment they derived from their work, and how it led to the formation of numerous cherished friendships along the way.


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Saving the Tile Mosaics

8/18/2023 6:18 pm



If you visited the Hall of Philosophy this past summer, chances are you noticed that the beautiful, old tile mosaics on the floor are showing signs of wear.  The mosaics are some of our most treasured keepsakes and they've been a bit neglected over the last few years.  The Class of 2000 is spearheading a campaign to repair these works of art, restoring them to their original condition.


Not only is important to restore and care for the mosaics because they are priceless works of art, but also because they have become tripping hazards.  

The cost of such an undertaking is a little daunting.  Work will begin in the fall of 2023 with the mosaic you see above.  This is one of two that are in the worst shape and, therefore, will be repaired first.


For those interested in supporting this meaningful restoration, the CLSC Alumni Association has made it simple to contribute:


Donate Online: Visit https://donorbox.org/the-mosaic-project/ to make a secure online donation.


Donate by Check: Please make checks payable to “AACLSC” and note “Class of 2000 Mosaic Restoration Project” in the memo line. Mail your check to:

Kathy Hurst, AACLSC

PO Box 1034

Chautauqua, NY 14722



Meet the Artist: Denise Williams-Stebbins



Denise will be undertaking the restoration of the mosaics at the Hall of Philosophy. She graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh where she studied commercial art and illustration. She also obtained a Master of Science in Education from the State University of New York. In addition to her 31 years of experience as an art teacher at Silver Creek Central, she also owns the Living Art Glass Gallery in Westfield, New York. Denise brings a wealth of experience and artistic expertise to this project.


This restoration project is particularly dear to Denise, as it holds a special place in her heart - she exchanged vows and was married at the Hall of Philosophy herself.










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7/3/2023 12:02 pm



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7/3/2023 11:16 am








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Interview with book designer Emily Mahon

6/5/2023 9:06 am


Emily Mahon is an Art Director for Doubleday Books based in New York, New York. She spoke with us about her process and projects in an interview ahead of CHQ 2023.





1. Tell us about your creative journey. How did you discover book design?


I studied at Penn State University and majored in graphic design. Penn State’s graphic design program, headed by the late Lanny Sommese – a renowned graphic designer, poster maker, painter, artist, and educator – included just 22 students annually. So, it was a small, specialized program in a university with more than 40,000 enrolled students. 


Lanny’s program was extremely challenging and taught me to focus on producing strong concepts, with the form/style being secondary to the idea. After a summer internship at Harper’s Bazaar, I knew I didn’t want to work in magazines but instead wanted to design book covers, and so I pursued this path after graduating. I landed my first job with St. Martin’s Press and been working in books ever since.

2. Can you walk us through your process of designing a book cover?


For fiction, I read the book, and jot down some notes as I am reading. I think about the tone of the writing, the feel of the story. I look for visuals, research images, or consider using an illustrator, letterer, or photographer. Every cover demands a novel approach, and my process varies with the job. For non-fiction I normally just get a synopsis, or a few book chapters, and I then endeavor to produce a simple iconic solution that conveys the subject matter.




3. Under the Skin by Linda Villarosa was a book that you designed, what inspired the final


For this cover, I had been looking at many pieces of fine art. I found many wonderful paintings that represented black and brown bodies, which were at the heart of this book. In the end, I found this beautiful painting by Sean Gerard Clark; it was unique and spoke to the book’s narrative. The author wanted me to crop in on the face so that it felt less gendered, and I remember she specifically wanted to make sure that the stitches on the neck were clearly visible as well.

4. In your opinion are there any aspects of book design that are particularly important for
writers to consider?


Design is an intricate process and writers should be open to the time and effort it takes to reach a final cover. It takes a lot of back and forth, and art direction, to reach a final “look,” and so it is important for authors to know that we will eventually get to an appropriate cover for every book.



5. Have you found a difference in design strategy when designing a book cover for print
versus designing an ebook cover?


Normally, whatever I design for a hardcover gets picked up for the e-book, so I do not consider that aspect too much.

6. Since you started working in the publishing sector, what are some of the key changes
you’ve seen happen over the years?


I think the biggest change over time has been the budget for covers and jackets. Things are much tighter these days. While this has been a gradual change, the pandemic created higher supply chain issues, and printers’ paper and production costs. Employing special effects used to be routine, but that’s changed. Yet I consider it a fun challenge to find ways to make things “pop” without special effects.

7. What about looking forward; AI is the hot topic right now, do you see auto-generated AI
graphics as a hindrance or a help for your craft?


AI is a new world for me, as it is for most graphic designers. I am old-school about the way I create images and I am sure I will continue to create for some time (forever, I hope?) without employing AI graphics.




8. What other designers, artists or creative people are you loving at the moment?


I love The Jealous Curator on Instagram; it has opened a world for me, one populated by gifted artists and illustrators. I also admire Pablo Delcan’s work. He used to work in my department at Knopf and now has his own design studio. He consistently creates rich, smart imagery for editorials and books. I always keep my eye on his wonderful work.

9. What is your proudest career achievement to date?


I just finished the cover for a novel by Percival Everett, out next spring for Doubleday. It is a retelling of Huck Finn from the eyes of Jim. It’s such a powerful and beautifully imagined book and we all have great hopes for it. I was incredibly pleased that I was able to work on the cover design for such an important book.

10. What’s on the horizon for you?


More covers, of course. I love my job and my journey working on books from conception to seeing them introduced to the world.






Check out Emily's CLSC Alumni Bookmark here.



Emily is an Art Director at Doubleday Books. Her work has been honored with awards from AIGA, The Type Director's Club, The Art Director’s Club and The New York Book Show. She has been published in 50 Books/50 Covers, TDC Annuals, Communication ArtsGraphis, and Print, among others.



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CLSC 2023 Selection #8

4/5/2023 5:01 pm


To see the entire list of 2023 CLSC Selections, visit the CLSC page at chq.org.

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Under the Skin 2023

1/19/2023 4:19 pm

The Literary Arts Department at Chautauqua Institution is thrilled to announce Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation by Linda Villarosa as our 2023 Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week 4: “The State of Believing.”
Villarosa will join us on July 20, 2023, in the Hall of Philosophy at 3:30 p.m. ET for her CLSC presentation.

In addition to being a CLSC Selection, Under the Skin has been selected in collaboration with Chautauqua’s African American Heritage House as the Mirror Project Reading Circle selection for April 2023, and the Chautauqua County Book Read selection in partnership with Chautauqua’s IDEA office, the YWCA of Jamestown, and other local organizations.

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The Lincoln Highway 2023

1/19/2023 4:14 pm

The Literary Arts Department at Chautauqua Institution is thrilled to announce The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles as our 2023 Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week 5: “Infrastructure: Building and Maintaining the Physical, Social and Civic Underpinnings of Society.”
Towles will join us on July 27, 2023, at 10:45 a.m. ET in the Amphitheater for a dual CLSC and CLS presentation.
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One Hundred Saturdays 2023

1/19/2023 4:07 pm

The Literary Arts Department at Chautauqua Institution is delighted to announce On Hundred Saturdays by Michael Frank as our 2023 Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week 1: “On Friendship.”
Frank will join us on June 29, 2023, at 3:30 p.m. ET in the Hall of Philosophy for his CLSC presentation.

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