2016 - 2018

WWI: Legacies of a Forgotten War

For the centennial remembrance of the end of the Great War, the communities of Wayne and Sidney have been selected to host the free, four-day Chautauqua festival, “World War I: Legacies of a Forgotten War.” Wayne will be the Chautauqua community June 7-10, 2018 and in Sidney will host June 14-17.

World War I: Legacies of a Forgotten War is a 3-year Chautauqua series (2016-2018) presented by HN throughout the state of Nebraska. The Nebraska Chautauqua offers opportunities for audiences to come together to develop a fuller understanding of the lasting influences of the Great War. Among the impacts addressed as a part of Chautauqua are the following:

  1. how the War led to changes in America’s role in international relations;
  2. how the War impacted the home front, including race, gender, ethnicity, and class issues; and
  3. how technology shaped the War.
As part of the Chautauqua residency, five scholars will explore and discuss with local communities the lasting impacts of the Great War and how those events affect Americans today. Chautauqua scholars will portray historical figures who experienced many of the tremendous impacts the Great War, both at home and abroad. Each evening, President Woodrow Wilson will moderate one of four presentations of the following historical figures: author Edith Wharton, activist W.E.B. Du Bois, politician William Jennings Bryan, and social reformer Jane Addams.

With origins in the late 19th century, Chautauqua combines oratory and lectures with literary readings and musical entertainment. In the past, these touring groups would entertain and inform people living on the plains about political and cultural happenings. The name itself comes from a resort community in New York State where in 1875, a summer program of lectures, sermons, and music attracted such enthusiastic audiences that within a few years similar programs sprang into existence for the public in other parts of the country. Today, Chautauqua upholds the tradition of offering entertainment, education, and community-based heritage. Attendees gather under the “big tent” and enjoy scholars-in-residence presenting first-person portrayals of some of our most important historical figures along with a variety of activities for all ages.

Daily workshops will give participants a chance to discuss the legacy of the Great War. Additional programs include a Youth Chautauqua Day Camp, and local history programs.

Evening presentations include:

  • Meet the Chautauquans
  • An evening with Nebraska politician William Jennings Bryan
  • An evening with humanitarian Jane Addams
  • An evening with sociologist/activist W.E.B. Du Bois
  • An evening with author Edith Wharton
  • President Woodrow Wilson will set the tone and introduce each evening’s featured guest.

This Nebraska Chautauqua was sponsored in part by: