2017 FEATURED GUEST SCHOLARS:
All of Chautauqua's esteemed scholars prepare for their roles by extensively researching their subject's personal and professional lives, as well as the times and environment in which they lived. Information is gleaned from biographies, newspapers, books, papers, journals, letters, radio and television news stories and secondhand accounts. These historians then deliver carefully prepared and rehearsed presentations dressed for the part (despite the heat), affecting the accents, traits and mannerisms of the historic figures they represent.
Mr. Jesse Chisholm was a half-Cherokee frontier trader whose language, cultural, and backcountry skills and knowledge made him an important pivotal figure to both anglos and Native Americans. The cattle trail bearing his name was a route he first established to easily move his own goods from Texas to Kansas...read more
Dr. Michael Hughes has 16 years of chautauqua experience, representing such characters as Alexander Graham Bell, Orson Welles, Bob Wills and Michelangelo.
Dr. Hughes is a retired Professor of History at East Central U of Okla. and currently an independent author, editor and lecturer. He holds a PhD in history from U of Arkansas
Mr. Thaddeus Dunkley swam the Mississippi River as a free man in 1863, clinging to his horse's tail. In the west he signed on at Charles Goodnight's West Texas ranch to drive cattle from Montana to Kansas trailheads, eight miles a day in all conditions. Most cowboys lasted 5 years, but he stayed for 40...read more
Dr. J. Holmes Armstead has portrayed over 23 chautauqua figures, both famous & obscure, including Booker T. Washington, Alexander Pushkin, Lemeul Haynes and Henry O. Flipper.
Dr. Armstead's most recent professions include Visiting Professor of Law at Washington and Lee U and Visiting Scholar at Stanford University. He holds three PhDs, law and J.D. degrees and a RAND Fellowship.
Mrs. Elizabeth "Bettie" Matthews-Reynolds became matriarch of a vast ranching empire built over a lifetime. Undaunted, in the face of Indian attacks, rattlesnakes, poisoned water and extreme weather, she joined her husband on cattle drives west, steering a wagon pulled by a team of six horses ..read more
Dr. Sally Drucker is a relative newcomer to the Chautauqua experience, having portrayed five women historical figures, including Rosie the Riveter, Lucrecia Borgia and Emma Goldman.
Dr. Drucker is currently a Professor of English at Nassau Community College and holds a PhD in English.
Ms. Johanna July's Black Seminole family was one of many contracted by the U.S. Army to enter Texas from their home in Mexico to scout for mauradering Indians. While considered a failure with domestic chores, she excelled at quickly breaking in wild horses, while riding bareback and barefoot...read more
Mrs. Vanessa Adams-Harris has demonstrated how commitment, dedication and talent are just as valid as college degrees when it comes to preparing and performing in a Chautauqua role. Her first portrayal was of Lena Lowery Sawner in 2015.
Mrs. Adams-Harris is an actress, producer, director, documentary filmmaker, playwright, workshop facilitator and human rights activist.
Judge Isaac Parker earned the moniker "hanging judge" for sentencing 160 people to death during the 21 years he served on the U.S. bench in the Western District of Arkansas. He also served two terms in Congress, fighting for the rights of women and a territorial government in Indian Territory ...read more
Dr. Doug Mishner has presented 18 historical figures at Chautauquas, including Teddy Roosevelt, Henry Ford, Thomas Hart Benton, and most recently Nikita Khruschev.
Dr. Mishner holds a PhD in U.S. Cultural History and is currently an adjunct professor of history and humanities at the University of Nevada. He holds a PhD in History earned at the University of Nevada.