Chautauqua: The Nature Study Movement
in Pacific Grove, California

John Muir
John Muir
Photograph Taken by Professor Francis M. Fritz in 1907.
Courtesy of UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library.
The following account of the Pacific Coast Assembly of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC) offers a unique lens from which to visualize the religious, educational, and political forces that shaped the city of Pacific Grove, the state of California and the United States of America. Weaved within the history of the Pacific Coast Assembly of the CLSC, and Pacific Grove's Methodist Camp Retreat, is the underlying mythos that came to describe the west through the use of common religious metaphors (i.e."Garden of Eden" and the "Promised Land"). The Anglo-Protestant Chautauqua Circles, scattered throughout the communities of California, served to incorporate into society these and other religious metaphors into the language of the day. Within this symbolic mythos of the west, was established a structured set of religious values which informed both the rural and urban communities of California; a set of values that included a reverence for nature, and the subsequent clamoring for it's protection. The draft chapters available for download below begin to illuminate this history.

Draft Book Chapters

1 pdf

A Summer School of Science
Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (1807-1873)
Louis Agassiz as Mentor
The Museum of Comparative Zoology
Louis Agassiz's Aspirations
The Anderson School of Natural History, 1873

2 pdf

Higher Education in Mid 19th and Early 20th Century America
The Elementary Education Of Children In Mid 19th And Early 20th Century America
Louis Agassiz's Method of Study
The Influence of Penikese on American Education

3 pdf

The Pacific Institute Excursion
Yosemite Assembly of 1879
Pacific Grove Retreat
Pacific Grove Assembly of 1879
The Southern Pacific Railroad, Livery Teams, Accommodations and Supplies
The Pacific Coast Branch Of Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (est. 1880)
An Emphasis on the Study of Natural History

4 pdf

Methodism in America
Pacific Grove Methodist Retreat
A Summer School of Science
A Summer School for Teachers
Courses of Marine Botany and Marine Zoology
A Variety of Natural History Courses

5 pdf

Five College Institutions Located in the SF Bay Area
California State Normal School at San Jose
College of the Pacific
Mills College of Oakland
University of California, Berkeley
Leland Stanford Junior University
Other Distinguished Teachers
Early Lectures By John Muir
Connections To John Muir
David Muir and Sarah Muir Galloway

6 pdf

Early Lectures By John Muir
Connections to John Muir
Muir Clan and Pacific Grove
David Muir
Sarah Muir Galloway

7 pdf

The Humanities
The Romantics
Progressive Pedagogical Philosophies
Department of Art

8 pdf

California’s Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circles
From Chautauqua Circles to Women’s Clubs to the Protection of Nature
Attendance at the Pacific Coast Assembly
Membership in the Pacific Coast Branch of the CSLC
Recognition Day

9 pdf

Methodist Retreat Location and Design of the Open-Air Temple
Hall In The Grove
The Pacific Grove Museum
Methodist Episcopal Church and Assembly Hall

10 pdf

The Pacific Grove Retreat: A Conference Headquarters
Puritan Blue Laws
The Final Years
The Scheduled Appearance of John Muir at a Yosemite Chautauqua Assembly 


References pdf


Assembly Reports:

1879   1880   1881   1882   1883   1884   1885   1886
Contact, Don Kohrs, the author of Chautauqua: The Nature Study Movement in Pacific Grove, California, if you have questions, comments or would like to inquire about the possibility of a talk on the subject.

Don Kohrs
Harold A. Miller Library
Hopkins Marine Station
of Stanford University
Pacific Grove, CA 93950-3094
(831) 655-6229

See also: