High Plains Chautauqua 2023 - Character Portrayals
By Angel Vigil Mariano Medina, born in Taos in 1812, was a Mountain Man, Guide, Scout, Fur Trapper and Entrepreneur. He was the first non-Indian to settle in what is today Loveland, Colorado in the Big Thomson Valley and historians credit him with the founding of Loveland. Friend of Kit Carson, Jim Bridger and other notables of the day he was respected among the best of the mountain men. He was the equal of John Fremont as a mountain guide and explorer of his day.
by Bill Barker
Thomas Jefferson lived in a predominantly four mile an hour world during his life time, 1743 – 1826, and yet he sailed the Atlantic Ocean twice and travelled throughout several kingdoms of Europe during his five years as our nation’s second Minister Plenipotentiary to France. Thomas Jefferson learned more about the places he had never seen through many whom he commissioned to explore on his behalf. The Expeditions of Lewis and Clark; Capt. Zebulon Pike; William Dunbar and George Hunter, and the extraordinary success of Robert R. Livingston’s commission as Minister Plenipotentiary to France, all helped President Jefferson learn more about the world.
by Anne Pasquale
Nellie Bly was known for giving ‘voice to the voiceless.’ She wrote of the working girl’s plight for The Pittsburgh Dispatch. She had herself committed to the insane asylum at Blackwell’s Island and wrote an eyewitness expose of the lunatic asylum there. Published in 1887, Ten Days in a Mad-House dramatically reformed the treatment and care of the mentally ill. Nellie Bly literally circled the globe. Following in the footsteps of Jules Verne’s Phineas Fogg of Around the World in 80 Days, she embarked on a round-the-world-tour for The New York World. Traveling by ocean liner, steam engine locomotive, on foot and rickshaw, she set a new world record of 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes, and 14 seconds.
by Doug Mishler Ernest Shackleton’s story of his many expeditions to Antarctica capture the soaring spirit of exploration that infested European manliness at the turn of the 20th century. To seek out the last unknown places on earth became a mania that drove men like Scott, Amundsen, and Shackleton to repeatedly risk their lives in the horrid cold of Antarctica supplied only with primitive clothing and equipment. They flocked to a cruel continent which one man described as “the last place on Earth,” but which was better labeled by another explorer simply as “the worst place on Earth!”
The Legendary Ladies
Lillie Hitchcock Coit by Julie Primm Lillie Hitchcock Coit was courageous and eccentric. At age 15, she assisted San Francisco firefighters in rescuing children from a burning hotel. The volunteers from Knickerbocker Station #5 hailed her as their “good luck” mascot. After that, she rode on the fire wagon, fighting fires alongside the men. Lillie was instrumental in changing the system from volunteer status, to salaried firefighters, employed by the city.
Mabel Dodge Luhan by Linda Ross By age 38, Mabel was a world-weary poor little rich girl, fully grown yet without purpose. By mid-life, she discovered where she belonged. In 1917, weary of society and world war, she set down roots far away from her villa in Italy and the modern social rebellions in New York City. Enchanted by the natural beauty of northern New Mexico and the simple rhythm of life, Mabel bought land adjacent to the Taos Pueblo. With Tony Luhan, she expanded the historic property and began inviting her far-flung friends from all over the world. For the next 40 years, Mabel championed Taos, as an international art colony and advocated for Pueblo Native Americans. She created the first public library and public hospital in Taos.
Alice Ramsey by Susan Malmstadt Before highways, maps, road signs and filling stations, Alice Ramsey left New York City in a 1909 Maxwell Touring Car and headed for San Francisco. Driving every inch of the way through knee-deep mud, rutted trails, overflowing rivers, steep mountain passes and endless deserts, she arrived in San Francisco two months later to become the first woman to drive coast to coast, earning the title Woman Motorist of the Century.
by Marvin Jefferson
Paul Robeson, a true “Citizen of the World” was one the most well-known African-Americans of the mid-20th century here and abroad. A Renaissance man of the highest order: World Renowned Singer, Major Stage and Film Actor, Scholar, Social Activist,
All American Athlete, Linguist, Humanist and Advocate for International Peace. Robeson was also a forerunner of the modern day Civil Rights Movement and a major casualty of the McCarthy era.
by Larry Bounds
Robert Ripley was the most traveled man of his age (or perhaps any other). He visited 201 countries over a 35 year period leaving a journalistic record like no other. Though still known for his daily Believe It or Not! cartoon feature, he also shared his fascination for the odd, the unusual, and the exotic through successful radio programs, movie shorts, bestselling books, a television show, and crowd-filled exhibition halls called Odditoriums. The legacy of Robert Ripley continues today with Ripley Entertainment Inc. which has become a worldwide, publishing and entertainment superpower.
In 1985 Rick was selected to be a Mission Specialist Astronaut. He flew on three shuttle missions. For most people, his most well-known flight was the maiden voyage of Endeavour, which was built to replace the lost Challenger Space Shuttle.
15.The 1992 Endeavour flight was a satellite rescue mission that involved a number of high profile spacewalks, culminating in the first and only three-person spacewalk where Rick and his colleagues captured a 9000-pound satellite in their spacesuit gloved hands. They then attached the satellite to a booster rocket, and released it, sending it safely on its way to the originally intended orbit. In addition to being the only three person spacewalk in history, this held the record for more than ten years as the longest ever spacewalk, at just under eight and a half hours.