Scholars portray historical figures in period costume

Engaging first-person living history portrayals by scholars in period costumes dramatize the experiences of historical figures. By choosing a speaker from our vetted list of scholars, local communities throughout Colorado may enjoy high-quality humanities programs hosted by libraries, schools, museums, conferences, churches, professional and other organizations.

Host partners then schedule the event directly with the author, pay travel expenses, may contribute to honorarium (paid by Colorado Humanities) and work with us to promote the event. When planning to host a Chautauqua speaker, please review the list below of possible speakers and contact Colorado Humanities History Programs Coordinator Jennifer Macias at or 303.894.7951 x17.

What Others Are Saying

“What better way to learn about a time in history than to see and hear someone portray a person from a particular place and time.” – Rangeview Library District in Thornton audience member

Recent Presentations

Susan Marie Frontczak as Erma Bombeck

With paring-knife-sharp humor, Erma Bombeck captured  the daily life of a new American phenomenon: the suburban housewife. Having figured out from her own personal experience that if you can laugh at it you can live with it, she chronicled the housewife’s daily struggles in her column “At Wit’s End” three days a week. She eventually appeared in 900 newspapers across the country and in books such as I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression and The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank. Bombeck brought to American awareness the life of women whose lives otherwise felt invisible and taken for granted. She let women across America know: You are not alone. In fact, we number in the millions. I, too, am an American housewife, and I will laugh by your side. Find out how Erma got started as a humorist. And chuckle along as she pokes fun at kids, husbands, and especially herself.

Susan Marie Frontczak has given over 850 presentations as Marie Curie, Mary Shelley, Irene Castle, Clara Barton, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Erma Bombeck across 43 of the United States, and abroad in her 22 years as a Living History scholar. She also works with both adults and youth to develop their own Chautauqua presentations.  Susan Marie authored the Young Chautauqua coaching handbooks for Colorado Humanities and coaches students 3rd through 12 grades. In 2022 she joined the faculty of the new Chautauqua Training Institute run through North Dakota Humanities that is coaching a dozen new Chautauqua scholars from across the country.


Abigail Adams
Clara Barton
Katharine Lee Bates
Dr. Rose Kidd Beere
Erma Bombeck
Irene Castle
Geoffrey Chaucer
Marie Curie
Charles Dickens
Walt Disney
Amelia Earhart
El Vaquero
Dr. Fox Gardner
Alexander Hamilton
Abraham Lincoln
Martha Maxwell
Golda Meir
Enos Mills
Michael J. Mooney
Annie Oakley
Minnie Pearl
Edgar Allan Poe
Jeannette Rankin
Eleanor Roosevelt
Rosie the Riveter
Irena Sendler
Mary Shelley
Lucy Stone
Augusta Tabor
Maria Von Trapp
H.G. Wells
Marion Woodman

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