Speakers Bureau

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

Host organizations negotiate honoraria and travel with speakers. When planning to host a Chautauqua speaker, please review the list below of possible speakers and contact Colorado Humanities Director of Programs & Center for the Book Josephine Jones at jones@coloradohumanities.org or 303.894.7951 x15 for contact and other information.

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. I really liked her posters with pictures and maps. Very informative. Lynne Swanson did a marvelous job!” – audience member from Lynne Swanson as Isabella Bird, Rangeview Library District in Thornton

“Made me cry when she finally finds her daughter” – audience member from Opalanga Pugh as Aunt Clara Brown, Breckenridge Heritage Alliance in Frisco

“I want to go to Rocky Mountain Park” – audience member, 4th grade, from John Stansfield as Enos Mills, Lewis Palmer Elementary School in Monument

Upcoming Presentations

Hammering Out Human Rights: Eleanor Roosevelt at the United Nations

Eleanor Roosevelt, Portrayed by Susan Marie Frontczak

Presented in Partnership with the Jefferson Humanists

Sunday, November 27, 4:00-5:00pm at Jefferson Unitarian Church, 14350 W. 32nd Ave, Golden, Co

Dubbed “First Lady of the World” by President Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt speaks of the ground-breaking, grueling, tempestuous, and eventually triumphant development of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a Magna Carta for humankind. Along the way, we gain insights to what brought Mrs. Roosevelt to be at the United Nations in the first place and the fears that are currently (in 1950) stoking animosities between the Soviet Union and the United States. You may be surprised to find out why Human Rights are important to your future and to the strength of the country.

The program includes glimpses behind Mrs. Roosevelt’s public life into the story of the little girl who lost both parents before the age of ten, a debutante who felt trapped by society’s expectations, and a young wife who raised five children before emerging as one of the 20th century’s most remarkable women.

Programs include an in-character presentation, a Q&A with “Eleanor Roosvelt” and a Q&A with the presenter. More information can be found here.

Erma Bombeck – photo credit Janet Adams

Erma Bombeck, portrayed by Susan Marie Frontczak

December 8, 2022 at Pueblo Country Club, Presented in partnership with Pueblo Historical Society

Erma Bombeck captured with paring-knife-sharp humor 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.

Programs include an in-character presentation, a Q&A with “Marie Curie” and a Q&A with the presenter. Make your reservation by emailing Larry Frank at lfrank167@q.com.

Our Calendar


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
Jonathan Edwards
El Vaquero
Dr. Fox Gardner
Alexander Hamilton
Thomas Jefferson
Abraham Lincoln
Golda Meir
Enos Mills
Michael Mooney
Annie Oakley
Minnie Pearl
Edgar Allan Poe
Eleanor Roosevelt
Rosie the Riveter
Irena Sendler
Mary Shelley
Lucy Stone
Maria Von Trapp
H.G. Wells
Martha Maxwell
Jeannette Rankin
Augusta Tabor

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