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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Arthur W. Spivey Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1925-1926; 1977
Creator: Spivey, Arthur W.
Extent: .25 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0150.05
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Audio tape memoirs of Chautauqua and a manuscript relating to the work week of a Chautauqua crewman and crew chief.

Alternate Extent Statement: Three audio cassettes in Box 1.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: Material donated by Marjorie Mitchell Kelt on behalf of Dr. Arthur Spivey in 1977. Finding aid mounted March 2008

Preferred Citation: Arthur W. Spivey Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Arthur Spivey of Thorntown, Indiana, served as crewman in 1925 and crew foreman in 1926 on the Seven Day DeLuxe Redpath Chautauqua circuit. He went on to become a dentist.

This collection includes three cassette tapes of interviews with Arthur W. Spivey conducted by Marjorie Mitchell Kelt. In-depth accounts are given of the workings of the circuit personnel, descriptions of equipment, communities and their responsibilities, and talent who traveled on the Redpath Chautauqua Seven Day DeLuxe circuit during the 1925 and 1926 seasons, as well as personal information about Dr. Spivey.
Records of the Redpath Lyceum Bureau, MsC 150 Please note the list of additional mini-collections of Chautauqua material at the end of the Redpath finding aid.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Tape 1, April 1 - 1977
  • Tape 1, Side 1: Personal background of Dr. Spivey and how he came to work for the Redpath Circuit; what a "normal" week was like, including background preparation, contracts with communities, etc.
  • Tape 1, Side 2: Crew chief and crew responsibilities; tent size, lots, and other equipment; setting up and tearing down.
  • Tape 2, May 2 - 1977
  • Tape 2, Side 1: Revised figures regarding space under canvas; travel by train and experiences with the Kimball baby-grand piano that traveled with the talent; personnel from central office down through those traveling on the circuit; cities visited in 1925.
  • Tape 2, Side 2: Continuation of cities visited; 12 stops during the season in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, and Indiana; end-of-season duties. Beginning of 1926 as a crew chief; visits in South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan.
  • Tape 3, June - 1977
  • Tape 3, Side 1: Day-by-day account of the talent that appeared on this Seven Day DeLuxe circuit in 1925 and 1926. Children's entertainment in 1925 included Uncle Ed Reno, Middleton's Mannequins, and story telling. The 1926 children's entertainment was Mr. Frederick Trapane; Dr. Hivali; Abe Bewell and Baldy.
    Talent for 1925: Day 1: College Singing Girls; Honorable R.A. Nestos. Day 2: Adanac Male Quartet; Dr. Wherahiko Rawei. Day 3: Uncle Ed Reno; Lester M. Sterns. "Adam and Eva" (play). Day 4: Classical music concert; Frank Preston Johnson. Day 5: Middleton's Mannequins; Geoffrey F. Morgan; "Robin Hood" (play). Day 6: Zedeler Symphonic Quintet; Harold R. Peat. Day 7: Band Day with Bachman's "Million Dollar" Band. Talent for 1926: Day 1: Arcadia Novelty Company; Judge George D. Alden; Day 2: Royal Hungarian Orchestra; Chester Sanford. Day 3: Dr. Charles M. Newcomb; "So This is London" (play). Day 4: Dr. Bhaskar Hivali; Cathedral Choir.
  • Tape 3, Side 2: Continuation of Side 1.
    Day 5: Edward Tomlinson; Carveth Wells. Day 6: Brayton Eddy(?); "Applesauce" (play). Day 7: Madame Tamaki Muira; Gladys Petch (?). Addenda remarks: description of lacing sections of canvas together; portable canvas ticket booth; pledge cards; canvas fence; contracts with Thorntown, Indiana, Chautauqua.
  • Typed outline of work for crew during the week.

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Spivey, Arthur W.

Corporate Names:
Redpath Chautauqua of New York and New England

20th century

Tent shows

Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa

Genre/Form of Materials:
Oral histories (Document genres)