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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Carl Backman Chautauqua Collection

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1894-1960
Creator: Backman, Carl
Extent: 1.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0150.06
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Photographs, brochures, correspondence, financial papers, and brochures from several chautauquas.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs: Box 1, 3

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on [url=]Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials[/url].

Acquisition: Gift of Carl Backman.

Preferred Citation: Carl Backman Chautauqua Collection, 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

Carl E. Backman was employed by the Redpath Bureau. He suceeded L. B. Crotty as manager of the Western Department in Chicago. He died in 1973. Carl Backman was married to Chautauqua performer Gay MacLaren. A wedding invitation in the collection indicates that they may have been married in 1937. MacLaren was a sucessful actress and singer, performing across the country. She wrote a book about her experiences on the Chautauqua circuit titled "Morally We Roll Along.

The Carl E. Backman collection is composed of a variety of materials about the Chautauqua circuits. Many are specific to the Redpath Bureau, but other lyceum bureaus are also represented. Included are financial papers, correspondence, playbills, talent lists, and more. One item of note is a Gallery of Players published in 1894 which contains many full page photographs of prominent talents of the time, not all actors who appeared on the Chautauqua circuits.
There is also a collection of materials related to Gay MacLaren which includes correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings and some writings.
Records of the Redpath Lyceum Bureau, MsC 150. Please note the list of additional small collections of Chautauqua material at the end of the Redpath finding aid.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Six Day Canadian Chautauqua program; Interstate Lecture Bureau, Cincinnati, Ohi, Announcement of talent for season of - 1898-1899
  • International Lyceum Association: clippings, constitution, directories, correspondence, programs, and business papers. Included is a "Plan for a National Campaign to Sell 1,000,000 Smileage Books" - 1909-1962
  • Lincoln Chautauqua Bureau in Chicago and Atlanta: handbooks, programs, and a few business papers, some undated - 1915-1918
  • Redpath Bureau: bulletins to various employee positions, e.g. superintendents, crew, etc. - 1913-1929
  • Redpath Bureau: correspondence, including a number of Carl Backman's - 1908-1967
  • Redpath Bureau: correspondence and a few other papers of Harry P. Harrison - 1902-1952
  • Redpath Bureau: Financial reports and statements of the Redpath Bureau - 1909-1960
  • Redpath Bureau: Five Day de Luxe Circuits: Lists of costs, salaries and income, programs and other materials. Includes small brochures for Great Lakes String Quartet, "Her Husband's Wife", Bohumir Kryl, and Martin, Tennessee. - 1920-1921
  • Redpath Bureau History: clippings, pamphlets, photographs, and music. Includes 1894 copy of Gallery of Players from theIllustrated American which has full page photographs of many Chautauqua performers and Claude Peffer's 1956 "History of The Redpath Lyceum Bureau" - 1878-1956
  • Redpath Bureau: legal papers including financial agreements and contracts of the Redpath Bureau - 1907-1950
  • Redpath Bureau: Legal receipts and some correspondence. - 1903-1951
  • Box 2:
  • Redpath Bureau: Income tax statements, certificates, corporation papers - 1907-1960
  • Redpath Bureau Minutes Book - 1907-1927
  • Redpath Bureau: miscellaneous including handwritten ledgers and papers, typed reports, and a "Smileage" book - 1907-1972
  • Redpath Bureau: Playbills - 1913-1966
  • Redpath Bureau: Stock certificates preferred. Includes a couple from Slayton Lyceum Bureau and General Underwriting Co. - 1909-1930
  • Redpath Bureau: talent lists, schedules, including information about the towns travelled to. Also the 1878-1879 Redpath Lyceum catalog of talent. - 1878-1970
  • Redpath Bureau: talent lists, price lists, ticket information. - 1915-1927
  • Slayton Lyceum Bureau: lists of talent and a Catalogue of Attractions for Season - 1904-1905
  • Standard Lecture Bureau, Des Moines, Iowa. List of talent for that season. Also an early lyceum contract secured by Harry Harrison. - 1901-1902
  • Box 3:
  • Clippings about Gay MacLaren, wife of Carl Backman - 1920-1942
  • Gay MacLaren's correspondence - 1915-1947
  • A poem written for Gay MacLaren and some handwritten papers, most undated - 1927
  • Gay MacLaren reports from towns on her performances, reviews of her book, and other publicity. - 1915-1946
  • Photographs
  • Gay MacLaren and two men (2)
  • Gay MacLaren
  • Backman Pond, Rolling Prairie, Ind. (4 various scenes); picture of Gay MacLaren
  • Portrait of Carl Backman - 1912
  • Colored print portrait of Gay MacLaren
  • Picture of Gay MacLaren, used in later talent brochures (3)
  • Writings for and by Gay MacLaren
  • "A Debt to Delsarte" by Gay MacLaren
  • "Going Through the Mayo Clinic" by Gay MacLaren
  • "A Story for the Screen" by unknown author
  • Outline for Chautauqua Script Program "This Land of Ours" by Gay MacLaren
  • Elyse Joy Scrapbook
    On shelf next to Box 3

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
MacLaren, Gay

Corporate Names:
Redpath Lyceum Bureau


Genre/Form of Materials:
Financial records