"No late hours, no headache in the morning . . ." SELF-IMPROVEMENT VACATIONS
In August of 1883 Eva Moll, a young school teacher from Ohio, wrote in her diary: "I so much desire to go to Chautauqua. . . . Could that dream be realized I would consider it the happiest event of my life." 1 Chautauqua, located in western New York state, became a favorite vacation spot for thousands of Americans in the years after 1874. What attracted Eva Moll to Chautauqua was not merely its promise of amusement and relaxation, but also its extensive educational offerings. Chautauqua was one of numerous places where a vacationer could combine recreation with self-improvement.
Throughout the last half of the nineteenth century both religious and secular institutions took shape that provided the middle-class vacationing public with alternatives to regular summer resorts. Some began as Protestant (Predominantly Methodist) camp meetings and grew to be religious resorts where, at a minimum, a vacationer would be protected from some of the potential dangers associated with resort life. Others, with more explicit educational goals, became institutions where middle-class people could both enjoy themselves and obtain formal instruction or training.
Both sorts of resorts served similar functions. They broadened the vaca-