Theodosia Ammons: A Celebration of a Chautauqua Legend

Doors: 5:00 PM

Show: 5:30 PM

Celebration of a Chautauqua Legend and a Tour of Her Historic Cottage

Chautauqua’s own historic trailblazer, Theodosia Ammons, will be inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame this spring.  Born in 1861, Ammons broke barriers as the first female dean at what is now Colorado State University, president of the Colorado Equal Suffrage Association, national leader in developing the academic field of domestic sciences, and director of Chautauqua’s original continuing education school for teachers.

Theodosia Ammons was the founding principal of Chautauqua’s School of Domestic Science. Domestic Science, also known as home economics, was a progressive field that brought science into the home, ushered women into higher education and provided leadership opportunities in education, government and business. In 1895, Ammons co-founded the Colorado Agricultural College (now Colorado State University) Department of Domestic Economy. A few years later in 1898, Ammons was picked to head up the faculty of Chautauqua’s domestic science department. In 1900, Ammons’ expertise in all things domestic led her to design a model vacation cottage on the Chautauqua grounds. Every detail for health, sanitation, comfort and convenience was accounted for in the plans. Named Gwenthean Cottage, for sisters Gwendolin, Theodosia and Anne, the model home remains in the family and is virtually unchanged from the original design.

Sharing the stage to celebrate Ammons’ induction will be Carol Taylor, local historian and researcher, and Catherine Long Gates, Ammons’ great niece and third generation owner of Boulder’s iconic Long’s Gardens.  Carol will set the historical context for Ammons’ life by describing events of the country’s Progressive Era, a transformational period of social activism and political reform.  Catherine will trace Ammons’ journey through that Era highlighting the adult education program Ammons pioneered at Chautauqua.  Following the program and discussion, Catherine and her family will provide a rare opportunity for the audience to tour Gwenthean Cottage.  Designed and built by Ammons in 1899 to showcase innovations for making women’s domestic work more efficient, the cottage has been preserved in close to its original state and truly takes the visitor back in time.

Carol Taylor is a researcher and writer who has held positions with several local history organizations. Her history columns have appeared in the Daily Camera newspaper for over 20 years. Currently Taylor is researching the histories of four privately-owned ranches in Colorado and Wyoming.

Catherine Long Gates is Theodosia Ammons’ great niece and third-generation owner of Boulder’s iconic Long’s Gardens, now permanently protected for community horticultural and agricultural uses thanks to the support of the community and the Long family’s efforts.  A Colorado native, Catherine is co-owner with her sister, Margaret, of Gwenthean Cottage.

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