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Popular societies for literary and scientific education. The first “American Lyceum” was founded at Millbury, Mass. (1826), by Josiah Holbrook, and under his leadership nearly 100 branches were established during the next two years, embodying his program of providing educational opportunities for adults, stimulating teacher-training and interest in schools, and founding museums and libraries. Eight years after Holbrook began the work, approximately 3000 lyceums had been founded in towns and cities throughout the U.S. The most notable was the Boston lyceum, with Daniel Webster as president. Among the popular and well-paid lyceum speakers were Emerson, whose essays were often first presented as lyceum lectures, Webster, Thoreau, Holmes, H. W. Beecher, Agassiz, Lowell, Clemens, and Barnum. Reform movements were stimulated by such lecturers as Garrison, Greeley, Lucy Stone, and Elizabeth Stanton. After 1890, Chautauqua societies took the place of the original lyceums, which became centers of popular entertainment.

Subjects: Literature.

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