6:00am

Mon August 4, 2014
Arts & Life

‘The Angel Of The Battlefield’ Among Chautauqua Luminaries

The High Plains Chautauqua performance tent at Aims Community College
Credit Courtesy High Plains Chautauqua

Teacher, humanitarian and founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton broke boundaries for women both during and after the Civil War.

And now, you can meet her. Susan Marie Frontczak debuts the persona of Clara Barton at the 2014 High Plains Chautauqua in Greeley.

Offering first-person interpretations of historical figures, High Plains Chautauqua is part of a long-running tradition that President Theodore Roosevelt once called “the most American thing in America.”

What is Clara Barton best known for?

“She was called the Angel of the Battlefield in the Civil War,” Frontczak said. “Really it’s because she filled a gap that the other women were not. She called her place between the bullet and the hospital. Clara really went to the front lines and there were not many other women who did that.”

Susan Marie Frontczak (left) debuts the persona of Clara Barton at the 2014 High Plains Chautauqua in Greeley.
Credit High Plains Chautauqua

Frontczak’s Clara Barton is just one of the historical figures you will meet at High Plains Chautauqua. Louisa May Alcott, Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, President Ulysses S. Grant (fun fact: Grant was the President that signed the proclamation that brought Colorado into the Union, August 1, 1876,) and noted American treasure Mark Twain.

Be sure to consult the schedule of High Plains Chautauqua events to meet your favorite.

Interview Highlights

On Preparing For The Role

“The first thing you do is get hold of absolutely every single biography you can. Every piece of primary source material. With Clara Barton it’s wonderful because the Library of Congress has online her speeches, her letters, a great deal of material where I can get things in her own language.”

On Surprises In Researching A Historical Figure

“I didn’t realize how feisty she was…. I had heard the quote ‘I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man's work for less than a man’s pay,’ but I didn’t realize that that was when she was in her twenties.”

On Participating In The Tradition Of Chautauqua

“The best thing about Chautauqua, and I’m talking about when I get to sit in the audience, is I get to meet these historical people. They’re talking to me there’s no fourth wall between the presenter and the audience as in traditional theater. Furthermore I get to ask them questions. This means that the scholars are prepared in character to field whatever you throw at them, within their historical context. You can get insights to what it really was like to live then, because as the audience we’re part of the show.”