lyceum (lĪsēˈəm, lĪˈ–) [key], 19th-century American association for popular instruction of adults by lectures, concerts, and other methods. Lyceum groups were concerned with the dissemination of information on the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs. The National American Lyceum (1831) developed from the lectures given by Josiah Holbrook at the first lyceum group in Millbury, Mass. (1826). The movement spread through groups formed in other states and was a powerful force in adult education, social reform, and political discussion. Many of the ablest leaders of the time lectured to lyceum audiences, and public interest in general education was greatly stimulated by the movement. The lyceum movement waned after the Civil War, but much of its work was later taken up by the Chautauqua movement.
See C. Bode, The American Lyceum (1956, repr. 1968).
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