Anita Ernst Watson

Anita Ernst Watson is a long time Nevadan who has always been interested in the people and places of the Silver State. She earned her Ph.D in history at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she also taught for many years. She has also worked in the museum education field in Nevada and Minnesota, and published on the topics of Nevada women, Nevada medicine, and general Nevada history. She wrote and edited a Nevada history CD for elementary students, and works with the Great Basin Young Chautauqua program. She has been giving Chautauqua performances for 15 years, and loves to dress up and make history come alive as Mary McNair Mathews, Mary Oxborrow, and Emma Nevada.

Photo credit: Susan Mantle

Presentations:
Chautauqua - Emma Nevada
Chautauqua - Mary McNair Mathews
Chautauqua - Mary Oxborrow

 


CHAUTAUQUA - EMMA NEVADA

She was born in a California mining town near Nevada City, spent much of her childhood in Austin, Nevada, but Europe is where opera singer Emma Wixom Nevada found fame and fortune. She said she never forgot her western American roots and used the stage name Emma Nevada to honor her American home. A graduate of Mills Seminary in Oakland, California, Nevada traveled to Europe for voice training. She launched a successful career with her debut in London in 1880. Emma Nevada lived in Europe for the rest of her life but returned to the United States, and Nevada, several times for professional tours. This Chautauqua performance is based on newspaper interviews given by Emma Nevada on one of her American tours. Members of the audience, acting as newspaper reporters, are given questions to pose to the opera diva.

Photo credit: Steve Davis/Nevada Humanities

Appropriate Audience:  Can be tailored for all ages.

Duration: Approximately 1 hour

Presenter Requirements: 

  • Wireless microphone

If equipment indicated above is unavailable, please discuss alternatives with the Presenter.

Categories: Nevada, Chautauqua, women’s interest, performing arts


CHAUTAUQUA - MARY MCNAIR MATHEWS

When Mary McNair Mathews arrived on the Comstock, she carried with her more than carpetbags and trunks. Very much a woman of her time and culture, she brought along her values and beliefs, expectations and prejudices. Mathews could be kind and caring, but also opinionated and bigoted. She worked hard, and with little help, supported herself and provided a home for her son. She closely observed and commented upon the people and community she adopted for a time. Mary Mathews wrote about her life on the Comstock and in doing so, provided one woman’s perspective of an intriguing time and place. This Chautauqua performance focuses on the decade that Mary Mathews spent in Virginia City.

Photo Credit: Scott Goodin/Nevada Humanities

Appropriate Audience:  Can be tailored for all ages.

Duration: Approximately 1 hour

Presenter Requirements: 

  • Wireless microphone

If equipment indicated above is unavailable, please discuss alternatives with the Presenter.

Categories: Nevada, Chautauqua, women’s interest


CHAUTAUQUA - MARY OXBORROW

This Chautauqua performance presents the life of Mary Leicht Oxborrow, a true pioneer. Born in England in 1852, as a child she converted to Mormonism with her family. At age 11, along with members of her family and family friends, she migrated to the United States, traveling by ship and wagon train, eventually settling in St. George, Utah. She accepted the concept of plural marriage and, at age 17, became a second wife to Joseph Oxborrow. The Oxborrows had eleven children, and Mary Oxborrow worked as a healer and midwife after her husband’s death in 1885. Mary Oxborrow pioneered again in 1899 when she moved to Lund, in eastern Nevada with some of her children. She continued her work as a healer and midwife until her death in 1935.

Photo Credit: Scott Goodin/Nevada Humanities

Appropriate Audience:  Can be tailored for all ages.

Duration: Approximately 1 hour

Presenter Requirements: 

  • Wireless microphone

If equipment indicated above is unavailable, please discuss alternatives with the Presenter.

Categories: Nevada, Chautauqua, women’s interest