The Gang

October 5, 1904. Meeting of the Mad Hatter’s Club at the University of Illinois. Already infamous for its wild co-ed parties, gambling, and sideways cello playing, the MHC stunned this sleepy central Illinois community a few weeks later when all thirty members streaked through an election rally for Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt being held in the University gymnasium. This is the first recorded act of naked subversion, largely forgotten until its drug-induced resurrection in the 1960s. When news of the bacchanalian interruption reached Roosevelt he roared “Bully!” and proceeded to regale standers-by with stories of his naked escapades down the Amazon River with only a pith helmet and bayonet for protection.


  1. whoa, that's a brilliant idea for a blog. i laughed out loud.

  2. Two weeks after that October meeting of the Mad Hatter's Club, William and Eva (pictured front, center) were asked to test their musical talents in Berlin. William and Eva, escorted by two faculty members, gave a series of concerts through the German capital. The Mad Hatter's Club meeting is said to have luached both of their careers when Dr. Domink Friedrich, Visiting Professor of Interpretive Composition, heard their musical stylings while walking home from the School of Music. William and Eva continued to tour Europe after graduation, and married three years later.

  3. Fifty-odd years later, en route to Clarksville, TN from his family home in Washington State, a young Jimi Hendrix felt the ripple effect of this historic group. Hendrix had spend a night partying on the University of Illinois campus and had awoken clothed but barefoot in the University library. Searching for his lost footwear, Hendrix was distracted by this photo in a dusty display case. The revolutionary sideways cello playing "blew his mind" and prompted the budding musician to attempt his own non-traditional ventures. The fruit of this labor was seen most famously several years later at the "Woodstock" concert where Mr. Hendrix demonstrated his ability to play his guitar with his front incisor teeth.

  4. Look ... the girl on the far left laughed so hard cards came out her nose! The girl toward the top, slightly left (with cards crossing her bosom) wants to know what's going on behind her behind ... and if a marriage proposal is going to be forthcoming. The girl in the front on the right, half hidden by the young man whom she is tempting with an apple is ... oh, my god, it's my Grandma!

  5. Dave M., WhitewaterAugust 9, 2009 at 7:58 PM

    Hey Ashley!
    Thanks for the chuckles in this story and the others posted here! Writing is in your genes...from both sides!

    "Sideways Cello Playing" was notorious for it's time, yet terribly misunderstood. To this day, rumours still haunt the halls of a central Illinois Presbyterian church, where the elders were nearly run out of town for renting the church basement kitchen to a potluck gathering of the S.C.P. Society.

    Apparently, potluck means different things to different people.

  6. Hey, Dave! Thanks for posting! Very funny. :)