The Madison Mozart Club was an all-white male amateur singing group formed in 1901 and disbanded in 1958. During that time, the group gave over 200 concerts throughout southern Wisconsin. They sang a broad range of music ranging from traditional choral pieces to negro spirituals, to popular music, and more.
The Club was founded in 1901 by John Simpson, a Norwegian immigrant, and Elias Bredin, a University of Wisconsin-Madison music professor. Other founding members included Leonard M. and Olaf M. Nelson, Robert Hiestand, Claude Abel, Andrew Nelson, Dr. J. W. Vance, and Arthur Hickman.
As a significant part of the Madison music scene during the 20th century, the Club consisted of several prominent Madisonians, including Edward A. Birge (President of UW-Madison: 1900-1903 and 1918-1925), Glen D. Roberts (law partner of Robert “Fighting Bob” LaFollette), and Frank A. Maxwell (Madison’s city treasurer).
You can see a short PowerPoint on the history of the Madison Mozart Club by clicking here.
As a part of this project, the Dane County Historical Society has digitized several photos. These can be found here. Most group shots contain individual names. (Additional information can be found in the links below.)
The Address Directory is sourced from a combination of original materials such as membership lists and Madison city directories. All are organized by the date or source from which each entry was obtained. It can be found here.
As was common in the early 20th century, many club members were identified by their first initials instead of full first names. Although much work has been done obtaining full names, a few have not yet been fully identified. Nevertheless, most of the members included have their full name and at least one other piece of identifying information, such as an address, occupation, or photograph.
While these lists contain much of the Club’s membership, they are not comprehensive. For example, not all of the photographs in the collection are fully or correctly labeled. Also, surviving membership rolls were not consistently updated, further complicating our ability to identify the members. Nevertheless, the following documents represent most of the Club’s members during the 57 years the group was active.