Madison Mozart Club

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. 

A group photo of the Mozart Club in 1905 that identifies many of the original members.

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 major 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).

Photographs

As a part of this special project, the Dane County Historical Society has digitized several photos. These can be found here. Most group shots contain individual’s names. Additional information can be found in the three spreadsheets below.

Directory

The following spreadsheets provide additional information on the Madison Mozart Club membership. The spreadsheets listed on the bottom of the page are compiled from photos, Madison city directories, letters, and documents.

DCHS staff relied on several different resources to compile these directories. The Photograph Directory is perhaps the most straightforward and reference photographs in our collection.

The Address Directory is sourced from a combination of original materials such as membership lists created at different times by the Club as well as Madison city directories. These city directories are also directly referenced in the Occupational Directory. All three are organized by date or source of which each entry was obtained. As was common in the early 20th century, some members are only identified by first initial and while much work has been done obtaining full names, a few have not been fully identified as of yet. Most of the membership 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. 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 in the photographs. However, the following documents represent a majority of the club’s members during the 57 years the group was active.  

(photo album link)

(photo directory link)

(address directory link)

(occupational directory link)