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Carles Albert Kiler, UI 1892. On the
3anks of the Boneyard:
AT l^y'^O'^ LIBRARY
ILLINOIS HSSTORlCAl SUFvYLT
ON THE BANKS OF
ILLINOIS TALES OF EVENTS
FROM THE EARLY DAYS OF
THE ILLINOIS INDUSTRIAL UNIVERSITY
TO THE ADVENT OF
DR. THOMAS JONATHAN BURRILL
AS ACTING PRESIDENT
CHARLES ALBERT KILER ^92
PUBLISHED BY THE ILLINI UNION BOOKSTORE FOR
THE FIFTIETH REUNION OF THE CLASS OF 1892
MAY 31, 1942
:: PRESS m
Most of these incidents happened during my four
years as a student at the University of Illinois.
In what little I have digressed from the period
1888- 1892, I have gone into earlier days to paint
the background for happenings in my time. So
much has to be said about student unrest, class
fights, literary societies, military rebellions, the
faculty, and the three presidents, much of which
has heretofore not been told in print, that tales of
events following my time must be omitted. Some
of them, however, are related in Part Two.
C. A. KiLER
Chapter One — I Join a Literary Society and
Do Some Organizing 9
Chapter Two — The Advent of Dr. Peabody and
Some Historic Class Fights 25
Chapter Three — Escapades, the Faculty, and
Progress Under Dr. Burrill 42
Tale One — Alley L and the University Hotel .... 59
Tale Two — I Become a Book Agent, Travel Extensively,
and Tell You All About It 70
Tale Three — He Saw the Game —
The End of the Big Betting 81
Tale Four — Some Thoughts on Picking a
College President 86
Tale Five — Historical Sketch of the
University Band 90
ON THE BANKS OF
I Join a Literary Society and
Do Some Organizing
.SRAEL ZANGWILL, British novelist,
once said that the only truths in the written histories are the dates.
He insists that the details are written by biased minds, or taken from
old records which were written by partisans ; that the novelist comes
closer to telling the truth when he dresses up the characters in the
costumes of the times depicted and places them in the atmosphere
of the period. I have seen some history made in my time, have been
a party in a modest way in the making of some of it, and think
there is much to be said for Zangwill's viewpoint.
Class spirit manifested itself at Illinois back in the days of the
Illinois Industrial University. Old-timers like E. N. Porterfield '72,
Senator Henry M. Dunlap '75, and Frank I. Mann '76 have told
me of tricks played on each other and on the faculty by the boys of
those far-off days. Our much-respected friends, Professor Arthur
N. Talbot and Charles H. Dennis, both '81, and Judge Henry L. Mc-
Cune '83, have told me their versions of the military row and the
class fight that developed over the tree planted by '81 which was
tarred and feathered by the villains of '82 and '83. They were
"he-men" in those days. Boys who have since become men of great
distinction sat up nights guarding the tree with shotguns. The suc-
cessor of this tree is now a stately elm standing close to the new
Unrest developed among the students, which finally led to the
changing of the name of the University, to the establishment of
elective courses of studies, to reestablishing fraternities, to the de-
velopment of athletics, and in general to the building of a great
The bill introduced into the Legislature of Illinois to change the
name of the University was written and sponsored largely by Judson
F. Going '83, a prominent lawyer in Chicago. There was a clause
in it permitting fraternities on the campus, but this had to be elimi-
nated to get the bill passed. Very few members of fraternities were
lo On the Banks of the Boneyard
in the Legislature, and most of the faculty and students knew little
about them. The first one on the campus didn't perform as nicely
as it should, and there were fraternities at other institutions which
didn't do anything to raise the standards of the student bodies. Dr.
Gregory, the first regent of the University, was strongly opposed to
fraternities. There was only one during his regime — Delta Tau
Delta, established in '71. Gregory was a strong advocate of the
student government in force at that time. The Delts, under the
leadership of James R. Mann, were a thorn in his flesh. They
managed to hold on until '76 despite the strongest kind of opposition.
Dr. Gregory called the Delts and fraternities in general, "undemo-
cratic, anachronistic, silly, and conducive to dissipation." In ad-
dition to this, he didn't like them! But when the fight got under
way to have our trustees elected by the people, instead of having
them appointed by the governor, the Governor of Illinois, John M.
Hamilton, and the Speaker of the House, Judge Loren C. Collins,
both of whom happened to be Sigma Chis, were of course interested
in having fraternities restored at Illinois.
When I entered the University in the Fall of '88, I signed a
pledge card agreeing that I would not join a secret society while I
was a student there. I knew very little about college fraternities.
When the Alpha Iota of Sigma Chi boys came over from Illinois
Wesleyan at Bloomington, and signed AI after their names on a
hotel register, I thought they were modestly admitting that they were
pretty smart boys. If a fellow said he was feeling AI, I naturally
thought he was feeling good. Then there was an AI sauce, but the
letters didn't register with me at all so far as Greek was concerned ;
but since I had signed a pledge that I wouldn't join a fraternity,
my curiosity was aroused and of course I was ready to break that
pledge at the first chance.
There had been talk about fraternities in the Spring of '81, and
as no objections were raised, Sigma Chi came in (May 31) with
seven leading students as charter members. This number was soon
extended to fifteen. But imagine their surprise when they got back
in the Fall — they were ordered to disband and give up their charter !
So said Regent Peabody, acting under instructions from the Board
of Trustees. I have always felt that one powerful member of the
Board had much to do with this order. Poor Dr. Peabody got the
blame for it, but I venture to say that Mr. Emory Cobb of Kankakee
was also back of it.
/ loin a Literary Society il
The formal notice to disband came on September 13, 1881, just
three and one-half months after the chapter was installed. The boys
had to go through the motions of disbanding ; they sold their furni-
ture and gave up their rooms. Then began the hazardous and
unsatisfactory existence as a sub rosa organization, which was con-
tinued under the phony and euphonious names of "Bivalves" and the
"Ten Tautalogical Tautogs." They met occasionally with the Sigma
Chis from Northwestern, Wabash, and Wesleyan. It was a hard life,
however, so the fraternity was abandoned during the University
year of '85-'86.
I think it safe to say that the social life of the students up to
1891 was confined almost wholly to the literary societies. There were
two for the men, Adelphic and Philomathean. Adelphic was in the
west end of the top floor of old Uni Hall, and Philomathean in the
east. The girls with their Alethenai Society were in between. It was
a long hard climb up to the top floor, but we thought nothing of it
and could go up two steps at a time when in a hurry. The programs
at the Friday night meetings attracted not only students and faculty
but the townspeople as well. Generally the halls were filled every
Friday night. Music of all kinds, orations, essays, recitations, book
reviews, and debates constituted the programs. Musical talent from
the two towns supplemented that in the University, and also gave
an outlet to musicians who wanted to utilize their accomplishments.
Without a doubt these societies did much to develop talent among
the members. I have heard many an alumnus say that he got as
much good from his membership in them as he got from class work
in his particular field of study. I am not familiar with the classes
of today in what is called "Speech," but I venture to say that our
ancient literary societies, without the benefit of instructors, served
a purpose equally as valuable as the modern curriculum affords. We
learned how to get up on our feet and express ourselves. The present
methods of instruction can do no more. The debates between the
two men's societies always attracted a crowd. When it became
known that a certain gifted student was to be on the program, his
followers were sure to attend. Men who were afraid to try to
make a public statement at the time they joined a literary society,
soon found they could be real speakers. I can't remember a man
in my society who did not overcome his timidity after one year's
membership. The passing of these societies was a distinct loss in
12 On the Banks of the Boneyard
My first meeting with James Whitcomb Riley came about in a
peculiar way. Soon after entering the University in the fall of
'88, I joined the Adelphic Literary Society, and at the very first
session I attended, my brethren disclosed the unpleasant fact that
the Society was in debt. Worse yet, the sheriff was going to take
our piano because we owed a Champaign store three hundred
dollars on it. As a matter of fact there had never been a dollar
paid on it, and the Society had used it for two years. And how
can a first-class Literary Society carry on without a piano?
I lived in Urbana. The Courthouse was located there, so when
the boys asked if I knew the sheriff, I swelled up and told them
he was an old friend of mine. They at once made me chairman of
the Finance Committee, with instructions to call on the sheriff and
enter into any kind of negotiation that would allow us to keep the
piano. Aged nineteen, scared to death, I called on the sheriff and
asked him if he would go with me to our society hall and see for
himself that the piano was being well cared for. Then I would
proceed to raise the money.
He agreed to this proposition. We went to University Hall and
started to walk up the six flights of stairs. At the half-way point,
the sheriff was out of breath and had to rest. Then an idea began
to dawn. I hurried the poor old man up to the top floor at such
a rate that he dropped into the first chair and was ready to listen
to most any proposition I saw fit to make. He readily agreed to give
me the rest of the year to raise the money.
The Redpath Lyceum Bureau furnished our lecturers and en-
tertainers in those days. When I asked them what they had to
offer, a special delivery letter came back stating that James
Whitcomb Riley and Bill Nye had been scheduled to lecture in
Bloomington two weeks hence, but the date had been canceled and
we could have them if we wanted them. A contract to the amount
of several hundred dollars was enclosed. I called the members of
my finance committee together and put the proposition up to them.
Without hesitation they authorized me to sign the contract, for each
one of them was just as rich as I was, and we couldn't lose because
we had nothing to lose. It became imperative that we build an
organization in a hurry to get the publicity necessary to fill the old
Walker Opera House in such a short time.
We placed handbills all over Champaign County — every source
of publicity was opened to us — even the Clergymen graciously an-
/ Join a Literary Society 13
nounced the approaching entertainment for us, and when the great
night came the opera house was full. One of Riley's biographers
refers to a telegram from the poet in which he tells of this sell-out
Under the contract Riley and Nye were to be on the stage ready
for the show at eight o'clock, but when that hour arrived they had
not shown up. I doubt if anyone ever was as nervous as I was at
that moment ; 1 ran to the Doane House and Ed Jones, the night
clerk, said they had left an hour before, accompanied by Colonel
Niles. Oh, Oh, and several more of them. The Colonel owned the
hotel, had been private secretary to Governor Richard Yates, the
great Civil War Governor of Illinois, and was an entertainer de luxe.
I started down the line and found them in the second tavern I
entered. With their feet on the rail and their arms on the bar they
were toasting each other and saying nice things about the whole
cock-eyed world. Calling their attention to the time, I led the parade
to the opera house only to find the stage door locked. I then took
them down the center aisle, introduced Mr. Riley, and the show
A great actor, the Hoosier poet had the audience laughing and
weeping in turn. No one could recite his poems like the author
himself. I have heard many actors read Riley's poems but not a
single one as good as James Whitcomb Riley could read them. Bill
Nye got a laugh at once by stating that the audience had kept Mr.
Riley working until he was tired "and now, by gum, I am going
to keep on telling my stories until you all get tired !" The passing of
more than half a century may cause me to think of this entertain-
ment as the greatest thing of its kind, but I doubt if I can over-do
in words the pleasure, tears, and laughter produced by these two
great men. The Adelphic Literary Society was rich beyond all
dreams ; we not only paid for the piano but surprised all of our
other creditors by paying them. If my memory is correct the suc-
cess of this enterprise led to the formation of the Phil-Adelphic
Lecture Course, which in '96 became the Star Lecture Course.
In the meantime considerable dissatisfaction existed among the
students because there was no place to sit down when watching an
athletic contest and no place for the athletes to change their clothes
or bathe after a game. The Athletic Association passed the hat
around to raise money, and also put on a minstrel show for the same
14 On the Banks of the Boneyard
purpose. The show was well attended and much good talent was
discovered among the boys, but when the grand stand, built at the
north end of Illinois Field, was finished, the contractor wanted his
money and the funds were short $350; John Chester was chairman
of the committee in charge of building the grand stand and when
the contractor got ready to file a mechanics lien, John took him
over to Acting President Burrill. The contractor still insisted that
he must have his money or else — he said the new boys coming in
next year might not recognize the debt ; Dr. Burrill couldn't talk
him out of his determination to file that lien, so the dear old doctor
paid the $350 and the Trustees reimbursed him at their next meeting.
After a few years of useful and honorable existence the grand stand
was burned — probably as a bit of Halloween fun.
From the Champaign Gazette of January 30, 1891, comes the
following account of the athletes and athletics of our time:
Students of the University of Illinois have for years been advancing^
in athletics. A good baseball team has always been the boast of the in-
stitution. Recently however, lawn tennis and football have become de-
servedly popular. Champaign* has its own chartered athletic association.
An annual field day is held near the close of the spring term. In 1889
was formed the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Association embracing
Champaign and six other of the leading colleges in the state. The annual
field day is held in conjunction with the intercollegiate oratorical con-
test. Champaign has the honor of taking the championship cup at the
field days held since the organization of the association, being especially
successful in baseball and general athletics.
Champaign holds her own with any of the western colleges, and her
records compare favorably with those of the eastern colleges; although
nature has never bestowed good weather on the annual field day, thus
spoiling our chance to break records. Among the best records on our
books are the following: Mile run — time 5.11; standing broad jump
without weights, from toe to heel, distance nine feet, ten inches; go as
you please kick, height eight feet six inches; putting shot 16 pounds,
distance t,;^ feet five inches; throwing hammer 16 pounds, distance field
day record, 86 feet, special record, 100 feet six inches; throwing base-
ball, Gunn '92 field day record, 347 feet four inches; special record, 360
feet; one-half mile run, Cody '91, 2.15; hop, step and jump. Bates 40 feet
9>4 inches; hitch and kick, Clark 8 feet one-half inch; high jump, More-
house '92, six feet eight inches. [I think this last record is a mistake.]
*In my time it was common practice to refer to colleges by the names
of the cities in which they were located — thus our University was referred to
in this Gazette story as "Champaign;" Michigan was called "Ann Arbor;"
Wisconsin was called "Madison ;" and so on.
/ Join a Literary Society 15
More from the Gazette:
Lawn tennis, though of recent date at the University, is very popular,
and many students are becoming proficient in this new sport, among
whom are Bouton '91, Gunn '92, Steinwedell '93, and Smith '93. Lawn
tennis will never become as popular in Champaign as baseball or football.
It can not awaken enthusiasm except among those playing the game,
but it will be in favor among those not desiring violent exercise such as
they would get in baseball and football.
Like lawn tennis, football has been late in getting a place in ath-
letics at Champaign and there seems to be no good reason why the boys
have not before taken to it, for there has always been an abundance of
good material from which to form an eleven. Within the past five years
several unsuccessful attempts have been made to form a team, but there
seemed to be no one to work it up properly until last fall, when Cham-
paign's first football team was organized.
To Scott Williams '94, is due the honor of forming, managing, and
captaining the first team. While not a brilliant player in his position
as quarterback, Williams deserves great credit for his persistent and
successful efforts to bring football into favor at the University of Illi-
nois. While the career of the team has been brief, it shows possibilities
for the coming season. Football seemed to leap into popularity here,
and the enthusiasts are already calculating the probabilities for the
The rush line is heavy, averaging close to 185 pounds, and is fol-
lowed by two speedy and nervy halfbacks in Pillsbury '92 and Slater '94,
the latter as game a man in his position as any college man that wears
the canvas in the west. Slater just exactly fills Edgar Allen Poe's dream
of a perfect halfback.
Huff '92, center rush, and Bowey '93, end rush, are also superior
men in their positions. The team, losing but three men, Shattuck,
E. Clarke, and F. Clarke '91, will go into active practice under the
direction of a "coach" at the opening of the fall term and will be ready
to meet all comers when the season opens.
Baseball Ahead of Everythixg
But the true American game of baseball reigns supreme at the
University of Illinois. Enthusiasts hope they will not be considered vain
in making a claim for the college championship of the state. However,
as soon as the playing season opens, the team will be ready to convince
any doubters as to its right to the championship.
The present team has won every time it has played, taking games
from Knox College of Galesburg, Illinois College of Jacksonville, in the
intercollegiate contest held at Bloomington. Early in the spring teams
are organized and a schedule of games played for the class cup. The class
of '92, since its advent in the University, has been too strong for the
other teams. The class games are organized for bringing into practice,
and thus into notice of the authorities, new talent for the main team.
1 6 On the Banks of the Bone yard
Under the efficient management and captaincy of George Huff '92,
the team will without doubt show up in splendid form. In speaking of
Huff it may be said that Champaign has never had a better all around
player. Though weighing when in form about 225 pounds, he is un-
excelled as an outfielder, and in his favorite position as first baseman
plays exceptionally well.
The pitching department consists of Frederickson '94 and Bouton '91,
with Cross "92 as backstop. Bouton has excellent head work combined
with good control of the ball. Frederickson, sixteen years of age and
standing six feet one inch in height, is considered a very promising
pitcher, having fair speed, good control of the ball, and never gets
rattled when things are going badly. An effort will be made to arrange
games with Monmouth, Galesburg, Northwestern, and Lake Forest; and
possibly with Ann Arbor and Greencastle, Ind., for the coming season.
Our Students Under Disadvantage
The advancement of athletics in the University is due to the earnest
and persistent efforts of the students themselves, having received little
encouragement and no assistance from the faculty. Champaign has been
handicapped heretofore on the account of a lack of a good gymnasium,
and what is equally as essential, a competent instructor. It is true the
new Military building has been fitted up as a gymnasium and an in-
structor secured, but what is needed is a modern college gymnasium
with competent instructors under the control and direction of the alumni
and the University Athletic Association.
The Big Bust-over at Monmouth October 1, 2, and 3, 1891
The meeting of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic and Oratori-
cal Association at Monmouth in the first three days of October,
Anno Domini 1891, was one never to be forgotten by those who
Our newly-organized Athletic Association was gaining member-
ship with an initiation fee of fifty cents and annual dues of the same
amount. Our athletic teams were better than ever before and rarin'
to go. Compared to the present organizations, of course, we were
a primitive bunch, but two hundred students had joined the associa-
tion, and the following officers were putting life and energy into the
President — Charles W. Cross.
Vice-President — Robert H. Forbes.
Secretary — Newton M. Harris.
Treasurer — James D. Phillips.
/ Join a Literary Society 17
Directors — Albert W. Merrifield, George P. Behrensmeyer, and
Ralph W. Hart.
Eighty-five students boarded the special train at ten o'clock in
the morning, and when we reached Bloomington at noon, a hungry
bunch raided the depot lunchroom, grabbed all the food in sight, and
I regret to report many of them failed to pay for what they bought,
thus causing the Athletic Association much embarrassment as well as
having to pay a bill which was probably much larger than would
have been charged had the boys paid for what they bought.
I guess such escapades as this is what led to lining customers
up and making them pay for food before it is consumed, as is the
When our train reached Peoria the boys from Jacksonville
thought they should have their colors on the engine taking us to
Monmouth, but certain capable men in our party thought there
should be no colors but our own on that engine and an argument
that lasted the entire way to Monmouth was enjoyed by all who
witnessed it. Our stalwarts won the argument, however, and rode
on the cow-catcher of the engine all the way. We reached Mon-
mouth at ten o'clock that night. Our train was late but kindly
people met us and escorted us to the Y. M. C. A. where we were
allotted rooms in good homes. Some of our boys hunted around
town most of the night looking for rooms, ended up in hotels,
and created some disturbance which caused us to have the special
attention of the police on the days that followed.
The University orator was W. R. Chambers, and while he failed
to win at Monmouth, he nevertheless reflected credit on our
The football team was managed by A. W. Gates '92, who also
played center rush; I can't account for the absence of George Huff,
who had been playing this position most acceptably. Other players
were "Army" Armstrong, Jim Cook, James "Burleigh" Needham,
Ralph Hart, Harley King, the great halfback, Fred Slater, Jim
Steele, "Birdie" Arms, Art Bush, and Scott Williams. Our coach
was Bob Lackey, who had been a halfback at Purdue. As I remem-
ber this team, Roy Wright played halfback at Monmouth, though
he also at times played baseball. He was a fleet, dodging halfback.
The baseball team consisted of Charlie Cross, catcher; George
Frederickson, pitcher, who could pitch day after day most capably,
i8 On the Banks of the Boneyard
and rates as one of the all-time great pitchers in Illinois history;
Charlie Gunn, Billie Roysden, Tommy Jasper, Newt Harris, Roy
Warfield, George Atherton, and Bert Merrifield, who was also
one of the greatest sprinters in our history. This group comprises
one of the best teams we ever had, but here again, George Huff was
missed. In tennis Frank Carnahan was our only contestant.
The track team consisted of Glenn Hobbs, pole vaulter de luxe;
Con Kimball, high kicker and jumper; Chris Toerring, mile runner,
who didn't win his event in the intercollegiate contest, but who
showed the police a clean pair of heels that night and broke all
records in getting out of Monmouth; George Behrensmeyer, weight
thrower; and Zeke Aranda, bicycle rider. Jimmy Phillips was the
The athletic teams won the state championship for "Champaign"
as the newspapers of that far-ofif period consistently called us. Our
victories naturally put a lot of enthusiasm into our crowd, and as I
have already said, the police, regular and special, were watching
us very carefully, and when a couple of boys were settling an argu-
ment with their fists a special policeman wearing gum boots grabbed
an innocent bystander, Chris Toerring by name, our mile runner,
and started toward the city bastile with poor Chris.
The Champaign crowd followed; others joined in the parade
and the colored policeman and his gum boots got quite a heckling.
Word was passed among our boys that Chris was to be rescued;
we couldn't stand idly by and witness such a crime as would be per-
petrated in the name of the law, were Chris Toerring to be locked
up in the calaboose. Just what was to be done, no one knew and
very much to the surprise of all who knew the innocent Chris, he
took matters into his own hands. When this gum-booted majesty
of the law reached into his pocket for the key to unlock the jail,
Chris let go with both fists, and was forthwith aided and abetted
by George Behrensmeyer and others.
Chris Toerring got the jump on the policeman and the way he
departed down the main street of Monmouth would have won any
old foot race. The colored policeman kicked off his gum boots to get
into good running form, but when Chris ducked down a side street,
that policeman was gaining on him. It must have been that heaven
was protecting the innocent Chris ; his sharp eyes spotted a mortar
box buried in the ground of this side street, but the officer of the law
/ Join a Literary Society 19
was so intent on capturing the escaping criminal that he failed to
see the mortar box, into which he fell with a splash that threw the
heavy mortar all over the street. This was really quite lamentable
but somehow our boys couldn't see it that way, and the poor colored
man, who was a hod carrier by trade, got better acquainted with
certain properties of mortar in that fateful moment than he had
acquired in all his years carrying hod. Chris Toerring kept right
on going toward Champaign until he overtook a freight train, which
he boarded. When he reached Peoria he wired that he was safely
out of the trouble and would we please bring his suitcase when we
Our group left Monmouth showing great hilarity because of the
athletic victories, but the trip home was without incident — except
for the fact that the boys who had failed to pay for their lunches
at Bloomington on the way to Monmouth, pretended to be asleep
when we reached that city on the way home.
Arriving at Champaign late at night we found the University
Band together with another band playing marches, students shooting
Roman candles, even dignified professors showing great joy and
joining in the parade which marched from the Big 4 depot in
Champaign to the University district at an hour way after midnight.
The following autumn the Intercollegiate Association met with
us and after another great athletic victory, Illinois withdrew from
membership and since then has met competition worthier of its
It was a number of years after we joined the Illinois Inter-
collegiate Oratorical and Athletic Association before we began
to think of a suitable college yell ; then someone suggested a contest
out of which we might get a yell, and C. P. Van Gundy '88 won
$5 for piecing together this one:
Rah who Rah, Sis Boom Ah, Hip zoo Rah zoo,
Jimmy blow your bazoo, Ip Sidi I Ki, U. of I.
That's the yell in all its pristine glory; do you think it was
worth $5? Inter-city jealousy was very pronounced in those far-off
days, but even in that far-off time we did not hesitate to tell the
world we were from Champaign.
During the winter of 'go-'gi students who were dissatisfied with
the status of our athletic competitors, such as Blackburn College,
-iFIELD ® DAY,i^
i U/esterp Ipter-^^olle^iate |
g] TO BE HELD AT THE 3
B OF THE M
i Univ^ersity of niinoi5, a
B — AT — a
I C^l^ampaiiji), Friday, /T\ay 13, 1892. |
/ Join a Literary Society 21
Wesleyan, Illinois, Monmouth, and Knox, had a meeting and de-
cided to try for a new organization. The Illinois Intercollegiate
Oratorical and Athletic Association had been all right in its day,
but we 3'earned for games with larger and more important institu-
tions ; so a committee was appointed to attend a conference with
Northwestern and Lake Forest Universities at the Grand Pacific
Hotel in Chicago. As I remember it this committee consisted of
Professor J. D. Crawford, Frank D. Arms, and myself, and out
of the conference came invitations to a number of midwestern
universities and colleges to a meet to be held here at Illinois on
May 13, 1892.
The following institutions accepted the invitation and agreed to
send athletes and delegates, viz: Northwestern, Lake Forest, Wash-
ington, Purdue, Illinois College, Iowa College, Rose Polytechnic,
and the College of Christian Brothers.
Our games committee consisted of F. D. Arms, J. D. Phillips,
and the writer ; J. D. Phillips was Official Scorer, and was assisted
by W. T. Butler and Bud Holston ; F. D. Arms was Marshal ;
Ralph Hart, Chief of Police ; and Con Kilgour, the Bugler. We had
an Official Photographer in the person of F. M. Needham, while
Charlie Shattuck and Bert Johnston were the Inspectors. The Judges
and Timekeepers were chosen from our Faculty in order to insure
outside competitors a square deal, for those were the days when it
was easy to start a fight.
In the 50, 100-, and 220-yard races we entered Bert Merrifield,
Harry McCaskrin, Lawson Scott, and Fred Weedman. Merrifield
was a great sprinter, and won all of the dashes.
Other events and entries were:
Pole Vault — Charlie Gunn, Glenn Hobbs, and E. J. Lake.
Mile Run— Robert H. Forbes and W. G. Miller.
Hammer Throw — Army Armstrong, Fouts, and McMains.
Two-mile Safety Bicycle Race — G. W. Mitchell.
Hop, Skip and Jump — Charlie Gunn.
440-yard Dash — Miller, CofTeen, McLane, and Lewis.
Putting i6-lb. Shot — Armstrong, Fouts, and McMains.
Running Broad Jump — Behrensmeyer and Weedman.
120-yard Hurdles — Amos Clark, who afterwards held some
world records, and who remains in our athletic history as one of
our greatest athletes.
Half-mile Race — Forbes, Coffeen, Miller, and McCaskrin.
22 On the Banks of the Boneyard
On the night of Friday, May 13, 1892, in Adelphic Hall at the
University of Illinois, the Western Intercollegiate Athletic Associa-
tion came into being, and without question it was the forerunner of
the Big Ten of today.
Since this meeting of the delegates marks the beginning of an
historic period in western university athletics, I quote from the
mini the following account of its proceedings:
The delegates and friends came together in Adelphic Hall on Friday
evening, and were called to order promptly at 8:30 o'clock by Frank D.
Arms. Charles A. Kiler was made temporary chairman, and Mr. Dickie,
N. W. U., was made secretary. After briefly stating the object of the
meeting, the chairman called for the adoption of a constitution and
by-laws. Mr. Metcalfe offered the constitution and by-laws of the
Eastern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and these were adopted
with a few important changes. While this was being done, a nominating
committee, consisting of one delegate from each institution represented,
was apportioning the offices among the several colleges. They unani-
mously gave to this University the Presidency, and named Frank D.
Arms as the man to fill it — a just and fitting compliment to Mr. Arms
and the University. The other officers are to be apportioned by the as-
sociations of the colleges to whom the offices have been allotted thus:
Northwestern, vice-president; Purdue, secretary and treasurer; execu-
tive committee, Washington University; Rose Polytechnic; Iowa Col-
lege; and Illinois College. This last committee is to determine the place
for the next meeting. The report of the committee in charge of this
present meeting showed a deficit of $37.53, which was a remarkably
good showing considering the weather. Our local association will make
Many of the athletic events mentioned in this story have long
since been discarded; about half of the men active in forming an
Athletic Association more representative of western college athletics
than we had enjoyed before this time have passed away, but those
who are left will no doubt enjoy this reminder of the first step
toward better competition for our athletic teams.
We played our first baseball game with Michigan April 22, 1891 ;
it was a cold, rainy day and in the present age no game would have
been played. Michigan was a well-organized, up-to-date baseball
team. They had a professional coach, played first-class baseball, and
gave us a good trimming. They came again in the spring of '92
and our boys held them to a score of 6 to 5 ; as a matter of fact we
should have won the game, but again the weather was bad and
Illinois made too many errors, but we beat all other competitors in
/ Join a Literary Society 23
both '91 and '92, and were on our way to bigger and better things,
not alone for athletics, but for everything else as well.
In this school year of '9i-'92 another organization of importance
came into existence. Michigan had a daily newspaper — we had a
weekly. The fact that we were far behind the pace set at Ann Arbor
was not pleasant, and as editor of the Illini I corresponded with
Ralph Stone, editor of the Michigan Daily, about organizing a
Western College Press Association, feeling sure we could pick up a
lot of useful information about the conduct and management of a
college newspaper. Ralph Stone got behind this idea in a big way;
we had a meeting at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Chicago attended
by editors and business managers of practically all the western col-
lege papers, and the organization created then is still in existence.
The organization of the Western Intercollegiate Athletic Associa-
tion as well as the Western College Press Association came at a
period when we were striving for better things ; we were turning
toward closer relations with the larger western universities. We
commenced to feel that we could hold our own in competition with
any of them. As a matter of fact no one in authority had urged
us to be ambitious and to strive for bigger things. Up to the years
'9i-'92 we lacked a leadership to get us into competition with
institutions of our own calibre.
Most of us were boys and girls from the farms and small towns
of Illinois ; we looked like we had been born between two rows of
corn, and I fear we acted like it also. One of our college humorists
writing for a Bogus publication said: "When we dress for a party
we put bear's grease on our hair, peppermint on our handkerchiefs,
and 'taller' on our boots." The first man I ever saw wearing an
evening dress suit was Henry L. McCune '83 when he attended
the '92 Senior Ball ; the rest of us put on our "other" suit — I mean
the one we wore on Sundays. I had the idea that it was smart to
wear shoes a size too small for my feet ; instead of buying shoes to
fit, we "broke 'em in." Even some of our professors wore box-toed
boots too small for their ample feet and walked like they had corns ;
such a thing as a chiropodist was unheard of and feet were ruined
because of the Cinderella myth !
It is true that as seniors some of us stepped out and agreed to
wear stove-pipe hats, gates-ajar collars, Ascot ties, Prince Albert
coats with grey, striped trousers, and long, pointed-toed shoes too
24 On the Banks of the Boneyard
narrow for our feet. I still have that stove-pipe hat and I get it out
once in a while to amuse my young friends — I think I still have that
Ascot tie also. Most of the men wore mustaches, sideburns, and
other facial adornment. We got our hair cut once a month "in the
new of the moon" because it was said the moon would keep hair
from growing so fast. Picture a senior dressed in the uniform
described above, falling off the back end of a new electric street car
as it swung with great speed around the corner of Green and Good-
win streets in Urbana on a muddy Sunday morning in June of '92,
and you will have my perfect alibi for missing the Baccalaureate
sermon preached by Dr. Washington Gladden of Columbus, Ohio.
The Advent of Dr. Peahody and
Some Historic Class Fights
IhE name "Illinois Industrial University"
was a terrible mistake. It sounded like a court order was necessary
to get a student sentenced to a term in the institution ; parents with
incorrigible children wrote they would like to place them here so
they could be corrected of inherited traits. Both widows and wid-
owers left with children thought the Industrial University was
exactly the place for them, and there were preachers — God bless
their narrow souls — who called our institution a "hotbed of infidelity
and iniquity," notwithstanding the fact that each and every student
had to attend chapel exercises every morning at 9:45 whether he
wanted to or not. There was the celebrated case of Foster North
who refused to go to chapel and was thrown out of the University.
He took his case into the courts and lost it but later the University
offered to reinstate him only to be refused this courtesy.
I was born in Urbana just about the time the University was
opened for students. The driest summer on record came in 1871
and we had a big fire in Urbana in October at the same time of the
great Chicago fire. I insist that I can remember this fire, but my
family and friends insist that I can't. They admit with reluctance
that I was a very bright baby but say it simply can't be possible for
a two-year-old to remember anything. Of course they're wrong. In
connection with the Chicago fire, there is a fact of historical interest
in that it was the only time the University Regiment has been
called upon to serve the state of Illinois. E. N. Porterfield '72, a
member of the first class graduated, and the oldest living graduate
reports this incident as follows: "I think that the male students
were a part of the state militia at that time; I don't remember the
name of the man who taught us the manual of arms, but Colonel
Snyder was our commanding officer. Our uniforms were a cadet
grey with a coat fashioned like an infantryman's. We made a good
appearance on parade. In October, 187 1, six companies of us were
called to help guard Chicago during the great fire. One half of my
26 On the Banks of the Boneyard
company slept in the Burlington station, and the other half, to which
I belonged, was lucky enough to be quartered in a Presbyterian
church on 22nd street; we slept in luxury on the cushions in the
pews of the church, while our pals slept sitting on hard seats in the
railroad station, or lying on the still harder stone floor. We had
Enfield rifles with bayonets, and our business was to help guard
the city at night to prevent looting and the starting of more fires.
We slept during the day, and were on duty for one week when
General Sheridan came from Omaha with the regulars to relieve
us. It was quite an experience for us boys who were not far out
of the teen age — in fact I was only 19; I entered college in 1868 and
graduated in '72." As Mr. Porterfield is probably the only man
living who served in this incident, I am happy to present this first
hand report of the service the University Regiment rendered at the
Unrest and dissatisfaction developed among the students quite
early in the history of the University. I have already alluded to
trouble in Dr. Gregory's regime over student government and
fraternities, but with the first military rebellion in 1880 the student
body began to resent and fight against nonsensical restrictions. The
faculty passed a rule that no student should be eligible for a com-
mission as an officer in the regiment "unless he was conspicuous in
scholarship and gentlemanly bearing. He must have a unanimous
faculty vote, and appointments must not exceed five a year." This
ruling created such a disturbance among the students that it had
to be rescinded, but the trouble it created, plus all of his others —
added another weight of woe to Dr. Gregory. Farmers through
their organizations said they thought ours was to be their Univer-
sity ; engineers thought it was to be theirs ; the regent had added a
Domestic Science department — the first in the country; also had
started a class in calisthenics for the girls — again pioneering in a new
field; he was building up the department of Literature and Art also,
but the opposition of farmers, engineers, students, preachers, and
others was too much for him, and no one conversant with the facts
blamed Dr. Gregory for resigning.
Then we got for president, Dr. Selim H. Peabody, who had been
a professor of ph3'sics — and a very good one too. Most of his ex-
perience before coming to the University had been as a teacher and
high school superintendent ; also he was an editor for a short time.
The Advent of Dr. Peahody 27
and while Gregory was a dreamer of great dreams for the Univer-
sity, Peabody was a teacher in a narrow sense; with precise traits
of mind, a mathematician and a physicist, he boasted that he could
teach any subject already being taught by others in any department
in the University — an all-around educator, and not at all the type
of executive needed at this trying period of our history.
Instead of using his learning and fine traits of character in
quieting disturbances among the students, Dr. Peabody joined with
those of the faculty and trustees whose minds were like his, and
the result was one continual round of trouble. Starting in a minor
way, these troubles developed until they ended in the second military
rebellion which was his undoing. The story of this second military
rebellion is told in another chapter.
Up to a few years before I entered the University in the fall
of '88, the twin cities were lighted with kerosene street lamps, then
came gas, and finally electric arc lights. Students who could afford
to pay $5 a week for room and board lived a mile away from the
University in either Champaign or Urbana, while those who lived
for $3 a week or less stayed closer to the campus. There was a
bob-tailed horse car that took fares from Champaign to Urbana for
a dime, and half way, to the University, for a nickel. Only the
faculty and well-to-do students used the horse car, however, and
some of us walked the mile home for our mid-day meal. We thought
nothing of walking from Urbana to Champaign over a two-board
sidewalk where there was one, and over the terra firma where there
wasn't. The front wheels of bicycles stood nearly six feet high
with a little wheel about one foot high at the rear, but in my sopho-
more year Frank Arms and Zeke Aranda bought "safeties" much
like we have today. In the wintertime we carried our lunches to
school and the boys had a room assigned to them in which to eat,
which was some distance from the girls' room. It was good that
this was so, because there were battles in the boys' room wherein
I learned that a hard-boiled tgg is a deadly weapon when thrown
with accuracy from a short distance; likewise a piece of pie is a
messy thing when well directed. The walls of that lunchroom were
marked with food of all kinds that had missed its objective. Mind
you, I'm telling stories that happened in the late '8o's and the low
'90's — a lifetime before the movies and vaudevillians got to throwing
pies to make us laugh.
28 On the Banks of the Boneyard
Another item of interest which was an annual affair was that
of throwing the University cannon into the Boneyard ; why the Uni-
versity failed to watch its one and only antiquated cannon on Hal-
loween, I don't know. For at least a dozen years in succession this
stunt was pulled without opposition. Nothing could hurt that cannon
anyway, as it was beyond further damage ; of course it served its
purpose in the efforts of the militar)^ commandant to teach artillery
tactics. Sarcastic editorials and items in the Illini during my term
as editor must have helped to quell this boyish prank ; also that
other one of ancient vintage, viz. — stealing outhouses and loading
them on Illinois Central coal cars. Such pleasant pastimes died out
along with dueling and the funny antics of King Dodo.
Now I want to tell the stories of a few historic class fights ;
on the campus today as we approach the Illini Union Building from
the northwest are two elm trees with markers telling that they
were planted by '76 and 'yy, and at the southeast corner of the
Union stands an unusually beautiful elm which was moved and
placed at this point by the University. It represents the members
of the class of '81 who fought, bled, and died to keep that tree alive
and in the ground. The first tree they planted was "tarred and
feathered and ridden on a rail" like the fellow with the hard heart ;
another planting was dug up by underclassmen, and then the he-men
of '81 got organized, hid themselves in the bushes armed with shot-
guns, and the result is the unusually beautiful elm representing
their class today, henceforth, and forever. Amen !
I realize that this is another digression from my story which I
have tried to limit to the four years from '88 to '92, but in order to
account for later happenings among the students I want to give this
background. Please remember that the University provided no
means whereby the boys could "blow off steam;" the spirit of youth
and of mischief thus manifested itself in class fights, the first of
which centered around the planting of class trees. In order to get a
fair picture of this period in our history — for these fights con-
tinued up to President Draper's regime — I asked my good friend.
Judge Henry L. McCune '83, of Kansas City, to give me his recol-
lection of a typical tree fight. I knew he was an active participant
in one of the best of them, and this is what the judge said:
In those days it was the custom for a graduating class to plant a
tree on the University premises with appropriate ceremonies, with the
The Advent of Dr. Peahody 29
idea that the descendants of the members of the class would assemble
under the shade of the tree in future years and dwell on the lives and
achievements of their ancestors. It had also been the custom for mem-
bers of other classes to attempt to destroy this tree and thwart the
desire of those who planted the tree to leave such a testimonial. How-
ever, as I recall it, there was no malice about it, it was simply a test
of wits and vigilance.
At this point I am somewhat confused about the incident in question.
My recollection is that it was the class of 1882 (the senior class at that
time) which planted this tree, and it was my class of '83 which figured
somewhat in the events that happened. Perhaps you can straighten this
out. The senior class contained many men of valor and the under-
classmen had made no attempt to destroy the senior tree which had been
planted on the northwest corner of the campus near old University
Hall. It was a measly little sapling about an inch and a half in diameter,
but it was surrounded by large evergreen trees whose branches grew
close to the ground and afforded fine shelter for those who wished to
guard the tree from those who might have designs on it. In June of that
year, after the examinations had been completed, the Literary Societies
on a certain night were conducting their closing exercises and most of
the students were attending these meetings. Richard E. Dorsey and I,
instead of attending the Society meeting, went to Champaign. As we
walked home towards Urbana, it occurred to one of us that it would
be an auspicious time to pull up this class tree, because we assumed
that those who would ordinarily guard it were attending the Society
meeting. We went over and laid violent hand upon this tree, when
much to our surprise some husky seniors came tumbling out from under
the evergreen trees and began shooting at us. Moved by a common
instinct, we fled toward Champaign instead of going in the direction
of our homes. I was a pretty good runner and I think that fear gave
me extra speed, because they did not catch me, but Dorsey was not dis-
posed to unnecessary physical exertion, so he promptly fell on the
ground. When the seniors caught him, he asserted that he had been
wounded and could not go any farther. Upon further inquiry, he stated
that his shoes were full of blood and insisted they carry him home, about
five blocks, but upon examination they found neither blood nor wounds.
To shorten the narrative, Dorsey was called before the faculty, and
in some way my name was mentioned as being present. The hearing
which involved both of us terminated with a sentence of suspension from
the University. It did not seem to be such a serious thing, because
examinations were over, school had ended, it was time to go home for
vacation, and the order of suspension did not state for how long. But
Dorsey went home and never came back. I considered the matter during
the summer vacation, and so did my father, and decided that as there
was no length of time for which I was suspended, that I would just go
back to the University in the fall and see what happened. If I am right
30 On the Banks of the Boneyard
about my dates, this was in 1882 instead of 1881, and after I had been
elected editor-in-chief of the Illini and our brother William A. Heath
had been elected business manager. I returned to school in the fall,
said nothing about the suspension, took up my duties as editor of the
Illini and waited to see what would happen. Nothing happened and I
went on through my course and graduated after being chosen valedic-
torian of my class. Dorsey died after that, and only last week I was
introduced to a nephew of his who is now engaged in the coal business
in Kansas City.
The next day after the seniors had taken shots at Dorsey and myself,
our friends decided they were going to pull up that tree, as it seemed to
be getting to be a serious matter. At that time Harry Bringhurst and I,
together with two other boys, occupied a cottage in the yard of Mr. Burt,
who kept a boarding house for students. We took our meals in the
Burt house, but occupied this little cottage in the yard, where the four
of us lived. Burt had a son, Frank, who was in college part of the time,
but didn't work at it very hard. It was decided that Burt, Bringhurst,
and several other boys would make a raid on the tree that night. Dorsey
and I were to stay out of this expedition. Along toward midnight the
"army" assembled at our house, each man with a shotgun, and at the
appointed hour made a raid on the University grounds. Bringhurst with
his hatchet proceeded to chop down the tree and Frank Burt stood over
him with a shotgun to protect him. The seniors rolled out from under
the trees and there was a battle. Frank Burt received about 105 bird-
shots, but didn't flinch and stood his ground until Harry had chopped
down the tree, then they separated and started home. An examination
of Burt's corpus delicti showed that he was pretty well loaded with bird-
shot, for he had been hit both fore and aft. We didn't wish to call a
doctor, so we went to work on him with pen knives and as the shots
were not very deep, we extracted about a hundred, but we did not get
them all, and years afterward when Frank Burt was the head of the
Police Department at Wichita, he proudly exhibited several shots still in
his face, which were never extracted so far as I know. Harry Bring-
hurst afterward became City Marshal of Seattle. Harry loved a fire, and
I understand he was very efficient in putting one out.
As the only man who was incapacitated in this battle was Frank
Burt, and as he was not in college at that particular time, all of the men
who were involved were able to attend class the next morning, and I
do not know how much nor what details of the incident were made
public. I do not know that any account of the afifair has even been
put in writing, but as both Bringhurst and Burt are dead and the seniors
who slept under the trees and guarded the tree were not known by name,
I can see no harm at this time in giving you these facts.
Class fights may well be included among the social activities of
the students. What else was there for us to do? A volume could
be written on this phase of student life, for I'm telling you that
The Advent of Dr. Peabody 31
when, in my time, the Freshman class had its annual "Sociable," it
became the bounden duty of the Sophomores and Juniors, as well as
a few sporting Seniors, to gang up on the poor Frosh and spoil that
Sociable. Then when the Sophomores were about ready to put into
print their class annual. The Sophograph, demoniacal Freshmen,
conceited Juniors, and sporting Seniors united in stealing the ma-
terial, destroying plates, cartoons, and everything else that had been
prepared with such great care. Bogus Sophographs are now highly
prized possessions of those lucky enough to have them. Then came
the Junior Exhibition and boy, how we all landed on that affair.
When the Seniors got up on the platform to render their Senior
Orations, all the other classes joined in giving each and every one
of them a first-class ribbing. I have already told about the fight
that '81 put up to protect the sacred tree which they planted to im-
mortalize their class, and have stated that a book could be filled with
stories of historic class fights, but I think that a brief statement of
the experiences of my own class — the great class of '92, the 20th
class to be graduated, celebrating the four hundredth anniversary of
Columbus' discovery of America — should be enough to illustrate
this part of student activity.
Our Freshman Sociable was planned with great care and with
as much secrecy as possible, but of course it became known over the
campus that it was to be held on a certain October night at the
Columbian Hotel in Urbana. This party was quite an affair as we
were to sit down at a banquet, followed by toasts and speeches, and
then a dance. The other classes always made it a point to kidnap or
in some way put out of business those who were the speakers ; I
had been chosen toastmaster of the banquet and therefore knew I
was a marked man, so great caution was exercised in making my
plans. I was to take Miss Belle Van Vleck, who roomed at Gamble's,
which was on the spot where Faulkner's Drug Store now stands.
Remaining hidden from midafternoon until evening at my aunt's
home two blocks away from my girl's, I ventured forth at dusk
and when I got to University Avenue, looked east to where my girl
lived, I saw hostile heads sticking out from behind every tree in the
block ! This meant trouble in a big way, so I ran to the alley which
was unpaved and muddy, came to Gamble's back yard and found
a locked barn, a woodshed, and a hog pen covering the rear of that
property. Dressed in my best suit of clothes, with patent leather
32 On the Banks of the Boneyard
shoes too tight for my feet, I had no choice but to vault over the
fence into the hog pen. Of course I Ht on a sleeping hog who was
just as surprised as I was — but no dirtier than I became after rolling
over in that pen; picking myself up I performed another vault and
ran through a grape arbor, reaching the kitchen door just as Dick
Chester and Jerry Bouton came around the corner of the house
with murder in their eyes. Consternation is the word that describes
my sudden appearance in that kitchen; Mrs. Gamble dropped a
plate she was wiping, a colored woman screamed but had sense
enough to slam and lock the kitchen door and I was safe for the
time being. My girl appeared on the scene accompanied by two
seniors, Wesley Briggs, leader of the band in which I played, and
the late Professor N. A. Weston, editor of the Illini and holder of
the record in the hammer throw, which record stood unequalled for
half a century. Weston was six feet four in height, well built,
quite active, and a very handy man to have around at this crucial
moment. Besides being entirely able to take care of himself and
several other people in a fight, he was a mortal enemy of the two
boys who were laying for me.
All I could ask my friends to do was to help clean up my clothes
and to get my girl and me out to the waiting carriage; the hasty
scrubbing I got took off some of the hop-pen silt but by no means
removed the smell. Then Messrs. Briggs and Weston took their
senior canes which had leaden heads, and escorted Belle and me out
to the carriage. When the door to that vehicle was opened we were
shocked and surprised to find that the cushions had been saturated
with the potent and very efficient tear producer called "Eye Water,"
a product of the chemical laboratory that opens the tear ducts in the
eyes and causes weeping as well as distress. I have always blamed
John Chester for this stunt. He says his father, who owned the
carriage, also blamed him, but he swears he had nothing to do with
that dastardly crime. Well, the only means of transportation left
to Belle and me was to hoof it or take a street car. It was a two-
mile walk but we considered it seriously because we knew that any
street car we might take would be bombarded all the way to Urbana.
Briggs and Weston agreed that they would get us to the street car
at the Doane House but that was as far as they would go; we
reached the car all right because of the efficient body guards, and
rejoiced when we saw two friends on board, Mrs. Julian and Mrs,
The Advent of Dr. Peahody 33
Williamson, both from Urbana. These ladies had been to a church
dinner in Champaign and in their baskets had butcher knives which
had been freshly sharpened so they could be used to carve hams.
Flourishing these knives the ladies dared the ever-present Sopho-
mores to start something, which they promptly did, but instead of
coming in the car to be carved up like a ham, the boys threw more
of that terrible "Eye Water" into the car, most of which splashed on
Belle and me. The conductor on that bob-tailed mule car was a
he-man and he promptly socked Dick and Jerry on their jaws with
his terrible right and over they went, but they picked themselves
up and chased the car all the way to Urbana. At the halfway house
Billy Butler and Maggie Philbrick boarded the car, looking very
much like I had looked when I left the hog pen. Their carriage had
been saturated also, but they had stayed in it halfway to Urbana
when they had to give up ; getting out of the carriage Billy put up a
fight in which he came out second best. His new suit was a wreck,
his eyes were blacked, his head was bloody but unbowed, and he
was thirsting for another go at the Philistines who had fallen upon
him. When the car reached the hotel, Billy's friends were waiting
for him and it was easy to see that he had done much damage to
them. As we ran the gauntlet of Sophomores waiting for us, one of
Billy's friends turned a peck measure full of flour over his head.
I'll tell the world that those Sophomores were a playful bunch.
When we finally got in the hotel and were washed free of our
dirt, and the bruises had been treated with soothing balms, the
banquet was on, and a good time was had by all. But we eased our
tortured souls by laying plans for getting out a Bogus Sophograph
wherein we could tell the world what we thought of the class of '91,
and figured out ways and means for busting up the Junior Ex of the
class of '90.
Thus you see the vicious circle was kept alive and fostered
because of the very natural desire for vengeance. I still have a copy
of the Bogus Sophograph that a group of my friends published with
my aid as Editor. After writing stinging articles in which we painted
the class of '91 in their true colors, we put so much feeling into
our hymns of hate that we couldn't find a first-class printer who
would set up the type — but hate like love will always find a way,
and by stealthy raids on butcher shops and grocery stores we secured
paper enough to print one hundred copies, and a friend, who had a
printing press in his home, set up the type and printed our lurid
CL^SS OF '91.
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS.
• » >t ^ a*o >-t<*^
"/ift« apis potanda higoney
"Fools are our theme, let satire be our song."
. — ■ >! < •«<> » ■ !< - — •
laSUED BY SOPHOMOHE CLflSS U- o» I.
PRICE PER COPY FIVE CENTS - - - - SIX FOR A QUARTER.
DuHO "Hnx Oa» (Pwtrr.)
The Advent of Dr. Peahody 35
stories. Then with the stuff printed came the problem of getting it
bound. We went to Cecil Bacon's house, found an old faded calico
gown his sister would never miss, tore it into strips, punched holes
in the paper with an instrument used to make paper wads for the
muzzle loading shotguns of that day, bound our Bogus Sophographs,
and distributed half of them among student boarding houses. At
chapel exercises on that grand and glorious morning there was a
brisk demand for copies of our publication; we were offered nickels,
then dimes, then quarters, all of which we refused to accept, but
when the folks began to appreciate the value of our magazine and
offered a half a dollar for one, we released half of them and held
off for one dollar apiece for the rest. Opportunities such as that
come only once in a lifetime, so we made the most of it. Not con-
tent with the success of our Bogus, some of the boys raided the
room of the editor of the real Sopho graph and came away with all
of the stories, poems, articles, pictures, and what have you that
were to have graced the pages of that magazine. Vengeance on the
Juniors was never adequately secured because their "Ex" came too
soon after our fight against the Sophomores, and the Juniors had
been rather a friendly group anyway.
The following year, when the class of '93 was planning its Socia-
ble, our class asked permission to join them and, in our weak and
feeble way, to protect them against the depredations of the worst
bunch of goons that ever attended Illinois — that wild andwooly bunch
in '91. Sometimes I think our altruistic efforts were a mistake, for
whenever '92 planned a party those trouble makers in '91 commenced
to see red. We heard they intended to destroy our joint party, so
'93 agreed with us that it would be wise to have our party in Dan-
ville. Arrangements were made to have the dinner at the Aetna
House and the dance in a near-by hall, but the best laid plans of
all the geniuses in our two classes failed to have the police, the
sheriff's office, and the state militia ordered out to guard us. We
had thought of everything but calling on the majesty of the law. Our
banquet was peaceful, the toasts were largely boasts of how we had
put it over on '91, but when we adjourned to the dance hall where
we had expected to find an orchestra composed of men, women, and
children waiting to lead us into entrancing movements of the dance,
we found something worse than the hounds of Baskerville ; that
rowdy bunch of 'giers had got into the hall ahead of us and filled
36 On the Banks of the Boneyard
it with "Eye Water" and not content with this criminal and un-
christian act, they had dug down to the gas mains, attached hoses
to them, and had blown the gas back toward the gas house, so there
were no lights at all in buildings lighted by this means. The combi-
nation dancing party of '92 and '93 developed into a condemnation
party in which we really turned our best invective upon that ornery
bunch in '91. The trip back to Champaign was interesting and in-
structive because plans were laid to get even in a big way when '91
had its Junior Ex, and the story of our combined Sociable in Dan-
ville was thus immortalized by the class poet of '93:
And the stories weird and wonderful,
That circulated freely everywhere
Of Freshman matinee and other things
Besieged the ears of willing listeners.
The Senior gay, the Junior, and the prep
All took great interest in our behalf.
Each had suggestions wise to ofifer us,
All free of charge. The schemes and plans put on foot
To capture and detain some boys and girls
Failed signally for want of good support.
Our preparations were completed when
The Sophs most humbly asked to join our feast.
This wish evinced a judgment rare as wise.
And forthwith all was planned to have it so.
With '92 and '93 combined
We did not fear the stratagem of foes.
To Danville, on a river called Vermilion
Some thirty miles away, we made a trip
And put up at a second-rate hotel.
We danced and sang and played at wicked games
Until the host appeared and led the way
Into a banquet hall ablaze with light.
Seated in groups around the festive board
We ate and drank and listened to the toasts
By Hewitt, Carrick, and yet fairer names.
When appetite was more than satisfied
Some went to trip the light fantastic toe,
While others not so skilled were left behind
To pass away the time with other sports.
The merriment had only just begun
When friendly Juniors quietly stole in
And threw some chemicals upon the stairs.
The Advent of Dr. Peabody 37
But little thought or care was given to this
For it did not disturb at all our fun.
And merry were the moments as they flew,
Until the well known "All Aboard" was played.
We reached the station in Champaign in time
To see the sun break out upon the morn.
I don't remember who this poet was, but he certainly made light
of the depredations of '91, and refused to acknowledge that they
accomplished anything by all the efforts put forth in Danville. This
is the only time I have ever heard the class of '91 referred to by
anyone of that period as "friendly." Efficient, active, able, devilish,
victorious, all of these words — and some which we can not print
might be used, but never "friendly."
You see I have never claimed superiority for my class over '91 ;
the best we can claim is a draw. It is little wonder to me that '91 is
still one of the best organized classes and one of the groups that
has attained individual success throughout the years since gradua-
tion. Among them are some of my best friends of today — men and
women whom I hold in high esteem.
One of our best campaigners suggested that we lay low, find
out the names of all of the enemy who would be on the program,
kidnap them, and lock them up in the cold and dreary stalls at the
Fairgrounds, which at that time was located in the University
The north end of these grounds was John Street, the south
boundary was Armory Avenue, the west. First Street, and the east
end was Fourth Street. Except for the Fair which was held each
year in August, these grounds were idle. The horse stalls were cold
and dreary, and we chortled with glee as we visualized John and
Dick Chester, John Powell, and Tommy Haworth, Jay Harris,
Charlie Vail, and all the others concerning whom we were just then
singing our hymns of hate, locked up in these dirty and frigid
horse stalls, while their relatives and friends waited in vain for
them to appear on the chapel platform and do their stufif. But
that class of '91 always was the luckiest bunch of bruisers ever
assembled, and I will leave you to decide who came out ahead in
the fight that eventuated.
I was assigned to the committee whose job it was to capture
Tommy Haworth, the class orator. With me were Robert Forbes
38 Oh the Banks of the Boneyard
and George Pasfield. Tommy roomed on Fourth Street between
University Avenue and Clark Street. There w^ere no pavements in
those far-off days, but nevertheless we hired a carriage in which
to convey him to the Fairgrounds after the capture; Tommy was
a short stocky man, a good orator, and we thought a committee of
three Sophomores full of venomous hate should be able to handle
him easily. Going up a narrow stairway to Tommy's room we
encountered his roommate, John Christie, who was a classmate of
ours, and we hurried him downstairs. Stepping into Tommy's
room we advised him to put on his coat and hat and come along
peacefully. He could see that we meant business and that we out-
numbered him three to one. But what did that little tomcat do but
pick up a heavy soap dish and fire it at my head ; a fortunate duck
saved my head and maybe my life, for Tommy had put all of his
heart and soul into that heave, and when I ducked it struck Robert
Forbes on his manly chest. Being strong and husky all he did was
to grunt and to go after Tommy; but Tommy had other ideas —
he raised a window and jumped out of the second story of that
house. Landing on the frozen earth he ran east toward the East
Side schoolhouse very much to the glee of the children ; they
stopped playing and yelled, "Hey, a scrap; a scrap." Forbes over-
took Tommy and brought him down with a flying tackle ; he was
yelling for help and when Pasfield put his gloved hand over
Tommy's mouth, that worthy young orator bit him ; I got several
kicks on the shins, Forbes had been hit in the chest with a heavy
soap dish, and when our carriage came bumping over the unpaved
and frozen ruts we found that all the neighbors who had come out to
see the fight were on Tommy's side. It was just after the noon
meal had been served and one lady, with a desire to help the
underdog, threw a dish pan of hot water on us. The crowd increased
to alarming proportions, and our committee decided to seize the
opportunity to escape — that is, if Tommy would let us go. I still
think some good little man like Tommy Haworth will lick Joe Louis
and become the champion of the world. He went back to his room,
changed his clothes, then went over to his Junior Ex and his
John Powell was another star number on that program and a
committee called on him, clothed his wrists with a pair of handcuffs,
and was taking him to the Fairgrounds when Lieutenant Hoppin,
The Advent of Dr. Peahody 39
Commandant of the Battalion, came along accompanied by a student
captain and a citizen with a ball bat, so another committee was
A street car was thrown off the track and ten people hurt; as
I remember that accident cost Helen Butterfield a broken leg. Well,
our efforts to lock up the people on the Junior Ex program went
wrong, but the benzyl bromide which was taken into the chapel in
small glass vials tied against the heels of our shoes, gave the per-
formers as well as the audience something to think about. Our poet
tells the story in classic words and I think it worthy of reproduction.
Writing in blank verse our '92 poet gives a graphic recital of all
the woes we had suffered from the boisterous brethren of '91, the
last indignity being the theft of the material for our Sophograph,
the class annual. Telling of the quiet search we had conducted with-
out avail, he thus discourses:
But at length the class found that an insult had been put upon them,
That their papers were gone — hooked by an unprincipled supe of the
And that class had approved of the act, then sternly prepared we for
Not in haste did we rush, but calmly, with premeditation and forethought
We turned to our task and prepared for the conflict,
Just as a knight of the ring when proffered an insult or challenge
Pauses to glare at his foe with grim and indignant demeanor
Then slowly with blood in his eye, removes from his person the
And eyeing his prey with a scowl, rolls stealthily upwards his wristbands,
Lays naked his brawny neck and wades fiercely into the conflict.
So went the Sophs to war, with coolness and sternness of purpose.
Paused to size up '91, to get on to their fears and their weakness,
To remove all scruples, all love, all feelings of kinship and friendship
All but a thirst for revenge and a vow to demolish the Juniors;
Then got we to work with a will. Some raided the lab after midnight
And made from the spoils of their raid an abundance of good
While a guard of stout fellows without, lay waiting to waylay the
The others in organized squads, and each squad with a trustworthy
A hack, and some bracelets of steel, lay low for the jubilant Junior.
Who as yet unsuspicious of ill, their opponents continued to torment
With questions regarding their loss; while the Sophs, who were
robbed of their papers,
40 On the Banks of the Boncyard
Though outwardly smiling and gay, their hearts glowed as fiercely
As fires deeply set in the earth, melt the foundations of mountains,
Where under a landscape all smiles, lurk earthquakes and dire desolation
So smoldered the hate of the Soph, concealed by a smiling exterior;
But the Junior went ignorantly on unconscious of coming disaster,
While the Sophomore gritted his teeth and waited impatiently for Friday,
Held mystical meetings at night and darkly discussed many projects
For kidnapping Juniors by stealth or by force, for blacking their eyes
and their faces;
For hiring some fellow to faint and panic create in the chapel.
While scouts coming constantly in and spies from the camp of the
And Juniors who sold their birthright for a mess of Sophomore pottage,
All kept us informed of the plans, the fears, and the hopes of their
Ah truly, there's honor among thieves if we with the Juniors compare
At length in the heat of the fight came a pamphlet, a tan-colored Bogus;
The Juniors bought copies in haste and read nearly halfway through
Before they learned they had been sold, too, as well as the Bogus,
While the Sophomores smiled a sweet smile and continued collecting the
Oh the Junior looked sad, from his face the smile of security faded,
A look of uneasiness sat on his pallid and woe-begone visage.
"Now why did we not hurry up and publish our Bogus before them?"
While fear at his heart knocked harsh like the night-born raven
Which scared Mr. Poe in the dark with its weirdly spoke prophecy
Alas, nevermore now can you get ahead of the Sophomores; never.
Without the consent of the Sophs can you venture to the exhibition.
For behold they are organized well and grimly the morrow are waiting,
They wait but the morrow to rise in their might and demolish the Juniors.
Then the faculty took us in hand and they gave us abundance of taffy.
Inviting us all to march in and fill the front seats in the chapel.
"Oh yes," we replied, ''we'll be there, we will all march together to chapel
And if some of the Juniors should dare to quote from those papers
We'll storm the stage where they sit and wipe up the floor with their
We'll mix them so well with the mud that you'll have to collect them on
As diatoms sometimes are caught by filtering the slime of the Boneyard."
The Advent of Dr. Peabody 41
At length with the dawning of day came the anxiously awaited
In fact it was come before dawn, for tomorrow gets up rather early.
They dragged along until noon but with noon came the terrible tidings
That a gang of stout Sophs had been seen on a road leading out of the
With a star of the Juniors in tow or more correctly in handcuffs,
Who nobly battled in vain as the gang made tall time for the timber.
The poem continues with stories already told of the release from
capture of the Juniors, and of the overturning of the street car, and
of the Sophs and the people marching into the chapel while we all
suffered from the fumes of the "Eye Water." The poem describes
the devastation created by the fumes and telling of the laughter
caused by the venerable old gentleman in the front row who took off
his overcoat and placed it over a register thinking that was where the
fumes were coming from. It finally ends in despair, expressing the
fear that the day would never come when Sophomores and Juniors
could ever live together in peace. This fear is happily passed; we
may yet live to see the day when even the savages of Europe will find
a way to live in peace. God hasten such a day !
Escapades, the Faculty, and Progress
Under Dr. Burrill
.NOTHER dress reform movement for
women got under way about 1890. One of the leaders was Mae
Wright Sewall of Indianapohs, a well-known writer and lecturer of
that period. She was invited to talk to the young women at the
University of Illinois on the evils of their styles in dresses, and
talked so convincingly about the horrors of the corset, the tight-
waisted dresses, the high heels on shoes, the heavy hats, the big
sleeves, etc., that the girls agreed with her that they would be
deformed for life unless they adopted the uniform she recom-
mended. This consisted of no hat at all, no corset, nor any other
tight fitting garment, and a loose sailor suit of heavy material, with
low-heel shoes. Now those among us who can remember the days
of the big picture hats pinned on to a huge bunch of hair, the high-
neck dresses fitted over wasp-like waists, the long skirts that trailed
in the dust of the unpaved streets, the bustles, and the high shoes
laced up above the ankles, will agree that the uniform suggested by
Mrs. Sewall was a decided contrast. It was so different that it was
funny, and one of our band boys by the name of Arnold Beuthein,
whose sense of humor was overdeveloped, discovered thirty-five or
forty girls hiding back of the bookstacks in the Library, all dressed
alike in the sailor uniform. These girls were waiting to march into
chapel in a body, as no one of them had the nerve to appear
alone. Arnold rushed down to the band, which was about to play
the march for the parade into the chapel, told the band boys about
his discovery, and suggested that the dress reform costume was
such as to cause a sickening feeling something like one has when he
faints. When the girls appeared at the door every man in the band
dropped his instrument and fainted. George HufT kicked his bass
drum across the platform, with the cymbals clanking at every turn,
and the girls marched in with the eyes of the student body and the
faculty focussed upon them.
Were they mad? I'll say they were, and they took their venge-
ance out on a perfectly innocent member of the band ; a young man
who was not smart enough to think up an incident of this kind in
such short order.
That dress reform movement lasted exactly one-half day. The
girls all went home at noon and came back dressed like the women
of the period — entirely willing to risk all the damage which Mrs.
Mae Wright Sewall had predicted would follow such dressing. But
the seeds sown by Mrs. Sewall and other reformers of that day have
borne fruit, and women are today dressed far more sensibly— in fact
they have progressed much farther toward common sense in clothing
than the men.
This story is being typed in a temperature of ninety-five degrees,
Fahrenheit ; I see girls going by with bare legs, no stockings or
socks of any kind ; very short skirts or no skirts at all ; above the
shorts are loose fitting waists cut very low in the neck. The girls
aren't abashed at showing large bare portions of their anatomy, and
why should they be? Mae Wright Sewall dreamed of comfortable
health-giving clothes for women, and I wish she could have lived
to see the lovely girls of today who dress for comfort in hot weather.
She might tremble to see these same girls with toeless slippers and
bare legs in the wintertime, but she could take comfort in the
thought that they wear fur coats !
When I left Urbana to become a book agent in the last week of
May of 1889, a committee of students had just been refused the
privilege of dedicating the new Armory, now the Gym Annex, with
a dancing party. This refusal was a great disappointment because
the new Armory was one of the very first large buildings in the
country to be constructed without any columns supporting the roof.
Professor N. C. Ricker of the Department of Architecture had
designed a roof supported with steel girders such as are used to
support suspension bridges, and it was an ideal place for a dance.
The same answer had been given to this request that was handed
out to other requests for dances on University property: "There
is an unwritten law in Illinois that there shall be no dancing on State
property." That answer was always most unfortunate because the
students knew very well that it wasn't true ; a number of students
had been to assembly balls in the state house at Springfield, as well
as in the big state armory, also in Springfield. Of course in '89 we
must all remember that many people still thought it very wicked
to dance or play cards, and there were faculty men as well as
trustees of the University who still felt that way, but the students
44 On the Banks of the Boneyard
thought it would be much more honorable to say that a refusal to
a petition for a dance was based on this prejudice rather than on an
excuse which had no foundation in fact. Every time we were denied
a dance on the grounds that "There is an unwritten law" we got sore
because we knew this statement to be a fabrication, and we resented
being treated as children. The students who were remaining over
for Commencement quietly went ahead with preparations to give the
new Armory a proper dedication ; lumber yards were visited at
night and ramps were made from the loot, so that an open window
let the orchestra and the dancers into the building. It was then dis-
covered that the electricity was not yet hitched on to the city power ;
did this deter the belles of the ball? It did not because empty beer
bottles with candles in them placed around window ledges furnished
plenty of light. Like Napoleon's soldiers at Waterloo the students
sang, "On with the dance, let joy be unconfined; likewise to hell
with the faculty and trustees who don't believe in dancing." I
wasn't there to see the tragic end of this dance, but eye witnesses
furnished graphic descriptions. Along about midnight when the joy
was just getting a good start at being unconfined, the big and heavy
east doors to the Armory were swung open and in walked Dr.
Peabody! Great guns and Jehosaphat; his entrance was entirely
unexpected by the dancers, but some students with more foresight
than the rest had anticipated such an eventuality, and had stationed
themselves in a dark corner near the big door with a fire hose, had
already arranged for fire pressure, and I regret to report turned a
powerful stream of water on poor Dr. Peabody, hitting him amid-
ship and washing him out of the building. Eager hands reached for
the beer bottles, strong lungs blew out the candles, and the merry
dancers faded away in the dark singing "P-e-a-b-o-d-y, Peabody is his
name." When the University opened the following September two well-
known students failed to return to their scholastic duties at Illinois.
Thus was the Armory dedicated according to plan !
If this outburst of animosity had ended with the dance and the
desecration of Dr. Peabody 's sterling figure, it would have been
tragic enough, but I have said many times that there were goons
and ruffians in our University, and on June ii, 1889, there appeared
on the campus a Bogus Program, nauseating in character, editorially
anonymous, insulting and degrading in description of those whose
characters it sought to ruin. Time softens the contempt right-
minded students had for the perpetrators of this outrage, but thank
God I don't know their names. Justice demands we remember that
in 1889 the people of Champaign-Urbana meant to be fair-minded
but, of course, judged by present standards, their views were nar-
row. Suspicions were easily aroused and false impressions obtained
from seeing a man and a woman enjoying each other's company
in a buggy ride, dinner in a public place, or attendance at theaters,
concerts, or what not. If a man and a woman were often seen
together and didn't get married, they most certainly got talked about,
but I can't account for the character assassinations projected in this
Bogus Program. The front page of the program is its mildest part
and is all I dare publish:
A NEW FARRAGO:
FEMALE MASTODON MINSTREL SHOW
EXISTING AT OUR UNIVERSITY
FACULTY ADMIRATION COMPANY
June II, 1889
46 On the Banks of the Boneyard
I suffered as much from the narrow and backward viewpoints
of some of the faculty and Board of Trustees as any other student,
was as much aroused by their lack of understanding of young
people as anyone else, joined in the movement that brought relief
to our tortured souls, but I was never in any movement tending to
degrade those engaged in it, and through all the years of more
than the half century that has passed since these untoward events
happened, have never found myself able to condone or forgive the
perpetrators of such filth as described above.
Another phase of student activity, coming largely because the
boys had nothing to do but study and recite and eat pie in between
these two jobs, was the Color Rush. There were no coke-and-smoke
joints in our day; the most popular place to meet and discuss our
grievances was where we could find the best raisin pie. After one
of these pie orgies in October of '91, a Freshman by the name of
Eddie Quinn had the nerve to walk into the University Library
with his class colors pinned on his coat. Eddie was a red-headed
Irishman who never ran away from a fight, and in this case it looked
like he was out hunting for one. I was there but have never been
able to understand why there were so many Freshmen in the Library
at that moment unless Eddie had asked them to be there ; Sopho-
mores upset their chairs in the haste with which they jumped up and
started for Eddie and his Freshman colors. A much beloved pro-
fessor tried to shoo the boys out of the sacred confines of the
Library, and while he succeeded because of able assistance, his per-
son was badly damaged and his clothing torn to shreds. As the
crowd pushed through the west doorway of the Library, Rob Burn-
ham was knocked down the stairway. By some manner of means the
fight got down to the floor below where the fighters were wedged in
so tight that our great and good friend George Huff was pushed
up on top of the heads of those jammed in about him. George was
another man who never ran away from a fight, and finding himself
up in the air he grabbed the chandelier just above him, and when it
broke up close to the ceiling all of George's two hundred and fifty
pounds plus the chandelier landed on the heads of those below him.
Gas was pouring from the open pipe, and I can still see dear old
Janitor Baker whittling a plug with which to stop the flow of gas.
The color rush stopped, broken heads were held under cold water
faucets, clothing was made as presentable as possible, a number of
promising young men got fired, and went right out into the cruel
world to become distinct successes in business and professional life.
Thus endeth the first color rush at Illinois. Resquicat im pace.
There were twenty-seven men and three ladies on the faculty.
I have a picture in front of me and there are but two of the men
who have clean-shaven faces ; the others have full beards, sideburns,
mustaches, and all sorts of facial adornment. We had not yet
emerged from the whisker era; in fact it hung on for another ten
years or more. If you want to get a sure laugh just throw a picture
of a man of the '8o's or '90's on the screen today. I was told that
the best mustachios grew on upper lips that had never been shaved
and of course I wanted one of the best, so I let 'er grow for years
without even trimming the darn thing. Mustache cups were in
common use on dining tables just as shaving mugs adorned the racks
in the barber shops. We men were "things of beauty," but I won't
use the rest of that quotation for I can't see how anyone can call a
full beard " a joy forever."
Among the members of the faculty brought on by Dr. Peabody
was the Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, James H. Brownlee.
Born in Kansas, he had served in a Kansas regiment, fighting
guerillas for the term of his service in the Civil War. Well over
six feet tall, always clad in a Prince Albert coat and box-toed
boots. Professor Brownlee was a commanding figure who put over
his lessons in a big way. His students agree that Brownlee was a
great teacher, and when asked for the source of a quotation, or
where to find a certain poem or story, his answer was quick and
correct. George Huff was one of Brownlee's favorite students, not
because of any ability as a writer of English in themes of any
character, but because the professor recognized he was teaching a
personality. Problems in chemistry and mathematics were easy for
George, but when it came to writing an oration he was sunk and
besides he was too busy. Once when Professor Brownlee gave us
an assignment to hand in original orations, George hired Mickey
Quinn to write one for him for a fee of one dollar. When the ora-
tion was finished Mickey collected his fee and George handed in
the oration without reading it. The next time the class met, the
Professor said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud and happy to
announce that we have a genius among us. Never have I had the
pleasure of reading a more eloquent oration than one that was
48 On the Banks of the Boneyard
handed to me at our last meeting. It shows genius in its conception,
a great knowledge of English in the choice of words, and as a
matter of fact it is an inspired oration." As the Professor spoke
George Huff was slumping lower and lower in his seat and Mickey
Quinn was edging closer and closer to the door. Then the Professor
rose to his full height and with great elocutionary effect read
Webster's reply to Hayne — one of the oratorical masterpieces.
When the class was dismissed Mickey went downstairs three steps
at a time with George right after him ; Mickey missed classes for a
few days after this episode.
Another member of the faculty with a striking personality was
Col. Edward Snyder, Professor of German. Like Brownlee, he was
a tall, well-built man with a distinct military bearing; brusque and
businesslike in manner and with a decided guttural remnant of his
native German in his speech. He had served in the Civil War, had
been Commandant of the University Regiment, and was in every
way an outstanding personality; but he was kindly and sympathetic
with students. He made loans to students who would otherwise have
had to leave school in their senior years and, together with his wife,
left his comfortable fortune to the University when he died. One of
my classmates and best friends, Frank G. Carnahan, had a terrible
time getting interested enough in the German language to pay
any attention toward mastering it. At the very beginning of our
Freshman year, Frank was asked to pronounce the simple sentence,
*Tch habe nicht." He had been too busy with other things to study
his lesson, and had paid no attention to pronunciation and this is
what he said: "Itch habby nitscht." Professor Snyder grabbed his
head and groaned: "My God, my God!"
Dr. Burrill was one of the most famous scientists of his time,
but you would have to learn this fact from an outside source ; modest
and unassuming he was always looking for new fields to conquer in
his studies of the diseases of plants and trees. Like most of the
rest of our faculty, he wore a beard with which he let nature take
its course. He never took the street car when he went to Urbana
or Champaign and, when I was fortunate enough to walk with
him, wore me down with his speed. I took a course in Microscopy
under Burrill just to listen to the words of wisdom he would give
in his lectures ; but of course I acquired a lot of information about
the use of the microscope, the preparation of slides, and how to slice
off thin sections of whatever I wanted to examine.
Burrill had been a soldier in the Civil War, and though he dis-
claimed any knowledge of current events, proved that he knew more
than most anyone else when he became acting president of the
University. His funeral oration over the body of Senator M, W.
Mathews was a classic ; sometimes he talked for an hour after his
speech was through; at such times it might be said he lacked
terminal facilities. I remember one hot day in June at one of the
first alumni dinners — perhaps the very first — Dr. Burrill consumed
two hours responding to the toast "Our University." He was fol-
lowed by the aged and crippled Professor Taft, Lorado's father, who
rose and said: "Ladies and Gentlemen, I won't detain you long
owing to what might be called the inclemency of the weather. When
I was a schoolboy in a class in public speaking, I was taught these
three rules for public speaking: first, have something to say;
second, say it so you can be heard; third, when you get through,
sit down!" He glared at Dr. Burrill, said "I thank you," and sat
I took a course in Animal Husbandry under Professor Morrow
because he was such a kindly and gifted man. He would always
apologize when he used big or Latin words: "I much prefer to
use the common terms, and I didn't invent these big words." My
course was Literature and Science but I stepped out of it quite a
ways; I can still tell a Poland China hog from a Berkshire, a
Clydesdale from a Belgian horse, and a Shropshire from a Ram-
boullet sheep, and believe it or not, I can tell a Hereford from a
Jersey cow. Professor Morrow's name goes into history as the man
who established the Morrow Plots — the world's oldest experimental
field in soil fertilization. The north end of this tract of land has
never been fertilized and now produces about sixteen bushels of
nubbins of corn a year, while the south end, fertilized scientifically,
produces close to ninety bushels. In between these two extremes
are plots representing what can be obtained from various types of
fertilization — from the careless farmer to the very best. The British
economist, Stead, figured that the Morrow Plot is the most valuable
tract of land in the world. When the north end of that plot, which
is never fertilized except by fallen corn stocks, is denuded of its
humus, we will know how long it takes to reduce fertile black soil to
sand, and then maybe some scientist will prove that the great deserts
were once fertile lands.
50 On the Banks of the Boneyard
Professor S. W. Shattuck, Colonel of a Massachusetts regiment
in the Civil War, business agent of the University, a quiet, dignified
professor of mathematics, was another outstanding personality on
our faculty. If he ever had a student w^ho was dumber in mathe-
matics than yours truly, he was too polite to admit it, but I could
commit the formulas to memory if I couldn't apply them, and Pro-
fessor Shattuck passed me in the exams because he said he was sure
I tried, which proves that he had an understanding mind.
In architecture we had Professor N. Clifford Ricker, one of
our own graduates of the early '70's. If I were looking for a model
of a typical bookworm, Professor Ricker would be it. He read books
on his way to and from the University. His text book, "History
of Architecture," is still used around the world. He had very little
to say, was liked by all of his students, and built up an extensive
library for the Department of Architecture, to which he contributed
translations of some fifty volumes of important foreign books on
I also studied chemistry way beyond what was required in my
course; the man who was head of the department in my first year
was a nonentity whose name I have forgotten, but I remember
Bedros Tartarian, a good teacher and a fine man. Then came Pro-
fessor Palmer who was a noted chemist and a hard worker.
I studied physics under Professor S. W. Stratton, one of our
own alumni. He was a great physicist and a successful teacher.
From here he went to Chicago University, then to Washington as
head of the Bureau of Standards, then to Massachusetts Institute
of Technology as President.
Peter Roos, head of the Art Department, had a sense of humor,
and I enjoyed a year's work with him.
Nathaniel Butler of the English Department was a doctor of
divinity as well as a student of English. Learned in Greek and
Latin and I think also in Hebrew, he was a scholarly gentleman who
left us to go to Chicago University when it opened for the second
time. He made the study of Old English and the classics a
pleasure and it was a shame to let him get away from us.
Professor James D. Crawford was always interesting in history;
he had been an athlete in his college days and helped in the organi-
zation of athletics here at Illinois, and in the formation of the
Western Collegiate Athletic Association. He was also Librarian for
a number of years. I enjoyed working with "Jimmie" Crawford
and think he possessed a good understanding of student problems.
I had Professor Rolfe in geology and physiology. Our faculty
had to work to earn their small salaries in the '8o's and '90's and
Rolfe was far from lazy. There was no such thing as sabbatical
leaves of absence and Professor Rolfe expected work from his
students and got it. I regret very much that I had no work under
Dr. Stephen A. Forbes or Professor Arthur N. Talbot; both were
great men, loved by their students, inspired teachers, and ranked
among our all-time great faculty men. Teachers of their calibre
don't come along more than once in a lifetime.
Altogether, it can be said that the faculty in my time was a most
excellent one. We had good teachers, great men pioneering in
research and securing results of tremendous importance with
equipment not always of the best.
Most of our faculty had the love and respect of the student body,
but somehow or other Regent Peabody failed to win the confidence
of the students. Personally I got along well with him and regretted
very much the indignities some of the students displayed toward
him. There was very little fun in our drab lives, and no place at
all to work out either the surplus enthusiasm of youth or the grow-
ing animosities of those who didn't like the regent.
Here are the words of a song expressing a sentiment altogether
too prevalent in those days:
There is an old doctor who lives in this town,
Peabody is his name.
He owns a few boys whom he likes to keep down,
Peabody is his name.
Peabody, Peabody, Peabody,
Peabody is his name.
As I have said before, unwise and even foolish restrictions were
placed on the student body. If the regent and the faculty didn't
believe in dancing or card playing, they might at least have remem-
bered that there was a decided difference of opinion about such
entertainment, and might have given the students the benefit of this
Of course we could have dances in down-town halls, but to give
as a reason for refusal to allow dancing on University property the
statement, "There is an unwritten law in Illinois prohibiting dancing
52 On the Banks of the Boneyard
on State property," was going too far — and besides it was entirely
untrue. There were students who Hved in Springfield who had
danced on state property, so we knew someone was ribbing us.
I remember a visit paid to the University by a group of girls
from the Illinois Female Seminary of Jacksonville, an institution
sponsored by the Methodist church, and one of the girls thought
it was a shame we couldn't have a dance; now I ask j'-ou if it would
be courteous to disappoint a group of good-looking girls ; of course
it wouldn't, so we took them up to the Adelphic Literary Society
Hall, cleared out a floor space, wheeled a piano into the clearing,
and were having a grand time dancing the waltz, schottisch, polka,
etc., when the door opened and in walked Professor I. O. Baker
on his way up into the tower to wind the clock ! To say that the
professor was properly shocked is putting it very mild, but he
wasn't feeling any worse at that terrible moment than were the boys
who could be punished for this monstrous violation of the rules.
The dance stopped ; we all ran down those long steps and out into
God's sunshine feeling guilty of having committed an awful crime.
The girls went back to the Illinois Female College thinking surely
they would be punished, while we boys braced ourselves to face
whatever chastisement the authorities might give us. They weren't
so bad as we thought they would be because we appealed to the
gallantry of the faculty committee that heard our story; I think
we were warned never to do such a heinous thing again, and of
course we promised to be good !
But the straw that broke the camel's back, or maybe I'd better
say that the straws which added up broke the camel's back, came
when Billie Miller '92 was reduced from first lieutenant to a place
as private in his military company, for failure to maintain an aver-
age eighty-five per cent in five studies. This incident led to a riot
that upset the old order and was the real start toward making our
alma mater a great University. It is therefore fitting that it be
given a place in University history. There was a rule which read
that no man could hold a military commission if his grades fell
below eighty-five per cent in five studies, but this rule had never
been enforced and when Billie was made the victim of a rule that
heretofore had been regarded as obsolete, the entire class in military
science went on a strike in which most of the student body joined.
The humiliation of Billie Miller was so manifestly unjust, and
coming as it did on top of many other unfortunate events, it is
easy to see why the student body and most citizens of the community
rose up and joined the strikers. An indignation meeting was called
and Swannell's hall was filled to overflowing with an irate bunch of
people. An indictment had been prepared by a rising young lawyer
who disliked Regent Peabody, and it is a fact that the student
leaders of the strike were not in favor of putting our complaints
in this form, but we were awed and overwhelmed by the force and
learning of this young lawyer and meekly submitted to the legal
phraseology" — the "saids and aforesaids" which were distasteful but
despite them I must admit that our complaints were all properly
outlined, however the effect of the document was somewhat damp-
ened by a clause charging Regent Peabody "with the grossest kind
of impartiality." After the indictment had been read, a number of
fiery speeches were made and it was unanimously agreed that we
should present to the trustees of the University, our long list of
complaints against Dr. Peabody and the faculty.
In the meantime it must be mentioned that a law had been passed
by the state legislature calling for the election of trustees by a vote
of the people, and as a number of alumni had been elected, we were
assured of an understanding and sympathetic board. Another straw
blown our way toward more liberality for students, was the famous
decision of the Indiana supreme court permitting the return of
fraternities to Purdue University. This helped us because the
troubles at Purdue paralleled those at Illinois.
The trustees gave us an early hearing and the students and
military class were represented by Charles H. "Whiskers" Shamel
and myself. Shamel and I were naturally very nervous, but so was
Dr. Peabody. The regent admitted all of our allegations, and made
much of the charge that he was "guilty of the grossest kind of im-
partiality ;" since our charges were admitted by the regent, we
rested our case without argument and when the trustees rendered
their unique decision, we felt sure there was nothing to worry about.
The trustees decided that everything was all right; the regent and
faculty were all right, and the students were all right, but they
restored Billie Miller's commission, which was most reassuring.
Now comes the story of events that invariably accompany a
revolution. Poor old Dr. Peabody was the goat and on him were
54 On the Banks of the Boneyard
heaped insults and indignities which he didn't deserve, for I have
always thought that some of the trustees and faculty were the
powers that forced harsh and unjust rulings upon the students.
Chapel exercises were held at 9:45 every morning and they became
a bedlam of hisses and cat calls. Someone cut the webbing under
the regent's big chair and he went on through the seat when he
sat down at one chapel service. Another time when he tried to
open the Bible it was wired shut ; the poor man then started to
repeat the twenty-third psalm and got it all wrong. The committee
of students who had directed the strike soon learned that it is
easier to start a revolution than it is to control it, and ever since
that time I have been able to understand the terrible excesses of
crime and torture that invariably follow a revolution. The student
radicals turned themselves into goons and ruffians, and I can't find
words strong enough to express the revulsion that was felt by every
right-minded student. These terrible events continued until the
end of the school year and then the trustees failed to re-elect Dr.
Peabody. He left the University to become head of the department
of Liberal Arts at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago,
and served with great distinction in that position.
The trustees tried to make dear old Dr. T. J. Burrill, who had
long been vice-president, the president, but he wouldn't accept the
appointment but did agree to serve until a president could be found.
This was June of 1891. Now let's see what followed this change in
Regent Peabody, in his last trip to Springfield for the biennium
of '89-'9i, had secured from the legislature the sum of $68,650,
which was the largest amount secured up to that time.
Dr. Burrill, a scientist, knew little and cared less for matters of
finance, so he called on alumni, faculty, and students, to go to the
legislature for the biennium of '91 -'93 and to ask for twice what
the University had secured in the last period. We were fortunate
in having very able representation in the person of Senator M. W.
Mathews and Representative T. B. Carson, both of Urbana. All
working together we got $135,200; for '93-'95 we got $295,700.
With the advent of President A. S. Draper in '94 money commenced
to come in a big way, for he got $427,000 covering the '95-'97
period. I must add that by this time Senator H. M. Dunlap '75
represented our district with great distinction.
I secured these figures from the University comptroller, the
ever-reliable Lloyd Morey, and he smiled as he told me that it now
takes $275,000 to run his department for two years.
Attendance figures went from 469 in '89 to 855 in '95, and then
began a steady climb until the University of Illinois now has one of
the largest student bodies in the country.
The physical plant at the University of course had to increase
with the attendance and appropriations and we have today one of
the best equipped institutions to be found anywhere. Furthermore,
notwithstanding our lack of lakes and ravines, of rivers and hills,
the campus compares in beauty with any other in the land.
Dr. Burrill didn't believe in fraternities but he "tolerated" them,
and President Draper recognized in them a distinct place in student
life, gave them his whole-hearted support, and today every national
fraternity of any consequence is on our campus and most of them
are better housed than those at any other institution I have visited.
Guests from other parts of the country are amazed at the number
and quality of our fraternity houses ; these are constantly being
improved. Thousands of dollars are spent every summer restoring
the buildings, adding new furniture, and keeping up to date these
valuable houses ; it is safe to say that our students live as well as
those of any other student body in the country. The University
demands certain standards of excellence of the rooming and
boarding houses, thus aiming for the best kind of living conditions.
For sheer beauty of building and furnishings, our new Union Build-
ing has no equal in the country. Realizing that I am taking in a lot
of territory, I want you alumni to come to the University and check
With the change in administration from Peabody to Burrill,
fraternities began to return to the campus ; Kappa Sigma was
granted a charter early in May of '91, and Sigma Chi was restored
to its place in University life at about the same time. Then they
came in quick succession. With Dr. Burrill's advent also came
elective courses of study, liberal ideas in our athletic policies ; where
we had been held down to local competition with small colleges in
Illinois, we have already told you how we expanded, helped to
organize the Western Intercollegiate Athletic Association which
soon grew into the Big Ten, and it can not be denied that we have
long occupied an honorable position among American universities.
56 On the Banks of the Boneyard
The events described in this story take us from the IlUnois Indus-
trial University to the granting of degrees under Dr. Peabody's
regime and then to the real beginning of the University of Illinois
under Dr. Burrill ; it deals largely with my own experiences and
those involving my class and the class of '91. Should it be that
descriptions differ from others you have read or heard, please recall
what Israel Zangwill had to say, "The only things true in history
are the dates ;" and remember that I am neither historian nor
novelist, just an old-timer trying to tell the stories of his days in
I find it difficult to read long stories.
It seems to me that any man who
has experiences to relate or stories to
tell, who is gifted with a vivid imagi'
nation, should he able to tell them
within limits so reasonable that the
reader or listener can stay awal^e.
Brevity is the soul of wit today the
same as it always has been, but good
friends have advised me to add a
second part to my tales — so here goes.
Alley L and the University Hotel
.HE MOTTO of my class in the University
was "This One Thing I Do." I never had any ambition in Hfe
except to take care of my immediate family. That assignment was
given to me by my father a few hours before his death, and though
I was only seven and a half years old at the time, it made such a
lasting impression that it became the ruling passion of my life.
It is true that I have done some things for my community, my
state, my country, and various organizations to which I belong ; there
has never been a time in my life since my father died when I didn't
have a job. A dollar a week was a lot of money in my childhood,
but I earned it and gave it to my mother. After a fair start as a
newspaper reporter, I took the first job that came along offering
bigger pay because money was so much needed by my family.
My old friend Frank H. Clark of the class of '90, a mechanical
engineer and head man for D. L. Barnes, consulting engineer,
found me on Madison street in Chicago early in the fall of '92 and
said he had a job he thought I would like and one that I could do.
The pay was much bigger than what I was earning at the time, so
I went with Frank for an interview with Mr. Barnes, who, among
many other affairs, was chief engineer for the Alley L Railroad —
the elevated system which at that time was being rushed to com-
pletion, so it could haul people to the World's Fair.
Mr. Barnes confided to me the fact that altogether too much
hard coal was being consumed on the road which at that time ex-
tended from Congress street to Forty-second. The coal, which was
dumped into the tenders of the locomotives at 39th street, was
weighed at the mines before bringing it to the Alley L yards where
it was elevated and dumped into the tenders. Mr. Barnes wanted me
to determine why the Alley L was consuming twice as much coal as
was consumed in New York under similar service. He agreed that
it would take some time to make a careful investigation. Findings
must be carefully verified because the loss was heavy, and everyone
connected with any part in handling the coal was under suspicion.
I was to be careful in picking my helpers because the trainmen
6o On the Banks of the Boneyard
would know something was going on and would naturally be sus-
picious and resentful.
Time recorders were put on the trains to account for speed
between stops and every item entering into the test was carefully
placed into being. I asked my classmate and friend, Frank Carna-
han, to work shifts with me — and they were twelve-hour shifts at
that — twelve long hours at a time up on the structure and in the
coal yards at 39th street. We worked for several weeks on that cold
coal job turning in daily reports to Mr. Barnes's office, but the same
amount of hard coal kept going into the engine tenders.
One night while I was working on a night shift in very cold
weather, the man who handled the dump cart, Mike Fogarty by
name, went over to Wabash avenue to get a bucket of beer. He had
just left the structure when a burly engineer by the name of Van
Tassel jumped up in front of me and wanted to know "What t'ell
are you college boys doin' on this railroad?" Nearly all of our
engineers were from the New York system, and Van Tassel was a
leader among them; likewise he was big and strong, had a nasty
disposition, and was drunk.
My friend Mike was away after the beer, I was badly scared and
no match for Van Tassel, so I asked Van to sit down and I would
tell him all about it. Stalling for time until Mike got back with that
bucket of beer, I kept Van entertained with the sad sweet story of
the lives of the poor college boys working on that cold structure,
trying to find out why more coal was consumed in Chicago than
under similar conditions in New York. In the meantime Mike had
returned and Van had consumed half of our beer on top of the
liquor already in him.
Then he let out a roar that was wonderful to hear because it had
an element of friendliness and humor in it. When he got control of
himself and could talk, he said: "Any damn fool locomotive engi-
neer on this structure could have told you where coal is going."
Boy, oh boy, I sat with bated breath hoping Van wouldn't die laugh-
ing until he finished his story. "You have a lot of corn- fed firemen
working for you. They should have stayed on the farm and handled
pitchforks instead of coal shovels. What do they know about firing
hard coal? They never saw any until you put them up here. Just
about the time this coal gets hot, they dump it out and throw in
more with the result that our steam pressure is always low. That's
where all of your coal is going."
Alley L 6i
So endeth the coal story, and a lot of young college boys were
out of jobs all of a sudden. Our records turned out to be of great
service however, and Frank Clark kept me busy with other investi-
gations until about February, when my old friends, W. L. Abbott '84,
W. H. Stockham '85, and George N. Morgan '84, approached me
with a proposition that was going to make us all rich.
The World's Fair which was to have been held in '92 had to go
over for a year because it wasn't ready. Neither the buildings nor
grounds were ready for the big show, nor was the city of Chicago
ready. My trio of friends were successful young business men,
Abbott an engineer, Stockham a manufacturer, and Morgan a
lawyer, with whom I had studied and worked between jobs. They
suggested that they would back me in a hotel venture. They held out
glowing dreams of the lack of hotels in down-town Chicago. Rooms
were so scarce that visitors would pay almost any price for them.
Ten to fifteen dollars a day would be easy to get, and money would
be so plentiful it would come a runnin' up hill to get into our coffers.
It didn't take much to convince me; I believed everything they
told me, and we closed a lease for three buildings, each three stories
high and all alike. The location was on Congress street just west
of the Auditorium Annex, now called the Congress Hotel, which
was being finished while we were remodeling our three old buildings
and making them into a hotel. They were the dirtiest buildings I
ever saw; the tenants ahead of us were a bunch of Armenian Rug
Dealers, and after viewing the dirt left by these gents, I had some
sympathy for the Turks in their efforts to clean up the Armenians.
Our buildings had to be cleaned, wired for electricity, closets
had to be built into rooms, plumbing modernized, everything deco-
rated and furnished— and we had about six weeks to get the job
done, for our lease was from March 15, for one year, with an
option to purchase within that period. Artisans were all employed
in Chicago, the whole city was working feverishly getting ready for
the Fair. I don't know how it was done, but we opened for business
on March 15 confidently expecting people to come in droves begging
to be "taken in" — double exposure — at $10 to $15 a day per each!
Well, our dreams bursted like bubbles ; the people didn't come, and
aside from the wonderful friends in Champaign-Urbana, we had
very few registrations in April. I cut the rates for the friends from
home, and welcomed a British M. P. by the name of Fred G. Byles
62 On the Banks of the Boneyard
from Bradford and Percy Alden from London — ^two English news-
paper men who came early to get the atmosphere of Chicago and
to send home reports about the Fair. They came April 26, and
were two very fine men, who got a big kick out of everything in
Chicago, and were much intrigued by conversations with the Illinois
baseball team which had come up for a couple of games with the
new University of Chicago team, which was coached by Amos
Alonzo Stagg. When the baseball team went back to Champaign,
a lot of hotel towels, soap and soap dishes were missed. The two
English newspaper men were decidedly interested in this episode
and were happy when most of the loot was returned and the rest
paid for by the manager of the team.
Our furnishings may best be described as "fearful and wonder-
ful." I shopped around for the cheapest goods on the market. We
put showy leather furniture and gorgeous rugs in the lounging
rooms, but the bedroom suites cost $15 for the bed, dresser, and
washstand. Of the springs, mattresses, pillows, and bed clothes
the less said, the better. Nearly everyone who stayed with us on
their first visit to the Fair, came to us on the second and third visits.
I asked them why they were good enough to come back, for no one
knew better than I did, that our hotel did not measure up to other
down-town hotels in accommodations and furnishings. In every
case the people replied that they liked the location, the atmosphere,
and the staff — for all of which I was deeply grateful.
Jim Cook '93, alternated with my brother, Bill Kiler '97, as day
and night clerks, an Irish woman by the name of Nellie was the
head chambermaid, and a unique and mysterious character by the
name of Thomas was head of the janitors and man of all work.
The song about "Nellie being a lady" didn't apply to our Nellie.
She came properly recommended but one day we saw her leaving
the house all dressed up and carrying a traveling bag which obvi-
ously was not hers. Jim Cook stopped her and learned she had not
only taken the bag from one of our guests but had it filled with
the choicest bits left in the rooms by the people who were down at
the Fair. The next head chambermaid bore another name, and was
a real lady.
Mr. W. H. Colvin, the coffee man. who owned the buildings,
made it a condition precedent in our lease that we employ Thomas
as head man among our workers. There never was a finer char-
acter than Thomas. It was easy to see that he had a good education,
Alley L 63
and that he deserved better things in life than his position could
give him. It w^asn't until close to the end of the Fair, when I
developed a terrible cold and fever, that it became known that
Thomas was a doctor of medicine. While he was taking care of
me he broke down and told me his story. There was nothing new
in it — the same old tale of wine, women, and song — then dope, and
now a heroic fight to shake off the habits that had ruined him.
Thomas was a good man ; he won his fight, and after the Fair went
to a little town in Iowa, practiced his profession with an old doctor
who was trying to retire, and was doing well when I last heard
A little Italian boy by the name of Frank lived in the basement
with Thomas ; a good-looking child of the streets who shined shoes,
sold newspapers, fought off other boys who tried to muscle-in on
his location, and became a great favorite with our guests. Thomas
kept him clean. The boy would develop violent attachments for
certain ladies who were kind to him, and would bring in armloads
of roses and other lovely flowers for them. Of course he couldn't
pay for such extravagances but wouldn't tell where he got them, and
all I could do was to wait until he got caught. This happened more
than once, but in each case settlements were arranged out of court
with the florists. The poor boy couldn't be cured of this desire to
purloin flowers for his friends. I don't know what finally became
We were not prospering in April and the early part of May,
though of course we had some business. Canadians came in goodly
numbers and a couple of German scientists stayed several weeks.
A nephew of Harriet Beecher Stowe by the name of W. H. A.
Parks lived with us and had a job with the Massachusetts exhibits.
He was quite apt to let one know that he was a nephew of Uncle
Tom's Cabin, but was a kindly man and very friendly with the
Germans and the Canadians. Through W. C. Ells, a graduate of
Illinois and a mining engineer in Mexico, we had a number of
Mexican guests in early May — but we were still losing money. Our
pay roll and rent had to be met. The rent was $666.67 a month,
and the help was about the same. We also had to pay for electricity
and gas. My worries were plenty.
Then I saw in the papers that the Kentucky Press Association
was coming to Chicago on a special train. Their secretary, who had
charge of all the arrangements, was R. E. Morningstar of Bowling
64 On the Banks of the Boneyard
Green. I remembered that a fine young man of that name was
once the champion roller skater of the country, and had given an
exhibition in Busey's Hall in Urbana. Acting on this hunch, I went
with a committee of the Chicago Press Association to meet the
Kentuckians in Indianapolis, only to learn that Bob Morningstar
had arranged their headquarters at the Palmer House. Being
desperate, I offered them rates much lower in price — and by gosh
it worked. They jftlled up our little hotel, enjoyed our hospitality,
went home and wrote us up in their papers, and from that time on
to the very end of the Fair our house was full of people from all
over the south. With their patronage we paid our bills — without
them we would have been a sweet-smelling flop. On such matters
as this hangs the fate of many a business.
On our register were the names of leading citizens from every
city of any consequence in Kentucky and Tennessee, together with
many from interesting little towns and farms bearing great names.
Nothing succeeds like success ; with the people from the south came
others from everywhere. Berkeley Balch from New York came
often and sent many fine friends ; W. C. Ells and H. L. Enbody
sent many Mexicans ; Fred G. Byles, Percy Alden, George Davies,
Evan Daniels, and O. E. Howell from England wrote us up with
many kindly words, and we had a steady stream of English people.
Read these names and wonder with me how they happened to
come to our poorly furnished hotel, and like it well enough to write
nice things about it — Peter Kirkevaag of Norway, R. A. Bonhomme
of Yeddo, Japan, Dr. Carl von Bergen from Sweden, Eugene de
Mitkiewitz, Ceylon, Frank Grierkin from Alaska, and D. Zernoff
from Moscow, with a large party of singers and dancers who per-
formed most beautifully at the spectacular show called "America,"
which was playing all season at the Auditorium theatre just across
the street from us. Of course there were many others, and I
really believe it must be true that they liked the atmosphere of our
place — for we didn't have much else to offer.
The Sigma Chi convention was held at our hotel on July 20-21,
1893, and was an outstanding event in the lives of all participants.
A. A. Sharp came a month ahead fearing he might miss something.
Other early arrivals were Fred Scheuch, Jr., Guy Cramer, Wirt
Howe, Lucius Tyler, Frank Crozier, A. C. Wright, E. Madison
Allen, E. W. London, George Ade, and Will Heath. These names
Alley L 65
are only a few ; I wish I could name them all. The Chicago Sigs
through their committee of which I was one, had arranged elaborate
entertainment at the Fair, at the play, "America," and over the city.
We chartered the steamer Whalehack to take the boys to the Fair
as well as for a moonlight excursion on Lake Michigan. The or-
chestra played Charles K. Harris's new song "After the Ball." I
can still hear George Ade's fine baritone rising above weaker voices.
Did we see the Midway — I'll say we did, and the Midway conces-
sionaires remember our visits with mingled feelings.
Being young and enthusiastic I cashed checks freely — one for
$300 written on the back of an official size envelope, and to the
everlasting honor of our boys, all of those checks were good. A
flag containing our new coat of arms, designed by Henry Vinton,
was adopted at this convention, and that night we attended the play
at the Auditorium. Among the feature attractions at the show was
a family of famous acrobats — the Schaefer Family from Germany.
Their finale was a pyramid built with all the family standing on the
shoulders of the parents. The youngest child was a little five-year-
old girl who was tossed up to the top of this pyramid. On this
evening she had been given the new Sigma Chi flag, which she
unfurled and gracefully waved toward the boxes occupied by our
crowd. This gesture brought the house down. One of the most
enthusiastic Sigma Chis in the world was Charlie Ailing of Chicago.
Before the tumult and the shouting had quieted down, Charlie came
to me and asked that I invite the Schaefer family, and all those
having leading roles in the show, to come in the cafe and have
refreshments on him when the show was over. I hunted up Milward
Adams, the manager of the theatre, and had him extend the invita-
tion to the actors. I thought there might be 12 to 15 who could be
called leaders, but when, after a long wait in the cafe, the actors
arrived, it looked as if the entire cast had been included. The great
singer Louise Beaudet came with somebody's Sig pin on her ample
breast. The Russian toe dancers from some Royal Theatre in St.
Petersburg tried to look quite royal. When Brother Ailing asked
Herr Schaefer what he would have for himself and family, Schaefer
replied that he never permitted his family to drink anything but
Champagne — Louis Roderais Carte Blanche. This put an idea in
the head of the others and where dear old Charlie had expected
they would order beer, the liquid consumed cost $6 a quart! I
66 On the Banks of the Boneyard
don't remember the size of the check, but feel sure that the rest of
us didn't let Brother Ailing get stuck for it. That's what we got for
not specifying that the party was to be a Dutch lunch.
Of course we had all of the experiences that come to a hotel
during a great World's Fair. There was the poor fellow from my
home county who blew out the gas and lost his life. There was the
Swede lumberjack from Wisconsin who came in with a week old
ticket to "America" and wanted us to give him a room for it. I
asked where he got that ticket and recognized from his description
the saloon where such stunts were pulled. When we went to that
place, the poor Swede didn't need the police help which I had
provided. He picked a man up from a table and threw him into a
corner while the rest of the gang beat it for the exits.
A young couple with four children bought one room and all slept
in it. When they left the chambermaids found bedbugs galore.
Early one morning one of the maids heard a lady crying, and with
her pass key went in the room to see what was the matter. The poor
lady said her husband had been out all the time since they came and
that her fur coat and other valuables had been stolen out of the
room. We begged her to keep quiet until the husband came in,
and in the meantime I telephoned my good friend Sergeant Briscoe
at the Harrison street police station, acquainting him with what we
knew. There are certain earmarks about every case of this kind
which are easy to recognize by trained observers. When this man
came in and told the boys with great eloquence how much his loss
was from the goods stolen out of his room, we introduced him to a
couple of plain clothes men who bluntly asked him for the pawn
tickets ! It didn't take them long to get a complete story out of this
man. He went to the pawn shops with them, got the goods he had
pawned, and then to Al Hankins's gambling joint where the money
had been spent. What happened there I don't remember, but the
poor boob who had fallen into the hands of men who gamble for
profit, wired home for money and neither he nor his wife got to see
Late in the autumn of '93 came the Bread Riots on the Lake
Front — they were part of what is called in the text books "The
Pullman Strike." Carter Harrison, the elder, was Mayor of Chicago.
We saw him in action several times and retain profound admiration
for him as an able administrator, and a two-fisted fighting man. He
Alley L 67
had a bad situation on his hands, since the Governor of Illinois, John
Peter Altgeld, had refused to call out the state militia to help main-
tain order. However, the President of the United States was Grover
Cleveland, who was made of sterner stuff. When Mayor Harrison
asked him for help, the soldiers came down from Fort Sheridan
and restored order in a comparatively short time.
We had been hearing from our southern visitors about a prom-
inent man who was coming to the Fair. He was a banker, owned a
coal mine, was very courteous when sober but inclined to have his
own way all the time when in his cups. When he arrived we found
him a well-dressed, quiet-spoken man whom we liked at once. He
handed me $1500 which he asked me to put away until he needed
it. This was a lot of money to keep in our safe, but we took it and
put it in an envelope. He sealed it and wrote his name across the
sealed portion. After he had been with us a few days he came in
after midnight accompanied by the vilest-looking cab driver in
Chicago and demanded his money. Jim Cook was on duty and told
him the money was in my room, that I had been asleep for several
hours and the money could not be had until morning. Then our
customer commenced to live up to the reports we had about how
bad he would act when he couldn't have his way. He made the boys
call me, thus attracting the attention of many other guests. I got
up, saw the situation at once, and told him how sorry I was that the
money was locked up where I couldn't get it until morning. By
this time our friend was in a rage and reached into his pistol pocket
for his gun. I didn't realize what was going on but Jim Cook did.
Jim was quarterback on our football team and quite an active young
man. He jumped over the counter, lit upon our friend, and threw
him out of the front door before the cabby could get into action;
then Jimmy socked that cabby just once and out he went on top
of the little man. He followed it up by taking our guest in his arms,
carrying him to his room, and putting him in bed, with the door
locked on the outside.
We heard no more from him until about noon the next day,
when he called up asking for a doctor. We sent for our doctor
from the Auditorium Hotel, who attended to the marks on our
friend, and in a short while down our guest came, dressed in fine
clothes and with a number of patches of court plaster on his face.
"Mr. Kiler," he said, "I want to apologize for my unseemly conduct
68 On the Banks of the Boneyard
last night and to thank you all for saving my money for me. I
want to invite all of you who can come, to be my guests at dinner
tonight at the Auditorium Hotel." That was some dinner. We were
all glad that I knew the kind of champagne to order — I learned it the
night of Charlie Alling's party for the actors.
There was to be a big Halloween celebration at the Fair, which
was to write finis on that most beautiful of all World's Fairs. Pay-
ing guests were becoming few and far between, but I had a bunch
of friends who came around and helped me kill time. We were
sitting around the fireplace one cold October day when in came Olin
McCormack, Captain of the Guards on the Midway Plaisance. Olin
was looking for a gang which was tough enough to go to the Mid-
way on Halloween and bust up the Turkish village. He said those
Turks had been a source of trouble to the Guards all through the
Fair and if we could get organized and tear that village to pieces
he would see that there was neither a guard nor a policeman any-
where within the call of the Turks.
This looked like trouble of a character for which I had no
liking, but my friends around the fireplace thought it was exactly
what the doctor ordered for a noble ending of the Midway shows.
I think that Burr Mcintosh and Sam Durand might have been the
leaders, though my memory may be at fault. At any rate an im-
pressive organization was formed and took off in great glee, looking
forward to closing the Fair in a fitting and proper manner.
All through the formation of this enterprise I had the feeling
it was no place for me ; the only time I was any good in a fight was
when I could use my "nigger shooter" and then run away, but my
friends were big and strong — all of them had been athletes in col-
lege, so I was talked into going along. We approached the Turkish
village with joy in our souls and a song on our lips — I think it was
that well-known hymn "Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here." Someone
upset the stand in which there was a Turkish ticket seller, we
brushed aside the man at the entrance, and rushed right into the
show. If you remember that place, it had a tent tied up to the
ceiling of a circular room, then gracefully draped around it. I think
I was the very last conspirator to enter the room. The battle had
begun ; chairs were already filling the atmosphere. Something hit
me on the head, and when I came to, gore was running down my
face. I kept one hand on the wall while I feverishly hunted for an
Alley L 69
exit. On the way around I came across a curved Turkish sword
and a fan that revolved on a handle both of which I purloined.
Finally I came to some ropes and pulled on one only to find that it
let loose about half of the tent which contained a ton or more of
World's Fair dust, and that added everything but beauty to my
appearance. By this time it was every man for himself and there
were no police to help us. When I reached an exit I took advantage
of it with all possible speed and started east for the Illinois Central
station. Hearing footsteps behind me, I turned and beheld two
large, athletic-looking Turks who were without question bent on my
extermination. I knew the keeper of the Midway Animal Show and
threw myself on his mercy, begging him to put me in the cage with
his man-eating lions. He raised the lid of a strongbox in which
he moved his animals around, and I disappeared inside just as those
demon Turks arrived. They demanded to know where that man
with a bloody head had gone. My friend stalled a while and then
said he had seen someone go through his cages very fast — so fast
that he had lost track of him. That animal keeper was an upstand-
ing man, with a nasty looking club in his hand, and those Turkish
gentlemen had to believe him. When he let me out of that odorif-
erous cage, I thanked him and asked what I could do for him,
and darn his picture, he said: "I always have yearned for one of
them Turkish swords." So the only souvenir I have of that
adventure is a fan that swings on the handle.
I got down to the hotel on one of the Illinois Central freight
trains with seats cross-wise of the box cars, and waited for my
friends to show up. They finally all drifted in — the worst- whipped
bunch of Halloweeners who ever started out looking for trouble.
In conclusion all I have to say is that the Allies had better give
the Turks an3^hing and everything they want to get their help in
this present war. Whichever side those birds take will win the
The last names on our register were R. H. Stanhope of Toronto
and P. L. Boynton of Pittsburgh. These gentlemen, together with
my friends who had helped me clean up the Turks, also joined in
the obsequies of the University Hotel. Both the lease on the building
as well as the furniture were sold to men who never used them.
And that's the story of our hotel.
I Become a Boo\ Agent, Travel Extensively,
and Tell Tou All About It
IhE book agent era was at its
height during my college days. Many boys at the University of
Illinois, as well as at other universities, made money enough to pay
their way by this kind of work. As I was one of them, I like to
tell of my experiences during the vacation period between the fresh-
man and sophomore years, in which I travelled from Hannibal,
Missouri, to the Cumberland Valley in Pennsylvania.
I sold vegetables on commission, fired a furnace with hard coal,
milked a cow that could put more vigor and spirit into the swish of
her tail than the mate of a sailing vessel could put in the swish of
a cat-o'-nine tails, and in addition I was assistant librarian in the
Urbana Public Library. This combination of efforts got me through
the Urbana High School as well as my freshman year in the
Along toward the end of the freshman year a gentlemanly
agent representing a Library Association called on me, and wanted
me to take a job travelling over the country selling memberships to
the people. These memberships gave the buyers the blessed privilege
of purchasing books at wholesale prices. There were two member-
ships, selling for $io and $12. With the $10 one went a cloth-
bound volume of Tennyson's poems; with the $12 one, a beautiful
leather-bound volume. When I say beautiful I mean just exactly
that. This book with its lovely embellished binding of English
morocco leather was alone well worth the money, to say nothing
of the golden opportunity to purchase books and magazines at
wholesale prices, and thus acquire a worth-while library.
The company was liberal in its terms to agents — forty per cent
of the gross sales amounting to less than $100 a week, and fifty
per cent commission where the sales exceeded that sum. All we
had to do to secure this wonderful chance to get rich as agents was
to journey to Chicago at our own expense, live there one week while
being taught the art of approach to a customer, and acquire the
/ Become a Book Agent yi
graphic description of the premium volume of Lord Tennyson's
poems together with the golden opportunity each and every pur-
chaser was given to buy his books at wholesale. All of this we must
commit to memory. The agent told of men and women who had
made as much as $200 a week at that business.
Now I was getting tired of milking that darn cow which was
marking me with scars from the swish of her tail. Selling vegetables
on commission was also losing its charm, and my sister, Reka,
could take the job of assistant librarian for the summer, so why
shouldn't I take a chance at this golden opportunity? I had money
enough in the bank to take care of my family and finance my edu-
cation in the art of salesmanship, so I signed a contract, and when
school was out, packed my bag, and took an Illinois Central train
The agent for the National Library Association had suggested the
Waverly Hotel as a good cheap place to stay. The only thing I knew
about it was that it had been the headquarters for the anarchists
who had met in it and plotted the Haymarket riot, but as I could
get a room for seventy-five cents a day, I registered there. Ladies
and gentlemen, permit me to say there were things in that room
worse than anarchists; after a few hours in bed I would have
welcomed anarchists with their whiskers and bombs. It was my
introduction to that scavenger of the bedroom, the ciniex lectularius,
commonly called the bedbug. Seventy-five cents for that bed! I
stayed there one night and then went out on the west side to a
rooming house. Years afterwards, when I was chasing items for
the Inter Ocean, someone told me that I had introduced a colony of
the cimex lectularius into that more or less respectable rooming
house, thus causing the landlady much woe and very great expense.
After committing to memory the speech telling of golden
opportunities to be derived by joining the National Library Asso-
ciation, I was sent to Hannibal, Missouri, the birthplace of Mark
Twain, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Samuel L. Clemens.
They were the only people I knew in Hannibal. After half a day,
however, I learned that the best salesman ever to work for the
National Library Association, one J. P. Grier, had been in Hannibal
a month ahead of me and had worked the town dry. After gradu-
ating from Northwestern Law School, J. P. Grier became a suc-
cessful lawyer in Chicago. He had left a good name in Hannibal,
^2 On the Banks of the Boneyard
however, and really established my Library Association and its
Before starting to work in earnest I took my pen in hand and
told the Library Association in my best style of invective what I
thought of them. Sending me into a town where the great J. P.
Grier had been ! They answered me in a kindly apologetic vein
telling me to keep all the money I had taken in and then to move
across the river to Barry, Illinois. I was to work all the towns in
Meanwhile I had got acquainted with a boy of my age in
Hannibal. His father was an undertaker, and the boy had to spend
a lot of time sitting around the shop waiting for someone to die,
then he would call his father. Having very little to do I spent most
of my time with this boy, and his father gave me valuable tips
about people who might be interested in my line. Among these
prospects was a gentleman lazier than Puddin'head Wilson. He
owned a lumberyard. He refused to fall for my most eloquent
passages. When I talked economy, explaining to him how much
money he could save buying books and magazines, he knocked me
cold by saying, "My dear boy, I wouldn't turn my hand over for
a dollar." The first man I ever met who didn't give a darn for a
dollar, he lingers in my memory through the fifty-two years that
have passed since that summer in Hannibal. My boy friend took
me over to the Island in the Mississippi, immortalized by the ad-
ventures of Tom Sawyer. I let my imagination run riot while
exploring the cave and was looking for Indian Joe at every bend.
But the adventure de luxe connected with Hannibal was a night
trip out into the country along a river road to bring in the body
of a poor man — so poor the county had to bury him. My friend's
father didn't care to make the trip, so he sent his son. The boy
came around to my boarding house and asked me if I didn't want
to take a ride out into the country. Of course I did — but that kid
didn't say a word about what he was being sent out into the country
to get. Had I known what was ahead of me I would have had an
engagement with a girl or a customer. Was that night dark, and
the road bumpy! I'll tell the world that I was full of fright and
regret long before we reached the house of the dead man. It looked
like the Grapes of Wrath, and when I had to help place that dead
body in the back part of the spring wagon, I was sure we would
/ Become a Book Agent 73
meet the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on the way back to
Hannibal. That undertaker boy was a bit shaky himself, though he
refused to admit it. I requested speed on the way back to town for
there were ghosts lurking back of every tree; eerie spirits were
chasing us; there was no one on the road, and no houses or barns
or any other blessed sanctuary to which I might escape. The boy
friend held the reins on that team of Indian ponies and I applied
the whip. All of a sudden we came to a bend in the road which
brought the Father of Waters in sight, but we were going too fast ;
we got out of the road, the wagon hit a rock, jumped at least ten
feet in the air, and landed with such a terrific bump that we lost our
passenger in the rear. Gosh ; my gosh, and a whole lot of goshes !
A scared team of ponies, a pair of boys scared worse than the
ponies, a narrow river road, and a dead man lying somewhere
back of us where it was darker than Dante's Inferno. The road was
too narrow to turn the wagon around ; the ponies were too excited
to be turned around; in the argument that ensued I couldn't see
why I should leave the wagon to go on the treasure hunt which
might be as much as a quarter of a mile back of us. I kept thinking,
"Suppose someone would drive along the road and run over the
dead man." That would be worse than the Grapes of Wrath and
Tobacco Road put together. Finally we tied the ponies to a tree
and walked back until we found the body. We got it back into the
wagon, and into Hannibal at the witching hour of midnight. I never
took another trip out into the country with the undertaker boy.
After a week's work in Hannibal I had $65 with which to move
over into Pike County, Illinois. The town of Barry was a complete
flop as I remember it. Can't remember anyone I met there except
a windy lawyer who swelled up to the bursting point over a case he
had before a justice of the peace. Then I moved into Pittsfield, a
lovely town full of charming people — but one of the first things I
learned was that the great J. P. Grier had also worked that town
ahead of me. Once more I sent the Library Association a choice
assortment of language. I must have had something in those days
of my youth, for again I was told to do the best I could and to keep
all the money I took in. Scott Wike, the Congressman from that
district, bought one of my twelve dollar memberships ; Jeff Orr and
Harry Higbee, leading lawyers, were kind to me and bought the
best I had to sell. So did Judge Mathews and an interesting lawyer
74 On the Banks of the Boneyard
by the name of Yates, who loved to quote Shakespeare. Jeff Orr had
just recovered from a long sick spell, and when I told Mr. Yates
that Mr. Orr was one of my customers he dramatically exclaimed,
"Richard is himself again!" Pittsfield was good to me and I moved
over to Griggsville with regret, but I sold some memberships in that
town, and remember Dr. Stoner who had a boy at an eastern school,
and argued that $3 a day was too much to pay any working man.
When I delivered the copies of Tennyson's poems in Pittsfield and
Griggsville and made my collections, I had done much better than
in Hannibal, and kept all I took in.
Then I spent a day at my home in Urbana — and was I glad to
get there. Homesickness had almost thrown me for a loss while I
was away, but a few hours with my family set the world in order
again. I went to Chicago, called on my company, and was given
a ticket to Harrisburg. Pennsylvania. They didn't give me a berth
in a sleeper, so I sat up all night in the hottest day coach imagin-
able, and was sick and disgusted when I reached Harrisburg. Train
sickness had me down all the way east. When that train was going
around Horseshoe Bend, death would have been a blessed relief.
But I located a good clean place to live, and soon felt better. The
boarders were kindly and interested in me to such extent that I
felt new encouragement.
My company made a big point of the sales value of having big
names at the head of the list. I had been taught to go after the most
important people in the city. The boarders all said that General
Beaver, the Governor of Pennsylvania, was the most popular man
in Harrisburg as well as in the entire state. Next to the Governor
stood the Bishop of Harrisburg.
I went over to the state house to call on the Governor. The
private secretary sized me up as an undesirable citizen and per-
sisted in asking embarrassing questions. The door to the Governor's
office was wide open and just as I feared I was losing my argument
with the private secretary, a commanding voice boomed, "Jerry, who
is that boy who wants to see me?" I beat the important secretary to
the door of the office, and the kindly though commanding voice said,
"Come on in and tell me your story." The instant I laid eyes on the
Governor I knew we would get along. He had lost one leg, had a
pair of old-fashioned crutches, was in his shirt sleeves, whiskers all
over his face, and rather long hair. I noticed at once that he chewed
/ Become a Book Agent 75
fine-cut tobacco. My father had served as a soldier in the Civil War,
and most of the men I knew back home wore hair and whiskers like
the Governor's, and also chewed fine-cut tobacco.
Inspired by General Beaver's kindliness I told my story. He
wasted no time in giving me an order and placing his name at the
head of the list. My friends at the boarding house agreed this
was a great start. A newspaper man said he knew the Governor
woufd help me, if I could get in to see him, but he didn't think I
could get by the secretary. He didn't realize how a youngster's
nerve is developed after he has had a few front doors slammed
Then came the call on the Catholic Bishop. I was somewhat
perturbed over the idea. I was not a Catholic and had been told
that priests would be rough on a young Protestant. I tried to think
up a method of approach different from that used on the Governor,
and pushed the bell at the episcopal residence with fear and
trepidation. Imagine my surprise when a scholarly, kindly man in
a black cassock came to the door and, without asking my mission,
invited me into his library. He gave me a drink of ice water and
remarked that it was very hot to be walking around Harrisburg.
After these pleasant formalities he asked what he could do for me,
and I was so completely disarmed by the courtesies shown to me
that the speech I had committed to memory left me. But I finally
managed to say that I had never before seen a library in a residence
with bookshelves clear up to the ceiling all filled with handsomely
bound books, and therefore it seemed useless for me to talk to him
about the golden opportunity I had to offer. Nevertheless I could
put him in a position to buy books at wholesale and at the same
time present him with a handsomely bound volume of Tennyson's
poems. All I asked in return for this great favor was his signature
just underneath Governor Beaver's.
The Bishop replied that he could not accept a gratuity from a
boy trying to pay his way through college. At the same time he was
always buying books, so he was happy to take a $10 membership.
I thanked him and told him that I never had been treated so kindly
anywhere as I had been in Harrisburg. He laughed and said he
felt sure I was not the kind of a book agent as the one who had been
in Harrisburg a few weeks before selling copies of a work on "Early
Christian Martyrs." This man called on a lawyer named Johnson
76 On the Banks of the Boneyard
and was dismissed with the statement, "I never buy books for the
house. Mrs. Johnson attends to that." Then the agent went out to
Johnson's house and told Mrs. Johnson he had a work on "Early
Christian Martyrs" which her husband wanted but he wouldn't buy
it because buying books was her business. Airs. Johnson said O.K.
and paid him $5 for a copy. Then the agent went back to the law
office and told Mr. Johnson that his wife had no money but wanted
that book badly as she could use it in her Sunday School teaching,
and Johnson bought one for another $5 cash. When he got home and
had taken olT his shoes and coat for slippers and house jacket, he
said, "By the way, my dear, I bought that book for you ;" she asked,
"What book?" "Why the one about the 'Early Christian Martyrs'."
Mrs. Johnson nearly fainted as she told him she had also bought one.
Just then the train-hack passed on its way to the depot and sitting
in one corner was the book agent. Johnson rushed to the door but
realized he had on his slippers. A friend was passing so he asked
him to "Go to the depot and hold that nice-looking black-haired man
in the corner of the hack until I get there." The friend hurried to
the depot just as the train pulled in, accosted the book agent and
said, "Mr. Johnson asks for me to hold you until he gets here." The
book agent queried, "Johnson — do you mean Lawyer Johnson — oh
dear, I sold him a book and forgot to deliver it to him ; would you
mind taking it?" Of course the friend was willing to oblige and
cheerfully paid $5 for the book. When Mr. Johnson arrived, the
train was pulling out and he had another copy of the book about the
"Early Christian Martyrs !" I assured the Bishop that I was not that
kind of an agent, and started in on a most prosperous run of luck
Those two names of the Grt)vernor and the Bishop opened many
a door to me. I have never forgotten their kindnesses.
Among the interesting people at my boarding house was the
superintendent of the gigantic steel mills in suburban Steelton. He
saw at once the advantage that members of my Library Association
had over other people in buying books and getting their magazines
at wholesale rates. He not only bought a membership but took me
over to the mills and introduced me to leading employees who lined
up at the superintendent's desk to sign my subscription book.
Prosperity was mine in a great big way.
/ Become a Book Agent yy
After making my deliveries in Harrisburg and Steelton, I started
down the Cumberland Valley to Mechanicsburg. The conductor on
the Cumberland Valley Railroad knew everybody on his train and
was most courteous ; well-dressed too, for his blue uniform was made
like a Prince Albert coat, resplendent with brass buttons ; there was
gold lace on his cap, his linen was immaculate, and he wore box-toed
I had been advised to go to the home of Mrs. George Bobb in
Mechanicsburg, and have been happy ever since in the recollections
of that charming home. There were a few other boarders besides
myself. Mr, Bobb was Mayor of the town, and in addition to the
dehcious food and kindly interest in me, Mrs. Bobb was the only
housekeeper I have ever known who had a special dish on the
table where a hearty eater could put chicken bones. She expected
her boarders to eat several pieces of fried chicken, as well as
several roasting ears of corn, and by golly she had a dish where
one could put the remains.
There was a Soldiers and Sailors Reunion at Gettysburg, and
Mr. Bobb invited me to go down with him. The kindly Mr. Bobb
piloted me over the battlefield pointing out spots where he had
seen his friends mowed down. His descriptions were vivid and full
of heroics, and of course some of them were terribly gruesome.
The Marine Band from Washington was stationed over on Little
Round Top across the valley from the town, and in the evening I
heard for the first time the beautiful strains of "Little Annie
Rooney." Please remember this was the summer of 1889 when
"Annie Rooney" was a brand new song. We spent the night in
the little brick hotel in front of which, according to a great poet,
stood "Old John Brown of Gettysburg with his long rifle and
picked the rebels off." I was tired and nervous and even the sooth-
ing strains of beautiful "Annie Rooney" failed to cool my fevered
brow. That night, after a fitful sleep, I woke up to find a ghost
dancing around the walls of my room. It seemed very real for a
few minutes, but calm reason finally returned and I discovered that
it was the reflection through a key-hole of an electric light bulb
swaying in the wind out in the hall.
The trip over the battlefield was an education worth-while to me,
I returned to the sale of memberships in my Library Association
feeling sure that war was such an awful thing it could never happen
78 On the Banks of the Bone yard
again — and now look at this cock-eyed world. There are hundreds
of battlefields scattered over it today where the carnage has been
more horrible than several Gettysburgs !
From Mechanicsburg I moved to Carlisle and there I met an
episcopalian clergj^^man who had once lived in my home community.
He asked many questions about folks at home which alleviated my
homesick soul. Then I met Captain Pratt, superintendent of the
Indian School, who had known and admired my boyhood friend,
Carlos Montezuma, who at that time was doctoring the Nez Perces
Indians on their reservation in the northwest.
After being graduated from the University of Illinois in '84,
Carlos Montezuma had attended Rush Medical College in Chicago,
and as a young doctor was assigned to the big job of stopping some
kind of an epidemic among the Indians in Oregon. He made good
in a big way in this work, and lived among those people until he
was called to Chicago in 1893 to preside at the World's Congress
of Religions on American Indian day. Let me get out of my college
years long enough to say that I had a message from Montie asking
me to meet him at the Northwestern station on his return to Chicago.
He had grown heav}^ living among the Indians and had worn Indian
clothes. When he got out his civilized clothing to return east he
had become altogether too big for it — but he wore it anyway. His
shoes were full of feet, his hat too small, his hair too long, and no
part of his suit could be buttoned, but his joy at reaching Chicago
I was running a hotel on Congress Street just across from the
Opera House entrance to the Auditorium Theater, and suggested
we go there and leave his telescope bag. This we did. I sug-
gested we call on my barber and have his hair cut, then buy some
clothes. No sir; he had read of the great new Auditorium Hotel
and he must eat his dinner there. Acceding to his wish, I took him
to the main dining room of the Auditorium Hotel, and maybe you
think his appearance didn't cause the folks to stare. When the meal
was over all eyes were on us as we walked up Michigan Avenue
to a clothing store. With his hair cut, new clothes and shoes, Montie
was a fine figure. He presided with great dignity through the period
of the consideration of Indian Religions at the World's Fair, and
then settled down to the practice of his profession in Chicago.
Today he lies buried among his own people in an Indian graveyard
/ Become a Book Agent 79
about thirty miles north of Phoenix, Arizona. Montie was an out-
standing figure among our alumni and deserves a more complete
description of his life and work than I can give here.
Now to get back to Carlisle again — I must say it was a charm-
ing city, and I was quite successful there. Many incidents worth
recording happened, and I met some wonderful people. A. B. Sharpe,
Esq., an unusually entertaining man and a leading lawyer, told me
about a family of three maiden ladies living in an old stone mansion.
Every year on June 15 they put slip covers on their upholstered
furniture, closed their house, and moved to one they owned at
Atlantic City. On September 15 they closed the house in Atlantic
City and moved back to Carlisle — as regular in their movements
as the swallows of Capistrano. Strong Presbyterians, they loved to
entertain visiting clergymen. Their guest room contained an old-
fashioned four-poster bed with draperies hanging all around it, and
as the bed set up high, four steps ran along one side. Once upon a
time a visiting guest had got into his nightie, mounted the steps, and
dived headlong into the bed. Much to his consternation, and to the
chagrin of his hostesses, the family cat had taken possession of that
bed and had a nest of kittens in it. The visiting preacher lit on top
of the cat with her family, and according to Mr. Sharpe, the poor
man ate his meals off the mantel for some time afterward. The
dear old lawyer laughed heartily as he told this story, so I hope it
is still good.
Isn't it strange what lingers in our memories throughout more
than a half century? There must have been matters of importance
to me that happened in Carlisle, but Captain Pratt's interest in Carlos
Montezuma, and Mr. Sharpe's story of the cat and the clergyman
remain in my memory, while more important events are forgotten.
At Shippensburg, I met Mr. Hahn whose daughter lived in
Champaign — Mrs. J. B. Harris. In the later years of his life Mr.
Hahn came to Champaign to live — a very fine old gentleman. Then
I met Dr. Zug, a young physician who wanted to take me bear
hunting in the Cumberland Mountains. In Chambersburg I met
a lot of people by the name of Maxwell, and found that they were
related to friends at home of that name — in fact the Champaign
Maxwells came from Chambersburg. The negroes had a "Big
Monday" celebration which was a sight to see, as well as wonderful
to hear. It was a religious celebration. I remember quite well the
8o On the Banks of the Boneyard
vivid portrayal of the sufferings their race had endured throughout
the age of slavery.
In this city I brought my summer's work to an end and went
back home a richer and wiser young man. Pennsylvania had been
very good to me. I have never forgotten the wonderful people I met
in all the towns from Harrisburg down the Cumberland Valley to
Chambersburg, the people who had made it certain I could support
my family and finish my college education.
The success I had enjoyed as a book agent led two of my friends
to try the same kind of work the following summer, but they came
back with a sad and doleful twinkle in their eyes. They had been
sent up into Michigan by the company, had met with no success, and
got back to Qiicago with a lean and hungry look on their faces. By
rare good luck they met George Huff on State Street, who invited
them to go with him to his home in Englewood for supper. Did
they accept? I'll say they did. They both told me afterwards that
never in all the world had such a banquet been served! One of
these friends has met with great success in the business world; has
been a guest at many fine dinners, but no food ever tasted as good
to his starved palate as the supper he had that August day in 1890.
Book agents sometimes had doors slammed in their faces ; at
other times the doors opened and evil-minded dogs jumped out. The
successful agents were those who needed money and were ready to
take whatever happened to them in order to get it.
By the way, what has become of the book agent? The nearest
approach to him that calls on me today is the student selling sub-
scriptions to magazines.
But the real book agent was quite a boy in his day.
He Saw the Game —
The End of the Big Betting
.HE LAST GAME of the year is
always a classic to football followers. It makes no difference in
what section of the country one may be, there is sure to be a game
of football played the week before Thanksgiving, upon the outcome
of which, the partisans think, depends the fate of nations. High
schools, colleges, and great universities arrange schedules with an
idea toward having the last game of the season settle a champion-
ship — if a championship is not involved, there is generally a life-
time grudge to be settled, and ardent followers of each team must
see this game.
Such a game used to be held each year between the Universities
of Ohio and Illinois; I must say that nothing but pure sportsman-
ship and a desire to win actuates the teams and followers so far as
the game is concerned, but there have been years when the Big Ten
Championship has rested on the outcome of this contest. The most
thrilling finish I have ever seen in a half century of watching oc-
curred at Columbus when these teams met in 1919.
That was "Chick" Harley's senior year, and he had never played
in a losing game in the four years covering his career at Ohio,
Illinois had been undefeated that year also, and the final game
would settle the Big Ten Championship.
The nervous tension that pervades a campus before such a game
had the students, alumni, and followers of both teams within its
grasp. There were rumors of much betting. Fraternities were bet-
ting all the money they had saved up with which to buy lots and
start the construction of new houses. Each side was full of confi-
dence, and therefore a bet became a good investment — there would
be twice as much money to put into that new fraternity house if the
brothers could get their savings placed in an even money bet, and
rumor had it that some of the sisters were also ready and willing to
risk money on an outcome that appeared to be such a sure thing.
82 On the Banks of the Boneyard
As the game was being played in Columbus, the students at
Illinois had to ride all of Friday night on special trains to reach
the scene of the conflict. To the hundreds of students whose fond
parents sent monthly allowances of a size to permit such an ex-
cursion, the trip was easy, but there were hundreds of others whose
only chance to see that game depended upon the spirit of adventure.
Profiting by the experiences of the past, I got aboard the train and
in bed before the noisy brethren commenced the parades that pass
through the Pullman coaches all night long ; but there was a hump in
the mattress that kept me awake. I might as well have sung all the
songs beginning with "Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here" and on
through "Sweet Ad-o-line" to "I Want a Pal Just Like the Gal That
Married Dear Old Dad." Finally this hump began to move, and
being cold sober, I knew it was not a snake — a little investigating
revealed the body of a husky youth parked under my berth.
Of course there was no sleep for me with this squirming hulk
beneath me. so I leaned over the edge of the berth and ordered the
young man out. You'd be surprised how quickly he got out of that
little place and into the berth with me, saying: "Gee, I never was so
glad to get out of a place in my life ! There was a smoking cigarette
stub in the cuspidor, and I nearly choked to death."
His name might have been Johnnie Jones, and in the wild
scramble for a taxicab when we reached Columbus, Johnnie secured
one of the first to get away. Three old friends of mine were coming
on the Chicago train, and Johnnie went with me to meet them, taking
charge of their baggage and getting cabs with ease and dispatch.
The Deshler Hotel was full to overflowing and had no room for us,
but Johnnie found one of his student pals who had come over
the day before in order to place his bets, and ushered us up to a
suite of rooms that had been assigned to this rich friend. At break-
fast Johnnie blandly admitted that he had no money, but by this
time we were so interested in this intrepid youth that his big day
What a two-fisted, good-natured "go-getter" that boy was!
After breakfast one of my friends suggested that we get a taxi and
take a ride around Columbus; though taxis were difficult to get,
Johnnie had one in a few minutes, and the way he collaborated with
the driver to steer us around Columbus was amazing, for he had
never seen the town until that morning. When he thought we had
He Saw the Game 83
seen enough of the city, he directed the driver to take us out to the
Columbus Country Club, and then brought us back to the Athletic
Club which was close to our hotel.
We had an early lunch at a table that had been ordered in ad-
vance by the thoughtful Johnnie, and in the fight for taxicabs after
lunch he succeeded in getting one up to the hotel for us because
he used his feet, fists, and vocabulary with deadly effect upon those
who tried to take that taxi away from him. On the way out to the
stadium he asked for our tickets, presented them at the gate and
walked right in with us, finding a seat on a step in our box.
What a game of football we saw that bleak November day!
Those two great teams fought back and forth until Ohio finally
scored a touchdown by means of an uncanny run by the great
"Chick" Harley right through the whole Illinois team. In the third
quarter, "Dutch" Sternaman of Illinois ran down the east side of
the field for a touchdown, but Ralph Fletcher failed to kick goal
as Harley had done, and the score stood 7 to 6 in favor of Ohio.
Only a minute was left to play when Ralph Fletcher of Illinois
brought the ball back to the twenty-two yard line. The time left
was desperately short.
We could hear the newsboys yelling that they had papers for
sale giving a full account of the game which Ohio had won 7 to 6.
Then to our surprise "Bobby" Fletcher, Illinois quarterback,
took his position to try for a goal from the field.
Bobby was pretty well winded because of his splendid work in
helping his brother Ralph bring the ball up to within kicking distance,
so Zuppke sent a substitute into the game, to give him a little rest ;
once more he lined up to kick, and another substitute was sent in.
He knew that his coach was giving him a chance to calm down
before attempting that kick, and I can still see his white teeth gleam-
ing as he turned and smiled his thanks to Zup — then with his head
down and his eyes on the ball, he sent it squarely between Ohio's
goal posts, and the score was 9 to 7 in favor of Illinois — and only
twenty seconds left to play!
By the time the kick-ofT had been made and one futile play had
been run off by Ohio, the gun sounded and the game belonged to
For a few minutes there was a sickening calm on the Ohio side
of the stadium, and much excited yelling on the Illinois side — but
84 On the Banks of the Boneyard
strong men couldn't stand all of that nervous tension without re-
actions of various kinds taking place. One of my friends rested his
head in his hands and exclaimed: "My God, what a dramatic finish !"
1 saw an officer from Chanute Field at Rantoul, Illinois, punch an
Ohio man in the jaw in resentment for an insult to our team and
the whole state of Illinois. I saw an Illinois doctor who was sick in
his stomach making a mess of things.
You may talk about the great days when the Poe boys were
winning games for Princeton back in the '90's; of Chicago's win by
2 to o over Michigan in 1905 ; of Princeton coming from behind and
beating Chicago 21 to 18 in the last few minutes of play in 1922;
or of Northwestern's win over Minnesota in the last quarter by a
score of 32 to 14 in 193 1 — it matters not to me what great finishes
you may have seen in any athletic contest an}'where at any time,
I'll still believe that I saw the most thrilling finish, and experienced
the most dramatic moment of them all when Illinois won that game
at Columbus in 1919.
We got out of the stadium only because Johnnie Jones kept his
head and his sturdy strength. He secured a taxi and took our per-
spiring and wilted party back to the rooms of his rich chum "Torch"
Mathews. Finally "Torch" came to his rooms and Johnnie handed
him a telegram which he had picked up from the floor; all "Torch"
said when he read it was "Confound the luck, there's two thousand
dollars more I might have had." Then he emptied his pockets and
threw great handfuls of money into the middle of his bed — when his
fur overcoat was emptied, all the other pockets yielded equally as
well and a fortune rested in the middle of that bed. On the bed-
spread "Torch" and Johnnie were smoothing out and counting the
money with which certain fraternities had fondly hoped to buy lots
on which to build new houses — money v^^hich proud fathers had
sent to spendthrift sons to pay for coonskin overcoats — worse 3'et,
money which enthusiastic youth had borrowed to bet on a team
that couldn't lose !
Needless to say that boy Johnnie had a big day. He had not spent
a cent of his own, and he made the trip back to Champaign in a
stateroom with his friend "Torch." Where is the man who dares
to say that the spirit of adventure is dead?
The betting on this game became a college scandal ; it placed our
universities in a class with the ordinary run of gamblers, and cheap-
He Saw the Game 85
ened the sport commonly accepted as the greatest of all university
sports. I am proud and happy to record the fact that under the
leadership of our own great Director of Athletics, George Huff, '92,
a movement w^as started that has practically eliminated betting on
Illinois games. At any rate it can be said that whatever betting is
done is kept under cover, and little, if any at all, is done by students.
Some Thoughts on Pic\ing
a College President
JToOTBALL coaches who talk about
"a punt, a pass, and a prayer" as well as their constant fear that
they may not have selected the best man for left halfback, right
end, or what not, know nothing of the anxiety that grips a com-
mittee whose job it is to pick a new president for dear old Alma
There is no position in all of the high places to which men must
be chosen, that calls for so much time, study, and careful investiga-
tion of the candidates as is given by every conscientious committee
which has the responsibility of picking a new university president.
Sometimes such a committee works hard for months ; individual
members of the committee travel from coast to coast interviewing
men whose names command respect, and when the selection is made
disappointment and dissatisfaction begin to register before the first
year has passed. This results from the fact that a man may be a
success in one institution in one part of this big country, and
not meet with the same success in another institution in another
Advancing the merits of good men for the high position of
president of a university calls for a technique unlike that of any
other position within the gift of men. When a man wants to be a
candidate for President of the United States, or for the Senate,
or for Congress, he has his friends go out among the committeemen
from the precincts up through the county, state, and nation. These
friends can determine pretty definitely how public sentiment stands
for their man. If he can get proper support, if he can be built up by
publicity and propaganda, they bring him out for whatever the office
But such tactics are sure death to a man who wants to be a
university president because the people supporting any institution
of learning want its president to be a free and independent soul. He
must be a strong man capable of making his own decisions ; he must
Picking a College President 87
be a man of action, unafraid of cliques or factions within or without
his institution ; he must command respect so that he can have a dig-
nified discipHne among his faculty and students for only thus will
he secure the support necessary to promote the best interests of his
The job calls for rugged individualism tempered by the good
sense that prompts a man to ask the advice and the help of his
colleagues, his trustees, and the people of his state. If his in-
stitution is a state university supported by public funds, he must
have the ability to approach the legislature with a program and a
budget that is almost obviously for the best interests of all con-
cerned. The legislature is always a cross section of a state just
as Congress is of the nation. There are representatives of the hilly
sections as well as those of the fertile valleys ; there are the small-
towners, the medium-size townsmen, and the people of the big cities.
There are broad-minded men with a desire to be fair, and there
are the narrow minds with a desire to destroy. There are under-
standing souls and mean souls. There are fanatics and liberals —
but with it all, they generally represent very well the people who
elect them, and a good college president is a man who can get along
with all of this heterogeneous assemblage. You can see that he
must be fair, fearless, and resourceful.
Like the story of the man who goes out west to get rich and
comes home to find a gold mine or an oil well on the old farm which
he gave away, committees appointed to pick a new president for a
university begin by looking everywhere but at home. This is per-
fectly natural for was it not said a long time ago that "a prophet
is not without honor save in his own country," and please remember
that every person on this committee is actuated by one desire, and
that is to get the best man in the country for president. So in-
vestigations must be made of the many men all over the land whose
names have been brought to the committee by alumni and friends
of the university.
These investigations reveal much that is intensely interesting. It
is easy to see that there are institutions of learning where practical
politics has worked to the detriment of the faculty. The alumni
of state universities can't be too careful in their efforts to keep the
selection of trustees out of the hands of the state central commit-
tees of the two leading parties. It is obvious that these central com-
mittees will name men and women for trustees who are entitled to
88 On the Banks of the Boneyard
political reward, rather than folks who are unselfishly willing to
serve without any idea except to further the best interests of the
university. Even alumni who are "in" politics feel that university
trustees must be selected from outside the realm of practical poli-
tics. A man with an ax to grind ; a man whose son or relative has
been dismissed from college for some reason ; a man who has made a
big campaign contribution and wants his reward — all of these are
poor material for trustees. No matter how meritorious the individual
may be, the taint of politics is upon him. Investigating committees
find that institutions upon which politics had laid its hand have
trouble keeping their outstanding scholars, and that the great names
among scholars do not care to join faculties in such institutions.
When a president is chosen for such a university, the political
method of selection is naturally used, whereas in a university kept
free of politics, a faculty committee, an alumni committee, and a
trustee committee work long and faithfully to get the one man in
the country who comes the closest to meeting all of the requirements
needed by the head of a great institution of learning.
Out of the many names submitted the selection is made by a
process of elimination until a name comes to the front that is ac-
ceptable to the entire committee. Then everybody wonders why that
man wasn't picked in the first instance.
Another interesting thing the investigating mind discovers is
that many a good man is handicapped by his family. It is impossible
to satisfy all the elements within the constituency of a great uni-
versity, and there are many places where mere man should tread
with fear and trepidation. The chief argument advanced by the
Catholic church for the celibacy of the priesthood is that woman,
God bless her, introduces the danger of spreading certain items of
talk which really should be kept closely at home. Whether this
matter enters into the discussion of the selection of a college presi-
dent, I am not prepared to say, but it serves to illustrate the fact
that the wife of a president must be a very discreet lady. She must
win and keep the friendship and the respect of the faculty wives
as well as the townspeople and the numerous visitors from over the
broad land. A wife who has the charm that wins people is a tre-
mendous asset to a university president, and if he has children who
are inclined to be too worldly, he had better send them to college
in Siam or Madagascar.
Picking a College President 89
It is imperative that the new university president has the confi-
dence and respect of the rest of the college world. He must stand
high in scholastic and scientific circles, not alone in his own country
but abroad as well. No matter how well known a man may be in
public life, no matter how many high positions he may have held
in the affairs of men, this investigating committee will not decide
on a man unless he has the O K of men who constitute the university
world. That is why so many men who have worked hard to make
their own departments outstanding are the ones chosen to be presi-
dent of their own or some other university. Witness the selection of
Conant at Harvard, Dodd at Princeton, and Willard at Illinois,
among those recently chosen.
University faculties are polled to find outstanding men, and the
opinion of scholars and scientists is eagerly sought by the committees
who have assumed this tremendous task of getting the best man for
this all important position. A man who has brought his own depart-
ment up to a commanding position among similar departments in the
university world, must be something more than a scholar. He is an
executive of a high order or he would not be able to hold men
already on his staff and to attract others to his department. For
after all, the faculty is the backbone and sinew of any great uni-
versity. Students from all over the world are attracted by a well
known name in scientific or scholastic work. High school principals
recommend universities because of the standing of the faculty.
For all of these reasons I feel sure that most committees charged
with the responsibility of choosing a new president for dear old
Alma Mater, will ultimately select a man who is quietly but vigor-
ously making a success of his own department — whatever that
department may be.
Historical S\etch of the University Band
.FTER a disaster on the football field,
when our light-weight, fine-looking team, composed entirely of Uni-
versity students, has been pushed around, sat upon, and thrown out
of bounds by a team of big bruisers, we all find solace in the thought
that "anyway, we have the best college band in the world." Our
band can play marches, overtures, and selections from the operas,
and can provide entertainment de luxe with great music and unusual
marching, all of which removes the sting of defeat when we get
beaten, and adds greatly to our joy when we win.
To get at the earliest history of the band as well as student life
at the beginning of our University, I wrote to Mr. E. N. Porterfield,
the oldest living graduate, and a member of the first class, '72. Here
is a paragraph of his answer: "Yes, we had a band, in which I
played E flat alto, and later I played the tuba. The University
furnished silver instruments for the band. Many of the horns went
over the shoulder, and they were made that way for drilling pur-
poses. At that time all men students had to drill, and I joined the
band to get out of so much drilling. The band had a good German
teacher, but I have forgotten his name. My roommate, Henry
Robbins, was the leader of the band. He taught me how to write
and transpose music. I played in the band the last two years I at-
tended the University, and during that time we learned forty pieces
of music, and we could play for all occasions."
Since Mr. Porterfield's last two years in the University were
'70-'7i and 'yi-y2, this statement of his takes us back to his junior
year for the first year of an organized band. Henry M. Dunlap '75
told me that at the beginning of the University there was a fife and
drum corps which played the tunes used in the Civil War to help
the brigade in marching. Since this fits into the picture of the
earliest days, we can believe there has been a band of some kind
from the very beginning, and that a brass band was organized in
the school year of '70-'7i. In that year I. W. Colberg, of Urbana,
gave lessons to the band members each week, and it is recorded
The University Band 91
that he was paid $4 a lesson. Colberg must have been the German
teacher referred to by Mr. Porterfield, and without doubt he was
the teacher and Henry E. Robbins was the first leader.
Then came Henry M. Dunlap '75, J. A. McLane '78, C. H. Cobb
'80, John B. Roberts '83, H. B. Braucher '85, Grant Gregory '87,
C, Wesley Briggs '89, William E. Sandford '92, Glenn M. Hobbs '91,
Charles A. Elder '93, R. V. Sharpe '93, William L. Steele '96, John
T. Atkinson '96, again William L. Steele '96, then head of the
School of Music, Walter Howe Jones, and last but by no means
least, the great leader and organizer who happily is still with us.
Colonel Albert Austin Harding.
Senator Henry M. Dunlap '75 proudly told me many times that
he was the leader of the band during his period in college, that he
played the military calls for assembling the students for drill and
chapel, and that his instrument was the E-flat cornet. It was
through his leadership that Frank I. Mann '75 became a member of
the band and played the solo alto. These two gentlemen lived to
see the band develop into the great present day organization, and
never failed to attend band concerts and all other University func-
tions where the band performed. To Senator Dunlap was awarded
the first "I" gold band medal, and I am the proud recipient of the
second award. I can remember back to the days of the leadership
of Grant Gregory '87, who was not only a good leader of the band
but a college orator and literary society leader as well.
Then came C. Wesley Briggs '89, who was leader during his
last two years in college, as was Grant Gregory before him. The
college careers of these two men run parallel, as Briggs was also
an orator — in fact he represented our University in the oratorical
contest when the Illinois Oratorical and Athletic Association met
here in 1889. ^^ didn't win, but you should have heard him give
an imitation of the oratorical flights, as well as the enunciation and
pronunciation of the fellow who did. This bird pronounced the
word heart — "he-art," and how any group of judges could give him
first prize was one of the wonders of my day. My first year in the
band was Briggs's last year as leader.
He died many years ago, but Grant Gregory, who was his prede-
cessor, lives in Provincetown, Mass., and has been kind enough to
send the following letter and account of his connection with the
band. I am happy to have the statements published herewith from
92 On the Banks of the Boneyard
former leaders of the band because each throws some new Hght
on the band in the various periods of its existence, thus adding a
personal touch which makes a human interest story— entirely aside
from the historical value of the letters. Mr. Gregory's letter and
the statement of his leadership follow:
296 A Commercial St., Provincetown, Mass.
Dec. 4, 1941.
Mr. C. A. KiLER,
My dear Mr. Kilcr:
I comply with your request for information about the University of
Illinois band in my leadership in the i88o's. There is not much to tell.
We had a photo of the band, but I cannot find it. If it exists it is in a
box stored in an inaccessible attic over a studio that formerly was rented
by my artist son-in-law, Ross Moffet.
Something of the fine achievements of the band in the last fifty years
has drifted to me now and then, and I have naturally rejoiced at it, as
I have in the splendid growth and usefulness of the University itself.
When a man now tells strangers he is an alumnus of the University of
Illinois he does not have to add explanations.
Wishing you success in your history of the band I am
Statement of Grant Gregory '87 Anent His Leadership
OF the Universfiy of Illinois Band
I was leader of the University of Illinois band in the seasons 1885-86
and 1886-87 — ^^y junior and senior years. My recollections of the band
have dimmed somewhat in fifty-five years, but I can say that in the i88o's
the band was decidedly primitive, and would have made no hit with
John Philip Sousa. I led with a B-flat cornet; Ed. Goldschmitt played
the baritone horn; Stebbins, our smallest man, performed shrilly on the
piccolo, our smallest instrument; Wesley Briggs, who died long ago,
handled a clarinet with skill (and succeeded me as leader); and Phil
Steel massacred his lips on an E-flat cornet. The names of our tall
drum major and those who played the bass and snare drums, the tuba,
the trombone, and three or four alto and tenor horns escape me, al-
though I can easily recall their faces.
The only boys in the organization who could make any pretense to
be called musicians were Goldschmitt, who was a rather accomplished
violinist and had married the University's teacher of the piano, and
Briggs, whose mother had made him toil over the piano. I had had a few
lessons on the violin and the piano and enough instruction on the alto
horn to be admitted to the band when Braucher, my predecessor, was
leader. Besides the cornet, violin, and piano (on which I pounded
The University Band 93
chords for improvised stagg groups singing "My Bonnie Lies Over the
Ocean" and other songs much liked in college circles), I played the
double bass fiddle for dances and raised my voice with the afore-
My most difficult task as leader was tuning the instruments. When
I was sure (if I ever was) that the rumbling tuba harmonized with the
whistling piccolo I swelled with pride. Our music was of the simplest —
mostly marches. An easy arrangement of the "Mikado," then new in
America, "Pinafore," and some of DeKoven's compositions we wore to a
frazzle at our concerts. My honorarium for leading and taking care of
the music was $5 a month, as I recall it, but it looked as big to an 1887
man as does $5 a week to a student of the 1940's. Our military duties
consisted of keeping the battalion in step and sounding off on dress
Most of the band members in those days were farm boys without
musical training, who yearned to make music, or to escape drill. When
there was a vacancy in the band the leader toiled with an applicant long
enough to have him play satisfactorily the "ta ta" of the "ump ta ta"
on the alto horn — from which, if he improved, he was promoted to the
All the players enjoyed their jobs and I had no difficulty in the
matter of discipline — except once. The band was prowling around
Champaign near midnight on a serenading tour. As we crept beneath
the trees of the west side park toward the house of a popular coed, we
were startled by round, white objects that whizzed past our ears. I
was wearing my senior silk hat, newly acquired and highly prized. For
fear of an accident to this precious headgear I ordered the tuba player,
a large chap, to walk behind me as a human screen. Thinking my hat
was a magnet for the white missiles, he hastily moved away from me.
All became calm when we learned that the ammunition was white
onions and not venerable eggs. Not once did my senior symbol become
a bull's eye, and I was glad to ignore the insubordination.
From college I went to the frontier in western Kansas. There, in
Ludell, I organized a brass band, with instruments bought by enter-
prising business men. Soon afterward I drifted to Kansas City, where
I nearly went on the road with a circus band, but happily found news-
paper work instead. In my city room I kept up my practice on the
cornet till I heard the neighbors were threatening to have me arrested
as being too noisy. I promptly sold the instrument and today can
scarcely make a sound on a horn. I have been content to join the
multitude of people in America who listen to good music and let those
who can produce it.
I have always been delighted to hear of the success of the band and
bands that succeeded us primitives. I suppose that the piccolo and tuba
players now do their own getting together before creating sweet sounds
that drift along the reaches of the Boneyard.
94 On the Banks of the Boneyard
Then came the man who really put the band on the map;
WilHam E. Sandford was his name, and his class was '92. Up to
his time the band rarely attempted to play anything but quicksteps
and marches. Sandford not only improved the quality of this kind
of music but also improved the marching and general appearance,
and gradually raised the standard of the music, introducing over-
tures. He played the baritone horn, and you should have heard him
play "Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep" with variations. Under his
regime the band played "Poet and Peasant" — "Pilgrims Chorus
from Tannhauser," and I seem to remember Meyerbeer's "Corona-
tion March," as well as a "Funeral March" by Beethoven.
So far as I can learn, Will Sandford was one of the first — if
not the very first — college band leader in the country to attempt
anything in his programs except marches and topical tunes. A
master of his instrument, nothing in band music was too difficult
for him, and he kept us poor players, who had joined the band
simply to get out of military drill, long hours working on ambitious
musical numbers, the result of which was the first concert band —
probably the first time in college history when a band of our char-
acter put on a concert, and entertained an opera house full of people,
for an entire evening with something besides the light marches that
might be expected from a college band. Will Sandford wrote a most
entertaining article for the Illinois Alumni Magazine in 1940, and
as it tells of his experiences with the band better than anyone else
can tell it — also bringing in historical sketches that the rest of us
have forgotten, I am giving it to you in full. Here it is. Mr.
In the fall of 1887 I was enrolled as a "prep" in the University. I
was sixteen — just about coining on the stage of life. Now, after many
years, and perhaps with the exit from the stage not so far away, I have
been given the privilege of noting some memories of the days when
I was a part of the University band.
Wesley Briggs was leader when I joined, and to him I owe many
thanks for developing me as a soloist. He played the E-fiat clarinet in
the band, and was also an accomplished pianist. Early in my University
days he drilled me on many solos, accompanying me on the piano.
To this development I owe my appointment as "leader" when Briggs
graduated in 1889.
So at the early age of eighteen I was given the opportunity of
further developing the band. Whether I succeeded or not is a matter
The University Band 95
Briggs' band numbered about ten, as my memory recalls. Obviously
it could handle only light marches.
There were fewer than 400 students at that time, so the band
really absorbed a fair percentage of the attendance. Material came
mostly from country towns, few of which could boast of very fine bands.
Today nearly every high school has an excellent band, some of whose
members eventually attend college and supply well-prepared material.
The "leader" of the University bands is now "conductor," devotes all his
time to the band and is likely paid a very comfortable salary. In my
day the "leader" was selected from the student body and received $45 a
year ($15 for each term).
In comparing the University of those early days with the University
of today, the band compares very favorably with the band of today. I
am proud to state that the band of which I was the leader from 1888
to nearly the close of 1891 played an important part in steadily increas-
I was fortunate in having some very good players during those
days. Glenn Hobbs, with his incomparable ability as a cornetist, gave
me a big lift. So did John Bassett, who was my boyhood chum. His
remarkable ability as a snare drummer added a lot of tone and zest.
And, by the way, George Huff played the bass drum, and as he did
everything well, he was an excellent performer on the big drum and
I should mention all the boys, but space is denied me. However, I
wish to pay special tribute to my bosom friend Charles A. Kiler, who
was one of the altos.
I remember when Briggs' band accompanied a delegation to De-
Pauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, to encourage our orator,
Schaefer, in the inter-state oratorical contest. Previously John Finley
had won it. This time, however, we lost. We entered Greencastle with
much eclat, but we left town playing a dirge, much to the amusement of
On this occasion I saw General Lew Wallace, author of "Ben Hur"
and of Civil War fame, who lived at Crawfordsville.
The band was often the butt of practical jokers. One day when we
assembled prior to chapel, our instruments were missing. There was no
marching music that day. The instruments were found later hanging
on trees in the janitor's garden, which occupied a site where the
chemistry laboratory now stands.
Another time the mouthpieces were missing, but we armed against a
repetition of this by purchasing extra ones. However the "varmints"
who delighted in crippling the band removed tuning slides from the
horns on another occasion, thus disabling the instruments.
After this depredation I don't recall a similar raid, and I suspect the
guilty ones graduated in 1888.
When I first joined the band the instruments were, in most cases,
a sight to behold — badly battered up and of ancient breed. Some of the
96 On the Banks of the Boneyard
horns had rotary valves, rarely seen today, and it took a lot of my time
to keep them in workable condition. Finally I approached Dr. Peabody
with a plea for some new instruments, and my request was granted.
By 1889 and 1890 the band had developed very satisfactorily, and
we were playing all the standard marches of the day, were more careful
about watching expressions, and had even mastered "Poet and Peasant
Overture," which was indeed an accomplishment. The spirit of the
band had taken on force. Altogether I believe we had the best college
I cannot pass up this opportunity to relate an incident or two which
illustrate the character of Dr. Selim H. Peabody, then head of the
University. He was of a distinctly reserved, rather stern and dignified
make-up. However, he called me into his office one day, whistled and
hummed an air (I believe he even approached a dance step), and asked
me if I knew what it was. He had just returned from Europe, and had
heard the tune repeatedly. It was "Funiculi-Funicula."
When Charles Elder joined us I wanted an E-flat clarinet for him.
I again stated my needs to Dr. Peabody. While in Chicago the next
week he got one. Elder took great care of the instrument, wrapping
it in paper after each performance. Dr. Peabody noticed this, and one
day he handed me a fine leather case. He remarked that he had bought
the clarinet and case from his own purse, but that I should say nothing.
I didn't keep that secret.
During 1889 I was successful in getting permission to alter our
uniforms. I desired blue but was compelled to adhere to the conven-
tional cadet grey. However, we substituted white trimming for the black
and our caps were trimmed with silver braid. My own uniform was
made resplendent by silver chevrons on black background with an
embroidered bugle in the center. This adorned my left sleeve. The
improvement in uniforms increased the already fine spirit of the band
and improved the appearance as well.
With much regret, and only after long deliberation, I left the
University and my beloved band at the close of the winter term in
1891. I wanted to specialize in pharmaceutical chemistry, which was
listed in the Illinois catalogue but was never taught. I went to the
University of Michigan in the fall of '91 and graduated there in '92.
There was no band at U. of M., but I played in the Ann Arbor city
band which was hired by the University when needed.
When I left the University of Illinois, I recommended Glenn Hobbs
as my successor. He was appointed and carried on until he graduated.
Hobbs afterwards organized the first band at the University of Chicago.
Upon graduating at U. of M. I received an offer from Illinois to
return as assistant in chemistry. I gave up an equally good chance to
join Parke Davis & Company in Detroit. The lure of Illinois drew me
on, and I am pleased to say that the band invited me to play with them
on occasions. They also arranged for me to go with them to the
Columbian Exposition where they played twice daily at the Illinois
The University Band 97
building. We were billeted on the top floor for sleeping quarters. Try
and get much sleep amidst a lively bunch of lads like that !
I continued as instructor until the close of 1896. During that
period I played in all the bands except the one under Will Steele.
I do not recall what year it was that I first met Maud Kimball. I
think it was 1889. That gracious lady and excellent musician added
worlds to my musical career. I want to take advantage of this oppor-
tunity to express my undying thanks for her support in solos in which
she accompanied me and for the spirit she added to music in the
I'll never forget one evening when she invited me to the chapel to
spend an hour or two with Kittie Baker Wadsworth and herself. Mrs.
Wadsworth was here on a visit. Her wonderful soprano voice cannot
be forgotten nor the equally fine mezzo-soprano of Miss Kimball. That
evening was resplendent with such music as one rarely hears. I have
always felt distinctly proud of this invitation. I endeavored to add a
share on my euphonium, accompanied by Miss Kimball.
I have not been allowed space enough to enumerate many incidents
during those years — needless to say the preparation for this article has
revived many happy events, and has brought in review many familiar
faces. I think we would all love to live those days over again.
In closing I salute the University of Illinois band.
W. E. Sandford '92
Mr. Sandford's letter brings up many events of interest as well
as outstanding performers in the band and of the newly created
Music Department. We assembled in the halls every morning at
9:30. The men stood in military formation while the roll of each
company was called. The girls assembled in the library on the sec-
ond floor. When the company rolls were called, each sergeant
reported to his captain, a bugle sounded, and the student body
marched into the chapel, which was on the first floor, for a 15-
minute devotional service. The band played, the choir sang, the
regent read scripture, prayed, and made announcements. If trustees
or distinguished visitors were present, they were introduced and
spoke briefly. Alexander MacLean of Macomb, long time a trustee
and one of the few earliest trustees to be gifted with a sense of
humor, was a great favorite with the students of my day. He could
tell stories to illustrate the lessons he was putting over, and I am
sure he is well remembered by all who were in college in the '8o's.
Miss Maud Kimball was head of the music school and leader of
the choir, and Kittie Baker Wadsworth, the gifted soprano men-
tioned by Mr. Sandford, was the daughter of dear old Janitor Baker,
98 On the Banks of the Boneyard
who was at one time a teacher of elocution. She married J. G.
Wadsworth '82, who became prominent in Iowa banking circles.
Glenn M. Hobbs '91 succeeded Sandford as leader of the band.
Glenn was an unusually good cornetist, and frequently played solos
at chapel and at Literary Society meetings, accompanied on the
piano by Miss Kimball. I may say also that Charlie Elder with his
clarinet, Will Sandford with his euphonium, and once in a while
some other band member also played solos, but the men whose
names I have mentioned were our outstanding soloists in my day.
Glenn Hobbs has given great service to the University in his work
as secretary of the class of '91, and he wrote the words to the
beautiful song the present band boys sing to the inspiring tune from
"Finlandia" by the great Finnish composer Sibelius.
Charlie Elder was a skillful performer with his E-flat clarinet,
and he added much to the band during his term as leader. Then
came R. V. Sharpe '93, a cornetist, who was the leader of the band
when it played at the World's Columbian Exposition. He was fol-
lowed by Will Steele '96, who also showed that he possessed the
elements of leadership; the spirit of the band was excellent — as a
matter of fact I don't remember a time when the band was not a
loyal and pleasant organization.
John T. Atkinson was an invalid when he became leader and
while he worked when he should have been resting, the real w^ork
fell on the ever reliable Will Steele, who took over the leadership
again in his senior year. Because Steele was one of the prominent
men in band history, I asked him for a story of his time in the
band; here are his recollections:
My introduction to the "University of Illinois Military Band" was in
the fall of 1892. I humbly approached H. R. Rowe at his daily post in
the old hat room. In answer to his questions, I told him I was a member
of the Illinois Watch Company Band of Springfield, Louis Lehman,
conductor. Rowe asked, "What kind of stuff did you play ?"
What a poor thing is fame ! "Well," I replied, "William Tell Over-
ture among other things." I could see this created a sensation, and I
knew that I was launched.
Charlie Elder '93 had led the band during the previous year, and
had promoted the succession to R. W. Sharpe, also of '93, who led the
band until the end of the school year in June. Sharpe directed the band
at the concerts that we gave at the Illinois Building at the World's
Columbian Exposition. Yours truly took over for the year '93-'94- My
successor was the late John T. Atkinson, who may have become ill
during his incumbency; at any rate, while he was ailing I had charge
The University Band 99
of the band, and again assumed the leadership during my senior year.
This was also Walter Howe Jones's first year as head of the Music
Department of the University. I had picked out the good old "William
Tell Overture" for our Commencement number, and Walter Howe was
worried about it. I told him to lay off until we had rehearsed it some
more. When he finally heard us go through with it he said: "It's all
right, Willie, go ahead." I think Walter Howe Jones had charge from
then on until Harding.
And in this thought Brother Steele is entirely correct.
Nov^ Cometh the days of Walter Howe Jones, who not only led
the band but also the Glee Club and the Music Department of the
University. Walter Howe's instrument was the piano, of which he
was a master. He was a composer of good ability, and some of his
songs are still sung by students who don't know who wrote them.
The Romans had a phrase for this — "Sic transit gloria mundi" —
and while the names of men may be forgotten the worth-while
things that they did still live.
Then we come to the modern band; the band of today; the
band of Colonel Albert Austin Harding; pronounced by great band
leaders as the greatest college band in the world. I have often
expressed the wish that every department in the University was as
vital and coherent an organization as the University band. Harding's
personality and ability as an organizer puts the life and energ}' into
the band that has brought it up to an eminence where it can truth-
fully be pronounced the best of them all. From this point on to the
end of my story I can quote from the numerous and deserved
tributes to the band and its leader — for everything that I might
say has already been better said by experts. In the Illini of Novem-
ber 12, 1925, we find the following historical sketch:
In 1902 A. A. Harding, now director of the bands, entered the Uni-
versity. He became interested in the band, and in 1905 was made the
student leader of the organization, which consisted of 30 pieces at that
time. From this small nucleus the band began to grow and attract atten-
tion. Soon, because of its importance to the University, a department
of the band was created. It continued a steady growth reaching 160 in
191 5 and 215 in 1918. However, in 1919, because of the war, there was
no increase in membership. In 1920 there were four divisions: the
Concert Band, the First and Second Regimental Bands, and the Fife
and Drum Corps, altogether numbering 250 members. At the present
time the enlistment in the band is limited to 300 men, who are selected
by competition each semester.
Our band possesses what is said to be the finest collection of band
music in the United States. The collection consists of some 3000 pieces
lOO On the Banks of the Boneyard
made up in England, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, to which must
be added the compositions written and printed in this country. In 1918
the band owned only $10,000 worth of equipment, but this has been
greatly increased since then. Many of the instruments, which are too
expensive for the members to purchase, are owned by the band. The
first annual concert was given in 1890, and there has been one given
each year since then. The concert band goes on a tour annually, stop-
ping at important cities where concerts are given, and on its return to
the campus, the final concert of the year takes place. The idea of
twilight concerts was first conceived by Director Harding in 1908, and
since then has been copied by college bands all over the country.
The following biographical sketch of Colonel Harding reads so
well, that I use it in full:
HARDING IN 35th YEAR AS DIRECTOR
By Merle Bruninga '42
March 13, 1940
Leader began horn-tooting in old barn;
Harding ployed fife in Paris, Illinois, Drum Corps;
Fullback on Grid team
Builder of the "World's Greatest College Band," A. A. Harding,
director of the University of Illinois band for 35 years, has come a long
way since he first tooted a cheap brass cornet in the old barn of his
Beginning his official musical career as a lo-year-old fife player in
a Paris, Illinois, fife and drum corps, the great bandmaster-to-be played
at a Republican political rally in 1890.
As a high school student Mr. Harding played the piccolo, and when
he was a senior he became director of the Paris high school band.
Captain of his high school football team, Mr. Harding was as much
at home on the gridiron as on the band platform. He weighed 135
pounds, and played hurdling fullback. Although he was a trifle light
for the Illinois regulars, he played on the freshman varsity when he
came to the campus.
Acting on the spur of the moment, the Illini bandleader dropped his
handwork in 1902 to enroll in the University College of- Engineering,
aiming for a degree in sanitary engineering. He was a classmate of
M. L. Enger, present dean of the College of Engineering.
"Harding wasn't meant to be an engineer," Mr. Enger recalled, "for
he spent practically all of his time with the band, even then."
Dependent on his own resources, the musical engineer worked his
way by playing for dances at $5 a job, big money in those days.
Harding played in the Knights of Pythias band, the local community
band, and in surrounding towns.
In 1905, however, the music in Harding's blood won out when the
University ofifered him the directorship of the Illinois bands. A senior
in engineering, the youthful Harding accepted.
The University Band loi
Having taught himself to play nearly all the instruments in the
band, Harding would put down his cornet when the band played "Stars
and Stripes Forever" and pick up his piccolo to swell the shrill obligatto
on the final chorus.
Under the guidance of Harding the University band has developed
into an organization of professional calibre made up of individuals of
"I have always believed that a university band should be something
more than a group of musicians ballyhooing around town or just
marching as a militant unit; that it should be a band developed in
keeping with the dignity of the university," the bandmaster declared.
Saying that the band always reflects the prestige of a university,
Mr. Harding explained that he has attempted to bring the Illinois band
to the same level as a symphony orchestra, and make it as pleasant to
listen to as a symphony indoors.
Believing that through a band the greatest music appreciation can
be developed, Harding maintains that if persons will sit through heavy
music in order to hear the lighter music they love, they will develop
a taste for the heavier numbers.
"That is the main reason I have always introduced some of the
numbers from popular musical comedies as encores," he explained.
On Feb. 20, 1880, Mr. Harding was born in Georgetown, 111. Fol-
lowing the death of his mother in his early childhood, he went to live
with his maternal grandparents in Paris. Ten years later, Harding
went to live with his paternal grandparents.
Harding was married to Margaret Rogers, a former Paris school-
mate, on commencement day in 1913. The Hardings now live at 710
South Elm Street, Champaign. Their daughter, Jane Austin Harding, is
attending school in Chicago.
Through Mr. Harding's fast friendship with John Philip Sousa, the
"March King" left his entire personal library of music and original
manuscripts to the Illinois bands.
Past president of the American Bandmasters' Association, Harding-
is the only college bandmaster to have held that position. He is also
honorary president of the Illinois Bandmasters' Association, and has
been awarded two honorary degrees of philosophy for his work, one
from Davidson college, Davidson, N. C, and the other from Phillips
university, Enid, Okla.
Harding first met John Philip Sousa at a dinner given by Presi-
dent James of our University in 1906, when the great composer and
bandmaster was here with his band. From this meeting grew the
friendship that ended only with Sousa's death, and which without
doubt was the reason Sousa left all of his library of band music to
As a compliment to Colonel Harding, the American Bandmasters'
Association met here in 1938, and at that time Miss Frances Myers,
I02 On the Banks of the Boneyard
the able University reporter for the Champaign News-Gazette, inter-
viewed the leading bandsmen and composers of our country, w^ho
were in attendance. What they had to say follows:
WHAT MAKES U. I. BAND GREAT?
DIRECTOR, GOOD PLAYERS, SAY LEADERS
March 27, 1938. By Fran Myers
Netvs-Gazetfe University Editor
"What makes a band great?"
Long the University of Illinois band has been extolled as the "great-
est university band." John Philip Sousa once said this of the band, and
it's still true today.
Noted bandmasters the nation over explain the reasons.
"To be great, a band must have first, good players, and second, a
good director," Edwin Franko Goldman, famous conductor of the Gold-
man band of New York City, who has just composed his 83d march,
explained when approached on this subject.
"No band," he warned, "is better than its conductor."
"Prof. Harding has set a high standard here and I'm sure he has
maintained it. He is a fine musician and a great organizer. He set a
goal and reached it. He made up his mind he wanted a band of great
proportion and players who could play."
Director Goldman added: "The University of Illinois band attracts
the better high school players. They aspire to make it. The band is
made up of evenly balanced players in all sections. In most of our bands
the second, third, and fourth parts do not play as well as the first parts.
In the University band, all parts play equally well.
"This is the finest university band in the world. There is no uni-
versity band that can compare with it. And very few professional bands
can compare with it.
"To give the marvelous concerts this band played — referring to the
two last week — the University bandsmen have to be able to play their
Karl L. King, Ft. Dodge, la., newly elected president, American
Bandmasters' Association, composer of many marches for the Illini
band, takes the story on:
"It's the man, Harding, who lias made the University band
great," Director King stated. "He has been the father of the school
band movement in the United States. His band has been the
training school for most of the other school band heads."
Director King, who ran away from a job in a newspaper com-
posing room to play baritone in a circus — he played 10 years with
Sells-Floto and Buffalo Bill, and Barnum and Bailey — pointed to
Prof. Harding's work as head of the school band clinics.
The University Band 103
The center of the entire school band movement is here at the Uni-
versity of Illinois. Harding's influence reaches out in every direction.
Nothing can happen in the band music world without crossing the path
of Professor Harding and the University of Illinois.
I've written marches such as the "Purple Pageant" for Northwestern,
"Wisconsin's Pride," and now one for Wayne University, but every
one is for a director who formerly was with Harding and the University
of Illinois. Every time you reach out, you cross Professor Harding's
So it is the man who makes the University band great.
Dr. C. S. Putnam, director, University of North Dakota band,
Fargo, declared the University band crowds the laurels of any
organized band today. He pointed to several professional bands as
fine organizations, but explained their members do not have the
pep and go of the University band.
Some of the bands haven't the youth coupled with the thorough
music knowledge, such as the University of Illinois band. That's the
reason this is the most wonderful student band.
Frank Simon, famed conductor of the Armco band. Middle-
town, Ohio, declared: "Fine musicians make a band great." He
added, however, that a conductor is a "big factor."
"And even after a band has fine musicians, it still is no better
than its conductor," Director Simon stated. "It is a conductor with
a personality, with dynamic characteristics, and exacting qualities.
A conductor must be able to express himself. These qualities you
have in Mr. Harding. More than that, he is an organizer and a
business man — a rare combination.
"Mr. Harding has built a movement here that will endure for
Harry L. Alford, Chicago, who has written marches for the
mini band and done much paraphrasing, all exclusively for the
Illinois band, pointed to just three factors which make the Univer-
sity band great.
"Mr. Harding, the complete ensemble, and the way they play
together," Mr. Alford stated.
And while the personnel of the University band changes from
year to year. Professor Harding is able to train the new members
who come into the band to play up to his standard and help retain
the title of the "greatest University band" for the University of
I- ■• , i^
Title Page of the 1892 Sophograph
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