George Ade

George Ade (February 9, 1866 – May 16, 1944) was an American writer, newspaper columnist, and playwright.

George Ade
George Ade 1904
George Ade in 1904
BornFebruary 9, 1866
DiedMay 16, 1944 (aged 78)
OccupationWriter, newspaper columnist, and playwright


George Ade was born in Kentland, Indiana, one of seven children raised by John and Adaline (Bush) Ade. While attending Purdue University, he became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He also met and started a lifelong friendship with fellow cartoonist and Sigma Chi brother John T. McCutcheon and worked as a reporter for the Lafayette Call. He graduated in 1887.[1]

In 1890 Ade joined the Chicago Morning News, which later became the Chicago Record, where McCutcheon was working. He wrote the column, Stories of the Streets and of the Town. In the column, which McCutcheon illustrated, George Ade illustrated Chicago life. It featured characters like Artie, an office boy; Doc Horne, a gentlemanly liar; and Pink Marsh, a black shoeshine boy. Ade's well-known "fables in slang" also made their first appearance in this popular column.

Ade's literary reputation rests upon his achievements as a great humorist of American character during an important era in American history: the first large wave of migration from the countryside to burgeoning cities like Chicago, where, in fact, Ade produced his best fiction. He was a practicing realist during the Age of (William Dean) Howells and a local colorist of Chicago and the Midwest. His work constitutes a vast comedy of Midwestern manners and, indeed, a comedy of late 19th-century American manners. In 1915, Sir Walter Raleigh, Oxford professor and man of letters, while on a lecture tour in America, called George Ade "the greatest living American writer."[2]

Ade's fiction dealt consistently with the "little man," the common, undistinguished, average American, usually a farmer or lower middle class citizen. (He sometimes skewered women, too, especially women with laughable social pretensions.)

Ade followed in the footsteps of his idol Mark Twain by making expert use of the American language. In his unique "Fables in Slang," which purveyed not so much slang as the American colloquial vernacular, Ade pursued an effectively genial satire notable for its scrupulous objectivity. Ade's regular practice in the best fables is to present a little drama incorporating concrete, specific evidence with which he implicitly indicts the object of his satire—always a type (e.g., the social climber). The fable's actual moral is nearly always implicit, though he liked to tack on a mock, often ironic moral (e.g., "Industry and perseverance bring a sure reward").

George Ade House
Ade's house near Brook

As a subtle moralist all too aware of the ironies of the modern world, George Ade was perhaps the first modern American humorist. Through the values implicit in the fables, Ade manifested an ambivalence between the traditional rural virtues, in which he was raised (the virtues of Horatio Alger and the McGuffey Readers), and the craftiness he saw all around him in booming Chicago.

George Ade and John McCutcheon
Ade (left), with John T. McCutcheon, circa 1894-1895

The United States, in Ade's lifetime, underwent a great population shift and transfer from an agricultural to an industrial economy. Many felt the nation suffered the even more agonizing process of shifting values toward philistinism, greed, and dishonesty. Ade's prevalent practice is to record the pragmatic efforts of the little man to get along in such a world.

Ade propounds a golden mean, satirizing both hidebound adherence to obsolete standards and too-easy adjustment to new ones. His view is often an ambiguous, ambivalent, pragmatic reaction to the changing scene, but it remains an invaluable literary reflection of the conflicting moral tensions resident in our national culture at the turn of the century.

A striking and unique feature of Ade's essays was the creative and liberal use of capitalization.[3][4] Here is an example:

Once upon a Time there was a slim Girl with a Forehead which was Shiny and Protuberant, like a Bartlett Pear ... In all the Country around there was not a Man who came up to her Plans and Specifications for a Husband. Neither was there any Man who had any time for Her. So she led a lonely Life, dreaming of the One—the Ideal. He was a big and pensive Literary Man, wearing a Prince Albert coat, a neat Derby Hat and godlike Whiskers. When He came he would enfold Her in his Arms and whisper Emerson's Essays to her. {non-standard capitalization in original] [5]

Ade was a playwright as well as an author, penning such stage works as Artie, The Sultan of Sulu (a musical comedy with composer Nathaniel D. Mann and lyricist Alfred George Whathall), The College Widow, The Fair Co-ed, and The County Chairman. He wrote the first American play about football.

After twelve years in Chicago, he built a home near the town of Brook, Indiana (Newton County). It soon became known for hosting a campaign stop in 1908 by William Howard Taft, a rally for Theodore Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party in 1912, and a homecoming for soldiers and sailors in 1919.

George Ade is one of the American writers whose publications made him rich. When land values were inflated about the time of World War I, Ade was a millionaire. The Ross-Ade football stadium at Purdue University was built with his (and David E. Ross's) financial support. He also generously supported his college fraternity, Sigma Chi, leading a fund-raising campaign to endow the Sigma Chi mother house at the site of the fraternity's original establishment at Miami University. Ade is also famous among Sigma Chis as the author of The Sigma Chi Creed, written in 1929, one of the central documents of the fraternity's philosophies.

George Ade died in Brook, Indiana, aged 78. He is buried in Fairlawn Cemetery in Kentland. His home in Iroquois Township, Indiana, the George Ade House, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.[6]


George Ade 7
George Ade, 1903
  • Artie. A story of the streets and town (1896)
  • Pink Marsh : a story of the streets and town (1897)
  • Doc' Horne (1899)
  • Fables in slang (1899)
  • More fables (1900)
  • American vacations in Europe (1901)
  • Forty modern fables (1901)
  • Girl proposition (1902)
  • The County Chairman (1903)
  • Handsome Cyril, or, The messenger boy with the warm feet (1903)
  • In Babel; stories of Chicago (1903)
  • Circus Day (1903)
  • People you know (1903)
  • Peggy from Paris: A Musical Comedy in Two Acts (1903)
  • Strenuous lad's library (1903)
  • Sultan of Sulu; an original satire in two acts (1903)
  • Breaking into society (1904)
  • The College Widow (1904; adapted as a musical in 1917, Leave It to Jane)
  • Sho gun, an original comic opera in two acts (1904)
  • True bills (1904)
  • Round about Cairo, with and without the assistance of the dragoman or Simon Legree of the Orient (1906)
  • The Slim Princess (1907)
  • Fair co-ed (1909)
  • Old town (1909)
  • I Knew Him When : a Hoosier fable dealing with the happy days of away back yonder (1910)
  • Hoosier hand book and true guide for the returning exile (1911)
  • Verses and jingles (1911)
  • Just out of college; a light comedy in three acts (1912)
  • Knocking the neighbors (1913)
  • Ade's fables (1914)
  • The Fable of the Busy Business Boy and the Droppers-In (1914)
  • The Fable of the Roistering Blades (1915)
  • Invitation to you and your folks from Jim and some more of the home folks (1916)
  • Marse Covington; a play in one act (1918)
  • Hand-made fables (1920)
  • Single blessedness, and other observations (1922)
  • Mayor and the manicure; a play in one act (1923)
  • Nettie, a play in one act (1923)
  • Speaking to father; a play in one act (1923)
  • Father and the boys; a comedy-drama (1924)
  • The Sigma Chi Creed (1929)
  • On the Indiana trail (1930)
  • Old-time saloon: not wet--not dry, just history (1931)
  • Thirty fables in slang (1933)
  • One afternoon with Mark Twain (1939)
  • Notes & reminiscences (with John T. McCutcheon) (1940)
  • The America of George Ade, 1866-1944; fables, short stories, essays (edited and introduced by Jean Shepherd) (1960)

In fiction

  • Ade is on a journey to Mars with Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain in the 2005 novel Wonder of the Worlds by Sesh Heri.
  • P. G. Wodehouse refers to Ade's "The Fable of the Author Who Was Sorry for What He Did to Willie" in Love Among the Chickens (1909) ("The whole thing began like Mr. George Ade's fable of the author. An author — myself — was sitting at his desk trying to turn out something that could be converted into breakfast food, when a friend came in and sat down on the table and told him to go right on and not mind him." (Chapter XII) and "I felt, like the man in the fable, as if some one had played a mean trick on me, and substituted for my brain a side order of cauliflower." (Chapter XVI)) He uses the same sentence again in Mike (1909) (But that Adair should inform him, two minutes after Mr. Downing's announcement of Psmith's confession, that Psmith, too, was guiltless, and that the real criminal was Dunster — it was this that made him feel that somebody, in the words of an American author, had played a mean trick on him, and substituted for his brain a side-order of cauliflower. (Chapter LVIII))


  1. ^ Leonard, John William; Marquis, Albert Nelson, eds. (1908), Who's who in America, 5, Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, Incorporated, p. 13.
  2. ^ Coyle, Lee (1964). George Ade. New York: Twayne Publisher, Inc. p. 7.
  3. ^ Dictionary of Midwestern Literature, Philip A. Greasley, Indiana University Press, 2001, p. 28.
  4. ^ Biography by Luc Sante.
  6. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.

External links

Ade (surname)

Ade is an African surname. When found in Western Africa, it is usually accented. Ade is also a surname used by Banjara in India Refer Banjara Rajputs.

Ade may refer to people named:

Ebiet G. Ade, Indonesian singer

George Ade, American writer

King Sunny Adé, Nigerian musician

MC ADE, American musician

Back Home and Broke

Back Home and Broke is a lost 1922 American comedy silent film directed by Alfred E. Green and written by George Ade and J. Clarkson Miller. The film stars Thomas Meighan, Lila Lee, Frederick Burton, Cyril Ring, Charles S. Abbe, Florence Dixon and Gertrude Quinlan. The film was released on December 24, 1922, by Paramount Pictures.

Father and the Boys

Father and the Boys is a 1915 American silent comedy film directed by Joe De Grasse and featuring Lon Chaney. The film is now considered to be lost. Louise Lovely's American film debut after emigrating from Australia.

It is based on a popular Broadway play of 1908 produced by Charles Frohman, Father and the Boys by George Ade. Though Digby Bell was a renowned stage actor his part of Lemuel Morewood was played on stage by veteran William H. Crane. Louise Lovely's part of Bessie Brayton was played by Margaret Dale in the play.

George Ade House

George Ade House, also known as the Hazelden House, is a historic home located in Iroquois Township, Newton County, Indiana. It was built in 1904, and is two-story, 14 room, Tudor Revival style frame dwelling. It features half-timbering and stucco on the upper floor, leaded glass windows, and beamed and vaulted ceilings. It was the home of noted author, humorist, and playwright George Ade (1866-1944).It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Golden Age of Indiana Literature

The Golden Age of Indiana Literature is a period between 1880 and 1920, when many nationally and internationally acclaimed literary works were created by natives of the state of Indiana. During this time, many of the United States' most popular authors came from Indiana. Maurice Thompson, George Ade, Booth Tarkington, Theodore Dreiser, Edward Eggleston, Frank McKinney Hubbard, George Barr McCutcheon, Meredith Nicholson, Gene Stratton Porter, Lew Wallace, and James Whitcomb Riley were foremost among the Hoosier authors.Wallace's Ben Hur: A Tale of Christ became the best selling book of the 19th century, and Riley became the most prominent poet of the age, writing poems that included "Little Orphant Annie". Thompson, Ade, and Tarkingon each authored several best selling novels, including Gentlemen from Indiana, Alice of Old Vincennes, and The Hoosiers. Dreiser, an open communist, lived the longest out of the group and wrote many works of fiction and non-fiction focusing on topics of importance to society. He was unique among the group in that he was greatly disliked by citizens of his own state.Stratton-Porter was a best-selling novelist and author of nature studies, poetry, short stories, and children's books. A Girl of the Limberlost (1909) remains her best-known work. Stratton-Porter was also a columnist for national magazines such as McCall's and Good Housekeeping. Eight of her novels have been adapted into motion pictures.The period corresponded to growth in other cultural areas including the creation of the Hoosier Group of landscape painters, and prominence of Indiana music composers like Paul Dresser. During the decades of the age, Indiana ranked second among states in the production of best selling books.

Leave It to Jane

Leave It to Jane is a musical in two acts, with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse, based on the 1904 play The College Widow, by George Ade. The story concerns the football rivalry between Atwater College and Bingham College, and satirizes college life in a Midwestern U.S. town. A star halfback, Billy, forsakes his father's alma mater, Bingham, to play at Atwater, to be near the seductive Jane, the daughter of Atwater's president.

The musical was created for the Princess Theatre, but another of the "Princess Theatre Shows", Oh, Boy!, was a long-running hit at the Princess at the same time; so Leave It to Jane premiered instead at the Longacre Theatre on Broadway in 1917. and had a long-running Off-Broadway revival in 1959. Some of the best-known songs are "A Peach of a Life", "Leave It to Jane", "The Crickets Are Calling", "The Siren’s Song", "Sir Galahad" and "Cleopatterer".

Nathaniel D. Mann

Nathaniel D. Mann was an American composer best known for his work with L. Frank Baum. He composed at least two songs with Baum, "Different Ways of Making Love" and "It Happens Ev'ry Day," and another with John Slavin, "She Didn't Really Mind the Thing at All," for The Wizard of Oz stage musical in 1902, and in 1908, composed the first original film score (27 cues) for The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays, one of the earliest feature-length fiction films (and the earliest film adaptations of the novels The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Marvelous Land of Oz, Ozma of Oz, John Dough and the Cherub, and Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, presented by Baum himself), which debuted September 24, 1908. With Baum, he also composed the musical The King of Gee-Whiz (dated February 23, 1905), which went through various titles such as Montezuma (November 1902), King Jonah XIII (September 1903), and The Son of the Sun (1905). This was collaboration with and based on a novel by Emerson Hough, which was never completed and the extant scenario published in 1969.His other works include The Sultan of Sulu with George Ade and Alfred George Whathall (1902), "Moon, Moon," sung by Christie MacDonald in The Toreador (1902), The Mayor of Tokio with William Frederick Peters (1905), The Alaskan with R. F. Carroll (1909), Imam : A Mohammedan Serenade (1912), and the one-act ballet, La Naissance de la Rose (Opus 52) (1914). Much of his work consisted of coon songs.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Newton County, Indiana

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Newton County, Indiana.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties on the National Register of Historic Places in Newton County, Indiana, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 6 properties listed on the National Register in the county.

Properties and districts located in incorporated areas display the name of the municipality, while properties and districts in unincorporated areas display the name of their civil township. Properties and districts split between multiple jurisdictions display the names of all jurisdictions.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted March 7, 2019.

Old Home Week (film)

Old Home Week is a 1925 American comedy silent film directed by Victor Heerman and written by George Ade and Thomas J. Geraghty. The film stars Thomas Meighan, Lila Lee, Charles Dow Clark, Max Figman, Charles Sellon, Zelma Tiden and Sidney Paxton. The film was released on May 25, 1925, by Paramount Pictures.This film is now considered a lost film.

Our Leading Citizen (1922 film)

Our Leading Citizen is a 1922 American silent comedy film directed by Alfred E. Green and written by George Ade and Waldemar Young. The film stars Thomas Meighan, Lois Wilson, William P. Carleton, Theodore Roberts, Guy Oliver, Larry Wheat, and James Neill. The film was released on June 14, 1922, by Paramount Pictures.The film is now lost.

School of Hard Knocks

The School of Hard Knocks—or University of Hard Knocks—is an idiomatic phrase meaning the (sometimes painful) education one gets from life's usually negative experiences, often contrasted with formal education. The term is frequently misattributed to George Ade, but was actually coined by Elbert Hubbard in a piece he wrote on himself for Cosmopolitan in 1902.It is a phrase which is most typically used by a person to claim a level of wisdom imparted by life experience, which should be considered at least equal in merit to academic knowledge. It is a response that may be given when one is asked about his or her education, particularly if they do not have an extensive formal education but rather life experiences that should be valued instead. It may also be used facetiously, to suggest that formal education is not of practical value compared with "street" experience. In the UK, Australia and New Zealand, the phrases "University of Life" and "School of Hard Knocks" may be used interchangeably.In 1947, newspaperman James Franklin Comstock ("Jim" Comstock) founded the “University of Hard Knocks”, an honorary society with a mission to recognize people who have made a success of their life without the benefit of higher education. Alderson Broaddus College in Philippi, West Virginia, USA, sponsored the organization, which moved its offices to the A-B campus in 1976. The society was dissolved in 2014.

Society for the Prevention of Calling Sleeping Car Porters "George"

The Society for the Prevention of Calling Sleeping Car Porters "George" (SPCSCPG) was founded as a joke by lumber baron George W. Dulany in 1914. Membership was open to all those whose first or last name was George. Its early members included Admiral George Dewey, who served as the group's first president, and writer George Ade. Dulany's secretary filled out and mailed more than 45,000 membership cards to people named "George" throughout the world, before Dulany retired from public life.

The College Widow (1927 film)

The College Widow is a 1927 American silent comedy film produced and distributed by Warner Bros. and directed by Archie Mayo. The film is based on the 1904 Broadway play of the same name by George Ade and was previously adapted to film in 1915 with Ethel Clayton. The 1927 silent film version is a starring vehicle for Dolores Costello.The story was also filmed in 1930 as an early talkie, Maybe It's Love, starring Joan Bennett and in 1936 as Freshman Love with Patricia Ellis.

The College Widow (play)

The College Widow is a 1904 American comedic play by George Ade, which was adapted to film multiple times, and also into the popular 1917 musical Leave It to Jane.

The County Chairman (1914 film)

The County Chairman is a lost 1914 silent film drama directed by Allan Dwan, produced by the Famous Players Film Company and distributed through Paramount Pictures. It is based on the 1903 stage play by George Ade that starred Maclyn Arbuckle, who reprises his role in this film. Also starring alongside Arbuckle is up-and-coming heartthrob Harold Lockwood. The story is typical of the stage plays (and its star) Adolph Zukor brought to films for his Famous Players Company in its earliest years. This film was remade by Fox in 1935 with Will Rogers.

The County Chairman (play)

The County Chairman is a 1903 comedy play by George Ade, which was one of his greatest successes. Produced by Henry W. Savage, it played for 222 performances on Broadway at Wallack's Theatre. It was also adapted to film in 1914 and 1935.

The Fair Co-Ed

The Fair Co-Ed, also known as The Varsity Girl, is a 1927 American silent film comedy starring Marion Davies and released through MGM. The film was produced by William Randolph Hearst, through Cosmopolitan Productions and directed by Sam Wood.

The film is based on a 1909 play/musical comedy The Fair Co-Ed by George Ade which starred a young Elsie Janis, and opened on Broadway on February 1, 1909.The film survives today, supposedly in the MGM/UA archives, now controlled by Warner Brothers.

The Slim Princess

The Slim Princess is a 1920 American comedy film starring Mabel Normand, directed by Victor Schertzinger, produced by Samuel Goldwyn, and written by Gerald C. Duffy based on a musical play of the same name by Henry Blossom and Leslie Stuart, which was from a story by George Ade. The picture is a Goldwyn Pictures Corporation production with a supporting cast featuring Hugh Thompson, Tully Marshall, Russ Powell, Lillian Sylvester, and Harry Lorraine.

The cinematographer was George Webber and future director Henry Hathaway was a 22-year-old prop boy on the set.

It is not known whether the film currently survives, which suggests that it is a lost film.


Woman-Proof is a lost 1923 American silent comedy film directed by Alfred E. Green and written by George Ade and Thomas J. Geraghty. The film stars Thomas Meighan, Lila Lee, John St. Polis, Louise Dresser, Robert Agnew, Mary Astor, and Edgar Norton. The film was released on October 28, 1923, by Paramount Pictures.

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