The Name?

While there is some contention as to the true story behind the decision to call the fledgling group “The Meddiebempsters,” the most commonly-told story attributes the name to a “pin the tail on the donkey” type of exercise involving the map of Maine. Tom Bromwell ’41, according to the tale “was blind-folded, spun, pointed in the direction of a map of Maine and hit the town of Meddybemps with his pencil. That did it!” Perhaps it did, but the etymology of the group’s whimsical moniker has remained a source of creative yarn-spinning for decades of Meddies.

With the name slightly altered and a ninth member augmenting the octet, the Bowdoin College “Meddiebempsters” were born. The group could be found in the early 40’s performing for private functions and public concerts in Brunswick, most frequently during intermissions at Bowdoin College Glee Club Concerts. In this early era the Meddies were invited to perform for the Governer of Maine at Bailey Island, a locale they still frequent yearly.

During World War II, the Meddies—unlike many other organizations on campus— continued to exert their energies and voices, keeping alive their beloved music despite the period of intense student disruption. During these years, the group directorship was assumed by Professor Till (much to his dismay) to help keep some sense of flow and continuity during otherwise tumultuous times when the college had fewer than one hundred total students.