Right Under Baylor’s NoZe

by Joseph Griffith, Graduate Assistant

Circa 1941, the NoZe Brothers strike a pose. Notice the portrait of Brother Long Nose Shoaf, the first President of the club (center). General Photos collection, box 75.01, folder 1.

Hello! Or in the language of the NoZe Brotherhood: “Mini-Mini-Techni, Ufarsus; Keko-de-Muckity-Muck, Satchel!”

What did I just read, you’re asking? Welcome to the bizarre world of the NoZe Brotherhood, the secret and satirical society on the campus of Baylor University.

Named after its first president, Leonard Shoaf, whose nose was apparently so huge you could form a club around it, the NoZe Brotherhood was founded in the mid-1920s as a satire on men’s social organizations.

They’ve had a long and checkered history at Baylor University, to say the least. At best, university administration has tolerated their jokes. The oldest social club at Baylor University, the NoZe Brotherhood is not–I repeat, not–an official student organization.

And at worst, the university has banished the club altogether. In 1965, when the NoZe Brothers painted pink and set fire to a bridge over Waco Creek, the university burned its bridges with the club.

No skin off their noZes, the NoZe Brothers went underground … and have been causing trouble right under Baylor’s noZe ever since!

Today, members (“Brothers”) adopt humorous, nose-related pseudonyms and wear costumes, often wigs and Groucho-Marx-style glasses, noses, and mustaches, to keep their identities hidden.

Two NoZe Brothers poke fun at Baylor University at the Homecoming Parade, circa 1978. General Photos collection, box 75.01, folder 3.

With noZes to the grindstone, they tirelessly prank the university and their fellow students. The serial shenaniganin’ of these superstars of satire include:
• Interrupting chapel and Sing (the university’s annual Broadway-style song-and-dance competition)
• Marching in the Homecoming parade with spoof floats
• Raising the NoZe flag on top of Pat Neff Hall
• Issuing fake parking tickets
• Gathering signatures for a petition to get themselves kicked off campus
• And even attempting to take the ozone layer hostage!

No one noZe when or where they’ll strike next.

The cover of a Spring 2012 copy of The Rope, the flagship of the NoZe Brotherhood. The byline of the newspaper is: “It’s Only Ink and Paper.” NoZe Brotherhood collection, #BU/384, box 5, folder 13.

But of all their shenanigans, the Brotherhood is perhaps most well-known for its monthly, satirical, and often iconoclastic publication called The Rope.

In its pages, the NoZe Brothers lampoon everything in sight, especially Baylor University and the Baptist denomination, using their own kind of language (“NoZe Prose”). The language has a cadence and flow that mimics well-known biblical phrases and is riddled with nasal references (or should I say “naZal” references?).

Their motto is: “Ye Shall Know Them by Their Noses.” “Satchel” is a term of approval, “Gobble,” disapproval.

Those interested in these rhinal rogues of ridicule, satire in general, non-Baylor-approved campus life, or Baylor’s attempts to maintain its Baptist heritage will find The Texas Collection’s materials on NoZe Brotherhood fascinating. Some of those materials include:

• Over 100 folders of Ropes dating back to 1941
• Newspaper and magazine clippings
• Photographs
• Pink Tea invitations (the Brotherhood’s annual gala)
• “Unrush” advertisements
• Original artwork
• Rough drafts of screenplays
• And more!

Come explore the rich history of this secret and satirical society soon. Until we see you here, Satchel!

A Spring 1983 advertisement for the NoZe Brotherhood’s semi-annual “Unrush” ritual. Non-members (aka “Infidels”) interested in joining the Brotherhood are encouraged to attend at 11:17 pm (“Past Milk”). NoZe Brotherhood collection, #BU/384, box 2, folder 4.

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9 Responses to Right Under Baylor’s NoZe

  1. Charles Guittard says:

    would love to have my own copy of issues of The Rope. Always thought there was something strange but somehow appealing about The NoZe, something slightly outlawish that was amusing, probably harmless, but who NoZe? And then there was the homecoming parade where NoZe brothers rolled a giant ball of hair (diameter ten feet?) down 5th Street and would occasionally approach small children watching and say, “Little girl (or boy), would you like to contribute a lock of hair to the Baylor Spirit Hairball?” Classic!

  2. Noze Dotter says:

    Anything in your archives from before 1941? My dad and uncle were both in the Brotherhood in the late thirties.

    • leanna_barcelona says:

      Hello! Thank you for your comment. We do have other materials in the collection, dating back to 1929. Most of the earlier items are programs/pamphlets and newspaper clippings. The finding aid for the collection can be found here. Feel free to contact our University Archivist at Leanna_Barcelona@baylor.edu if you would like us to look for information on your relatives.

      • Noze Dotter says:

        Leanna, thanks. That link does not seem to work for me.

        • leanna_barcelona says:

          Sorry about that, there must be a glitch. If you go to The Texas Collection website (https://www.baylor.edu/lib/texas/) and click on the tab labeled “BARD” near the top, then click on the “BARD – Baylor Archival Repositories Database” link, it will bring you to our archival database. Type “Noze brotherhood” in the search box, and the first result is the collection. If you click “Display Finding Aid” on the left underneath that first result, it will bring you to the collection’s finding aid with a full box/folder list of the contents in the collection.

  3. Alison says:

    Will past copies of The Rope ever be published online?

    • leanna_barcelona says:

      Hello, Alison! Thank you for reading our blog post. We are in the process of digitizing past copies of the Rope, so eventually they will be available online.

  4. Mark Webb says:

    Ropes can also be read on the NoZe Website that is updated regularly

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