In 1905, the stress of fame began to affect Ade's health and he returned to the Midwest, moving permanently into Hazelden. That year also saw the first of three Ade plays that would bomb, which marked the beginning of the end of Ade's reign on Broadway. He frequently visited Chicago where John McCutcheon was working as an editorial cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune. That year, the two, along with Edward M. Holloway, founded the Indiana Society of Chicago. At the time the Society was founded, Indiana was second only to New York in published authors. Many of the Indiana authors who were associated with the Society at the time included James Whitcomb Riley, Booth Tarkington, Meredith Nicholson, Kin Hubbard and George Barr McCutcheon. Ade was an active member of the Society for many years serving in various positions as an officer and trustee and playing host to many of the Society functions that were held at Hazelden.
A bird in the hand may be worth two in the bush but remember also that a bird in the hand is a positive embarrassment to one who is not in the poultry business.
George Ade, "The Fable of the Old Fox and the Young Fox," 1902
Besides working with the Indiana Society, Ade began to invest his time and energy in connection with his home state. In 1908, he was an Indiana delegate to the Republican National Convention and hosted the kick-off of William H. Taft's presidential campaign at Hazelden. During World War I, Ade served for two years as director of war publicity on the Indiana State Council of Defense. Besides using Indiana as the setting in many of his plays and fables, Ade wrote numerous essays promoting his native land. In 1922, he wrote an essay aptly titled, "Indiana," in which he describes the Hoosier state:
Indiana is a composite of steel mills and country clubs, factories and colleges, promoters and professors, stock-breeders and Chautauqua attractions, cornfields and campuses. It grows all the crops and propaganda known to the temperate zone.
If a high wall could be erected to enclose Indiana, the state would continue to operate in all departments, but the outsiders would have to scale the wall in order to get their dialect poetry.
Here's to Indiana, a state as yet unspoiled! Here's to the Hoosier home folks, a good deal more sophisticated than they let on to be!