Paul Harris, History, Arch Klumpf
What is Rotary? Rotary International began in Chicago in 1905. It is the oldest and one of the largest non-profit service organizations in the world. It is comprised of 1.2 million members working in over 29,000 clubs in 160 countries. Rotary members initiate community projects that address many of today's most critical issues such as violence, AIDS, hunger, the environment and health care.
Definition of Rotary: Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. There are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians, members of more than 27,000 Rotary clubs in 158 countries and geographical areas.
A brief history: Rotary's first day and the years that followed... February 23, 1905. The airplane had yet to stay aloft more than a few minutes. The first motion picture theater had not yet opened. Norway and Sweden were peacefully terminating their union.
On this particular day, a Chicago lawyer, Paul P. Harris, called three friends to a meeting. What he had in mind was a club that would kindle fellowship among members of the business community. It was an idea that grew from his desire to find within the large city the kind of friendly spirit that he knew in the villages where he had grown up. The four businessmen didn't decide then and there to call themselves a Rotary club, but their get-together was, in fact, the first meeting of the world's first Rotary club.
As they continued to meet, adding others to the group, they rotated their meetings among the members' places of business, hence the name. Soon after the club name was agreed upon, one of the new members suggested a wagon wheel design as the club emblem. It was the precursor of the familiar cogwheel emblem now worn by Rotarians around the world.
By the end of 1905, the club had 30 members. The second Rotary club was formed in 1908 half a continent away from Chicago in San Francisco, California. It was a much shorter leap across San Francisco Bay to Oakland, California, where the third club was formed. Others followed in Seattle, Washington, Los Angeles, California, and New York City, New York.
Rotary became international in 1910 when a club was formed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. By 1921 the organization was represented on every continent, and the name Rotary International was adopted in 1922.
Derivation of the Rotary name: The name Rotary was chosen to reflect the custom, in the early days of the first Rotary Club in Chicago, of rotating the site of club meetings among the members' places of business. This rotation, an integral part of the founder's original concept, was designed to acquaint members with one another's vocations and to promote business, but the club's rapid growth soon made the custom impractical.
Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary, was born in Racine, Wisconsin, USA, on April 19, 1868, but moved at the age of 3 to Wallingford, Vermont, to be raised by his grandparents. In the forward to his autobiography My Road to Rotary, he credits the friendliness and tolerance he found in Vermont as his inspiration for the creation of Rotary.
Trained as a lawyer, Paul gave himself five years after his graduation from law school in 1891 to see as much of the world as possible before settling down and hanging out his shingle. During that time, he traveled widely, supporting himself with a great variety of jobs. He worked as a reporter in San Francisco, a teacher at a business college in Los Angeles, a cowboy in Colorado, a desk clerk in Jacksonville, Florida, a tender of cattle on a freighter to England, and as a traveling salesman for a granite company, covering both the U.S. and Europe.
Remaining true to his five-year plan, he settled in Chicago in 1896, and it was there on the evening of February 23, 1905, that he met with three friends to discuss his idea for a businessmen's club. This is commonly regarded as the first Rotary club meeting. Over the next five years, the movement spread as Rotary clubs were formed in other U.S. cities.
When the National Association of Rotary Clubs held its first convention in 1910, Paul was elected president. After his term, and as the organization's only president-emeritus, Paul continued to travel extensively, promoting the spread of Rotary both in the USA and abroad. A prolific writer, Paul wrote several books about the early days of the organization and the role he was privileged to play in it. These include The Founder of Rotary, This Rotarian Age and the autobiographical My Road to Rotary. He also wrote several volumes of Perigrinations detailing his many travels. He died in Chicago on January 27, 1947.
In 1933 in Boston, Paul Harris delivered a 6 minute speech. (Click here to listen) Introduced by Ches Perry, General Secretary of Rotary from 1910 until 1942. Mentioning Rotarians from around the world, Harris tells the audience that if they have "Love for fellow man in their hearts" they are potential Rotarians. (recording courtesy of Rotarian Art McCullough)
Room 711: Room 711 of the Unity Building at 127 North Dearborn Street in downtown Chicago, Illinois, was the site of Rotary's first meeting on February 23, 1905. At that time, it was the office of Gustavus Loehr, a mining engineer and one of the founding members of the organization.
Around 1980, the Rotary Club of Chicago, the club that originated from that gathering, set about to preserve the site. It rented the room and undertook an extensive effort to recreate the office as it existed in 1905. For several years, the club maintained the room as a shrine for visiting Rotarians. That responsibility was eventually assumed by the Paul Harris 711 Club, a nonprofit organization comprising Rotarians from around the world.
In 1989, when the Unity Building was scheduled to be demolished, the 711 Club carefully dismantled the office, salvaging the original interior from doors to radiators. Everything was placed in storage until a permanent place to reconstruct the room could be found. In 1993, the Board of Directors of Rotary International set aside space for it on the 16th floor of the RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois.
of Rotary: The Object of Rotary is to
encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise
and, in particular, to encourage and foster:
Avenues of Service: For seventy years (since 1927), The program of Rotary has been carried out on four Avenues of Service (originally called channels). These avenues — club service, vocational service, community service and international service — closely mirror the four parts of the Object of Rotary:
Club Service includes the scope of activities that Rotarians undertake in support of their club, such as serving on committees, proposing individuals for membership, and meeting attendance requirements. Vocational Service focuses on the opportunity that Rotarians have to represent the their professions as well as their efforts to promote vocational awareness and high ethical standards in business.
For decades, Rotarians having been applying the "4-Way Test" to their business and personal relationships and in recent years, a "Declaration of Rotarians in Businesses and Professions" has given expression to their concerm for ethical standards in the workplace. From offering career guidance in high schools, to seeking ways to improve conditions in the workplace, Rotarians and their clubs engage in many different kinds of vocational service.
Community Service includes the scope of activities which Rotarians undertake to improve the quality of life in their community. Many official Rotary programs are intended to meet community needs, whether it be to promote literacy, help the elderly or disabled, combat urban violence or provide opportunities for local youth.
International Service describes the activities which Rotarians undertake to advance international understanding, goodwill and peace. The spread of Rotary clubs across the globe allows for the concerted Rotary support of humanitarian efforts worldwide.
4-Way Test: One of the most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics in the world is the Rotary 4-Way Test. It was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy. Taylor looked for a way to save the struggling company mired in depression-caused financial difficulties. He drew up a 24-word code of ethics for all employees to follow in their business and professional lives.
The 4-Way Test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy. Herb Taylor became president of Rotary International in 1954-55. The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943 and has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways.
it is in English: "Of the things we think, say or do:
Declaration of Rotarians in Businesses and Professions: The Declaration of Rotarians in Businesses and Professions was adopted by the Rotary International Council on Legislation in 1989 to provide more specific guidelines for the high ethical standards called for in the Object of Rotary:
As a Rotarian engaged in a business or profession, I am expected to:
of Paul Harris:
Read the excellent writing of Rotary's founder and gain in knowledge of the real basics of Rotary in this timeless story. Order "My Road to Rotary" from RI for only $9.00 US. Visit the Rotary International publications website, and then click on "books.
Becoming a Rotarian: Membership is vital to a Rotary club's operations, and an important component of club service is to enlarge the club with enthusiastic and service-minded new members. Prospective members must actively hold — or be retired from — a professional, proprietary, executive or managerial position. They must have the desire and ability to serve and to meet the club's attendance requirements for its weekly meetings.
In addition, a prospective member must either live or work within the territorial limits of the club or an adjoining club, or within the corporate limits of the city in which the club is located. A person whose business and residence are in communities not served by Rotary may be considered for membership by a club in an immediately adjacent community.
An important distinction between Rotary and other organizations is that membership in Rotary is by invitation. The club's classification committee maintains a list of the types of businesses and professions in its community and seeks candidates to fill classifications not already held by an active member of the club. (Examples of classifications: High Schools; Universities; Eye Surgery; Tires — Distributing; Tires — Retailing; Dramatic Arts; law — civil.) In this manner, a club is assured it includes a significant cross section of its community's vocational life, and has the widest possible resources and expertise for its service programs and projects. Check our Membership page.
The Membership Process: In most instances, a person being considered for membership is invited by a member/sponsor to attend one or more club meetings to learn more about Rotary. The sponsor may then submit the name of the candidate to the membership committee to begin the evaluation process. Others who are interested in membership, but don't know any Rotarians, can contact their local club directly.
If the local Rotary club maintains an office, it may be listed in the white pages of the telephone directory under "Rotary." Otherwise the local chamber of commerces should be able to provide information. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce or similar organization. Often, there will be a Rotarian on staff. If not, the Chamber should be able to provide information about the local Rotary club.
Classifications Membership in a Rotary club is by invitation and was based on the founders' paradigm of choosing one representative of each business, profession and institution in the community. What is called the "classification principle" is used to ensure that the members of a club comprise a cross section of their community's business and professional life. A Rotarian's classification describes either the principal business or professional service of the organization that he or she works for or the individual Rotarian's own activity within the organization.
The classification is determined by activities or services to society rather than by the position held by the particular individual. In other words, if a person is president of a bank, he or she is not classified as "bank president" but under the classification "banking."..The classification principle fosters a fellowship for service based on diversity of interest, and seeks to prevent the predominance in the club of any one group.
When a person becomes an active member of a Rotary clubs, it is said that a the member has been "loaned" a classification. He or she may propose one additional active member in that classification. On completing five, ten or fifteen years of service, depending on the individual's age, he or she becomes a "senior active" member and their classification is released to enable another person to join the club. Check our Join Rotary page.
a Paul Harris Fellow: Anyone who contributes
- or in whose name is contributed - a gift of US$1,000 or more to
the Annual Programs Fund may become a Paul Harris Fellow. View
Foundation Page and more information
on Paul Harris fellows.
Arch Klumpf, born June 6th, 1869, Founder of the Rotary Foundation.
The Rotary Foundation was started in 1917 by Arch Klumpf, sixth President of Rotary International, who convinced a Rotary Convention of the need for an endowment for "doing good in the world" in charitable, educational, or other avenues of service.
One of the visionaries of Rotary, in 1917 Arch Klumpf, conceived the idea of a charitable foundation, And thus Rotary Foundation was born. Today it it the biggest Foundation in the world and since its first award in 1930, it has disbursed more than US$ 850.000.000 on its educational and humanitarian programs. What an achievement!
Arch Klumpf had a dream ... a dream to create a sustaining fund to do good throughout the World. The Rotary Foundation is the fulfillment of that vision, giving Rotarians everywhere the financial support and tailored humanitarian, health and education programmes that address hunger, disease, illiteracy and well being among the people of the world.
The enormously successful Polio-Plus programme exemplifies the work of The Rotary Foundation. Never in the history of mankind, have so many diverse cultures, nations and individuals worked together in peaceful pursuit of a common goal.
And there are many hundreds of other examples of The Rotary Foundation at work, in the many Matching Grants and Discovery Grant projects we are undertaking right here in District 9910 ... Save Water Save Lives projects in Vanuatu; Volunteers building Hospitals in Latvia and Santo; Eye Surgeons performing sight-saving operations; matching and dispensing eye glasses and humanitarian aid in the Solomons, Fiji, East Timor and strife-torn communities around the world.
Ambassadorial Scholarships and Group Study Exchange teams expand the knowledge and goodwill between countries. Many of the participants of these Rotary Foundation programmes become leaders in their vocations, using the knowledge and experience gained to influence their communities for the greater good of all.
June 2001 was the 50th Anniversary of the death of Arch Klumpf. More info on Foundation page.
This page was last updated:
This web site was designed and is maintained by Marlene B. Brown, PP, B, MPHF
District 7150 Webmeister, Internet Communications Officer, Centennial Chair
©1997 - 2010 All Rights Reserved * Email: email@example.com
The Rotary name and logo are the exclusive property of Rotary International and are
used here in accordance with Rotary International Internet Policy Guidelines