Back in Chicago, it was still
necessary to eat humble pie but my appetite remained good. Week
days, though they brought me many disappointments, had one advantage-business
kept me from thinking about myself. Sundays and holidays were
my days of sorrow, I could go to the downtown churches Sunday
mornings, but during the long Sunday afternoons I was desperately
lonely. Oh, for the green fields of my New England Valley and
the voice of a kindly old friend! Strolls through city parks
were far from satisfying; there was too much artificiality,
and among the thousands of strollers there was not one familiar
face. There is no place like a city park on a Sunday afternoon
to feel one's loneliness; the very presence of so many strangers
accentuated it more than boundless expanses of land and water
could have done. Even the music of excellent bands failed to
dispel my gloom. My truant thoughts drifted back to the scenes
of my boyhood; the swimming hole by the covered bridge over
Otter Creek and many other sacred places; I was at times inundated
by tidal waves of memories of rambles with friends over hills
There were certain spots in the
Chicago parks which reminded me of my valley but they were frequented
by so many other persons that they gave me little repose. Some
Sundays, I went farther out into the country but even there
tranquility was lacking. All-day excursions across Lake Michigan
by boat gave me temporary relief but afforded no escape from
the crowds; in fact, the boats were always loaded to their capacity
with men, women and children. I took my scanty meals at German,
Scandinavian, Italian, Greek, and Hungarian restaurants. I made
acquaintances but not real friends. Chicago beaches swarmed
with bathers and picknickers and played their important parts
in the recreational life of hundreds of thousands of city toilers.
All praise to the indefatigable efforts of unselfish men and
women responsible for the establishment of parks and playgrounds
to which all could have access without price. Everywhere there
were people but nowhere a familiar face.
To me one essential was lacking,
the presence of friends. Emerson said, "He who has a thousand
friends has not a friend to spare. In my earliest days in my
adopted city, I had neither the thousand nor the one.
Betterment in human affairs comes
through travail. Someone first has to visualize the need and
suffering clarifies the vision as nothing else could. I saw
the great need of human companionship as I never could have
seen it without such experiences as above outlined. Perhaps
it was part and parcel of the cosmic scheme; surely it was made
apparent to me that men must have the companionship of those
of their kind.
The thought persisted that I
was experiencing only what had happened to hundreds, perhaps
thousands, of others in the great city, came to me. I was sure
that there must be many other young men who had come from farms
and small villages to establish themselves in Chicago. In fact
I knew a few. Why not bring them together? If the others were
longing for fellowship as I was, something would come of it.
One evening I went with a professional
friend to his suburban home. After dinner as we strolled about
the neighborhood my friend greeted by name various tradesmen
at their stores. This reminded me of my New England village.
The thought caine to me why not in big Chicago have a fellowship
composed of just one man from each of many different occupations,
without restrictions as to their politics or religion, with
broad tolerance of each other's opinions? In such a fellowship
could there not be mutual helpfulness?
I did not act upon my impulse
at once; months and even years passed. In the life of great
movements it is necessary that one man who has faith walk alone
for a time. I did walk alone but eventually in February 1905
I called three young business men to meet with me and I laid
before them a very simple plan of mutual co-operation and informal
friendship such as all of us had once known in our villlages.
They agreed to my plan
Silvester Schiele, my most intimate
Chicago friend, and one of the three who first met with me,
was made our first president, and has been a constant member.
Gustavus Loehr and Hiram Shorey were the other two but they
failed to follow through. On the other hand Harry Ruggles, Charley
Newton, and others who were quickly added to the group, with
hearty zest joined in developing the project.
We grew in numbers, in fellowship,
in the spirit of helpfulness to each other and to our city.
The banker and the baker, the parson and the plumber, the lawyer
and the iaundryman discovered the similarity of each other's
ambitions, problems, successes and failures. We learned how
much we had in common. We found joy in being of service to one
another. Again I seemed to be back in my New England Valley.
At a third meeting of the group,
I presented several suggestions as a name for the club, among
them Rotary, and that name was selected as we were then holding
our meetings in rotation at our offices and places of business.
Later, still rotating, we held our meetings at various hotels
and restaurants. Thus we began as "Rotarians," and
such we continue to be.
I took no office of any character
during the first two years of the Chicago club but I nominated
the officers and my judgment was generally followed in the administration
of the club. As I look back at it now I must have seemed very
dictatorial at times. If so it was because of my devotion to
the undertaking. The third year I was elected president and
my ambitions then were-first, to advance the growth of the Chicago
club; second, to extend the movement to other cities; third,
to intensify community service as one of the club's objectives.
That was the genesis of a great
movement, the name of which is familiar to many who read this
book. From that humble start has grown a present fellowship
of a quarter-million business and professional men. Rotary has
made itself at home in seventy different countries; in truth
it is said that the sun never sets on Rotary.
My reward has been exceedingly
great. To have friends all over the world is a great blessing.
To know that these friends are also friends of each other is
a satisfying thought. The salutation, "Good Morning, Paul!"
which gladdened my heart in boyhood days in my valley is now
the greeting of my fellow Rotarians and continues to be sweet
music in my ears, whether it be spoken by rich or poor, young
To the members of the small group
which came together in the big city of Chicago, Rotary was like
an oasis in a desert. Their meetings were different from the
meetings of other clubs in those days. They were far more intimate;
far more friendly. All hampering and meaningless restraint was
thrown off; dignified reserve was checked at the door; the members
were boys again. To me, attendance at a club meeting was very
like being back home in my valley.
The original concept of Rotary
has expanded; its ideals have been formulated; its objectives
have been set forth; but intimate and informal fellowship remains
a vital element in its structure. Sir Henry Braddon has said:
"One way in which Rotary
develops the individual is in preserving the boy in him. Deep
down in the heart of every good fellow there is a boy, a boy
whose outlook on life is rather wonderful, unspoiled, with no
prejudice, no intolerance, with keen enthusiasm, ready friendliness.
It is a sad day for a man when the boy can be said to have passed
away. As long as a man keeps his mind resilient, his nature
open to friendly influences, he will never grow entirely old.
Rotary encourages and helps to develop him by keeping the boy
alive in him"
Several of the original Rotarians
had been raised on farms and the majority of them were country
or small town boys who had gravitated to the big city. While
not self-made men they were in the process of making and most
of them had made sufficient progress to justify the assumption
that success in considerable degree was to be realized in the
future. Some had received the benefits of college education-more
They helped each other in every
way that kindly heart and friendly spirit could suggest. In
the main the efforts were directed to helping each other in
business; helping each other to attain success. They patronized
each other when it was practical to do so, exerted helpful influence,
and gave wise counsel when needed. Some realized business advantages,
others did not. All realized the advantages of fellowship.
As the membership of the Chicago
group increased we had a cross-section, so far as it went, of
our city, each member representing an honorable calling different
from all others in the membership, each viewing it as a special
privilege to be selected as a representative of his vocation
and appreciative of his responsibility incident thereto,
It is not the purpose of Rotary
to make social, religious or racial composites of its members.
Rotary brings business and professional men differing in social
status, religious beliefs, and nationality together in order
that they may be more intelligible to each other and therefore
more sympathetic and friendly and helpful.
In January 1908 two new members
were added to our ranks, then over a hundred strong-Arthur Frederick
Sheldon and Chesley H. Perry, both of whom were destined to
make their contributions to the movement, It developed that
these two men had met several years before when Sheldon, as
the head of a book-selling outfit, had invaded the Chicago public
library where Perry was a member of the staff and sold him a
set of history volumes. Talk about carrying coals to Newcastle!
Not long after that Sheldon founded a school of salesmanship
based on the idea that successful salesmanship depended upon
rendering service and that no transaction was justified unless
both parties thereto benefited by it. Sheldon was a natural
for our group. He was no Kickapoo Indian medicine vendor. Wherever
the English language is spoken, Sheldon students are found.
The writer has been pleased to find many among Rotarian leaders
abroad. For the Edinburgh convention in 1921 Sheldon was selected
by the program committee as the one best qualified to interpret
to British Rotarians the ideal of service as understood in America.
The invitation was accepted and those who heard the message
say it was as of one inspired.
It is conceivable that Rotary
might have been born under sunnier skies, in a climate more
equable, and in a city of mental composure; but on the other
hand many will contend that there could have been no more favorable
birthplace for such a movement as Rotary than paradoxical Chicago
where fifty years ago the battle for civic righteousness was
being so fiercely waged. The forces of righteousness were then
rallying. Chicago was emerging. The close of the old, and the
first decade of the new century brought the beautiful Columbian
Exposition, the establishment of a great university on a beautiful
parkway, an expanded public library, the beginning of a great
association of commerce, magnificent museums, a fine symphony
orchestra, various civic improvement organizations, Jane Adams'
famous Hull House and other neighborhood settlements- and Rotary.
There could have been no time
more opportune than the beginning of the twentieth century for
the genesis of such a movement as Rotary, nor any city better
suited than virile, aggressive, paradoxical Chicago in which
to nurture it. The ills with which Chicago was afflicted in
those days were also prevalent elsewhere in the country. Generally
speaking, business was in a bad way. Practices were not in accord
with high ethical principles with respect to consumers, employees
or competitors. Community spirit was at a low ebb almost everywhere.
It was time for a change for the better. It had to come.
Out of America's unrivalled metropolis
of the Middle West came Rotary, out of a great social maelstrom
where racial, political, economic and religious extremes met,
clashed, and ultimately merged into a semblance of homogeneity.
Even today the melting pot is stll boiling furiously in Chicago
and patriotic citizens are still endeavoring to cast wholesome
ingredients into the pot in full faith that the final product
will be delectable. In 1905, in the City by the Lake, Rotary
was one scene in a drama that was being enacted. The dramatis
personae of that scene were men of the ordinary walks of life;
business and professional men. While perhaps lacking qualities
that would have distinguished them from others of their kind,
it may nevertheless be said that they were fairly representative
of what in common parlance would have been termed "the
34 - Rotary Begins to Spread
The inventor of the first Rotary
club was more conscious of its deficiencies than anyone else.
He rejoiced to see it expand to helpfulness to others outside
the membership of the club, He dreamed of similar clubs in other
Rotarians and other folks as
well sometimes think that Rotary advanced from city to city
and from country to country very much as Topsy grew. That it
developed of its own accord and without effort on the part of
anyone. No, Rotary has not grown by virtue of the fact that
a suitable formula had been devised; it has become world wide
in its influence because of the untiring effort to extend it.
My relations with my friends
of the Chicago club constituted a remarkable illustration of
the binding power of Rotary. Notwithstanding the fact that Rotary
had come to mean to me something very different from what it
still meant to some of them, our friendship remained unaffected.
The Doubting Thomas's were ever
present. There's but one way to convince a Doubting Thomas and
that is to do the thing he says can't be done and on that basis
the Doubting Thomas who said it would not be possible to organize
Rotary clubs in any city other than Chicago became convinced
that it could and should be done.
It was disappointing to me but
most of my fellow Chicago Rotarians refused to be stampeded
into my "Rotary Around the World" phantasy. Nothing
is more disconcerting than the blank look of friends to whom
one's hopes are unintelligable. I soon learned that the best
way to get things done was to do them myself.
So I proceeded to address myself
to the task of getting Rotary Clubs started in cities throughout
the United States. In this work circumstances required that
the effort be made by correspondence. My classmates in the three
universities, Vermont, Princeton, and Iowa, and friends I had
made in my five years of vagabondage were my natural recourse.
It was a long and frequently
a painful grind; there were headaches and heartaches in plenty,
but there were also periods of joy and elation. And all the
while I was trying to keep up my law practice.
Three long years passed before
the first victory was scored. To find the right man to organize
a Rotary Club in a given city was not easy. Manuel Munoz proved
to be the right man to carry the message to San Francisco. He
had been my room mate in the Del Prado Hotel in Chicago and
was fairly well versed in Rotary. While on a business trip to
San Francisco, then rebuilding after its earthquake and fire,
Munoz interested Homer Wood, a lawyer, and put him into correspondence
with me. The result was that in November, 1908 we had our second
Rotary club. As if that were not enough, alert San Franciscans
organized Rotary club number three in Oakland, club number four
in Seattle, and club number five in Los Angeles. New York and
Boston were next and other cities followed. Some of the Doubting
Thomases were won over and joined in the extension work.
And so it went on from city to
city and eventually from country to country and my five years
of vagabondage served me in good stead. After all, I was only
leading Rotary over trails I had already blazed.
Had my leadership been more skillful
or my plans more definitely worked out in advance, I doubtless
could have secured the full cooperation of Chicago Rotarians
and gone forward with a solid front. As a matter of fact, my
conception of Rotary was undergoing evolutionary processes,
almost revolutionary at times. I had preached the doctrine of
carefree fellowship. I had been freest of the free, gayest of
the gay, my voice had lead in song and laughter. Members were
satisfied with that order. Now was something quite different.
In this dilemna, it seemed easier to organize new clubs with
new and progressive thoughts than to reconvert old members.
Our success in the United States
inspired us to project Rotary over the boundary line into Canada.
After two unsuccessful attempts the right man eventually was
interested and the first club outside the United States was
organized in Winnipeg, Canada. Other Canadian cities followed
Flushed with success, we then
felt that it was of vital importance to get things started in
Great Britain and of course, London was the choice of all cities.
To win London to the movement was a grand objective and in course
of time, the opportunity opened up.
My friend Arthur Frederic Sheldon
had a representative in London and was soon to visit him. Rotarian
Harvey C. Wheeler of Boston had his business located both in
Boston and London. It was not difficult for Sheldon to enthuse
his representative, E. Sayer Smith, and with the cooperation
of Wheeler, the Rotary Club of London was organized. Wheeler
became its first president. There are seventy fine Rotary clubs
in greater London now and the total number of Rotarians in that
city exceeds the number of any other city in the world.
Having gotten their hands in.
Sheldon and Smith went to Manchester and duplicated their London
achievement. I was pluming myself on having initiated the first
two British Clubs when Secretary Perry and I learned that Stuart
Morrow, an Irishman who had learned about Rotary while travelling
in the United States, had upon his return to Dublin proceeded
to organize a Rotary club there. He had already moved on to
Belfast. Needless to say we contacted Morrow at once and authorized
and encouraged him to continue his labors in Edinburgh, Glasgow,
Birmingham, and Liverpool. The five hundred Rotary clubs subsequently
developed in Great Britain and Ireland have been a bulwark for
The Latin American countries
were next to occupy our attention and we soon interested an
American business man who had business which took him to Havana,
Cuba. He was a man of high ideals and much ability and though
he spent some time for Rotary in Havana he was entirely unsuccessful
and returned convinced that Rotary was an Anglo-Saxon idea that
could not be understood or accepted by other races, but two
members of the Tampa, Florida, Rotary Club, Angel Cuesta and
John Turner, subsequently proved that my emissary to Cuba was
mistaken and those who have been privileged to become acquainted
with our splendid Latin American Rotarians of today know how
erroneous his conclusions were. Cuesta and Turner organized
a good club in Havana, Cuba, and Cuesta, pleased with his success,
made a trip to his native country, Spain, and organized a Rotary
Club in Madrid; the first club on the continent of Europe.
Angel not only financed his trip
to Spain but before leaving gave a substantial sum of money
to further community service in the city of his nativity. Having
accomplished his self-appointed task, Angel returned to his
adopted country with never a word of his exploits except as
the facts were drawn from him. This man knew not what he had
done. He had opened up both Latin America and Europe for Rotary.
Heriberto Coates of Montevideo
learned of Rotary while on a visit to the United States and
went home to develop Clubs in Montevideo, Buenos Aires and other
South American cities.
Fred Teele, an American civil
engineer gave up an eighteen thousand dollar per year position
in Mexico, after having served as president of the Mexico City
Rotary Club, to accept a five thousand dollar job spreading
Rotary in Europe on the foundation laid by Cuesta and others
who had sown the seed in France, Holland, Denmark and other
countries. Teele's labors culminated in the opening of an office
of the R. I. secretariat in Zurich, Switzerland.
Two Canadian Rotarians, "Jim"
Davidson of Calgary and Col. J. L. Ralston of Halifax, gave
their time gratuitously to open up Australia and New Zealand.
Rotary had by that time become prosperous enough to pay their
expenses. Some years later Davidson undertook the organization
of clubs in Southern Europe, Egypt, India, the Straits Settlements,
Siam, China, and Japan, thus completing the round-the-world
chain. He worked without compensation other than the expenses
of himself and wife. This trip of the Davidsons took three years.
Jim left America with full understanding that he had not long
to live. He lasted until the completion of his task but died
soon after his return.
While the cases mentioned above
are conspicuous examples it may in truth be said that many thousands
of Rotarians of high standing in business affairs have given
of themselves generously in the cause of Rotary. The gratuitous
work of devoted Rotarians in widening the sphere of Rotary's
usefulness has been amazing.
Everywhere in North America Rotary
Clubs came into existence by the hundreds and the thousands.
Professional organizers were unnecessary. Every club had the
impulse to pass on to other cities the idea which it had found
so beneficial in its city. Clubs were grouped into districts
and local Rotarians were elected annually as "district
governors." They accepted the responsibility for extension
in their districts and for the further advancement of Rotary's
objects and practices. They and their colleagues, the governors
of districts in all parts of the world, have been and always
will be the great unifying and steadying force of Rotary.
While the record of extension
is one of the most interesting chapters in Rotary history, the
development of its ideals and practices has gone on apace. Deeds
preceded the written word. After service had been rendered in
manifold forms, the word "service" with all its varied
meanings and implications was written in the Rotary plan. Rotary
expanded from a local group, gathered together in the city of
Chicago for mutual advantage and fellowship, to an organization
of international vision and unquestionable nobility of purpose.
Hundreds of small cities and
towns, all but dead so far as civic consciousness was concerned,
took on new life after they organized their Rotary clubs. Clean-up
campaigns were inaugurated, Boy Scout troops were given leadership
and support. Boys bands were organized. Languishing chambers
of commerce were revived and new ones started. Boys camps were
established. Rotarians were more than propagandists; they frequently
constituted the entire working force. Those who could not contribute
money, contributed labor. Rotarians in small towns became jacks-of-all-trades
during the construction of camps. Anyone who could drive a nail
could qualify as a carpenter, while druggists and grocers became
bricklayers and plumbers when occasion demanded. The women served
appetizing lunches and eventually won for themselves the endearing
term of Rotaryanns. There never had been such doings since barn-raising
Those who had stoutly maintained
that it was sheer idiocy to assert that Rotary was destined
to make itself at home throughout the civilized world finally
had to lower their colors; and yet that was my prediction at
the first convention of Rotary Clubs held in Chicago in 1910,
and again at Convention number two held at Portland, Oregon
My contribution to the international
scope of the movement came as the direct consequence of my five
years of romantic vagrancy. How otherwise could I have had the
vision of Rotary Clubs in
London, Paris, Rome, Berlin and
other cities throughout the world? Some other person might have
had the vision but not I.
There is wisdom in the expression,
"There is nothing new under the sun." Perhaps the
most unique feature of Rotary is its so-called classification
plan by which membership is restricted to one representative
of each business and profession, but two centuries before the
conception of Rotary a social club existed in London the membership
of which was based on vocational classifications, and Ben Franklin
organized his "Junto" in Philadelphia on the classification
plan. Many years ago "La Societe des Philantropes,"
with its headquarters in Strasbourg, France, was almost identical
with Rotary in its idealism and purposes. Needless to say that
knowledge of these organizations of the past did not come to
the attention of the founders of Rotary until long after its
The question is often asked;
"Why do Rotary clubs limit membership to one man from each
distinct business or profession?" Because our experiment
has proved in operation that it makes for congenial fellowship,
obviates business and professional jealousies, encourages mutual
helpfulness, stimulates pride in the dignity of one's occupation,
and broadens one's mind and sympathy with regard to the accomplishments
and problems of other occupations.
There are many organizations
the membership of which is confined to one profession or trade.
Such organizations play exceedingly important parts in the modern
world. They enable men of a given trade or profession to come
together to exchange ideas and experiences and to discuss problems
of common interest. No one thinks of them as exclusive, though
they exclude all not engaged in their particular profession
or trade; their success depends upon their so doing. An association
of surgeons does not admit to their membership a manufacturer
or a merchandiser. The success of the organization and its promise
of usefulness depends upon its exclusion of men not versed in
the science of surgery.
And while it is true that a surgeon
can gain much from contact with his fellow surgeons, one who
has social contact with surgeons only would become a dull fellow.
He needs the broadening influence of contacts with those engaged
in other professions and business undertakings. He will obtain
such contacts to a limited extent in his church and social club,
but the church and club are not organized to fill the particular
need. If one is admitted to membership in a Rotary club, he
will enjoy the broadening influence of contact with men of all
And it must not be overlooked
that being a Rotarian imposes upon a man an obligation to carry
into his trade association the ideals and precepts which he
holds as a Rotarian. He should endeavor to make them appreciated
and get them accepted by all in his line of business.
The writer is a member of the
American Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, the
Chicago Bar Association, and for two years had the honor of
being chairman of the committee on professional ethics of the
latter, a member of other committees, a delegate of the Chicago
Bar Association to the International Congress on Comparative
Law at the Hague, and a member of the International Committee
of the American Bar Association. All positions afforded remarkable
opportunities to carry the Rotary ideal of service to his profession.
There are between eight and nine thousand lawyers in the city
of Chicago, and the Chicago Bar Association has been doing titanic
work in raising the standards of practice. Nearly three hundred
lawyers have been made to walk the plank because they would
not observe the canons of good practice.
Incidentally I was honored not
only in being asked to serve at the Hague Conference but also
by the fact that America's greatest legal scholar, Dean John
H. Wigmore, was one of the two other representatives of the
Chicago Bar Association. Dean Wigmore's body now lies in Arlington
Cemetery in Washington but I am proud of my association with
him at the Hague where a deep and lasting friendship was begun.
35 - The Architect Finds a Builder
The Creator must have thought
well of Rotary. I was worn and weary and discouraged at times.
It seemed providential when in the third year of the Chicago
Club there came one who, more than all others, has labored to
make the dream come true. What Rotary would have done without
him no one knows. I am sure much credit has been given to me
for work done by him. While Chesley B. Perry associated himself
with enthusiasm in the activities of the Chicago club, it took
some time for him to become interested in the extension of the
movement, When he did, I found him a helpful partner.
The conversion of Ches to "World
Around" Rotary came about in a peculiar way. An incoming
president of the Chicago club, not being in sympathy with the
"World Widers," appointed Ches chairman of the club's
extension committee thinking thus to spike the guns of those
in favor of the wider viewpoint which he considered irrational
I realized the necessity of doing
one of two things, either losing entirely the sympathy of the
Chicago club or converting the newly appointed chairman of the
extension committee to the broader viewpoint.
So it came about that I called
Ches by phone one Sunday when he had ample time to talk. During
the course of the interview, Ches asked me the question: "Why
do you think, Paul, that the Chicago club is as nothing compared
with what you have in mind?"
I don't know how I answered but
I considered the situation desperate and fired all of my broadsides
in defense of my idea. Ches said little at the time but what
he did say was enough. When I hung up the receiver, I felt convinced
that I had won a friend to the cause. Shortly thereafter he
and I, with the help of others, planned the formation of an
association of the then existing clubs. Ches took the laboring
oar in outlining and organizing the first convention of Rotary
Some of my fellow Chicago Rotarians
had been helpful and encouraging. They saw possibilities in
our own country but none seemed to visualize the possibilities
of a world wide movement. The clubs organized in other cities
were more helpful in developing a wider philosophy. They had
a fresh outlook on the situation.
Chesley Perry seemed to be able
to grasp and to fairly evaluate all essential features; he embraced
Rotary intellectually as well as sentimentally. Never again
was it necessary to fight the battle alone; Ches was always
beside me or in front of me. He was definitely in the fight.
That first Rotary convention
(of delegates from sixteen clubs) was held in the Congress Hotel
in Chicago in August 1910. Chesley Perry was chosen by the delegates
to preside over their sessions. A constitution and by-laws were
drawn up and adopted. The delegates spent many hours discussing
the meaning and potentialities of Rotary. The attendance at
that first convention was less than 100 but twenty years later
when the 21st Rotary Convention was held in Chicago observing
25 years of Rotary over 11,000 men and women were in attendance.
At the conclusion of the first
Chicago convention I was elected as the president of the Association
which had been formed, and Chesley Perry was chosen as its secretary.
At the Portland Convention in 1911 I was re-elected as president
for a second year and at my request Ches continued as secretary.
At the 1912 convention in Duluth I retired from active service
and was honored by being made "president emeritus"
of Rotary International. For a third time Ches was elected secretary
and his annual re-election became a matter of course until he
retired in 1942.
That Ches Perry and I have been
able to work so well together surely has been a great blessing
to the organization. Has it perchance been due to the influence
of Rotary upon us? Every worker who gives himself to a worthy
cause is bound to realize some of its benefits.
Ches always pushed me to the
front; confining his efforts largely to work at his desk where
he served throughout the years, taking few vacations. His day
was not an eight hour day; he generally could be found at his
desk far into the night. Through such devotion he built up his
fine staff of workers at Chicago and at other quarters throughout
the world. If I can in truth be called the architect, Ches can
with equal truth be called the builder of Rotary International.
Headquarters was developed on
very democratic lines. We never considered our fellow workers
as employees; they were associates rather. All were addressed
by their given names regardless of the importance of the part
they played, and to them all the secretary was "Ches"
and I was "Paul."
No one could by the widest stretch
of the imagination say that Ches and I were chums in the usual
acceptance of the word. When we met in the office, I saluted
him with "Good morning, Ches," and he answered: "Good
morning, Paul." But we seldom went to lunch together. Often
I would have hailed the opportunity to spend an hour with Ches
at noon time talking over the happenings of the day but that
was not to be. Ches took a light lunch in his office and continued
his work without material break of thought.
Ches had his idiosyncrasies and
I had mine. Some things were natural to Ches, others were natural
to me, but something more important than mere chumminess was
growing up steadily throughout the years; that was a genuine
affection born of respect for each other.
Something of the same character
developed in the minds of new international presidents and directors
of the movement. They missed the effusive welcome which they
had expected but found something far better. New officers approached
their tasks with apprehension. Could they make good? They were
well experienced in Rotary in their home cities and districts
but service as president or membership on the board caused nervous
apprehension. All of this generally disappeared as the days
went by. Sitting beside the president at the board meeting was
a man, the international secretary, always ready to be called
upon but never obtrusive; a gentle touch here and there, a skillful
mention of some guiding principle. All doubts in their minds
soon disappeared. When the meeting closed all felt that with
the compendium of information ever at hand in their secretary
no failure could come to the administration.
When in 1942 it became rumored
that Ches was going to retire as Secretary of Rotary International
the air was full of conjectures as to what would happen to Rotary
arid what would happen to Ches. Phil Lovejoy, a native of Portland,
Maine, a graduate of the University of Michigan, and a past
president of the Botary Club of Hamtramck, Michigan, who had
been first assistant secretary for the preceding twelve years
was everyone's choice for the office of General Secretary and
was duly elected. The trains did not run off the track as feared
by many. Phil knew his job. He is ably supported by Lester B.
Struthers as assistant general secretary. Les has been in the
organization for over twenty years.
In his retirement Clies returned
to activities in the Chicago Rotary Club, first in committee
work, then as director and vice-president, and last year as
president of our Club of 770 members. Like good wine he improves
Headquarters is not only a marvel
of efficiency, but it is also Exhibit A of Rotary doctrines.
The staff, consisting of 150 earnest and happy workers, are
gathered together in the large room of the board of directors
for a meeting Monday after lunch, approximately once a month.
Smiling General Secretary Phil Lovejoy presides. A song in which
all join brings a sense of relaxation. Then Secretary Phil runs
rapidly over the affairs of the preceding month and of the month
to come, interjecting a bit of humor at appropriate places.
The result is that each member is educated in the purposes of
the movement; that every associate realizes the importance of
his or her particular part in the world-wide organization.
To facilitate the extension of
Rotary throughout the world, and give service to established
clubs, a secretariat was early established in London, England;
some time later secretariats at Zurich, Switzerland, and Bombay,
India, were established under the supervision of the General
Secretary. These offices have rendered fine service to the clubs
in Britain and Ireland, Europe, and Asia.
In 1911 we authorized Secretary
Perry to edit and manage a magazine for Rotary which has grown
into a most important factor in the advancement of the movement
and in the maintenance of solidarity among Rotarians. It also
is welcomed by libraries and schools, and frequently quoted
by other publications. For several years "The Rotarian"
has been under the able editorship and management of Leland
Case, and its Spanish language edition is well handled by Manuel
The extraordinary progress of
the Rotary movement has, most naturally, necessitated the expenditure
of large sums of money but it has all been provided by comparatively
small annual dues contributed by the members of all Rotary clubs
who have wanted to make it possible for men of other cities
and other countries to learn about Rotary and be given the opportunity
to share in its blessings, and in turn contribute to its further
development. The financial policy has always been conservative
and sound; go as far as you can with what you have at the moment.
There is a substantial surplus in the treasury available for
all emergencies which can be foreseen by prudent and farsighted
Though the annual budget of today
may seem large, it is nothing compared to what it would necessarily
be were it not for the fact that thousands of Rotarians, not
alone in America, but throughout the world, are giving their
best efforts in the interest of the movement without any compensation
other than the satisfaction they find in advancing a movement
which to them holds great hope for a better world, a neighborly
Once during the early years of
the movement, Secretary Perry came to my office in Chicago to
introduce the two splendid Canadian Rotarians who had been commissioned
by Rotary International to establish Rotary Clubs in Australia
and New Zealand. They expressed a desire to meet me whom they
termed the "Founder of Rotary." I gratefully accepted
the honor but suggested that perhaps my part had been overemphasized.
Ches answered for my callers and said: "I suppose that
Rotarians come to see you, Paul, in about the same spirit they
go to visit the source of a great river."
I have often thought of those
words; they constituted a high compliment paid in the form of
a beautiful anology. I accepted the compliment as it was intended,
but does the great river have its flow from any one particular
spring alone? No, the great river is the sum total of the contributions
of hundreds, perhaps thousands of little brooks and rivulets,
which come tumbling down hillsides and mountains, singing as
they go, eager to cast themselves into the channel of the great
Well, that is like the growth
of Rotary. It has become great because of the self-sacrificing
contributions of thousands of Rotarians of many lands.
There followed me in the presidency
of the Association a long line of devoted and able Rotarians
who have given the movement great life, poise and character.
They have come not only from the United States but from Canada,
Mexico, England, France, Brazil and Peru. Each president has
had associated with him other able men who as members of the
board of directors, committeemen, and district governors, have
come from scores of countries. Each year's administration has
made and is continuing to make its important contribution to
the extension and development of my early conception of a world
wide fellowship of business and professional men united in the
ideal of service. Club officers and members have made many helpful
contributions. Yes, indeed, the great river of Rotary is the
sum total of the contributions of many.
Rotary International has been
extremely fortunate in many ways but especially in its selection
of presidents. It would require many volumes to record their
contributions to the movement, to estimate their loyalty, their
devotion, the sacrificial spirit they have so splendidly manifested,
and to adequately describe the leadership they have given to
Arthur Frederic Sheldon of Chicago
made us see more clearly our service responsibilities in business
and we have him to thank for the slogan: "He profits most
who serves best," which was accepted as indicating, strange
as it may seem, that it was conceivable than an effort to give
the other fellow the best of it might result in getting the
best of it yourself. Minneapolis Rotarians gave us our other
and more terse slogan: "Service Above Self."
Rotarians of Seattle gave us
our platform of principles and a group of Sioux City Rotarians
contributed the code of ethics. These and many other contributions
helped to give our movement its sense of direction.
In 1915 Guy Gundaker of Philadelphia,
prepared a booklet entitled "A Talking Knowledge of Rotary,"
to express Rotary as it was then understood, rather than to
set up new ideals and standards. It was a most helpful contribution
to the cause.
The Rotary Club of Birmingham,
Alabama, made valuable contributions to the interpretating of
Rotary to the public as the Rotary Clubs of Britain and Ireland
also have done.
Even before there was a second
club, realizing the importance of community service, I persuaded
the Chicago Rotary Club to initiate the establishment of public
comfort stations in the city of Chicago, inviting the city administration
and every civic organization in the city to join our club in
the undertaking. It is possible that some more attractive objective
might have been chosen for our first venture, but it would be
difficult to have found one which would have stirred up more
agitation. Two formidable forces rose up against us; one was
the Chicago Association of Brewers which contended that every
one of Chicago's six thousand saloons offered public comfort
conveniences for men. The other opponent was the Association
of Department Stores on State Street which contended that free
accommodations in their stores were available to women. The
proponents of the measure nevertheless persisted that men ought
not to have to buy a glass of beer nor women have to buy merchandise
to make use of toilet facilities. The stations were established.
The Road to Rotary from R. I.