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
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 and visionary.
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 clubs.
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
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
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
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 Rotary 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
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 with age.
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
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 Hinojosa.
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 men.
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
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 river.
Well, that is like the growth of Rotary. It has become great because of
the self-sacrificing contributions of thousands of Rotarians of many
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
the movement. Here I can but pay them the tribute of presenting their
1912-13-Glenn C. Mead, Philadelphia, Pa.
1913-14-Russell F. Greiner, Kansas City, Mo.
1914-15-Frank L. Mulholland, Toledo, Ohio.
1915-16-Allen D. Albert, Minneapolis, Minn.
1916-17-Arch C. Klumph, Cleveland, Ohio.
1917-18-E. Leslie Pidgeon, Winnipeg, Canada.
1918-19-John Poole, Washington, D. C.
1919-20-Albert S. Adams, Atlanta, Georgia.
1920-21-Estes Snedecor, Portland, Oregon.
1921-22-Crawford C. McCullough, Fort William, Canada.
1922-23-Raymond M. Havens, Kansas City, Mo.
1923-24-Guy Gundaker, Philadelphia, Pa.
1924-25-Everett W. Hill, Oklahoma City, Okla.
1925.26-Donald A. Adams, New Haven, Conn.
1926-27-Harry H. Rogers, San Antonio, Texas.
1927-28-Arthur H. Sapp, Huntington, Indiana.
1928-29-I. B. Sutton, Tampico, Mexico.
1929-30-M. Eugene Newsome, Durham, N. Carolina.
1930-31-Almon E. Roth, Palo Alto, Calif.
1931-32-Sydney W. Pascall, London, England.
1932-83-Clinton P. Anderson, Albuquerque, N.Mexico.
1933-34-John Nelson, Montreal, Canada.
1934-35-Robert E. L. Hill, Columbia, Mo.
1935-36-Ed. B. Johnson, Roanoke, Va.
1936-37-Will H. Manier, Jr., Nashville, Tenn.
1937-38-Maurice Duperrey, Paris France.
1938-39-Geo. C. Hager, Chicago, Illinois.
1939-40-Walter D. head, Montclair, N. J.
1940-41-Armando de Arruda Pereira, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
1941-42-Tom J. Davis, Butte, Montana
1942-43-Fernando Carbajal, Lima, Peru.
1943-44-Charles L. Wheeler, San Francisco, Calif.
1944-45-Richard H. Wells, Pocatello, Idaho.
1945-46---T. A. Warren, Wolverhampton, England.
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