Special thanks to member Dave Jones for keeping this information so that it can finally be digitized and available to our club.  And to Barb Byerly for her "Brief History" of RI.

Please get any historical club information you may have to Dave Jones.  Thank you.

A Brief History of Rotary

The first Rotary club in the world was organized in Chicago, Illinois, USA, on February 23, 1905. by Paul P. Harris, a young lawyer, who gathered together in a spirit of friendship and understanding a group of men, each of whom was engaged in a different form of service to the public. That basis for membership — one per son from each business and profession in the community — still exists in Rotary. At first, the members of the new club met in rotation at their various places of business, and this suggested the name “Rotary”.

Since 1905, the ideas of Paul Harris and his friends have become ideals which have been accepted by people of practically all nationalities, and of many political and religious beliefs. Today there are Rotary clubs in Austria and American Samoa, in Brazil and Brunei, in India and Italy, Scotland and South Africa — in 183 countries and 35 geographical regions. The universal acceptance of Rotary principles has been so great that there are now more than 29,900 Rotary clubs, which have a membership of about 1,200,000, both men and women.

In 1985, Rotary International launched PolioPlus, a 20-year commitment to eradicate polio. This is one of the most ambitious humanitarian undertakings ever made by a private entity. To date Rotary has given more than $375, 000, 000 to the protection of nearly 2 billion children. By 2005 (Rotary’s 100th anniversary), Rotary’s financial commitment will reach $500 million.

In 1999, more than 100,000 Indian Rotarians and their families joined the government of India to immunize more than 130 million children on one day, signaling the largest public health event ever in the world.

The general objectives of Rotary clubs in every country are the same — the development of fellowship and understanding among the business and professional leaders in the community, the promotion of community-betterment endeavors and of high standards in business and professional practices, and the advancement of the international understanding, goodwill, and peace. Rotary clubs everywhere have one basic ideal — “Service Above Self” which is thoughtfulness of and helpfulness to others.