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In Memory – Paul Harris Obituary – Monday, Jan. 27, 1947

Text of article from the Chicago Tribune – Monday, 27 January 1947


Paul P. Harris, founder of Rotary International, and it’s president emeritus, died yesterday in his home, Comely Bank, at 10856 Longwood dr.  He was 79, and had been in failing health in recent years. He was a lawyer in private life.    Mr. Harris founded Rotary in 1905, and since then had seen it grow from single club with a few members in Chicago to 5,638 clubs in 75 countries with more than 259,000 members.    A spirit of loneliness influenced Mr. Harris in part to create the world-wide organization.  He was born in Racine, Wis., but reared at in Vermont.  He was educated at Princeton and the University of Iowa in 1891.  For five years he roamed, working as a newspaper man, an actor, and a salesman.  He worked on fruit farms, and twice worked his way to Europe on cattle boats.

Beginning of Rotary

In 1896 Mr. Harris settled in Chicago and began the practice of law. Although friendly by nature, he had few friends, and he saw others, like himself not native to the city, in similar situation.    One day in 1900 Mr. Harris had dinner with a lawyer friend, and latter the two strolled the neighborhood where his colleague introduced Mr. Harris to several neighborhood merchants as his friends.  Up to then Mr. Harris had not made social friends out of this business friends, or clients.  The neighborhood experience gave him an idea.    Mr. Harris decided to organize a club of representative business and professional men in fellowship and friendship.  three of his clients, Silvester Schiele, Gustavus Loehr, and Harry Ruggles, joined with him.  They met periodically in the old Mme. Galli restaurant, often called the birthplace of Rotary, where over the dinner table they discussed plans for the club.

 Other Clubs Formed    

On Feb. 23, 1905, Rotary was born, and was so-called because it’s members met in rotation at their several places of business. The idea spread, and similar clubs were formed in other cities.  Essence of Rotary’s purpose was and is–serve; high standards in business, professional and community life.




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Paul Harris Memorial

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