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Paul Harris - Founder of Rotary

At the very first Rotary club meeting Paul Harris (pictured far right), Gustavus Loehr, Hiram Shorey, and Silvester Schiele met in Chicago and talked about their personal experiences. At that meeting on February 23rd, 1905, Harris unfolded his general plan for regular club meetings. This was the simple beginning of the world’s first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago. It was created because of Harris’ wish to capture in a professional club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth. The Rotary name derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among members offices.

From the beginning Rotarians have taken pride in their history. The essence of Rotary today has a direct lineage to Paul Harris' first Rotary meeting. The concept of 'Service Above Self' is as alive today in the hearts and minds of over 1.2 million Rotarians as it was when Harris developed the idea of a club dedicated to fellowship in community service.

Paul Harris explains Rotary

The eight-minute video presentation on this page is a 1933 radio address given by Paul Harris explaining Rotary. The video features an animation created by Don Kemplen, a Rotarian in Modesto, California. The video bring's Mr. Harris' speech to life using historic photos and clever animation techniques. It is great to hear Mr. Harris' own words explaining what Rotary is about. 
Paul Harris' obituary was published in the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday January 28th, 1947. Paul Harris had past away at his Chicago home the day before. He was 79 years old. In his life he had seen his first club grow into an international movement. A movement that continues to grow and inspire millions today.

Subpages (1): Paul Harris Obituary