The Joseph A. Caulder Collection
Past Rotary International Director 1928-29   -  Regina, Sask., Canada

"Eyewitness to Rotary International's First 50 Years"


JOSEPH A. CAULDER - An eyewitness to Rotary International's first 50 years.

Album 2 - Page 96, "Charlie" Newton's "Historical Items about ROTARY"

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Here's what the "fine print" says:

THE CHICAGO CLUB was organized, named, and officers chosen at a meeting attended by eleven members at Silvester Schiele's coal office on State Street, Chicago, early in 1905.

Silvester Schiele was the first President, Paul P. Harris was the third.

It had no charter members. Its first Constitution and By-Laws were adopted in January, 1906, and it was not incorporated until July 27,1908.

The First Constitution contained only two objects, as follows:

First:     "The promotion of the business interests of its members."

Second:     "The promotion of good fellowship and other desiderata ordinarily incident to Social Clubs."

Its By-Laws provided for an officer with the title of "Statistician" whose duties were as follows:

"It shall be the duty of the Statistician to keep a record of and to report at each meeting the business influenced by the membership of this organization."

The name "Rotary" was chosen as meetings were held in rotation at each member's place of business the second and fourth Thursday evenings of each month (except July and August).

At first, only proprietors, members of firms and the President, Vice-President, Secretary or Treasurer of corporations were eligible for membership. Life insurance and railroad representatives were included later.

Only one person from each line of business or profession was admitted, establishing the classification principle.

Members were elected for one year only and required a three-fourths vote for reelection.

All elections were viva voce vote. One negative vote prevented member's election.

The compulsory attendance rule was adopted, forfeiting membership if a member failed to attend four consecutive meetings, unless excused by a majority vote of the members.

Until September, 1908, when dues were first collected, the Club revenue was entirely from fines, .50 cents flor failure to attend a meeting for any cause, then 10 cents for calling a member by other than his first or nickname, and later .50 cents for failure to advise Secretary of intention to attend or not attend the meetings and the price of the dinner if absent.

The Club had no Board of Directors until its second year and no office until the fifth year.

It had no committees until the second year and then only two - Membership and Entertainment.

The non-sectarian and non-political principles were adopted at the organization meeting.

Interest in civic affairs was first given consideration through the efforts of Donald M. Carter, patent attorney, in 1906, and the first civic work accomplished was the building of a public comfort station in 1908 during the term of President Paul Harris.

First charity work was the purchase of a horse for a country doctor in 1906, through the efforts of Dr. C. W. Hawley.

First emblem, a wagon wheel, was designed by M. M. Bear and adopted in 1906.

Club singing was introduced hy Harry I. Ruggles in winter of 1905-6.

Charles A. Newton suggested the luncheon Club idea.

Chesley R. Perry suggested the members’ identification badges, and Silvester Schiele the idea of members’ pictures in the roster.


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