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 1 - Pages 121-26: Chesley R. Perry, Rotary's First General Secretary

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Chesley R. Perry

Rotary's First General Secretary

 

CHESLEY R. PERRY, Chicago. Illinois. U.S.A.

Past Secretary, Rotary International

Member, Committee for Cornerstone Laying,

Rotary International Headquarters Building.

Chesley R. Perry was Secretary of Rotary International from 1910 until his retirement in 1942. He presently is serving on the committee making plans for the cornerstone laying ceremonies for the new world headquarters for Rotary International, which is being erected in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

He was born in Chicago and for several years, after leaving high school, he was on the staff of the public library and a teacher in the public evening schools in Chicago. During the Spanish American War, he was an officer in the United States Army in Cuba and, at the same time, acted as war correspondent for the Chicago Times-Herald. .

Mr. Perry became a member of the Rotary Club of Chicago in January, 1908, while it was still the only Rotary Club in the world, and was it's President in 1944-45. In 1910, he and Paul Harris, Rotary's Founder, formulated a plan for a national association of the 16 Rotary Clubs then in existence, and arranged for the first Rotary Convention, which was held in Chicago that year. Mr. Perry was the presiding officer of that convention and, after it's close, was elected Secretary of the then National Association of Rotary Clubs, which later became Rotary International, and served in that position until his retirement in 1942.

He created "The Rotarian," the monthly magazine published by Rotary International, and was it's editor and manager for 17 years.

During the 32 years Mr. Perry served as Secretary of Rotary International, he travelled extensively in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Great Britain and Ireland, and Continental Europe.

From Rotary International,

35 East Wacker Drive,

Chicago 1, Illinois, U.S.A.

March 1954.


CHESLEY R. PERRY

About 1930 one day I had the honour of sitting beside Paul Harris at the Rotary Club of Montreal and Paul was the speaker. In introducing him, many nice things were said about the founder and builder of Rotary. Paul started his address by thanking the introducer for his generosity, but then said this: "I suppose I am the founder of Rotary but I had no idea of what I was founding and I am certainly not the builder, as 90% of the credit for that must go to Ches. Perry". Without detracting in the least from the great part Paul and the others have played in starting and building Rotary to it's present position, I am sure all will agree that Ches. has been the directing hand in the great accomplishment.

Ches. was engaged as part time Secretary at the close of the first Convention of the National Association of Rotary Clubs and he continued to hold that position in the National Association (1910-1912), the International Association of Rotary Clubs (1912-1922), and Rotary International (1922-1942). From August 1910 to June 30th, 1942. During the first year Ches was to get a small salary but the record says he did not even get that the first year.

I met Ches. first at the Salt Lake City Convention in June 1919 and got to know him well in 1921 when I became Governor of the old 19th District.

I served on several International Committees during the next 10 or 12 years with one year on the Board, in 1928-1929. No one could see Ches. work at such close range over the years without coming to admire his efficiency and diplomacy. His knowledge of the background of Rotary is obviously greater than that of any other Rotarian, past or present. It takes a diplomat to carry on with a new Board of topnotch business and professional men every 12 months.

In those early years the job of President of R.I. was different from today as Rotary was smaller and not much could be allowed the R.I. President and Board for travelling expenses. As a consequence, much responsibility rested on the Secretary. To assume responsibility for all the problems of a fast growing organization and to deal with them quickly without becoming a Dictator, is the work of a real artist.

I was always impressed with the time and patience Ches. spent on green Governors and Committee Members. He was never too busy to give help and advice. He would listen attentively to an hour's discussion by the Board without a word and then if he saw they were going to leave the rails and make a poor decision, he could, in the nicest possible manner, guide the Board to the correct decision.

I will never forget Ches. at Atlantic City on the Denver question (1946) when he fought so fiercely (and in my opinion correctly) to keep Rotary's headquarters in Chicago. He was no longer Secretary of R.I. so could speak his mind and I am sure almost everyone now will admit he was correct. This seemed to me especially true on May 16th, 1954 when we, who attended the cornerstone laying for the new building, were privileged to see this grand structure nearing completion.

Ches. has had 12 useful and busy years since retiring from R.I. and all of us hope he and Peggy will have a great many more useful and happy years, and that we will see them at the Institute and at the Convention each May or June.

J .A. C.

Chesley R. Perry's

Obituary from

The Rotarian

April 1960

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Chesley R. Perry's

Death Notice

 February 22, 1960

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Chesley R. Perry's

Letter to

Joseph A. Caulder

dated Oct 31, 1951

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Chesley R. Perry's

Letter to

Joseph A. Caulder

dated August 8, 1951

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Chesley R. Perry's

Letter to

Joseph A. Caulder

dated Sept 13, 1952

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Chesley R. Perry's

Letter to

Joseph A. Caulder

dated June 26, 1954

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Chesley R. Perry's

Letter to

Joseph A. Caulder

dated August 18, 1954

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Chesley R. Perry's

Letter to

Joseph A. Caulder

dated Feb. 1, 1955

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Chesley R. Perry's

Speech to the

Oklahoma City Club

dated March 1955

[Click to Enlarge]

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