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 63: James W. Davidson - "World Citizen"


Internal Links

Home ] What's New in the Caulder Collection? ] Foreword by PRIVP Wilf Wilkinson ] Foreword by PRIT Tibor Gregor ] Joseph A. Caulder Biography ] Caulder's Combined Books Index ] Introduction, Book 1 ] Rotary Information, Book 1 ] Rotary Information, Book  2 ] Rotary Information, Book 3 ] Rotary Information, Book 4 ] Album 1-Table of Contents ] Album 1-Caulder's Foreword ] Album 1- RI Presidents ] Album 1-RI Gen. Secretaries ] Album 1-Early Notables ] Album 1-RI Treasurers ] Album 2 - Table of Contents ] Album 2 - Early RI Boards ] Album 2 - Canadian Area Vice Presidents ] Album 2 - Canadian R.I. Directors ] Album 2 - Notable Canadian Rotarians ] Album 2 - R.I.B.I. Presidents ] Album 2 - R.I.B.I. Secretaries ] Album 2 -  50th Anniversary of R.I. ] Album 2 - Caulder Articles on Early Rotary ] Quotes from Past RI Presidents ] Links to Other Important Rotary Sites ]

James W. Davidson




Joseph A. Caulder Remembers


Jim Davidson's contribution to Rotary will never be equalled as there are not enough lands left to conquer and because Jim did his work when Rotary was in the formative stage and before it had reached the position it holds in the world today.

In 1920-1921 there was a desire expressed by prominent men in Australia and New Zealand for Rotary to be brought to these, then far away, lands. President Pete Snedecor (Portland Oregon 1920-21) looked the field over carefully and then appointed Jim Davidson of Calgary and J. L. Ralston (then of Halifax) to journey to "the lands below" and there to plant the seeds of Rotary. Before they reached Australia word had gone ahead that Rotary was an American prohibition organization and Jim and Layton were up against a stone wall as most Australian business men it seems were not teetotalers. Layton Ralston was a teetotaler and as Jim Davidson reported on his return, "this made it very hard on him as he had to drink for both of them or Rotary never would have got going in Australia". These two pioneers split up when they got established "over there" and Jim organized the Rotary Club of Auckland, N. Z. and Layton the club of Wellington, N. Z. They joined forces to organize the clubs of Melbourne and Sydney in Australia. The names of Jim and Layton stand high in these two fine countries.

The splendid job done by these two placed them at the top of Rotary's special representatives and their services were much in demand. Layton, however, joined a prominent Montreal law firm and entered the political field and therefore was not available for further Rotary work far afield.

Jim was available and willing to give freely of his time, his talents and his means. In 1928 the Board asked him to take on a work that assured his place in Rotary history. There was a demand for Rotary in the Mediterranean countries; India, Singapore, etc. Jim agreed to take on a job that meant many months away from his beloved Calgary and also great expense for himself. On August 24, 1928 Jim, Lillian and Marjorie sailed from Montreal and the proposed trip of 8 or 9 months stretched out to over 2 1/2 years. Jim's health was not good when he left "but it was worse when he returned and in a few years he left us. On this famous trip he organized clubs at Athens, Greece; Jerusalem, Palestine; Bombay, Delhi, Madras in India, Colombo, Ceylon; Thayetmyo in Burma; also Rangoon; Serambau in the Federated Malay States; also Kuala, Lumpur and Ipoh; Bandoeng, Batavia and Samarang in Java; Klang and Coast, Federated Malay States; and Medan in Sumatra, Singapore, Malacca and Penang, in Straits Settlements; Bangkok in Siam and Hong Kong in China. What a work for his beloved Rotary! When Jim returned to Chicago to report he had made Rotary a real world organization.

In this book I have placed a letter from Jean Harris, also a memoriam by Paul and Jean at the time of Jim's passing and a letter from Lillian Dow Davidson. Lillian worked with Jim on this trip and on her return wrote a story of the trip entitled "Making New Friends".

Jim lived a remarkably full life and his passing left a great void.

J .A. C.

The following is an extract from the report of President Snedecor to the Board of Directors held at Chicago, February 24,1921:


Another epoch in the history of International Rotary has been made during the past month by the appointment of James W. Davidson, F. R. S. G., of Calgary and of Colonel J. Layton Ralston, K. C. D., S. 0., C. M. G., D. C. L., G. S. C., of Halifax as our special commissioners to organize Rotary Clubs in Australia and New Zealand. The Board at its last meeting appropriated the sum of $2,000 out of its Foreign Extension Fund toward the expense of sending two representatives to New Zealand and Australia with the understanding that the Canadian Advisory Committee proposed to enlist the interest of all Canadian Rotarians in this project so that they might be given the opportunity to contribute any amount sufficient to pay the remainder of the expenses of these delegates. Upon the recommendation of the Foreign Extension Committee, the Canadian Advisory Committee was asked to suggest the names of two Canadian Rotarians qualified to undertake this mission on behalf of International Rotary. Rotarians Davidson and Ralston were suggested by this Committee and it was the pleasure of your President to appoint them to undertake this important work for Rotary. These two Rotarians are eminently qualified to carry the message of Rotary to these countries and we are exceedingly fortunate in being able to secure their services for this exceedingly important mission.

[Top of Page]

Letter from

Jean Harris to

Joseph A. Caulder, regarding

Jim Davidson

[Click Here to Read]

Letter from

Lillian Davidson to

Joseph A. Caulder, regarding

Jim Davidson

[Click Here to Read]


Paul and Jean Harris' Christmas Card Honoring

Jim Davidson

[Click Here to Read]




























Copyright Daniel W. Mooers

Rotary and Rotary International are registered trademarks of Rotary International