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 73-76; Tom J. Davis, 31st President

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 ]

Tom J. Davis

Rotary's 31st President




Rotary Biography of

TOM J. DAVIS, Butte, Montana, U.S.A.

President, Rotary International. 1941-42

(Deceased: 22 October, 1953)

Tom J. Davis was Counsel in Montana for Safeway Stores, F. W. Woolworth Company, Soo Line Railway, Northwestern Mutual Fire Association, Northwest Casualty Company, and for other business and industrial corporations. He was born in Weir City, Kansas, was graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, and had twice been honored with degrees of Doctor of Laws.

Mr. Davis had been a member of the Rotary Club of Butte since 1915, and was a Past President of that Club. He had been active in Rotary International as President (1941-42), Vice-President, District Governor, Rotary Foundation Trustee, and as chairman and member of numerous committees. In 1945, he was one of Rotary International's consultants to the United States delegation at the United Nations Conference on International Organization.

Among the many offices held by Mr. Davis in community, state, and national organizations were the following: member of the Executive Committee, Montana State School of Mines; member of the Board of Trustees of Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon, and of Rocky Mountain College, Billings, Montana; member, Regional Executive Committee, National Council, Boy Scouts of America; Director, Butte Chamber of Commerce; Director, Butte Y.M.C.A.; Chairman, Salvation Army Advisory Board of Butte; Director, Butte Boy Scounts Council; President, Northwest Society for Crippled Children; President Montana Society for Crippled Children; Director, Montana Children's home and Hospital.

He was a Past President of the Montana State Bar Association and was a former member of the President's Loyalty Review Board of the United States Civil Service Commission. He was the holder of the Honorary Legion of Honor conferred by DeMolay, and the International Service Cross of the Salvation Army.

From Rotary International,

35 East Wacker Drive,

Chicago 1, Ill., U.S.A..

March 1954.

Joseph A. Caulder



Tom Davis served Rotary as Governor of the 20th District in 1921-1922. I was also a Governor in that great year and was from the 19th, which joined Tom's Montana District. We became fast friends and so remained until Tom's passing October 22nd, 1953.

What memories of our visits at Conferences and Conventions of Rotary! Tom came to my Regina Conference in March 1922 and made an outstanding contribution. Tom arrived without his dinner jacket so I borrowed one for myself and let him wear mine. Tom told the 800 assembled for the banquet that I was wearing a suit I had borrowed from one of the waiters.

When we were attending the District Governors Meeting, or Assembly, as it is now called, in Chicago in August 1921, we had some good fun with Luther Brewer, Governor of the 16th District from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Luther, at the close of the Assembly on Friday. evening, after a tough week, told me to get Tom Davis and a couple of the boys and he would take us to the Union League Club for dinner and to the Illinois Theatre to see the Broadway Whirl. I told Tom and it seems he knew Luther had a little Scots blood in him so decided to have some fun. In a few moments Tom and I arrived at Luther's room with 19 others (there were only 25 Governors in all, but 2 or 3 had other engagements) and Luther almost collapsed. However, he got 5 Yellow cabs and took us to the Union League Club. The 90 degree heat was not the only contributing factor in making Luther look flushed!! When Luther led us to the dining room Tom protested and said we insisted on a private dining room. Luther whispered to me that this would cost $1.00 extra per plate, but Tom insisted. Halfway through the dinner Tom asked Luther if he had ordered the tickets. . He said he would do so at once and called the head waiter and asked for 21 tickets for the Broadway Whirl. Tom instructed the waiter that they must be box seats on the first balcony. Poor Luther, by now, was a wreck as these cost $3.30 each. About the end of the dinner Tom felt Luther had suffered enough so proceeded to collect $7.00 from each of us after which Luther enjoyed the balance of the evening. Such was Tom Davis.

Tom was President of R.I. in 1941-1942 and presided at the second Toronto Convention. Few Presidents of R.I. were better speakers than Tom and few were better known or more admired.

For the last two or three years Tom knew, and Hester knew, his condition was serious but Tom kept going. In August 1952 we spent a week-end with them in Butte and in April 1953 a forenoon with them at Denver, when Tom was enroute to Colorado Springs to address the Conference. That was our last meeting. It was at Roy Weaver's beautiful home and Russell and Mrs. Williams were there, also Roy and Mrs. Weaver, and Rilea Doe. We had a grand chat about Rotary, past, present and future. It was our last visit with Tom. We had met at the great Rochester inter-city meeting in October 1941. Tom was President of R.I. and had just returned from England by air. The bombing was at it's worst and Tom gave the large crowd a vivid picture of conditions in London at that time. No one who was there that night will ever forget Tom Davis.

We are better for having known him. He made an outstanding contribution to Rotary, and to his beloved city of Butte, Montana.


Additional Recollections of


by Joe Caulder



President of Rotary International 1941 - 1942.

Governor 20th District R. I. - 1921-1922.


Passed away on October 22nd, 1953.


This item is written for this Rotary album to make mention of a great evening in Rotary and made great by Tom Davis.

It was at the famous annual. gathering of Rotarians held at Rochester, N.Y. every year since 1921. There never is enough space for the Rotarians from New York, Pennsylvania and Ontario who want to attend. Attendance has ranged from 500 to 1,286.

On that October night in 1941 ninety-three clubs were represented by this record gathering of 1,286. President Tom Davis had just flown back from. war torn England and for an hour he told us of the horrors of war as he saw them in London.

Tom was a fine orator. It was a delight. to see and hear him and he was at. his best that night. There were few dry eyes in the Powers Hotel ballroom. He paid a fine tribute to the ability of the British people and especially London to bear the worst and fight on.

He told us about standing on the sidewalk, or where it was the previous day, and talking to a sobbing man as they watched the workmen dig the man's wife and five children out of the ruins. All crushed to instant death a few hours before.

It is fortunate that in 1943 the limit had not been set at 700 as it was 1ater.

Tom was at his best that night, and his best was truly great.



[Top of Page]


Tom J. Davis' Obituary

December 1953

[Click Here to Read]



Tom J. Davis'

Letter to

Joseph P. Caulder

Dated April 22, 1952

[Click on Letter to Enlarge]



Tom J. Davis'

Letter to

Joseph P. Caulder

Dated October 17, 1952

[Click on Letter to Enlarge]



Tom J. Davis'

Letter to

Joseph P. Caulder

June 25, 1953

[Click on Letter to Enlarge]




Copyright Daniel W. Mooers

Rotary and Rotary International are registered trademarks of Rotary International