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The National Rotary Club of Los Angeles - this unofficial ‘second’ Rotary Club was set up by former professional and promotional secretary of the Los Angeles Rotary Club  #5 Herbert C. Quick in 1910. It was incorporated on February 14th 1910.

 

Quick had been involved in the establishment of Club #5 in Los Angeles from its charter date of July 25th 1909 and before. Quick was LA’s equivalent to W. Stuart Morrow and LA Charter member Charlie Bent describes Quick’s telephone sales pitch below:-

 

 Quick would telephone prospective ‘clients’ with: “Hello, Mr Jones, this is Mr Quick Secretary of the Rotary Club of Los Angeles. I am extending an invitation to you to become a member of our Club as the sole representative of your business in Los Angeles. By simply doing your trading with your fellow members, you will, within a few weeks, at our present rapid rate of growth, have more than 200 men as your valued customers. It’s simply a case of you scratch their backs and they will scratch yours. Meet me next Friday noon, with your check for $5 initiation fee and you will be welcomed as a full-fledged member and start at once receiving the patronage of new custom.

 

We can, thus, see that Quick saw Rotary as a “Booster” Club and little more.

 

Like Morrow, this was Quick’s only source of income i.e. the ‘compensation’ he received from membership fees. Unfortunately, somehow Quick got into financial difficulties according to the Official History of Los Angeles Rotary Club and was ‘discharged’ and replaced by the club in late 1909.

 

On April 19th 1910 armed with a new charter, Quick held a meeting in Room 600 of the San Fernando Building at Fourth and Main Streets where C H Reeves was elected President of the new National Rotary Club of Los Angeles with William F Kenyon the Vice-President/Treasurer and T Bennett, the secretary. Significantly, all three men held 25 shares of stock “being all the shares of the subscribed capital stock of the company”. Clearly this second club was taking the idea of ‘Rotary business’ a stage further.

 

From the club’s name we can see that Quick’s dream was of a National Association with clubs spread throughout the USA but his attempts were thwarted when he was refused a Charter in Washington State. Apparently, Quick’s reputation had gone before him and again, as if by magic, he disappeared.

 

The National Rotary Club grew in members with 46 men attending a banquet in the King Edward Hotel on February 9th 1911. The new secretary R H Nix held stock in the National Rotary Club and received money for services to the club and from membership fees. Monthly dues were set at one dollar per member.

 

The mood of the membership began to drift towards the idea of a non-profit organization and in order to achieve this Nix had to go. The secretary was quite willing to leave but only after the club members bought his stock which he valued at some $1,200! Two enterprising members took it upon themselves to physically threaten Nix in a locked hotel room and ‘persuade’ him to accept $300. The exact threatening words quoted are – “take him apart to see what made him tick”.

 

On Saturday, December 11th 1911 a special meeting was held at the Hollenbeck Hotel where new club objects were set that now involved new ideas of community service though still preserving the ‘booster’ ethos.

 

In April 1912, the ‘brothers’ (for that is how they addressed each other) suffered more bad news with the revocation of their charter – they had forgotten to pay the Franchise Tax the previous August.

 

By September a meeting was arranged between secretary Hugo Burgwald and the Los Angeles Rotary Club President Roger Andrews with the aim of securing ‘consolidation’ between the two clubs. There were many letters and telephone calls at that time between officials in order to get better acquainted. However, the reality seems to have been that the National Rotary Club was taken over. Article 9 of the terms of consolidation states “That the National Rotary Club accept the Constitution and By-laws of the Rotary Club of Los Angeles”.

 

The Los Angeles Tribune announced the unification of the two clubs in their November 1st edition stating the expected official unification date to be January 1st 1913. The Los Angeles Rotary Club produced a brief report of these events for the 1913 Buffalo Convention which also appeared in the September 1913 edition of ‘The Rotarian’.

 

The consolidation of the Los Angeles clubs resulted in Club #5 being the largest club at the time with 310 members. The club apparently found it easy to forget the past. Anyone who spoke or referred to either of the two clubs before their consolidation was instantly fined!

 

- based on  History of the Rotary Club of Los Angeles – Golden Anniversary Edition.

Posted, 30 January 2006,  by Rotary Global History senior historian Calum Thompson. (vice chair of RGHF)
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