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Brief histories of the "First 100" Clubs

Rotary Club of Des Moines #27 1911

Rotary International District 6000

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    Organized May 1, 1911
    Charter Number 27 on August 1, 1911

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    (Contains, possibly, the secret to Rotary's success)

    An Introduction to Rotary

    History of #27

    Other Iowa Clubs

    Places to Visit

    #27

    See our delegation at Rotary's 2nd convention in Portland, Oregon, USA in 1911. A rare, early Rotary Global History photo.

    An Introduction to Rotary From Chicago, Rotary Soon spread to other cities.

    As a result of the meeting of member Manual Munoz, of the Rotary Club of Chicago, with Homer Wood, a young attorney of San Francisco, the second club -- the Rotary Club of San Francisco -- was organized in November, 19080. Before July, 1909 Rotarian Wood had been instrumental in starting three more clubs in Oakland (3), Los Angeles (5) and Seattle (4).

    Fred Tweed, one of the early members of the Chicago club, carried the idea to the east coast of the United States when he organized the Rotary Club of New York City (6) in August 1909. Four months later the Rotary Club of Boston (7) began.

    In August, 1910, the first Rotary convention was held in Chicago, to which 29 delegates, representing 14 of 16 existing clubs, attended. "The National Association of Rotary Clubs" was organized at this convention with 16 member clubs and approximately 1,500 Rotarians.

    Also at this first convention, and again at the second convention (held the next year in Portland (15), Oregon) Chicago Rotarian Arthur Frederick Sheldon used the words, "He profits most who serves his fellow best." The Minneapolis (9), Minnesota, delegation pecked this up and proposed a motto, "Service above Self," out of which evolved, without official sanction, the proud motto -- "Service above Self -- He profits Most Who Serves Best."

    Before that year was over eight more clubs were organized, including one in Winnipeg (35), Manitoba, Canada. Rotary had truly became international!

    In 1911 Rotary Spanned the Atlantic with clubs in *Dublin (65) and Belfast (67), Ireland, and in London (50), England. (In 1911 The Rotary Clubs of Des Moines (27) was founded.) The next year, 1912, with 50 clubs and 5,000 members, saw another name change. This time to "The International Association of Rotary Clubs." shortened in 1922 to the familiar "Rotary International."

    The great Rotary wheel continued rolling strongly and picked up speed. In 1906 the first of many varieties of wheel emblems" came into use. In 1912 a geared wheel was adopted to be followed, in 1924, by authorization of the present official emblem, a wheel of six spokes, 23 cogs and a "keyway."

     

    Why this tremendous growth? In 1914, the year World War I began, Club #100 Started in in Phoenix; in 1915 Charter #200 was issued... 1918 #400 at Fort Scott, Kansas.

    Why?

    The Question concerning the spectacular growth of Rotary International can be answered quickly by an examination of its ideals and objectives.

    The more aware Rotarians became of their potential power for good within their own communities and beyond, the more rapidly the movement grew. In 1906 with its constitution already given prime observance to, "The promotion of the business interests of it's members," the club added, "The advancement of the best interests of Chicago and the spreading of the spirit of civic pride and loyalty among its citizens.

    Here is, perhaps, the first indications Rotary was destined to evolve into an organization in which the members were developing an idealism that would extend their efforts into wider and wider fields of service. Here was the very beginning of the "service" club as we know it today.

    At the first truly international convention of Rotary, in Duluth (25), Minnesota, in 1912, that original first object, the one which emphasized the promotion of each others' business interests, was removed from the objectives of Rotary. Personal, selfish gain as a moving force was thus officially eliminated from the Rotarian doctrine. In 1921, at Edinburgh (62), Scotland, a new object, "To emphasize the international influence of Rotary," was adopted.

    But it was not until 1935, in convention assembled in Mexico City, the four objects as we know them today were set out. Lofty in sentiment, perhaps but certainly within reach of the member who could earnestly strive to make them an effective force in his personal, business and civic life.

    Source "...always on Thursday... "A Story of the Rotary Club of Des Moines, Iowa" by George F. Rutledge (#714) copyright RC of Des Moines 1978

    *Also see the rotaryfirst100.org/fellowship section on the history of clubs in Ireland and the UK

    The History of most Rotary clubs  is interesting and depends upon a chronological series of events which led up to the club's founding. Few clubs, however, can tell a story based upon events happening 36 years before the club came into existence. Events happening, in fact, even before the founding of the first Rotary club. That is, though, precisely the situation surrounding the beginning of the Rotary Club of Des Moines.

    It was a friendship between two elementary school pupils in the small Iowa town of Montezuma, in 1875, which eventually led to the founding of the Des Moines club. A boy named Bert Rainsburg (#3)* and a girl named Anna Miller were classmates. If this were a fiction story it would be easy to create a tale of romance, and, perhaps, intrigue,. But, in all truth, Anna Miller became the wife of Mack Olsen (#2) and later moved to Des Moines. In 1897 Bert and his wife also moved to the capital city and the two families renewed acquaintance, often visiting at each other's home.

    On a Sunday early in the spring of 1911 the Olsens were visiting the Rainsburg home. Burt and Mack discussed a story which a mutual friend, Dan Bonus (#1), had told recently about an experience while visiting the city of Chicago. While in the "Windy City" he had been a guest at s meeting of the Rotary club there. He had liked the idea of men from several different businesses meeting together and he told some f this Des Moines friends about it. This Sunday night Bert and Mack got the ball rolling by agreeing to invite some others to meet with them to talk about the formation of such a club in Des Moines.

    The idea of rotary in Des Moines came from Dan Bonus, it was Bert Rainsburg, a printer and engraver at the "Register and Leader" newspapers, who gave it the thought and time to assure the club's founding and in generally recognized as the "Father of Rotary in Des Moines."

    *since its founding every member has been numbered chronologically

    Source "...always on Thursday... "A Story of the Rotary Club of Des Moines, Iowa" by George F. Rutledge (#714) copyright RC of Des Moines 1978

    1918 Bulletin
     

    Iowa's First 100 Clubs

    Des Moines 27

    Davenport 34

    Sioux City 54

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