Organizations, Before 1905

Organizations, Before 1905
(the birth of Rotary) and After

Some of the founders of the International Society for Crippled Children, which became Easter Seals: Paul Harris, Sam Squire (PDG), Bob Patterson (DG and Director), Hart Seeley (DG and Director), Hugh Van De Walker (DG), Clarence Collings (DG), Edgar Allen (Rotary Club of Elyria, Ohio), Jay Howenstine, Case N. Crispin, George Mitchell (DG), Bert Gammel, John Bentley (PDG and Director), Frank Weedon, and Anthony Tall (Superintendent, Memorial Hospital, Elyria, Ohio), February 1922. Edgar Allen was the President and founder of the International Society for Crippled Children and Paul Harris served as the Chairman of its first Board of Directors. IPTC - Creator: Unknown IPTC -
Credit: Courtesy of Rotary International
It must be pointed out that Rotary International was never officially connected to any crippled children’s society. The position of RI was to encourage and help each autonomous Rotary Club to pursue projects, which helped the handicapped. In many areas of the country, significant work was also done through Kiwanis, woman’s organizations, veteran’s groups, churches, and fraternal organizations.

Principal Participants:
Edgar D. "Daddy" Allen moved from Newton, Massachusetts to Ohio in 1887 and married Blanch Wood in 1888. They had two sons: Homer who died of injuries in the 1907 streetcar accident and Frank who became an industrialist in the Philadelphia area.

Allen founded the Cleveland Cedar Co. in 1888 for the production of railroad ties and utility poles. He sold that business in 1905, moved to Elyria and had a major interest in the Perry-Fay Co. (now a division. of Parker-Hannifin), the American Lace Co., Dean Electric Co., and was on the board of a number of local industries.

He was treasurer and manager of the Elyria Memorial Hospital for 14 years, a voluntary position.

He was a leader of the YMCA campaign in 1911 and, in 1918, was one of the founders of the Community Chest that later became the model for forming the United Fund.

Allen was the first President of the Ohio Society for Crippled Children and the National Crippled Children’s Society (U.S.).

He is credited with the formulation the “Ohio Plan,” a plan to aid crippled children. He presented this plan to countless audiences. His addresses were entitled; “Is It Worthwhile?” and he coined the phrase, “Keep on keeping on.” He led the organization of the International Society for Crippled Children and was its President from its inception until 1934. He became fondly known as “Daddy” Allen.

Two versions exist as to the origination of the name. A crippled child patient at Gates Hospital named Jimmie referred to Allen as his “Daddy” and the name was attached to Allen from then on. The other use of “Daddy” was by Ed Kelsey (a District Governor from Toledo) when introducing Allen referred to him as the “Daddy” (founding father) of the movement.

Allen was made an honorary member of the Elyria Rotary Club on 5/6/1919 and changed to active membership in 1921. His classification at first was "Capitalist," later changed to “Crippled Children’s Societies.”

SAMUEL SQUIRE: Born in Elyria 9/1/1873 died 4/18/1943.

He started with the First National Bank of Elyria in 1892 as a messenger boy. FNB merged with Lorain County Bank in 1922, Squire becoming Vice President and then President of the bank. In 1935, Squire was named the Superintendent of Ohio Banking. He ended his career as President of the Tiffin National Bank.

A charter member of ERC in 1918, he assumed the presidency in July when the first president was called into military service.

Squire served as Governor of Rotary District 10 from 7/1/19 to 6/30/20. There were 746 Rotary clubs in 17 countries in 1920. He was a dedicated spokesman for the Crippled Children’s Societies. In 1924 he was named President Emeritus of ERC and was named an honorary member in 1935.

Squire was active in community affairs including the Community Chest, YMCA, and the Chamber of Commerce.

HARRY H. HOWETT: He came to the attention of the OSCC when he was the director of the Ohio Board of State Charities in Columbus. Howett was later appointed director of all Ohio State Welfare agencies. In December 1924 he accepted the dual responsibilities of Executive Director of the OSCC and Executive Secretary of the International Society for Crippled Children. He worked with these two organizations for many years and was a key person in the implementation of the “Ohio Plan.” He joined the Elyria Rotary Club in 1924 and was a member until his death in the late 1960s.

ED KELSEY: Toledo Rotarian, District Governor, one of the spokesmen for OSCC in its formative years.

ARCH KLUMPH: Cleveland Rotarian, District Governor. He encouraged Rotary participation in OSCC. He was a power in Rotary International and a great ally of. Allen. He is also known for founding the Rotary Foundation.

JOHN BENTLY: A Cleveland Rotarian and a District Governor. He was one of the first to encourage Elyria Rotary to enlist other clubs in joining the crippled children’s project.

PAUL HARRIS: Founder of Rotary International. In 1921/22 he encouraged Rotary’s leadership in the formation of a National (U. S.) and then international Crippled Children’s Societies. He attended a number of meetings of the ISCC, including at least four in Elyria.

BEN HINDMAN: First ERC Secretary and charter member of ERC. Served the OSCC as Recording Secretary during its formative times.

E. J. (JAY) HOWENSTINE: ERC charter member. He was active in the formation and the programs of OSCC. He authored bulletins and made presentations for the OSCC's Children’s Week promotion. And was instrumental in the production of the first Society informational magazine.


1905: Paul Harris founded Rotary in Chicago. The purpose was to perform community service, have business classifications, and provide fraternity and fellowship for members. An early project of Rotary Clubs for helping under privileged boys was referred to as “Boys Work.”

1907: Memorial Day. A streetcar accident at Fifth St. and Middle Ave. in Elyria, Ohio. Car number 123 which caused the accident Two cars of the Inter-Urban local from Oberlin to Cleveland crashed, the rear car running over the rear ten feet of the front car. Because of the holiday, an additional car was following the regular one. The motorman of the second car failed to notice the first car making an unscheduled stop to let off passengers at Fifth Street and rammed into the stopped streetcar. Eight died of injuries including E. F. Allen’s son Homer. In addition, seven lost one or both legs or feet. Ten others recovered from severe injuries. Inadequate hospital facilities were cited for some of the deaths and poor treatment of the injuries.

10/30/1908: As a result of the accident and resulting public contributions, the Gates Hospital for Crippled Children (below) was opened with 36 beds.

1913: The Rotary Club of Syracuse, N. Y. established a fund for “shut in children” (invalids) of the city.

1913/17: Syracuse Rotary Club contributed about $1200 to $1400 each year for a crippled children’s Christmas party and gifts. Additional funds were used for appliances for invalid children of the city.

1915: After years of effort by E. F. Allen, Gates Hospital in Elyria Ohio opened. It was the first facility in the U.S. devoted exclusively to the care of crippled children. Allen spearheaded and partially financed the concept. Mrs. William Gates provided the major funding for the building.

1915: Toledo Ohio Rotary Club formed a committee to “take up crippled children’s work” in that city.

1916/17: Syracuse, Toledo, and Cleveland “adopt” children of their cities. Surveys were made of the number of affected children. Some braces and hospital care were funded.

1917/18: E. F. Allen presented a plan to a number of local organizations and state officials to establish help for crippled children, with state aid. Little response was gained.

April 1, 1918: Elyria, Ohio Rotary Club was chartered, the first Rotary Club in Lorain County. It was the only club between Cuyahoga County and Toledo.

Early 1919: E. F. Allen’s crippled children aid plan was presented to and endorsed by the ERC. The proposition was to be expanded and encouraged through Ohio Rotary Clubs.

April 15, 1919: First anniversary meeting of ERC, a daylong affair attended by many Toledo and Cleveland Rotarians. Activities of the day included a tour of Gates and Elyria Memorial Hospitals and an evening meeting with the principal address by E. F. Allen. He outlined the need and presented a plan to promote crippled children’s work as a Rotary sponsored project in Ohio. E. F. Allen spoke on the proposal at the Toledo and Cleveland Rotary Clubs the following week.

April 22, 1919 – The initial meeting of “The State Committee for an Ohio Society of Crippled Children.” was held in Elyria. Allen was appointed chairman and Sam Squire Sec/Treas. Various duties were assigned and Allen and Squire were appointed official spokesmen. (It was later proclaimed that May 8, 1919 was the founding date of the Ohio Society because that was Allen’s birthday.)

May to Dec. 1919: Many meetings of committees, preparation of constitution and by-laws, visits to about 35 Rotary Clubs in District 10 (most of Ohio).

Jan. 1, 1920: First office of the OSCC opened. It was a desk and chair in the lobby of EMH.

Jan. 6, 1920: Meeting in Columbus, Ohio. The constitution of the Ohio Society of Crippled Children was adopted.

Jan. 12, 1920: The Toledo Rotary Club turned over to the Society their fund of $1025. Prior to that, E. F. Allen had paid all expenses.

Mar. 4, 1920: Allen met with R. E. Miles, Director of Ohio welfare agencies, to discuss state institutions for crippled children. Little progress was made with legislators for state aid.

June 15, 1920: Records show 22 Ohio Rotary Clubs had subscribed to the $4.00 per member dues to OSCC. There were over 100 children on the waiting list at Gates Hospital. Cincinnati and Dayton were planning to build hospitals for crippled children.

October 1920: Syracuse, N. Y. Rotary Club donated $ material and labor for a pavilion at the Hillcrest Association as an “adjunct” to their aid for crippled children. There was an effort in Michigan to form a state society using the “Ohio Plan.”

November 1920: Clinics were now up and running in Elyria, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Youngstown, and Akron, Ohio. The purpose of the OSCC was now more directed toward public awareness and to seeking state funds for building hospitals and to provide care and appliances for invalids. Rotarians were urged to exert pressure on legislators. Pennsylvania Rotarians were forming a society.

January/March 1921: Legislative proposals were made to Ohio agencies including the Institute for Public Safety, State Board of Charities, and the State Department of Education, and also to Ohio Governor Harry L. Davis.

April 1921: First mention of discussions by E. F. Allen, other leading Ohio Rotarians, and Rotary founder, Paul Harris, to have Rotary International take on the crippled children’s plight as an international project. It was to be spearheaded by individual clubs.

April 1921: Sen. J. F. Burke of Elyria introduced Ohio Senate bill 174 for aid to the OSCC and appropriations for care of the handicapped. Rotarians sent 4000 telegrams to legislators throughout Ohio and the bill passed on April 27, 1921. As a result of Bill 174, the Ohio Departments of Welfare, Health, and Education were to be reorganized to carry out the provisions of the Bill.

August 28/29 1921: E. F. Allen, Samuel Squire, and Paul Harris presented the plan for a National Crippled Children’s Society to Rotary International’s Board of Directors and the International Council of Governors. The proposal was met with “enthusiasm” and work began to implement the program with Rotary Clubs' sponsorship.

August/October 1921: The OSCC authorized a re-organization to include an Executive Director and the promotion of a Crippled Children’s Day to be held throughout the state on May 8, 1922.

October 14, 1921: A meeting of OSCC was held in Toledo attended by E. F. Allen, Paul Harris, District Governors of New York State and Michigan, and many other interested Rotarians. It was at this meeting that the National Crippled Children’s Society was inaugurated and officers selected. Named President was E. F. Allen. It was recorded that Allen had traveled 17,000 miles and been away from his home 73 days in 1921 to promote crippled children’s work.

October 28, 1921: The first meeting of the National (U.S.) Crippled Children’s Society was held in Cleveland. Those attending passed a constitution and regulations.

November 17, 1921: Carl Crispin became Executive Assistant of the Societies, with headquarters in Elyria, Ohio. Crispin joined the ERC in 1922.

December 1921: E. F. Allen spoke to the Brantford, Ontario Rotary Club. It was the first official contact regarding formation of a Society in Canada.

January/March 1922: State Societies were being formed in New York, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. 16 Rotary clubs representing various States attended a meeting held in Elyria on February 8, 1922. Also attending was Rotary founder Paul Harris. A vote at this meeting changed the name of the organization to the International Society of Crippled Children. Sponsoring clubs were asked to contribute 50 cents per member as dues to the Society. Ohio clubs were already contributing $4.00 per member to the OSCC.

April 26, 1922: It was reported that most Rotary District Conferences had as part of the program a section on the Crippled Children’s Societies. Also reported was “Ontario is all planned.” The Hamilton, Ontario club was now the center of activity in Canada.

April 1922: A revised constitution was passed to accommodate the change to an international organization and further refine the aims and goals of the Society.

May 8, 1922: Crippled Children’s Week in Ohio. Nationwide publicity resulted and the movement to expand internationally was accelerated.

June 8, 1922: The 13th annual Rotary International Convention passed a resolution encouraging Rotary Clubs throughout the world to take on crippled children's work. RI was to act as a clearinghouse for information while individual clubs were to inaugurate their own projects.

June/November 1922: A time of rapid growth of U.S. and state societies. Rotary Districts and local clubs took on projects including surveys, clinics, publicity, lobbying state legislators, and enlistment of hospitals and surgeons to join the crusade. Crippled Children’s Societies were being formed in Canada and Europe.

November 28, 1922: The Ontario, Canada Society for Crippled Children was organized in Windsor, Ontario.

Jan. 1923: Because of illness, Carl Crispin resigned as Executive Director of OSCC in mid-1922. Mrs. Mary Waltermire replaced him on Jan. 1, 1923. She worked out of the Columbus, Ohio office although the International Headquarters remained in Elyria.

January/February 1923: State Societies formed officially in Kentucky, Illinois, and New Jersey. E. F. Allen relinquished the Presidency of the OSCC and was honored by being named President Emeritus.

March/ April 1923: A nationwide effort at Rotary District Conferences was in motion to form state Crippled Children’s Societies, West Virginia, California, and Tennessee were added to the list during these two months. Meanwhile, many state legislators introduced bills for state aid to the handicapped through hospitals and educators. Pressure from Rotarians was being felt by government agencies even in states with no organized crippled children’s societies.

June 25, 1923: A combination of Illinois Rotary Clubs and the Illinois Federated Women’s’ Clubs succeeded in lobbying the Illinois Legislature to allocate $100,000 for the education of crippled children. Similar recognition of the special education needs of the handicapped was being pressed in many states.

September 25, 1923: A landmark meeting of the ISCC was held in Elyria that was attended by delegates from eleven states and provinces. Present were leaders of the highest importance including hospital administrators, surgeons, and state government officials. Paul Harris and a number of District Governors represented Rotary International. One of the national leaders attending was Jane Heil, from the Spalding School of Crippled Children in Chicago, who gave a rousing address titled, “If you don’t care who gets the credit, you can do anything.” Reports from individual societies indicated a great number of clinics had been established throughout the U.S. and Ontario. Government financed programs for hospitals and education were being established in most every state and Canadian province.

October 5, 1923: Mrs. Waltermire resigned as Executive Director of the OSCC and Harry Howett of the State of Ohio Department of Welfare was named to the position. In addition, Howett took on the title of Executive Secretary of the International Society. Both offices were in Elyria, with the OSCC paying all expenses.

1924: The end of the beginning of the OSCC. Now on firm footing, the Society had spread its influence across the U.S. and Canada. About that same time, the effort was beginning in England, and rapidly growing in Europe, consolidating local agencies and coming to the attention of world leaders.

1925: Countries and territories joining the work of the International Society now included England, Italy, Germany, Yugoslavia, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Hawaii, and the Philippine Islands.

1930: Over half the states in the U.S. had official state societies. Every state had passed laws for aid of the handicapped, promoted hospital care, and had increased the educational programs of state agencies.

1930: The very first donation by the Rotary Foundation was awarded to the Crippled Children Societies. Edgar F. Allen of Elyria accepted $500 from Rotary founder Paul Harris.

1934: Edgar F. Allen relinquished the Presidency of the ISCC on May 21, 1934. In the first six years of the Society he had traveled 300,000 miles in 17 states, three Canadian provinces, and about 400 different cities. From 1925 to 1935 his travels took him around the world spreading the work of aid for crippled children.

The first Easter Seals, 1934

1934: Paul H. King was appointed President of the ISCC. He is credited with promotion of a new fund raising program for the international society, the sale of ‘Easter Seals’, combining the needs of the handicapped with the Easter season. The project was in place when King became President. The first “Easter Seals were printed in Elyria by the Wilmot Printing Company. The first sales were in 1934.
The first Easter Seals

1935: Congress passed a comprehensive U. S. federal assistance act for the handicapped. The first European conference of the ISCC was held.

1935/38: A transition time for the U.S. society to become known as The Easter Seal Society.

1935 to 1945: Formation of national societies In many countries continued, each a separate entity within the ISCC.

1946: The headquarters for the National (US) Crippled Children’s Society, The Easter Seal Society, was moved from Elyria to Springfield, Illinois and shortly after, to Chicago, Illinois.

1993: The seventy-fifth anniversary of the Elyria Rotary Club was celebrated and, as part of the event, the President of the Easter Seal Society conducted an award ceremony to honor the club. A plaque commemorating the event was presented and is now displayed at the area Easter Seal office.

Early emblem of The Elyria Rotary Club First used at the 1920 District Conference

April 13, 1920: At the Rotary District 10 Convention, a resolution was passed to “Endorse the work for Crippled Children.” Clubs were to “earnestly and loyally promote, support, and cooperate (with the OSCC) so each crippled child in Ohio shall be given a fair chance and a square deal.”

This material was taken from the day-to-day records of the Crippled Children’s story. Original records and reports are housed in the Elyria Ohio, USA Rotary Club Archives. Other references include material in the reference departments of the Lorain County Ohio Historical Society, the Elyria Ohio library, The National Easter Seal Society in Chicago, THE ROTARIAN magazine, and the 1921 - 1925 Crippled Children’s
program formation meetings minutes chronology by Harry H. Howett.

Publications reference:

THE FIRST 75 YEARS, A history of the Elyria, Ohio Rotary Club – 1996 - 179 pages by David J. Holland
Easter Seal Society publications, newspaper stories, and personal interviews.

Abbreviations used to save space:
ERC Elyria Rotary Club,
OSCC Ohio Society of Crippled Children,
ISCC International Society for Crippled Children,
EMH Elyria Memorial Hospital,
RI Rotary International.

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