The most urgent need at the present stage in the development of Rotary is not "more clubs" nor "larger clubs" ; it is the evolution of a truer and stronger philosophy.
It is not only necessary to the permanency of the success of Rotary that its philosophy be idealized and standardized. It must also be practicalized and trued." Paul P. Harris, November 1911
This section will highlight the "ideas" that made Rotary great and trace the origins of some.
Paul Harris has already written the finest possible work about his own life
"The Founder of Rotary" and
"My Road to Rotary." Also, the story of how Rotary began, how it succeeded and its future could not be told better than in his book
"This Rotarian Age."
Ches Perry, Rotary's first secretary, was challenged by founder Harris: "Perry, what do you consider to be the philosophy of Rotary?" Read Perry's January 1912 article in the National Rotarian. Also a section of papers of Paul's
Also, the second president of Rotary comments on the need for philosophy in an article in 1951 Harris, in 1915, then wrote of his regret that Rotary had yet to create its philosophy. This had not happened by the centennial of Rotary.
This section, then, may hold the keys to understanding Paul Harris' vision and our future. Through the writings of Paul Harris and all the presidents of Rotary International come the threads of the Rotary Philosophy. Though much of it starts with a brilliant young attorney the road leads on to today.
We also focus here on writings of the world's great minds as quoted by leaders of Rotary to learn more about the frame of reference of our early and contemporary leaders.
Is this a monument to Paul Harris? No! One has only to read his work to judge for yourself his humility, foibles and failings. Here we only seek to elevate great ideas that have relevance today.
You'll get a good orientation to the Rotary philosophy section of this department on the philosophy section main page. From this page, you can explore other work by Harris, other Rotarians and many great minds of the ages.
Jack M. B. Selway,
1 January 2004,
Founder Rotary Global History Fellowship