Rotary's Power for World Peace


Harris in the Rotarian


Articles, in The Rotarian Magazine, and convention messages by Paul P. Harris


Rotary Global History contains the largest selection of writings of Rotary International founder Paul Harris to be found anywhere on the internet!

1910 "Of course, the Rotary Club idea means much to me. It could not be otherwise. I have been living with this project since 1904, and during the major portion of that time it has been my conviction that all of these things, or nearly all of these things which have transpired now, would eventually come to pass." Address to the 1910 Convention by President-Elect Harris
1910 1910 Banquet Program
1910 "The first speaker we have this evening is one who is extremely well known to all Chicago Rotarians, and is extremely well known to all Rotarians throughout the country and very well known to the American people. It is singularly appropriate that Mr. Sheldon should be asked to talk on the National Organization work. Humanity is divided, in my estimation, into two classes: there is the man who is a metropolitan, and the man who is a cosmopolitan." Harris as toastmaster at the 1910 banquet
1910 "Delegates from North, South, East and West, delegates from all parts of the United States: We have been called here to organize a national association of Rotary Clubs, and we have a great deal of business to transact." Paul Harris' first address, as president, to the 1910 National Convention
1911 "We have sometimes varied a little at first, but in time we have been able to arrive at harmonious conclusions in almost every instance, and I want here to call your attention to one thing, that the longer Rotarians deliberate upon any particular subject pertaining to Rotary the more certain they are to arrive at pretty nearly uniform conclusions." Harris' report to the convention of 1911 in Portland
1911 Rational Rotarianism "Life in Rotary should consist of a rational mixture of business with civic activities and good fellowship"

Rational... (Essay)

David Nicholl response

1911 November Messages to Rotary

It is almost paradoxical to say that it is essential to the success of the efforts of the National Association that there be perfect harmony of action among its members, the constituent clubs; and that there is, for the National Association, no more promising method of obtaining harmony than that of working as far as is consistent and proper toward the standardization of ideals. Most troubles in life arise from dislocation of viewpoints, not from desire to disagree.

1911 President's Corner "There was a time [...] when Great Britain and the planet Mars seemed about equal-distant"
1912 Messages Jan 1912

Good fellowship remains while laughter rings, but vanishes with the first intimation of tears.


True friendship is worth while because it costs. Everything that is worth while costs. Cost measures worth; the greater the cost the greater the worth. Liberty means more to the American people than to any other people in the world. Why? Because the American people paid the highest price for it.


He who pays the price of friendship by doing friendly service knows its value, and he would not barter one little spark of it for a whole constellation of the other. The most permanent friendships are born in service. May Rotary ever be a living protest against the words, "There is little friendship in the world."

Last message of "President" Harris in The Rotarian.

1912 Messages Mar 1912 I have a moment to spare but not to squander. I will address a word to Rotary. As I shift about trying to make up my mind where to begin, my desk calendar stares me in the face, Feb. 22nd, Washington's birthday; and the thought comes to me what would the father of our country have thought of Rotary?
1912 Messages Apr 1912 ­Rotarianism is a step in the evolution of humanity and in the emancipation of man from the exactions of unceasing servitude to the interests of self.
1912 Messages for May 1912 The Rotary Club of Boston has taken the initiative in a trans‑continental highway project, and they hope to be able to interest the National Association in it to the end that a committee be appointed to advance its interest in systematic and effective manner.
1912 Messages for June 1912 My work in Rotary is nearly done.
1912 Messages for July 1912 Rotarianism is to you and to me what you and I would have it. Intellectual conceptions may be reduced to exact phraseology or pretty near it, but your grasp of Rotarianism is not a mental process alone ‑ it involves the necessity of heart action. If you have more of the milk of human kindness in your heart than I have in mine, then your conception of Rotarianism is higher than mine. Rotarianism runs through the whole gamut of human sentiment, and may be as exalted in the mind of one as it is debased in the mind of another. Rotarianism will endure. May your Rotarianism and mine pass muster.
1912 Messages for August

Fare Ye Well!


Now, at the close of this, my last year of activity in the National Association, and just before the drop of the curtain in the final scene of the last act, I shall give myself the honor of a moment's pause before the footlights while I make a low bow and with heartfelt sincerity tremblingly repeat the old stereotyped but soulful words: "Thanking you one and all, on the part of my little company, and myself, for your very kind attention, I bid you God speed, Fare ye Well!"

1912 How to Get Your Money's Worth, Even Out of a Lawyer "He who employs a lawyer whose ability or honesty he distrusts is not making the best use of his money."
1912 Annual Report of President Paul P. Harris "...men have questioned the propriety of attempting to establish Rotary clubs in particular localities."
1912 The Third Annual Convention of this Association will convene at Duluth, Minnesota, on Tuesday, August 6th, 1912, for the purpose of receiving and acting upon reports of its officers and committees, for the election of officers and directors and for the transaction of such other business as may be brought before the convention. Call to the Duluth Convention
1912 Addresses Kansas City Club, by telephone from Chicago Mr. Harris talked to an audience of 150 men at the Richelieu Cafe. At the same time a similar gathering in Kansas City heard his remarks over the long‑distance telephone, an instrument being adjusted at each plate. As the Chicago men cheered and sang those in Kansas City, 458 miles away, responded.
1912 "In order that there may be some competition and a friendly spirit of rivalry, we have conceived the idea of appointing international teams." Message from the President 1912 Convention
1913 The Old Guard - "Fall In!" "As you hold the honor of your ideals let there not be one man 'missing'"
1913 The Message of Paul P. Harris President Emeritus "May Rotary during all the years that are to come continue to be a voltaic touch to civilization's nerve centers, awakening men to a new sense of the dignity and importance of business as a redemptive and regenerative influence in the lives of men ‑ and nations."

"The grandeur of the Rotarian movement is no longer a question; it is a present realization. Three years ago, none but the eyes of a prophet could have foreseen the majesty of this march to Buf­falo; none but the eyes of a prophet can this day foresee the progress of the years that are yet to come. With the increasing grandeur of the movement, come increasing responsibilities. It is a far greater undertaking to be a good Rotarian today than it was yesterday; it will be a far greater undertaking tomorrow than it is today."

1913 Message to the convention in Buffalo, NY, USA
1914 1914 Letter to the convention in Houston, TX, USA
1914 The Distant Sense "We need a philosophy of life, one that enters its unceasing protest against the all to prevalent  belief that happiness is to be found in the mere accumulation of dollars or in the acquisition of power"
1915 Passing our Tenth Milestone "I devoutly believe happiness to be the natural order of things. Health, happiness' first prerequisite, and not sickness, is the natural order of things. It is not God's fault, if we are unhappy."

Also see Harris' address to the US Central Division Conf in Chicago

1915 "Business is the method by which man works out his existence, It isn't a mere matter of selling things for money. It is trading things one has and does not need for things which others have but do not need." A Convention Message from Paul P. Harris
1915 Hopes for the Rotary of Tomorrow "Men work and play, fight and make peace, love and hate, live and die all in pursuit of happiness, and how often in ill considered pursuit of happiness. Men barter the joy of years for the mirth of a day"
1916 The Future of Rotary "The growth of Rotary has been phenomenal. The present membership of approximately 23,000 is, to those who have given of themselves for the material development of Rotary, an extremely gratifying achievement. I doubt very much, however, whether Rotarians will be for all time satisfied with the present restrictions. To expand is to obey nature's law."
1916 "Let us give high praise to the work of the Committee on Philosophy and Education. The service they have rendered will be of inestimable value. To my mind, more has been accomplished during the past year toward the 'writing down' of Rotary in straight and understandable English than in all preceding years. A working knowledge of Rotary is now for the first time readily available. He who will, may know." Message to the 1916 Convention in Cincinnati
1916 "I think that Rotary's fundamental purpose will be with business; that civic and charitable activities should not be discouraged, but should be given secondary consideration, not because of any lack of importance, but because there are specialized organizations to take care of their needs. Civic and charitable activities seem to me by‑products." Paul Harris' message to a "Round Table" at the 1916 Convention in Cincinnati
1917 Rotary Just at the Threshold "Dishonesty's great ally is extravagance."
1917 A Man's Job to be a Rotarian "It is a man's job to be a good Rotarian, and he who lives up to the precepts will be a good neighbor, a kind friend, a loving husband, a companionable father, and an asset to the community in which he lives."
1917 Rotary's Greatest Opportunity to Serve "Rotary, even in its most sanguine moments, has fallen short of realizing its own strength. On no occasion has the cumulative power of all Rotary ever been felt. We shall strike a mighty blow some day and we thenceforth shall know ourselves." Full Convention Message with remarks by President Klumph and Secretary Perry
1918 At the 13th Milestone of Rotary "The Christian World of London says that denominationalism is dead; that the war killed it. If such is the case, religion will come into its own. Religion is broader than creeds. Possibly some day someone will be unorthodox enough to say that he who springs to his country's defense has heard the call of religion."
1918 The True Spirit of Service Can Redeem World "We are in no further need of politicians; we need some statesmen now. We can dispense with Democrats and we can dispense with Republicans in this time of national crisis. We need real patriots now."


"Is my day today or yesterday? If the church of today fails to take its part in the affairs of today, other agencies will rise to take its place and the church will be left to study the affairs of yesterday."

"I think that Rotary ought to find the one thing that it can do better than any other agency; then permit nothing to interfere with its accomplishment. Such a plan would be of benefit to all and of especial benefit to the weaker clubs who would be carried along by the power of the movement. Of course, individual clubs should be permitted to render whatever additional service the necessities of their respective communities may dictate. There is inspiration in the precision of the march, provided, of course, that the men keep step." Convention Message from Rotary's Founder

GUS LOEHR IS DEAD "Impetuous in the extreme, he would roar like a lion at friend or foe but he would instantly capitulate on the very first indication that his words hurt. He would do more than that, he would melt, I have never seen rage more torrential than his, but he couldn't bear the sight of a tear."  PPH

1918 Comment in the November 1918 Issue "If you, Brother Rotarian, think that you have a great mission to perform in Rotary, remember that great missions are serious undertakings. Do not expect to perform great missions in a day. First, live with the principles of Rotary till they are as familiar to you as your own business, and associate with Rotarians until they constitute your warmest and closest friends. If your desire is results, mould your propaganda to conform to the recognized principles of Rotary before attempting to make it a part of Rotary."

Paul P. Harris, President Emeritus, International Association of Rotary Clubs.

1919 "A material Rotary would soon be a dead Rotary. A Rotarian who sees nothing in Rotary beyond the business he can get out of it is a dead Rotarian and the sooner he can be buried the better for the cause."

The Invisible Power of Rotary, 1919 Convention Message

Also see: In Flanders Fields

1920 "Thank God for our struggles, because without them we cannot gain strength. Aye, thank God for our failures, for without them we cannot succeed. The lives of great men and of great nations are measured by difficulties overcome, not by luxuries indulged in. Men rise from their Gethsemanes, nations from their Waterloos." ROTARIANS, FRIENDS ‑ To All, GREETINGS 1920 Convention Message

The Faith of Rotary

"There is a vast difference between the life of the man who has caught the vision and taken it into his everyday affairs and the life of the man who scoffs at it as impracticable: and yet, as it has been said, the best of us at heart are not so very much better than the worst of us. What we are depends upon so many little and seemingly unimportant things."
1921 Big Brothering Albert "St. James fixed our attention on the creed or faith rather than on the deed or works. "Faith without works is dead." In other words: if there are no deeds there can be no creeds. Faith must express itself in deed or die. Let us take that thought home."
1921 "If our philosophy is unsound, rest assured it will be known; if the principles we profess to stand for do not find expression in actual deed, we shall come face to face with the disapproval which our conduct will merit." Message of the President Emeritus at the 1921 Edinburgh convention
1922 "Friendship is a living force, not a mere indulgence. Friendship is something more than conviviality. If it were nothing more than conviviality, Rotary might well turn back for precept and example to the roistering days of long ago. Friendship, like happiness, is frequently elusive when directly sought, while it as frequently comes to men unsought when they are working together in a worth‑while cause." The Friendship of Rotary, the 1922 Los Angeles Convention Message
1923 "Let the Rotary way be the quiet, unostentatious, modest way. Let us not lay ourselves open to criticism by boasting of our achievements. Rotary is capable of cultivating a far finer sense. Good deeds never need advertising. There is one proper use for publicity and that is to create public sentiment whenever public sentiment is necessary to enable us to accomplish some worthy objective. If the public needs to be educated as to Rotary, let that education come from what we do and not from what we say of ourselves. I am confident that Rotary is capable of taking and maintaining this high ethical position." Barometers of Success, the 1923 Convention Message
1923 18th Anniversary Greeting to all Rotarians "He who tries to find the good in others will be rewarded for others will surely find the good in him. Of all of earth's sad and lonesome creatures, the most hopeless is he love not his fellow-men. As it is with individuals, so it is with nations."
1924 An Opinion Regarding Rotary "To me, Rotary has been something of an experimental laboratory. I have never been able to qualify as a prophet. Some of my most cherished dreams have faded away, while some of my least valued conceptions have gained vigor with the passage of time. One thing has never failed me and that has been the power of friendship. I have been time and again astounded at the way it proves out. I have come to believe it to be unfathomable. Its ways are mysterious; it is to be found where one might well think that it could not exist. There is a depth of friendship in the hearts of some otherwise very commonplace men, which is nearly sublime. It refreshes and invigorates the soul to observe its workings. In the final analysis it seems to me that it must have been intended as the salvation of mankind. Is there anything more potent than man's impulse to hate? I think that there surely is and that it is man's impulse to love. What have we been advertising throughout the centuries? We have been advertising war. The pages of history reek with it. In the days of my childhood, no education was considered well begun until hatred of alien races had been burned into one's mind. It was surely wonderful advertising and done just in the nick of time. The child mind is a delicate film, wonderfully impressionable. Love is mightier than hate. Give it one half the advertising that hate has had, and there will be no more war."
1924 "Is there not prophetic significance in the fact that in this city, located as it is on the unfortified frontier between the United States of America and the Dominion of Canada, this great meeting is to be held?" MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT EMERITUS for the 1924 Conventioin

A Sentimental Journey Through Hoosierdom

"The poet says of the November day - "The day is cold, and dark, and dreary; It rains, and the wind is never weary;" ‑ and yet to my mind there is no month in the year when the Northern States are more interesting than in November. Nature throws herself wide open during the November days; all secrets are disclosed. Hills and valleys that were hidden away beneath the foliage come forth to claim one's attention.

There is a mysticism in the atmosphere and a sweet melancholy at times."



Paul P. Harris

"To my Rotarian friends in convention assembled in the beautiful and hospitable city of Cleveland, Greetings:

"Twenty never to be forgotten years have given Rotary standing as one of the impressive movements of the age. And yet we are not deeply concerned with what we have left behind us.

"The question is: 'What lies out yonder, beyond the distant horizon?

"Where sight fails faith begins and upon faith empires have been builded.

"I have no fear. He who has thus far sustained our cause will never fail us.

"Success to the Cleveland Convention and health, happiness and prosperity to all assembled there.

"Sincerely yours,


1925 Convention Message (not printed in The Rotarian)

The Convention was held in Cleveland, Ohio, USA



“Where sight fails faith begins and upon faith empires have been builded.

“I have no fear. He who has thus far sustained our cause will never fail us.

“Success to the Cleveland Convention and health, happiness and prosperity to all assembled there.

message to the Cleveland Convention of 1925

1925 International Friendliness and the Sixth Object "Does the Sixth Object of Rotary have any practical meaning? Is it possible for an organization of limited membership, like Rotary, to have any appreciable effect on the destinies of a nation?

Can personal friendships grow into national friendships in such manner as to promote the interests of peace?"


Some Miracles of California

THIRTY‑FOUR years ago, fourteen years before the birth of Rotary, I drifted into San Francisco in search of adventure. I found it then ‑ in 1891 - and I again discovered it in 1925, although the city has undergone great changes and made rapid strides, especially since the fire and earthquake in 1906.
1926 Rotary cannot go until its destiny shall have been fulfilled. Its destiny will not be fulfilled until Rotary shall have been established in every country of the civilized world and until men shall be content to dwell together in peace. Paul Harris' message to the Denver convention of 1926
1927 Harris did not write any articles in 1927 for The Rotarian magazine. However, he did public "The Founder of Rotary" in 1928 and may have been pre-occupied with that work in 1927.

A mother whispers the blessed words to listening children gathered at her knees - "Peace, peace on earth" and far away in another land, no less fair, no less honorable, comes the answer from the lips of another mother and other children: "Good will toward all men." The children of the one land think of the children of the other as children of the one father, blest with the inheritance of peace. The words: "On earth peace, good will toward men" are simple words, little children know their meaning.


But children advance in years and sooner or later, they must meet life's tragedy, the tragedy of misunderstanding. Understanding is constructive; misunderstanding is the shortest and straightest road to destruction. Understanding makes for peace, misunderstanding makes for war. Understanding for prosperity, misunderstanding for poverty. The greatest resource which a nation can have is the resource of peace; it counts for more than arable lands, more than mines of untold riches.

Harris' message to the 1927 Convention at Ostend
1928 Then Came the Enemy

Message to the Pacific Rotary Conference at Tokyo

"The best antidote for international fear is international understanding; the best way to cultivate international understanding is through business and social intercourse. All nations are respectable and covet the goodwill of mankind. Racial superiority most frequently exists in the minds of men. The backward nations of today become the forward nations tomorrow, and the world realizes rich dividends from the change. National progress spells international progress; we must encourage, not discourage, the initiative of men. As a means thereto, let us make common cause of the extermination of the most deadly of all enemies, vigilant, conscienceless, remorseless, relentless ‑ Fear."

Also see Harris' journal of his 1928 trip to Europe

"The Founder of Rotary" Harris' first book was also published in 1928


As the ages slipped by, came and went other souls discontent with life's dead levels; they looked yearningly to the hills and some yielding to temptation, climbed to inspiration points. Most of those who climbed, gained ‑ not happiness ‑ further discontent with dead levels. They contended for greater faith, more hope and more abundant charity. For want of a better name, they were called reformers. Their converts were few. Men of the dead levels maintained that reformers lived too much in the hills; that their vision was skyward and not toward the earth where dead level men and women were destined to have their being, but there were converts; some preachers, others philosophers, others scientists and they preached, wrote and wrought the spirit of the hilltop. Though dead level men continued to proclaim reformers impracticable dreamers, yet, somehow, the spirit of the hilltop began to get its grip on men whose abodes were on the dead levels.

Convention Message to the Minneapolis Convention
1929 No articles by Harris this year
1929 Rotarians are playing a game bigger than baseball, cricket or golf, a game that can be played until the mortal curtains fall, the game of life; it requires all of our individual and collective spirit of fair play, courage and the will to win. Convention Message to the Dallas Convention of 1929
1930 If Rip, Jr., Should Wake Up! "Another characteristic aphorism of the period was, "When business begins, friendship ends." The tragedy of the latter doctrine was that it broadened the scope of Caveat Emptor to include one's friends, thus knocking the last prop from under the vagarists who were preaching the Golden Rule. Business men and tradesmen from time immemorial had been held in general disrepute and their very human reaction was to enjoy the game if they must suffer the name."

"Just as Rotary has the purpose of promoting understanding and goodwill amongst the many and varied vocations found in our present day society, so it has an ever increasing purpose in promoting friendship and goodwill amongst nations of the world. If we are to achieve that goal which for centuries has been the dream and the hope of the people of the earth ‑ the abolition of war as a means of settling international disputes, then the hearts of men must be so touched and moulded that mutual understanding and goodwill will take the place of fear and hatred."

1930 "In studying great movements, it seems to me that it is with them as it is with individuals. The formative period is the early period. The youthful mind is impressionable, the mature mind has become set. As movements get older, they become institutionalized. Tradition hampers the exercise of reason. Conventionalities enter and assume undue importance. Unworthy and irrational features are permitted to continue merely because they have always been. No one cares to disturb precedent even though it may be manifest that its reason, if there was one, no longer exists. The spirit becomes lost in the letter of the law." MESSAGE TO THE CONVENTION
1931 "And yet, we of the younger lands modestly believe that in Rotary we too have made and are making a worth‑while contribution to the welfare of the entire world with respect to the simplicity and the genuineness of the appeal of Rotary." 1931 Message to the Vienna Convention
1932 He Lost a Castle to Gain a Home "THE sailing of a boat in fair weather is not the best test of seamanship; the maintenance of good cheer when everything is coming one's way is not the best test of disposition; the pursuit of an enemy who is on the run, is not the best test of courage."

Also see Harris' journal of his 1932 trip to Europe

1932 "What the world needs today is another renaissance, one as mighty and as resistless as that which swept over Europe at the close of the Middle Ages. Rotary should play a leading part in such renaissance; it would be in keeping with the tenets of Rotary."

1932 Seattle message

1933 We have devoted ourselves to business, not so much because we loved it as because of what it brought us ‑ things. We permitted business to obscure life. The craze for things was so pressing that men even took their own lives when denied them. Such cases were so numerous that scientists have been searching the cause. Among other interesting phenomena, they have discovered the fact that the greatest sufferers were those possessed of many things, hence the conclusion that the god of things is a false god and not worthy the worship of men. Address to the convention

"Would this mean to open the door to all manner of discord? One might think so. In fact many have said that human ingenuity could hardly divide a plan of organization more fraught with peril. Here in lies the genious and the Rotary, the glory of Rotary."

Address on Radio
1934 A Road I have Traveled "Friendliness is not a lone star; it is one of a constellation. Its sister stars are kindliness, neighborliness, and cheeriness; they are scarcely less luminous."

Harris' journal of his South Africa Trip was written in 1934


"The old catalogue listed goods which were considered sacred. Men, women and children bowed before them in abject humility. Whether in church, on the golf course or at a Rotary club luncheon, their thoughts were upon them. They were listed in the catalogue as possessions. Whatever the spoken prayer may have been, too oft the inner prayer was: "God grant us abundant possessions." The hunger for possessions obscured the desire for the wholesome things of life; it was pervasive of morals, inimical to higher concepts, destructive of real happiness, devastating."

1934 Message to the Detroit Convention
1935 Rotary is Thirty

"Presidents come and presidents go, but the movement's keynote remains unchanged – Happiness Through Fellowship and Service."

Peregrinations II was published in 1935


"This Rotarian Age" Harris' second book was published in 1935

1935 "Sir Norman Angell, placing responsibility for all wars on misunderstandings, says that all of the nations engaged in the World War firmly believed that their cause was just and honorable and that the cause of their enemies was unjust and dishonorable. If at any time during that cruel devastating war the belligerents had been able to look into the minds and hearts of their enemies, they would have found no consciousness of guilt. They would have found only the spirit of crusaders in the interest of a righteous cause for which they were willing to die. What a tragedy that misunderstanding should continue. Ambassadors of good will dedicate themselves to the eradication of misunderstanding." 1935 Convention speech, delivered by Harris, in Mexico City

In this year, two publications were undertaken by RI: Paul's "This Rotarian Age" and the articles by Mrs. Lillian Dow Davidson, wife of the (then) late honorary commissioner, Jim Davidson, which appeared in TR during 1930, '31 and '32, were brought out in book form.  "Making New Friends".

1936 A North American looks South

"Rotary has served to promote goodwill between the countries of South America. For example, bad feeling existed between Peru and Chile for nearly 50 years after the great war of the Pacific in the '70's. There were no points of contact and every relation between the countries was suspended. Then it occurred to the Rotarians of Chile to send Christmas greetings to those of Peru. Peruvian Rotarians sent New Year's greetings in reply and through this simple wedge was opened a channel through which cordial relations have been resumed between the two countries."

1936 "History must always be in the background of our thinking when considering international problems. In the light of history, if we want to be consistent and rational, we shall be less disposed to be harsh and critical in our judgment. We shall remember that this is not, and never has been a world of pure idealism, and recognize the fact that it cannot be made so by force. The best and the most that we can expect of the future is that we shall gradually grow more tolerant and kindly, and wiser as well." Convention message to Atlantic City, 1936

The progress of Rotary to date has challenged the attention of students of international affairs. Nothing like it has been known. In international affairs heretofore, emphasis has been placed upon the differences between men; differences in race, religion and politics largely.


In Rotary, the approach is entirely different. Emphasis is not placed on the differences between men; it is placed on their similarities. All men regardless of race, religion or politics believe that the ideal of service is ennobling. Rotarians of more than sixty nations, Rotarians of divergent and conflicting views concerning religion and politics have subscribed to the ideal of service.

Convention Message at Nice, 1937

Peregrinations III was published in 1937

1938 One not infrequently hears some Rotarian inveigh against Rotary for its so-called lackadaisical policy in international affairs. He goes on bitterly denouncing countries, representatives of which are included in the Rotary fellowship. He forgets how his words must make his fellow Rotarians of those countries suffer. He demands that the countries in question be branded public enemies and outlawed. He declares that it is high time that Rotary abandon its Pollyanna policies and take position in international affairs worthy of full‑grown men. He demands that the forces of Rotary International be mobilized and its influence brought to bear to the end that international marauders be brought to justice in order that democracy may survive, etc., etc. 1938 Convention Message at San Francisco
1939 Where Is Rotary Going? "Friendliness is the motive power of Rotary. Friendliness is more powerful and smooth running than any Diesel engine ever built. Friendliness is a virtue in its own right; it begets others as well. Neighborliness, kindliness, tolerance, and usefulness are children of friendliness; they attack enemies of the social order, not only banishing care, worry, envy, greed, suspicion, fear, and anger, but also stimulating hope and courage. They are the solvents of labor problems and, given a chance would be solvents of international problems as well."
1939 Rotary was conceived, born, and bred in friendship and tolerance. Much is being said today about conflicting ideologies, and some go on to say that there is room enough in the world for one ideology only, and that ideology is of course our own. Such folks contend that it is a battle to the death between democracy and the dictators. There are enough different ideologies in Rotary to blow it into a million pieces if that statement is true. Rotary exists in seventy countries of the world, not in spite of the innumerable conflicting ideologies but because of them. To deal with conflicting ideologies is and always has been Rotary's specialty, one of the main reasons for its existence. Is Rotary's hope of building and sustaining a worldwide organization of business and professional men a fatuous dream? How stands Rotary today in the light of world‑wide dissensions with respect to its fourth object, the promotion of international understanding and good will? Should the fourth object be deleted or should it merely be suspended until the war fever subsides? 1939 Convention Message at Cleveland
1940 We Must Plan for Peace "But, we ask, must the best genius of men be devoted to the science of war and none to the science of averting it?"
1940 Are the countries of the Western Hemisphere prepared in mind and spirit to accept the responsibilities of leadership in the establishment of a new order‑an order based on Friendliness, Tolerance and Usefulness ‑ in other words on the Rotary plan? Convention Message at Havana

Life never has moved smoothly. Cataclysm after cataclysm has marked progress in human affairs, but the significant fact remains that progress actually is being made though it is difficult to see it during such turbulent times. When the river of life seems to be running most smoothly, thunderous cataracts may be heard pounding below if one has ears to hear them; but the courses of great rivers are subject to the control of men when the thoughts of men turn in that direction. Even so, the current of international affairs will be subject to the control of men when men become wise enough and earnest enough and courageous enough to control it. To live in peace one with another is the greatest problem which the Creator has ever left man to solve.


In the midst of all this tumult and darkness the still, small voice of Rotary may be heard: "Peace on earth to men of good will." These words were not spoken first by Rotary, but Rotary carries them along.

Convention Message at Denver
1942 God be with us to give us wisdom, judgment, discernment, love for all, under all conditions. Jean Harris addresses the Toronto Convention

Rotary's most glamorous purpose is to foster international understanding and good will, and during our many years of experimentation we have ac­cumulated considerable knowledge on

that baffling subject. We have actually succeeded in creating a world‑wide fellowship of business and professional men united in the ideal of service. Our membership includes representatives of more than 50 countries and devotees of practically all of the major religious faiths and most of the political ideologies. We have been able to accomplish this by adhering strictly to the one mat­ter in hand and avoiding all others.  If the nations of the world will take a leaf from the pages of Rotary leaving all countries free to follow their own political and religious ideas and unite in the one purpose of effecting lasting peace they will succeed. If on the other hand they attempt to force their political conceptions on each other, chaos will come again. We still continue to hear men say there is not room enough for more than one political ideology. Well, several will be represented at the peace table. Which country will be first to surrender its ideology?


Rotary is an expression of a doctrine which is precisely the antithesis of this ‑ and Rotary still lives.

Harris delivers his message at Toronto
1943 A Salute to Rotarians of 2043!

I see many flags here today from all the lands, but I miss the faces of their representatives. I miss their friendship and their love and their individual contributions. We cannot do without these. God hasten the day when we shall again meet all those clear friends from those lands, whose hearts are heavy today because they are not here. We hope that God will deal with us in mercy; that we seek His wisdom and His understanding and His knowledge; that we shall do so quietly, calmly and prudently, and with wisdom and mercy and in love.


We hope for that day ‑ there is a day of hope always, and I don't think it is very far away. Let us, then, pray for that day soon, with victory for the allies, when we may again meet in peace and love and in harmony.

Jean Harris' remarks to the St. Louis Convention

We Rotarians have an antidote for this mental and moral breakdown. Our slogan is "Service above Self." If applied earnestly and unremittingly, it will restore the patient to normalcy and bring him the happiness he has been seeking in vain. Happiness is not to be found in possessions. That truth has been borne home to us time and again. Happiness is a state of mind, it comes unsought and it is the by‑product of wholesome, sensible and unselfish living and thinking.

Paul Harris delivered his message at St. Louis
1944 Anniversary Message "My birthday wish on this thirty-ninth anniversary is for the continued advancement of goodwill between men and between nations. I have no higher hope, nor do I know of one."
1944 Harris on "How Rotarians Get That Way" writing on attendance records "Such records, of course, tell stories of great sacrifices. I venture to say that the doors of hospitals have swung prematurely open at times to permit these loyal Rotarians to go to their meetings; and it wouldn't surprise me in the least to learn that the atmosphere of the meetings has done more to restore their health than hospitals, doctors, and nurses would have been able to do. I know something about the healing power of fellowship with Rotarian friends."

I have been privileged to visit many countries in the name of Rotary, and the more I visit, the more I am disposed to conclude that there are no great fundamental differences between men and between nations. None are entirely good, none entirely bad. The great mischief‑maker is misunderstanding. Every nation has contributed much to the sum total of human happiness.

Harris' message to the 1944 convention at Chicago

The Best Is Yet to Be

"Is everything all right in Rotary? No, thank God, everything is all wrong.


There probably is no part or parcel of Rotary which can't stand improvement. Quoting Kettering again: "A reasonable discontent is what makes it possible to improve our product." The poet Milton expressed the same sentiment when he coined the phrase "a divine discontent.""

1945 My Friend ‘Chape’ "Yes, Rufe was a strange man, never quite fully understood. I have known him intimately for 40 years and yet to his very last day he was disclosing new qualities of mind to me. He was not always puckish, not always eccentric. In the face of joy, in the face of sorrow, he was always unruffled. His amazing philosophy of life rendered him immune from pain. Sometimes I think that Rufe was the most unforgettable character I have ever known. He was a combination of bank official, Rotarian, and Will Rogers, and as son of a widowed mother he arose supreme. No, Rufe was not always clowning. Clowning was a recreation of his, and he gave multitudes of worn and weary folks hearty and refreshing laughs. But does clowning go with banking? Yes, if you don't try to do both things at the same time."

Rotary’s Great Day

"But do we not see something more as we peer at the panorama of peace? Yes! We see a family of 2 billion members which, by the grace of a God whose patience must long ago have worn thin, has won a new chance at getting along with itself. We see, too, that the family has learned, at the cost of millions of its beloved sons and billions of its treasure, that it is a family, that all men are God's children, that they share one world. We see the ideal of the brotherhood of man given standing in countries of great power and countries of no power. We see that ideal acknowledged as the only kind of cement that can, in the final stress, hold the nations together."


A total of 141 Rotarians were attending
in four session, due to travel restrictions.

Chicago, 1945: The only convention without a message from Paul.
1946 Fear and Hate Must Go! "There's the Golden Rule, but every nation believes its way is the Golden Rule way. Sir Norman Angell has wisely observed that no nation, however aggressive and inhuman its course may be, is conscious of guilt; its people are taught that they are superior to all others and that destiny calls them to lead. Most nations are overeducated in their virtues and undereducated in their vices."

Here Is a Job to Do, Mr. Rotarian!

"Has your town a City Beautiful Plan, Mr. Rotarian? No? What a pity! It would engage the interest of every man, woman, and child in your community. No town can be too large, none can be too small, to realize benefits from a City Beautiful Plan.


What a noble thing it would be if the Rotary Clubs of 70 countries where our movement is established would create a wave of enthusiasm for the beautifying of cities throughout the world!"


Now, for the first time in the world's history, the nations have joined together and organized what men know as the United Nations. Rotarians are deeply thankful that the governments of the world are following the trail blazed by Rotary forty‑one years ago. In more than seventy countries, Rotarians have been doing the spade work; they have been preparing the minds of their respective countrymen, and now comes the harvest; the nations of the world have at long last come together in the name of the United Nations.


Rotary has worked patiently and prayerfully for the coming of this day. God has answered these prayers.  The United Nations  have their enemies and  scoffers as Rotary had  its enemies and scoffers  years ago.


What should Rotarians do to back up the United Nations? Just what they are doing. Rotarians were chairmen of seven national delegations at the San Francisco Conference, and in all, as delegates or consultants at the San Francisco Conference, there were fifty Rotarians. Thus the spirit of Rotary was very definitely in evidence in San Francisco during the writing of the United Nations Charter.

Harris' message to the 1946 Atlantic City Convention
1947 Rotary's Two Score and Two (Harris' Last Published Article) "Note how it is spreading knowledge of the United Nations, wherein civilization itself is at stake. How could Rotary do otherwise?"

"My Road to Rotary" was published after Harris' death

1947 Tributes delivered or presented at the 1947 Convention at San Francisco.
1957 Feature from The Rotarian, February 1957. The three sculptures were prepared in 1931, 1932 and 1955.
The quality of this presentation is poor because the original print was too large to fit on 1 page.
2043 Harris' message to the Rotarians of 2043

(Editor's note from Dr. Ziegler: I would like to thank Francine Keyes from the Rotary Archives for her kind help by copying all the "missing articles" from issues of TR so that Rotarians and visitors around the world can now read this rare articles.)


  • For all writings of Paul Harris, see Books,

    • and also use our Search page.

    • If you can't find what you're looking for, use of Contact form.

    • To keep up on the changes at the growing project, sign up for updates.

Links to additional Paul Harris information



Harris Timeline

On Internationalism

Paul's Office


Harris' Art

Paul P. Harris

Paul's Health


What's New?

On The Mayflower?


Early Cemetery

Cemetery Map



Paul's Office Today

A Gift for Paul

Global Views of PH




Rawlins Survey

Rawlins Answers

Restless Years


Harris Autographs

Harris Checks

Doc's & Charters

Harris Letters

This Rotarian Age

Speech, 1928

"Friendship Trees"

Wallingford, VT

South Africa 1934

Tribute to Harris


My Road To Rotary

Founder of Rotary

Europe 1932

European Tour 1928

RIP Letters

PH in The Rotarian

Harris Philosophy

Radio Speech 1933

30th Anniversary

Jean & Paul

Photo Gallery

Distant Sense

A Road Traveled

Perry by Harris

Paul's Bio of Jean

Rotarian Articles




Meet Paul Harris



RGHF members, who have been invited to this page, may register.


Guests are welcome to visit all of the links on this main page.Please invite all Rotarians, especially DG’s to join RGHF.

If a DGE/N/D joins prior to their year, they will have more exposure to Rotary’s Global History by their service year. 

This will be beneficial to all concerned.


*Based on paid members, subscribers, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, mobile app users, History Library users, web pages, and articles about Rotary’s Global History


RGHF Home | Disclaimer | Privacy | Usage Agreement | RGHF on Facebook | Subscribe | Join RGHF-Rotary's Memory