Tappahannock Rotary Club
PO Box 2672, Tappahannock, Virginia 22560
Rotary # 5838 - District # 7610

Presentation by Paul Harris in 1933


The following article is reproduced from a 1933 Rotary International conference. 

1933, Boston: Chesley Perry, general secretary, Rotary International: ?Twenty-eight years ago the first Rotary Club was started in Chicago by a lawyer who though born in the Middle-West, was brought up in New England.

It was his idea to have a group of men of every line of business and profession who should in the spirit of the ?Golden Rule? - practice friendship and cooperation. From that club has grown the world's movement of Rotary. That Chicago lawyer - who still lives in Chicago, is here tonight. And it is now my privilege and honor to present him to you. I introduce to you all Paul P. Harris?

Paul Harris?Friends of the air. It is a real privilege to address you. We are gathered together in Boston from almost every civilized country of the world. We come from the British Isles, China, Japan, European and South American countries, Australia, New Zealand, and many others.

More than forty nations are represented and some of the delegates will have circled the globe on the return to their native countries. It is a most inspiring occasion.

In the present to this gathering, my mind very naturally reverts to that first meeting which was held in Chicago 28 years ago. Four of us were in attendance: Mighty Oaks, from Little Acorns Grow.

Perhaps there are 2 features of Rotary which more than any others challenge the attention of those who are not Rotarians.

One is what we call our classification plan by virtual bridge. Membership in Rotary is limited to one representative of each line of trade or profession.

The other is the provision that neither riches, political nor religious standings shall constitute barriers to membership.

To these two provisions, Rotary is thrown open to representatives of all walks of life.

To representatives of all countries and all forms of religion.

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.

The formula of procedure is indeed simple. Why Rotarians differ in many respects - in two respects they are in perfect accord.

First they believe that all nations are respectable and desire to be honorable in their dealings with other nations. That it is the privilege of all men to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. In other words Rotary stands for TOLERANCE.

Second they believe, that all honorable vocations are entitled to recognition if they are used in the service of society.

With these signs of agreement firmly established, disagreement is almost unknown.

Rotary emphasizes the points of agreement and avoids controversial issues.

Rotary thus becomes the common denominator, the sanctuary to which all are welcome.

Is there any valid reason why catholic and protestant, Jew and gentile should not enjoy friendly intercourse?

Where it is done in rotary, catholic priests, Jewish rabbis and protestant ministers sit side by side in happy fellowship at Rotary Club meetings. Even if travels take you to India there you may meet Mohammedans, Hindus and Christians, breaking bread together. Is this not as it should be?

Remember the words: Peace, honor, goodwill toward all men.

To put it readily: Rotary is trying to make the words of Robert Burns come true:

You remember that: The time will come for all of us where man to man shall Brother be for a'that.

Those outside the membership frequently ask the question.

How did it come about? That's a hard question to answer.

One answer would be that Rotary's popular appeal is due to the fact that In Rotary men are encouraged to be natural. Just to be themselves. In this world were artificiality so abounds, it is refreshing to meet with groups who are not worshippers of cold meaningless formalities.

Further there is a bit of the boy in every man, and friendly natural intercourse is the best way to bring it out.

I wished it might be your privilege, as it is mine tonight, to look in on this happy throng of big strong men from occident and orient from the frozen north and from down beneath the equator .

Many of them have their wives with them and the faces of all our radiance with smiles as they clasped each others' hands. If you were here I believe that you would agree with me in my conclusion that the words of the Bard of Ayr were not the expression of an idle dream, that they were indeed prophetic and that the finest conception of human mind the conception of universal goodwill and peace will in God's good time be realized in very truth.

Rotary in a final analysis is a way of life, of a good, natural, wholesome friendly way of life.

The world is full of potential Rotarians who are not Rotarians in fact.

Many of them are listening to me now.

If you have the love of your fellowmen in your heart my friends, you are potential Rotarians.

Narration by Bob Jump at the Tappahannock Rotary Club, Thursday, November 14th, 2013: "Most people here know me as the voiceover guy on commercials and political ads. But before then, I was a TV and Radio Producer/Director for 40 years: Which brings me to the Paul Harris Production Thursday night. With the help of a friend from my old company Studio Center, I swapped out the original audio to recreate the sound of radio tuning and static of what that 1933 broadcast might have sounded like over someone?s Crosley radio. I thought this would be engaging with the audience as I read the speech live over the sound of radio static with the animated video stills popping up behind me. It seemed to work nicely. And lastly, here is the complete transcript of this historic live radio speech heard around the world. For 1933, this was one heluva big deal."
Bob Jump in narration
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Tappahannock Rotary Club - Virginia 22560

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