DG 02/03 Fred A. Carvin, author of “Paul Harris and the Birth of Rotary.”
“It is my belief that the currents of Rotary have never been more deeply agitated than during the year 1923 and I’m certain that we have never made greater progress.” Paul Harris- The Rotarian Magazine – February, 1924.
From Paul Harris’s standpoint, he had witnessed the birth of Rotary in 1905 as an opportunity to relive some of his rapscallion boyhood days and perhaps do some business with friends. Later, a long and hard struggle ensued when he asked Rotarians to forgo this original premise, convincing them the path to happiness came from freely giving back some of their success to the communities that had generated it. This “service” concept was not readily accepted and had been the source of discord for many years.
In 1923, roughly 19 years later, his creation developed a new set of guidelines that promised hope for the future. It defined itself in terms of noble ambitions and restated goals. Rotary placed service at the center of its existence. Yet this change did not transpire without controversy.