Rotary International History

Where it all began

The first Rotary Club was formed when attorney Paul P. Harris called together a meeting of three business acquaintances in downtown Chicago, United States, at Harris’s friend Gustave Loehr’s office in the Unity Building on Dearborn Street on February 23, 1905. The intention of that meeting was to stimulate fellowship among members of the business community. The result was the advent of Rotary International, the nation’s first professional service organization. Subsequent meetings were rotated among each member’s place of business, resulting in the name Rotary.

Rotary International is an international service organization whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and to advance goodwill and peace around the world.

It is a non-political and non-sectarian organization open to all people regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or political preference.

Rotary Themes

The Rotary International Themes started in 1947 and continue almost yearly with each Rotary International President selecting a theme for their year. Over the years, many theme pins have gone on to be very collectible and increased in value significantly. See the themes and logos below.