Home : Quarterly Archives : Volume 14
Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
Source: October 1967 Volume 14 Number 4, Pages 76–86
Paoli-Malvern-Berwyn Rotary Club
The first Rotary Club in the world was organized in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., on February 23, 1905, by Paul P. Harris, a young lawyer, who gathered together in a spirit of friendship and understanding a group of men, each of whom was engaged in a different form of service to the public. The original group of men consisted of Hiram Shorey, a merchant tailor, Gus Loehr, a mining engineer, and Silvester Schiele, a coal dealer. That basis of membership - one man from each business and profession in the community - still exists in Rotary. At first, the members of the new club met in rotation at the various places of business of the members, and this suggested the name "Rotary."
Since 1905, the ideas of Paul Harris and his friends have become ideals which have been accepted by men of practically all nationalities, and of many political and religious beliefs. On June 30, 1966, there were Rotary Clubs in Aden and Australia, in Ceylon and Chile, in the Fiji Islands and Finland, in Sweden and Switzerland, in 133 countries and geographical regions. The universal acceptance of Rotary principles has been so great that there are now more than 12,450 Rotary clubs, which have a membership of 598,000.
The general objectives of Rotary clubs in every country are the same. They are "To encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster;
First. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
Second. High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying by each Rotarian of his occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
Third. The application of the ideal of service by every Rotarian to his personal business and community life;
Fourth. The advancement of international understanding, good will, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional men united in the ideal of service.
The dual motto of Rotary is "Service above self - he profits most who serves best."
There are four avenues of service: club service, vocational service, community service, and international service.
The emblem, which was formally adopted in 1922 is a gear wheel with 24 cogs, 6 spokes, and a keyway. The colors are royal blue and gold. No official meaning attaches to the design. It is not without significance that the emblem of Rotary is a gear-wheel. Mechanically speaking, the loss of a single cog of a gear impairs efficiency by introducing slippage at a given point on the rim; lose enough cogs and the wheel will cease to do useful work. One of the responsibilities of membership is attendance at all meetings. Failure to attend for four consecutive weeks automatically terminates membership unless the individual has been excused by his club's board of directors. Reason for this, among others, is the fact that the classification held by the absentee is not represented at the meeting. Thus a club that aims at being a cross section of the business and professional community fails of its goal. If a member finds that he will not be able to attend a meeting of his club he may protect his membership by attending make up meetings of other Rotary clubs within six days before or after the regular meeting of his own club.
This raises the question of the classification system which is one of the principles of Rotary membership. It is liberal enough to include, for example, one or more than one minister if they represent different denominations, or more than one insurance man if they represent different kinds of insurance business, etc.
An interesting custom is the fact that each club has a club flag, and when a member attends the meeting of another club, particularly at a distance, he takes one of his club flags with him and obtains one from the club he is visiting as a memento to be displayed by his club.
While Rotary is international in scope, it has a regular plan of representation of membership. The Paoli- Malvern-Berwyn club with a membership of sixty-five is one of thirty-seven clubs in District #745. There are 798 districts throughout the world, and there are eighty-two clubs not in districts.
The official magazine is "The Rotarian," in addition the district publication is "The District 745 Rotarian," and the title of the local P-M-B publication is "The Rotator."
The headquarters and central office of Rotary International is in Evanston, Ill., U.S.A., and there is an office in Zurich, Switzerland.
The Rotary Foundation was organized in 1931 to further understanding and friendly relations between peoples of different nations. One outgrowth has been the Rotary Foundation Fellowships which was initiated in 1945. In 1947, when Paul Harris, founder of Rotary, died, it was decided that rather than build a monument to his memory, contributions should be made to the Foundation because one of Paul Harris's last wishes was the hope that Rotarians everywhere might be successful in advancing world understanding.
Following is "The Four-Way Test of the things we think, we say, or do," copyright 1946 by Rotary Int. It is a simple standard of judgment that can be applied spontaneously to every contingency as it arises.
On January 20, 1955, which was the occasion of the silver anniversary of the Paoli-Malvern-Berwyn Club, Mr. J. Gilmore Wilson prepared a history of the club to that date. It is repeated here:
During the early fall of 1929 "Daddy" Ralph Springer conceived the idea of organizing a Rotary Club in the three towns of Paoli, Malvern, and Berwyn.
He first approached Frank Coffman, cashier of the Paoli Bank, and subsequently Frank Mauger, Lowell Gable, and myself.
An informal meeting was held with this group,and officers elected, as follows: Frank W. Coffman, President; Lowell Gable, Vice-president; W. Frank Mauger, Treasurer; J. Gilmore Wilson, Secretary.
Other meetings followed for the purpose of drawing up bylaws, setting up accounts, determination of dues, etc.
In November, 1929, we began to look around for 11 other members, as it was necessary, for us to have 15 in our group in order to obtain a Charter from Rotary International. I became very much interested, and beat the brush pretty much for new members in the three towns. Two things come back to me, after all these years, as I think of those days:
1. The feeling among some of those whom I approached as to the reliability of our organization. It seems another service-club organization had, during the previous summer, hired a paid organizer who had canvassed the community. Nothing ever came of it, so quite naturally those whom I approached queried as to whether I was organizing the "Black Shirts," the "Brown Shirts," the "Stuffed Shirts," or the "Dirty Shirts."
2. I think I had the membership up to about 12 or 13 when I encountered Wilmer Groff, of Berwyn. Wilmer had been an old Rotarian, and a president of his club at Lansford, Pa. He knew more about Rotary than I did. Wilmer took the play out of my hands and very quickly picked up enough other Rotarians to give us the required 15.
During the middle of December, 1929, we as fledglings were invited to the Brookline Square Club as guests of the Ardmore Club, who were then holding a special dinner. We were very much impressed with this meeting, particularly with Charlie Ackley, third vice-president of Rotary International, from Vineland, N.J., who was the speaker that evening.
Our first formal meeting was held at the Monday Afternoon Club, Malvern, on Thursday evening, January 2, 1930, with Rotarian Albert C. Kanzinger, Past President of the Ardmore Club, as the speaker.
By that time we had established our Club Weekly, known as "The Rotator" which was published every Tuesday from the Cedar Hollow Press. Sketch of this appears on the back of some of our earlier Yearbooks.
Regular meetings were held without a charter on January 9th and 16th. "Daddy" Ralph Springer kept pretty good watch on us to see that our behavior was becoming to a gentleman and a Rotarian.
On January 23rd, 1930, at the Monday Afternoon Club, we
held our Charter Night and the Charter was presented by Governor
Charles Haff. The Ardmore Club presented us with our
flag which was accepted by Dr. Kurtz. At this date we were
full-fledged Rotarians equipped to go forth and conquer the
world. The Charter Members of our Club were:
Of the Charter Members, three are still active in the Club: W. Frank Mauger, Chester V. Thomas, and J. Gilmore Wilson. Three Charter Members have passed over the stream to the Great Beyond: R. J. McDermott, Wilmer K. Groff, Joseph L. Serrill.
There stepped into the picture during the formative period of our Club an individual who was a veritable encyclopedia of Rotary information. I had a great many contacts with him. He straightened me out on the details and responsibilities of the job as Secretary. He was never too busy to come to our Club when asked to settle some trivial question for me, and he never appeared annoyed when I flooded him with questions, which certainly must have appeared childish to him. That man I will always remember as a very patient teacher, and a good friend. I refer to Al Reinhold, then Secretary of the Ardmore Club, whom "Daddy" Ralph brought into the picture during the early organization days.
Another impression I will never forget was the International Rotary Convention held at Hotel Stevens, Chicago. The Club very kindly elected me their first delegate, and I spent the entire week at the convention. Of course, this was all new to me, and I was positively flabbergasted at the magnitude of the Rotary movement. There were 64 countries represented at that convention. A man by the name of Neuson was the retiring president of Rotary International, and Almon Roth, General Manager of Stanford University, Cal., was elected as the new International President. I became acquainted with him and this was my first experience in meeting an up-and- coming young man who exuded the progressive spirit of the West. Incidentally, about 10 years ago, I met him in New York, and he was at that time a member of the National War Labor Board. I had a little chat with him then, and we recalled some of the happenings of the Chicago convention.
In my library I have a book entitled "Growth of the Soil" by the Nobel Prize winner, Knut Hamson, of Norway. This I prize highly. It is very appropriately autographed by my roommate at the Stevens Hotel during the convention, Mr. Johonnes Martens, Editor of the "Oslo Morganblatt." Martens was a delightful character. Later he became a Vice-president of Rotary International.
Many amusing little incidents flash through my mind as I leaf through the pages of our "Rotator" and files over the last twenty-five years.
I note that on January 22, 1931, we held our first birthday anniversary at the Monday Afternoon Club. Our speaker was Dr. Samuel Smacker, of West Chester, a past District Governor, and a very fine Rotarian. Our president at that time was Wilmer K. Groff. The "Rotator" shows a picture of twenty little black kittens sitting on a high fence, each with a letter of the alphabet hung on his hooked tail. They are singing to the moon; on the moon is another black cat holding a cake with a birthday candle on it. The cat on the moon represents "Daddy" Ralph Springer making his annual wish for the success of our Club. On the right appears the twenty-first member, and in so doing gave us enough letters of the alphabet to spell out Paoli, Malvern, and Berwyn.
Another happening of note was the starting of our annual picnic which was held on Thursday, June 22nd, 1933, at Lowell Gable's summer home, south of Honeybrook. Other picnics have followed at Darlington Seminary and Westtown School.
On July 1st, 1931, we started a string of perfect attendance meetings, and these continued uninterrupted through 1932 and 1933 until December 1st, 1934, or a total of 178 weeks. At that time this was the all-time-high record in all Rotary. (Ad.- In 1967, this record still holds.)
At Philadelphia that year, Dr. William Pierson, then District Governor, presented our Club with a very fine gavel, and there is a story about this gavel. It disappeared from our Club about 1940. The most diligent search could not lead to a clue as to its whereabouts. It was finally uncovered on the Malvern dump about five years later and is now in the place where it belongs, at the President's chair. I give full credit for the return of this gavel to Dr. Lapp and Norm Heintzelman's keen eyes.
As our Club grew in membership through the years, we did go forth and conquer new worlds.
On April 12, 1939, Pete Lapp organized the Wayne Rotary Club, so tonight we have two "Daddys" in our midst; or is it one "Daddy" and one "Grand-Daddy"?
To complete the record, I am listing herewith all the presidents of our Club since our organization.
Frank Coffman 1930
During these 25 years the following held the office of Secretary: Secretary:
J. Gilmore Wilson 1930 - 33
The following men held the office of Treasurer:
W. Frank Mauger 1930 - 33
While we started with the required fifteen members, records indicate that we have had a steady and progressive growth ever since. During the first five years of our life we averaged about twenty-five in membership. During the second five years we went up to 35. In the last five years we have stayed in the fifties. Just last month we passed the 60 mark, and tonight our membership is 62. (Ad.- 65 in 1967)
Outstanding in the true Rotary manner was our twenty-first Anniversary, held at the Monday Afternoon Club in Malvern. That evening our guest speaker was Rotarian Dr. Raymond Kistler, President of Beaver College, unquestionably one of the most brilliant speakers in the country today.
On October 18, 1954, I attended a Rotary Club meeting at Malvern, England, and accepted, on behalf of our Club, their flag and a history of Malvern, England, autographed by all their members. This was the first time any member of either of the Malvern Clubs had visited the other club.
We have a tradition in this Club which had its beginning at the Monday Afternoon Club on January 22, 1931. This was our First Anniversary; at that time we presented "Daddy" Ralph Springer with a cake with one lighted candle on it. Every year we have followed this tradition. On that night, "Daddy" Ralph made a wish which I quote from "The Rotator" of the week following: "I wish I may be called upon to blow out 100 candles for you!"
Tonight there are 25 candles on the cake, so we are warning "Daddy" Ralph that he is getting awfully close to accomplishing his wish; he has only 75 more to go.
The officers for 1966 - 67 are as follows -
The officers elect for 1967-68 are:
The meetings are held at the Lamp Post Inn, Strafford on Thursday evening.
One of the projects in which the Paoli-Malvern-Berwyn Club participates is the program called "The Experiment in International Living." Last summer this program had between 100 and 200 foreign college or university students (usually graduate students) being hosted by many organizations in the United States. Rotary International sponsored a portion of the group. P.M.B. had a summer visitor, Mr. Robert Hardy, a young Englishman who is studying law. He arrived in Berwyn on the last day of July and stayed until the 26th of September. He lived in the homes of eight Rotarians, but all the members of the Club shared special activities and trips with him. The International Committee is responsible for arranging the acceptance of a summer visitor, a program which is purely optional for each club.
From March 15th to May 15th, 1967, District #745 is host to seven exchange visitors from Israel. The local club will be responsible for hosting these young men for a three-day and two-night period. The club members are responsible for providing housing for these men for two nights, and for planning trips to plants or facilities or other features of the community which would be of interest to the visitors.
"Tomorrow's Leaders' Camp," which has for a number of years been held at Camp Hilltop, Downingtown, is a project of Rotary District 745 (Southeastern Pennsylvania) . Each club in the District sends one, two, or three boys, usually 11th grade students in high school to this camp, which is held during the 3rd or 4th week of June. Since these boys are selected from the leaders of their high school, "the cream of the crop," the work of the camp is on a very high plane. Rotarians volunteer to discuss local, national, and world affairs, business principles, etc., with these boys at special sessions. The boys make the camp rules and govern themselves.
The Paoli, Malvern, Berwyn Club emphasizes continuous, almost unnoticed community service year in and year out. For example they own a number of hospital beds and other equipment which are available to any resident of the area, to care for invalids or convalescing patients in a private home. They also assist monetarily and otherwise with scout troops at the Royer-Greaves School for the Blind. They have a Student Loan Fund from which students already enrolled in college may borrow, interest free, when they are short of funds. This is a rotating fund, with the students returning the money after graduation.
Occasionally they participate in unusual projects, the last of which was the purchase of the furnishings for a room for the new Memorial Hospital now being constructed in Paoli.
What is Rotary? "It is an ideal in action. It is thoughtfulness of and helpfulness to others. Rotary is the experience of men of different faiths, different opinions, and different nationalities growing in fellowship, wherever they may be."
To these definitions could be added many others, each different in terminology but similar in concept. But fundamentally, Rotary is a world fellowship of business and professional men who accept the ideal of service, individually and collectively, as the basis for success and happiness in business and community life.
In Rotary, thoughtfulness of others is regarded as the basis of service and helpfulness to others as its expression. Together they constitute the Rotary ideal of service. To attain this ideal, Rotary helps men develop their abilities to render service in their vocations and their communities.
Rotary is not a secret organization. It does not seek to supplant or to interfere with any religious or political organization. It assumes that its program of service is in accord with all religions, and it does not concern itself with a Rotarian's politics. Rotary expects him to be faithful to his religion and loyal in his citizenship.Top
Adventure in Service - Rotary International
Getting Acquainted with Rotary - Pamphlet No. 38
Official Directory - 1966 - 67
Brief Pacts About Rotary - 1965
The Rotarian - An International Magazine - January, 1967
The District 745 Rotarian - December, 1966
The Rotator - December 27, 1966
25 Years of Rotary - Silver Anniversary of Paoli-Malvern-Berwyn - J. Gilmore Wilson
The following Rotarians gave their help:
Page last updated: 2011-08-14 at 18:48 EDT