Paul P. Harris was born at Racine, Wisconsin,
USA on April 19, 1868. A man with varied experiences, he received
the Bachelor of Physical Culture and LLD degrees from the University
of Vermont and the LLB degree from the University of Iowa. He was
later awarded a honorary PhD in 1933 by the University of Vermont.
He worked as a newspaper reporter, a business college teacher,
a cowboy and a salesman for a marble and granite concern, before
finally settling down in Chicago as a lawyer in 1896. On 2 July
1910 he married Jean Thompson, a Scottish girl and a co-member of
the Chicago prairie club.
The first Rotary Club was formed on February 23, 1905 by:
- Paul Harris with
- Sylvester Schiele - a coal merchant,
- Gustavus Loehr - a mining engineer and
- Hiram Shorey - a merchant tailor,
to bring together business and professional men in friendship and
fellowship. This first club meeting formed the nucleus for the thousands
of Rotary clubs that were later organised throughout the world.
These new clubs were called "Rotary" because members met
in rotation in their various places of business.
Paul Harris was elected President in the First Rotary Convention
for the year 1910-11. He was then re-elected President for 1911-12
of the National association of Rotary Clubs. Their bulletin came
to be known as "The National Rotarian."
Elected President Emeritus of Rotary International in 1912, he
was active in Rotary until his death on 27-Jan-1947