Historic Moments: The Paul Harris Room
The Paul Harris Room at One Rotary Center in Evanston, Illinois, USA. March 2010. Rotary Images/Alyce Henson
O n 19 April, Rotarians celebrate the birthday of Rotary’s founder, Paul P. Harris.
And though we can’t say for certain whether the gifts on display in the Paul Harris Room were birthday presents, they do offer a glimpse into his life.
Harris’s desk is the centerpiece of the room, located on the 16th floor of RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA. A 1935 gift from Australian Rotarians, it’s made from a variety of woods with an inlaid Rotary emblem in the corner.
A polished wood desk set from the Rotary Club of North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, and a small bison statue from the Rotary Club of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, are among the many other artifacts on display.
As president emeritus, a title he held until his death on 27 January 1947, Harris had an office at Rotary’s former headquarters in Chicago. There he kept many souvenirs from his travels around the world, along with gifts and awards, and photographs of his fellow Rotarians and Rotary activities. After his death, Harris’s wife, Jean, donated the contents of his office to Rotary, which now displays many of them in the Paul Harris Room.
The room offers Rotarians an intimate glimpse into the life of Rotary’s charismatic founder. Visitors are welcome to view the room and a reproduction of Room 711, the meeting place of the first four Rotarians, at RI World Headquarters.
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