Research

Visit the Rotary archives in Lincolnwood, Illinois, USA, and view tens of thousands of photos, recordings, publications, and artifacts, just miles from where Paul Harris held the first Rotary club meeting.

We do our best to grant timely access to materials but cannot guarantee immediate access. Some materials may be unavailable due to condition or restrictions set by donors or our archivists. Priority is given to Rotarians and staff of Rotary International. Permission to examine materials is not authorization to publish them in whole or in part.

How to reach us

Research visits are conducted Monday through Friday, 09:00-16:00, by appointment only. Schedule your research appointment at least one week in advance by calling +1-847-866-3193 or emailing history@rotary.org.

Rotary History and Archives

7100 N. Lawndale Avenue

Lincolnwood, IL 60712 USA

Map

Email your research questions to history@rotary.org or call +1-847-866-3193. Due to the nature and number of requests we receive, we may need up to six weeks to complete research and photocopy requests.

Common Questions

How can I find information about former Rotarians?

Search for names in past issues of The Rotarian and ask our archivists if they have any additional information. Please keep in mind that unless the individual served in a district or international leadership position, we may have very little information about him or her.

How can I find more information about the history of a club?

Our archivists can provide basic information about a club, such as the charter date, sponsor club, and references to the club in past issues of The Rotarian.

We can also help Rotarians find more information about their own clubs, such as lists of past club presidents and secretaries, names of charter members, copies of constitution and bylaws, name of the sponsor club or special representative, and photographs.

How do I find books published about Rotary or a specific Rotary club?

Our collections include books about Rotary International, published club and district histories, and books written by Paul Harris. Our archivists can recommend books that are relevant to your Rotary history questions and provide onsite researchers with access to books in our collections. Please keep in mind that we do not have a complete library of club and district histories.

Some titles, such as A Century of Service and My Road to Rotary, are also available for purchase in Rotary's online shop.

Can you send me a presentation about Rotary history?

You can use the resources listed on this page to share aspects of Rotary history at your next event and create a history presentation designed specifically for your situation. If you don’t see what you need here, please contact our archivists for assistance.

Where can I find Rotary history facts and photos?

Read about Rotary founder Paul Harris.

See historic photographs on Rotary Images. Search by keyword or browse the Early Years [pre-1950] and Paul Harris categories. We have many more historical photographs than are available online, so contact us if you don't see what you're looking for.

A selection of videos is available in the history album on Rotary’s Vimeo channel.

Where else can I look for information about Rotary history?

The Rotary Global History Fellowship website has information about Rotary International and its clubs, districts, countries, and people.

The Paul Harris Home website has information about the home of Paul and Jean Harris on Longwood Drive and current efforts to restore it.

Public libraries and local historical societies can help you identify local historical collections, newspaper archives, and genealogical records that may have information about Rotarians or Rotary clubs. If you are researching a particular club, you can also check directly with the club to see if it retains its own records.

Resources & reference