Top of page

Exhibition Join In: Voluntary Assocations in America

Carol M. Highsmith (b. 1946), photographer. The Rotary International Float in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, January 1, 2013. Print from digital file. The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (036.00.00)
Enlarge

Rotary Club

A first among secular service clubs in the twentieth century, the Rotary Club was formed in 1905 by Chicago lawyer Paul P. Harris (1868–1947) to establish fellowship among business community members. The name indicates the early practice of rotating meetings among members’ business locations. The Club’s iconic logo is a familiar presence in American communities, as seen on this parade float. The organization originally served to strengthen the community via local business activism but, over time, extended its efforts to humanitarian services. There are now more than 35,000 member clubs worldwide, comprising 1.2 million individuals. Women, first admitted in 1987, now make up 22 percent of the membership.