McEneny, John J., Albany: Capital City on the Hudson (1981)
NOTE; WE WERE ORGANIZED BY SEVEN FOUNDERS AT A MEETING ON APRIL 15, 1913.
THE FIRST CLUB MEETING WAS FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 1913.
OUR OFFICIAL DATE OF ADMISSION INTO R.I. IS MAY 1, 1913. SOURCE: R.I. RECORDS COMPILED BY R.I. HEADQUARTERS.
Rotary International is founded by Chicago attorney Paul P. Harris on Feb. 23, 1905, at a meeting with Harris and 3 business friends. Rotary grows quickly and charters its second club just 3 years later, its first club in Canada in 1912, and its first clubs in Great Britain and Ireland in 1913.
1905 Feb. 23, first meeting of Rotary in Chicago
1907, Rotary Club of Chicago unveils its first service project, a public restroom
1908, 2nd Rotary Club founded, San Francisco
1910, Rotary has 16 clubs and 1,800 members; as the “National Association of Rotary Clubs of America,” holds first convention in Chicago and elects Harris its President
1911 RI motto is “Service, Not Self,” and RI magazine is started.
1912, Winnipeg club becomes first Canadian club; Rotary becomes “International.”
1913, first Rotary clubs abroad, in Great Britain and Ireland.
Albany Rotary Club is founded in 1913 by seven founders. Ben V. Smith is elected the first President. The Club is formed during a boom period in Albany’s history, when new high rise bank buildings and hotels are built downtown. Within three years the club has 173 active members, a cross-section of the Albany business and professional community. The Club’s first service work is participation in war relief efforts and assistance to refugees during and after World War I.
1913 Apr. 15, Albany Rotary Club organized as Club No. 68. Seven men met at Cotrell & Leonard’s store “to discuss the idea.” Ben V. Smith, an optometrist, elected first President.
George S. DeRouville
Charles C. DeRouville
Oscar F. Kinney
Gardner C. Leonard
Thomas J. McMahon
Ben V. Smith
Charles M. Winchester
In 1913, Albany Rotary was part of District 2. Districts (then called “Divisions”) were established in 1912.
1913, Albany is the 6th club chartered in New York State, following New York (Club No. 6; Buffalo (Club No. 28), Rochester (Club No. 36), Syracuse (Club No. 42), and Binghamton (Club No. 64).
1913 May 1, RI admits Albany as Club No. 68. **SOURCE: RI RECORDS. BY 1913 ALL ADMISSIONS ARE DATED THE FIRST OF EACH MONTH.
1913 August 18-21, fourth convention of the “International Association of Rotary Clubs” is held in Buffalo attended by 930 delegates.
1916, club has 173 active members. Club meets on Fridays at 12:15 PM at the Ten Eyck Hotel, remains there until 1965, a span of over 50 years.
1916 January 20, 3rd Annual Dinner at Ten Eyck Hotel features William Gettinger, First Vice-President of the International Association of Rotary Clubs and President of the Rotary Club of New York.
1916, Albany Rotary sponsors Kingston Rotary Club
1916 Oct. 10, Albany Rotary incorporated by the NY Secretary of State as a not-for-profit corporation under NY law as “THE ROTARY CLUB OF ALBANY, INC.”
1916, Rotary Clubs donate money for war relief efforts and refugee aid. RI charters club in Havana. Cuba, first non-English speaking club, and two years later a club in South America.
1917, John F. “Jack” Tremain elected Secretary, served until 1948.
1918, Albany Rotary sponsors Schenectady Rotary Club
1919-1921, RI charters clubs in the Philippines, India, China, Japan, Africa and Australia.
1921, Albany Rotary sponsors Hudson Rotary Club
1921 June 1, first “Capital Cogs” published as “Wheel 1, Cog 1.” Editor is Secretary Jack Tremain. Issue announced upcoming speaker Hon. William Barnes who, “Will Talk Upon a Subject of His Own Choosing.”
1925, 20th RI anniversary, worldwide membership at 100,000
1928, The Rotary Foundation is established as a not-for-profit corporation “that supports the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs”
Albany Rotary weathers the Great Depression and World War II, and is active in local charitable activity. RI participates in efforts to found the United Nations and promote world peace.
1933, District Conference is held in Bermuda, Albany delegates travel by ship
1940, RI establishes the Rotary Relief Fund to help war victims and passes a resolution calling for "respect for human rights," to “set the stage for Rotary's increasingly active and prominent role in promoting world peace.”
1943, Rotary International officially adopts the 4-Way Test, “one of the world's most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics.”
1943-45, Rotarians participate in the early formation of the United Nations; at the 1945 UN Charter Conference, Rotary International is given adviser status.
1947, more than 300,000 Rotarians in 70 countries mourn the death of Rotary's founder, Paul P. Harris.
1948, Rotary Foundation launches Ambassadorial Scholarships program funded by outpouring of memorial contributions for Paul Harris
1948, Albany Rotary sponsors Menands Rotary Club
1955 RI’s 50th anniversary. There are 85,000 clubs in 89 countries.
1955 Feb. 21, Albany Rotary holds RI 50th anniversary banquet at Sheraton-Ten Eyck Hotel. Approximately 250 members.
1955 Feb. 6, RI’s 50th anniversary two-page spread in Times-Union, Sunday, February 6.
1955, total of 8,450 Rotary Clubs in world. Total membership 396,000. A new Rotary Club is organized on average once every 52 hours.
1955, anniversary project of Club is the Northeastern New York Speech Center, a clinic operated jointly by Albany Rotary and the Junior League, to teach children to speak normally after cleft palate operations. Building at 62 South Swan St., has 37 children and as many waiting.
1955, club operates interest-free student loan fund for college juniors and seniors attending in local area.
1955, T-U notes on Feb. 6, “nor are there restrictions of race, creed or color; this last is true of all Rotary Club service projects, by the way.”
1957, present district designated District 719
1957, Albany Rotary sponsors Delmar Rotary Club
1958-59, Charles W. Riley, member of Albany Rotary Club, serves as District Governor
The 1960s and 1970s see great changes in Albany through urban renewal and the construction of the Empire State Plaza. The Club leaves its old meeting place after more than 50 years. The Club participates actively in Group Study Exchange, scholarship programs and Youth Exchange.
1960, Albany Rotary sponsors East Greenbush Rotary Club
1963, Club celebrates 50th anniversary; speaker is Richard Evans, RI President.
1965, Rotary Foundation creates Group Study Exchange program, to promote “world understanding and peace.”
1965, Club moves from Sheraton-Ten Eyck Hotel to DeWitt Clinton Hotel, changes meeting date from Friday to Thursday, 12:15 PM. Ten Eyck subsequently condemned and torn down for Omni.
1965, Abigail Van Buren (“Dear Abby”) spoke at Ladies Night to sellout crowd of over 225 guests.
1972, RI formally establishes Rotary Youth Exchange after more than 40 years of clubs organizing unofficial international youth exchanges.
1973-74, Donald G. Brossman, member of Albany Rotary Club, serves as District Governor
1974 June 27, Club’s first Paul Harris Fellow, Lowell H. Gypson, followed same year by Donald G. Bronstein and Charles W. Riley (both November 14)
1978-79, James M. Flavin, member of Albany Rotary Club, serves as District Governor
From 1985 to the present, PolioPlus is the main focus of the Club’s fundraising. RI returns to Hungary and Poland, and in 1990 charters a Rotary Club in Moscow. The Albany Rotary Foundation Inc., is established and the Club raises $25,000 to endow a scholarship at College of St. Rose. Women join the Club in 1987, and more not-for-profits are represented in membership. The Club starts Gift of Life, now a District program. In 2001 the Lobster Festival is successfully launched and continues annually, to support Club projects and Albany High School.
1980 January 25, Albany Rotary Foundation, Inc., incorporated by the NY Secretary of State as not-for-profit corporation under NY law; sets goal to raise $100,000 in 10 years for permanent endowment.
1981-82, Club has 215 to 220 members; attendance at weekly luncheons is 85 percent.
1985, RI membership nearly one million.
1985, RI launches PolioPlus, “to protect children worldwide from the cruel and fatal consequences of polio.” By 1988, Rotarians have raised more than $247 million with the goal of freeing the world of polio by 2005, the Rotary Centennial.
1987, U.S. Supreme Court decision admitting women
Prior to 1987 court decision, Club had voted by a wide margin that RI should admit women to full membership, and had instructed its Convention delegates to vote accordingly.
1987 October 29, first two women inducted into club: Sister Anne Smollin, Rhonda Childs
1988-89, Alexander A. (Al) Courtney, member of Albany Rotary Club, serves as District Governor
1988-89, using PolioPlus credits, Club makes each living Past Club President a Paul Harris Fellow, and begins tradition to designate each outgoing Club President as a Paul Harris Fellow.
1989, Rotary returns to Hungary and Poland, and, in 1990, charters Rotary Club of Moscow as first service club in the then-Soviet Union.
1989-90, Club meeting shifts from Thruway House to Polish Community Center, Washington Ave. Extension.
1992-93, Edward W. (Ted) Cameron 2nd, member of Albany Rotary Club, serves as District 7190 Governor
1993, RI reports 500 million children have been vaccinated against polio. In 1994, World Health Organization declares Americas to be polio-free.
199*, Club moves weekly meeting from Polish Community Center to Wolfert’s Roost Country Club.
1998 October, Board adopts model club constitution of Rotary International as recommended by Greg Hatt; because club was chartered before Rotary International, we used our own constitution (entirely consistent with RI) but needed to align the two documents whenever RI changed the constitution.
1998, Club moves weekly meeting from Wolfert’s Roost to University at Albany, RACC; meets there through 2000 March 23.
2000 March 30, Club moves weekly meeting from University at Albany RACC to Yono’s at Armory Center. Price of meal $13. Continues at Yono’s through December 16, 2004.
2001, Club launches Internet web page and electronic “Cogs.”
2001, first annual Lobster Festival, Washington Park; continues to date.
2003 October 30, 90th Club Anniversary Dinner at Albany Marriott, featured speaker, Frank Collins, Vice President, Rotary International.
2003, RI has 31,561 clubs in 166 countries; total of 1,227,000 members.
2004 December 23, Club meeting changes to Best Western Sovereign Hotel, 1228 Western Avenue (opposite SUNY)
2006 May, Board appoints committee to undertake search for new meeting facility.
2006 August 2, Club meeting day changes to Wednesday; meeting moves to Wolferts Roost Country Club, 120 Van Rensselaer Blvd, Albany, where it remains to date.
2008 Lobster Festival renamed Lobster Palooza.
2008 February 29, RI has 32,808 clubs in 212 countries or political subdivisions; total of 1,209,819 members. Of these, the USA has 7,786 clubs (24 percent of the total) and 375,386 members (31 percent of the total).
Undated service projects
In early years, club worked with crippled children where there was no government aid; club provided orthopedic shoes, braces, crutches, “and made available what corrective therapy then existed.” T-U Feb. 6, 1955