4th Convention - Buffalo, New York, August  - 18-21 with 930 in attendance

The Rotarian 1913


Until the Houston convention in 1914, Rotary had celebrated all its conventions in August. After the convention in Buffalo, 18-21 August 1913, the dates of the Houston convention were changed to 22-26 June 1914. Subsequently, the conventions of San Francisco (1915) and Cincinnati (1916) were celebrated in July. At that point, Rotary established a tradition, programming the convention for a date near the end of the Rotary year, in May or June. 

Although the present practice to identify the salient president of Rotary International with the convention that is celebrated at the end of his or her year of office, does not necessarily apply to the conventions celebrated during the term of office of Frank L. Mulholland, 1914-15. He was chosen by the delegates of the Houston convention, and he participated in the convention of San Francisco, 18-23 July 1915. Russell Greiner, 1913-14, and Arch Klumph, 1916-17, celebrated two conventions during their terms in office; they shared these conventions with their predecessors and successors.

Glenn Mead, Philadelphia, 2nd president of Rotary, first president of the "International Association of Rotary Clubs

Also from Philadelphia: See the 1914 convention, in Houston, to learn where the term "Rotary Ann" came from.




President Mead's Bio


Also read Mead on "Service begins at Home"

The 1913 Convention at Buffalo, NY saw 77 Clubs represented with delegates.

British Clubs arrived at the Convention for the first time to fully baptize the year old International Association of Rotary Clubs now based at 910 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago. 50% of the Clubs were newly formed. It was, therefore, the task of the older Rotarians and Clubs to fully explain Rotary to their new infant Clubs.

Glenn Mead told the new clubs at the Convention of how the primary aim of Rotary's beginning of exchanging business had been repudiated by Paul Harris at the 1912 Convention. He told delegates that business is helped by making the businessman more competent and better equipped to conduct his business.
'The True Meaning, Purpose and Opportunity of Rotary' was the name of a pamphlet introduced by Allen D Albert of Chicago and Future President of the IARC. It reiterated the new attitudes - Service not membership brings business success and no member is justified in asking for a fellow members patronage.

Harris, who did not attend the Convention, had also wished to get rid of the 'statisticians' who had recorded league tables of the member's business dealings.

The Convention put on record that Rotary stood for Service not self.

Doug Rudman & Calum Thomson

Rotary International Convention Trophy starting in 1913, from RGHF member Phyllis M Olmstead


Rotary’s Pink Goat Controversy

Before there were Rotary Anns, there were Pink Goats. How many Rotarians know that they are involved in an organization that once debated the "propriety" of having a pink goat? How many know of the disagreement between a “great leader” and the Secretary of Rotary?


Back in 1913, from 18  to 21 August, 930 Rotarians from 77 clubs met in convention in Buffalo, New York, under the leadership of RIP Glenn Mead, of Philadelphia. Rotary founder Paul Harris did not attend. On page 59 of the September 1913 The Rotarian magazine, Vol. IV No. 1, which was the convention issue, in an article entitled, "Side Lights on the Buffalo Convention: Paragraphs Gleaned from the Buffalo Newspapers of Convention Week," was found the Pink Goat story.


"Even the staid Rotarians relish the old adage, a little fun now and then as was evidenced by the doings late last night in the Dutch grill room of the Hotel Statler. The Ancient, Honorable and Fragrant Order of The Pink Goat was then and there established. Those in charge of the frolic were "Billy Goat" F. W. Mozart of Worcester, Mass., "Angora Goat" James Corbett of Pittsburgh, "Nanny Goat" Robert H. Cornell of Houston and "Your Goat" R. H. Whitney of Worcester. They got everybody's goat, it is said, before the festivities ceased."


 At this point, it is imperative to remember that Paul Harris was not at that convention, and Chesley Perry was. It is also important to remember that Perry was solely in charge of The Rotarian magazine. The story continued the very next month, on page 6 of the October 1913 issue of The Rotarian magazine. Under the heading "THE DANGER OF A WHEEL WITHIN A WHEEL," it read:

"At the last Rotary convention there was a little relaxation one evening and an "order" was established with an animal as a patron saint. That animal which has been the butt of many a time honored joke and has done some butting himself. In this order he was perhaps appropriately declaimed as "the most fragrant one.


“Those who were at the convention know how harmless the sport was. The writer had the honor of being initiated in the same team with Russell Greiner and we still live to tell the tale.


“The "order" seems to be spreading or multiplying with initiations in many of the clubs and doubtless much good fellowship will be developed thereby but it may be well for us to go slow on this fantastic monkey business. There are those who are doubtful of the propriety and wisdom of encouraging such a piece of nonsense and I am not sure but what they are right. Being a member of the herd I may be allowed to say this much.


“One man who was not at Buffalo but is recognized as a great leader in Rotary rather logically criticizes the pink goat proposition on the grounds:


“First, because it detracts from the dignity of the organization which we are striving to establish;


“Second, because the general impression might be that there is an inner organization, something secret and different than the regular organization, and


“Third, because attention to such things as this tend to deflect us from our line of thought in Rotary.”


The piece was signed with the initials, C. R. P.


C. R. P. just happens to be the initials for Chesley R. Perry, the publisher and editor of The Rotarian. And the “great leader” who was not at Buffalo? The only organization leader shown to be absent from the 1913 Buffalo convention was Paul Harris. And Rotary Anns? They didn’t come into being until the following year, 1914, on the way to the convention in Houston.


Doug Rudman


Another Controversy from the early Rotarian?

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