Rotary Club of Louisville Records, 1912-2016

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator:  Rotary Club of Louisville

Title:  Records, 1912-2016

Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Collections.

Size of Collection:  12 cubic feet

Location Number:  Mss. BM R842

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the records of the Rotary Club of Louisville, a service organization founded in 1912 with a membership drawn from local business and professional leaders. Included in the papers, dating from 1912-2016, are minute books, financial records, membership rosters, and Sparks newsletters. Records document the organizations and programs that the Rotary Club of Louisville helped to support with funds and volunteer service. They provide information about individual members and their businesses. The collection also details the meetings, dinners, and other events held to provide opportunities for club members to socialize and to develop business connections with each other.

Boxes 1-4 contain the minute books and other records of the Rotary Club of Louisville from 1912-2015. Box 4 includes the records of the Rotary Fund of Louisville, a nonprofit organization incorporated in 1951 to manage Rotary Club funds for educational and charitable purposes. Among the records of the Rotary Club and the Rotary Fund are Articles of Incorporation, original and amended versions of the by-laws, meeting minutes, financial statements, legal agreements, correspondence, and service project materials.

Box 5 contains the annual membership rosters for the Rotary Club of Louisville from 1912-2008. The bound rosters were distributed to members as a handbook, with lists of officers and committees, and a photographic image of and information about each member.

Boxes 6-12 contain the remaining annual membership rosters from 2008-2016 and the Sparks newsletters from 1913-2010. Initially the Sparks newsletters, distributed to club members, were published by the Rotary Club of Louisville every two weeks. In 1927, the Rotary Club began publishing the newsletters weekly. The newsletters contain information about Rotary Club meetings and service programs, members and their businesses, and details about upcoming social events. Each issue introduces the speaker and subject for the next meeting, such as a speaker on “The Red Menace” in the early 1920s, a female psychologist’s talk on “How to Manage a Woman – A Command Appearance for Your Secretary” in 1961, and a presentation by a Pan-African Studies professor in 2002. Local and state political candidates and office-holders also gave talks at club meetings. In addition, the newsletters include local advertisements. In 1987, issues of Sparks give updates on a California court case dealing with the question of whether the Rotary Club could exclude women from membership. After the case ends with the Supreme Court ruling that states could outlaw sex discrimination by all-male private clubs like the business-oriented Rotary Club, a Sparks issue from September 1987 welcomes Patricia W. Hart as the Louisville club’s first female member.

Biographical Note

The Rotary Club of Louisville was chartered on July 23, 1912, as a service organization of local business and professional leaders. The 40 charter members of the Rotary Club of Louisville became part of an international association of service clubs, all modeled after the first Rotary Club established in Chicago in 1905, and all allowing only men as members until 1987. Two mottoes for the association of Rotary Clubs were “He Profits Most Who Serves Best” and “Service above Self.” While the name Rotary Club referred to the practice of rotating weekly meetings among members’ places of business, the Louisville Rotarians settled into a pattern of meeting at the Brown Hotel by the mid-1920s. After the Brown Hotel closed in 1971 (it later reopened in 1985), the club held meetings in a variety of locations, such as the Holiday Inn on Zorn Avenue, Jim Porter’s Tavern, and Churchill Downs.

Like other Rotary Clubs, Louisville’s club focused on both fellowship and service. Louisville Rotarians began to publish a newsletter called Sparks for members in 1913, and they briefly broadcast a radio program in the early 1920s. Social events, such as dinners and baseball games, provided members opportunities to get to know each other and to develop business connections. Early service activities included a student loan fund for “worthy boys” at Male and Manual high schools, aid to residents in Louisville and eastern Kentucky during the 1937 Ohio River flood, and support for servicemen during World War II. In the second half of the twentieth century, the Louisville club expanded the reach of its service activities. It continued to focus on organizations and youth programs in Louisville but also contributed to Rotary International projects, such as efforts to eradicate polio and to redistribute surplus medical supplies from the United States to developing countries. When Rotary International opened membership to women in 1987, Patricia W. Hart, who had worked as executive director of the Louisville club, became Louisville’s first female member. As of 2018, the Rotary Club of Louisville is the 14th largest of the 34,000 Rotary Clubs around the world.

Brief History of Rotary Club of Louisville,
Rotary History,

Folder List

Box 1
Folder 1: Constitution and By-Laws, 1975-1993
Volume 2: Minute Book, February 1912-December 1914
Volume 3: Minute Book, January 1915-September 1916
Volume 4: Minute Book, October 1916-December 1917
Volume 5: Minute Book, January 1918-December 1919
Volume 6: Minute Book, January 1920-July 1921
Volume 7: Minute Book, August 1921-December 1922
Volume 8: Minute Book, January 1923-December 1924

Box 2
Volume 9: Minute Book, January 1925-December 1926
Volume 10: Minute Book, January 1927-December 1929
Volume 11: Minute Book, January 1930-June 1932
Volume 12: Minute Book, July 1932-May 1935
Volume 13: Minute Book, May 1935-April 1939
Volume 14: Minute Book, May 1939-November 1948

Box 3
Volume 15: Minute Book, December 1948-June 1954
Volume 16: Minute Book, July 1954-June 1960
Volume 17: Minute Book, May 1960-December 1967
Volume 18: Minute Book, January 1968-June 1973
Volume 19: Minute Book, July 1973-December 1978
Volume 20: Minute Book, January 1979-December 1985

Box 4
Volume 21: Minute Book, January 1986-June 1991
Volume 22: Minute Book, July 1991-June 1995
Volume 23: Minute Book, July 1995-June 1999
Volume 24: Minute Book, July 1999-June 2004
Folder 25: Rotary Fund Minutes and Records, December 1951-October 1965
Folder 26: Rotary Fund Minutes and Records, May 1966-June 1975
Volume 27: Rotary Fund Minute Book, October 1974-January 2009
Folder 28: Copies of Rotary Fund Minutes and Records, July 1953-April 1971, July 2014-January 2015

Box 5
Folder 29: Membership Rosters, 1912-1915
Folder 30: Membership Rosters, 1915-1918
Folder 31: Membership Rosters, 1919-1922
Folder 32: Membership Rosters, 1923-1927
Folder 33: Membership Rosters, 1927-1931
Folder 34: Membership Rosters, 1931-1935
Folder 35: Membership Rosters, 1935-1939
Folder 36: Membership Rosters, 1939-1943
Folder 37: Membership Rosters, 1943-1947
Folder 38: Membership Rosters, 1947-1951
Folder 39: Membership Rosters, 1951-1955
Folder 40: Membership Rosters, 1955-1959
Folder 41: Membership Rosters, 1959-1963
Folder 42: Membership Rosters, 1963-1967
Folder 43: Membership Rosters, 1967-1972
Folder 44: Membership Rosters, 1972-1976
Folder 45: Membership Rosters, 1976-1980
Folder 46: Membership Rosters, 1980-1984
Folder 47: Membership Rosters, 1984-1988
Folder 48: Membership Rosters, 1988-1992
Folder 49: Membership Rosters, 1992-1996
Folder 50: Membership Rosters, 1996-2000
Folder 51: Membership Rosters, 2000-2004
Folder 52: Membership Rosters, 2004-2008

Box 6
Folder 53: Membership Rosters, 2008-2012
Folder 54: Membership Rosters, 2012-2016
Volume 55: Sparks, September 1913-June 1915
Volume 56: Sparks, July 1915-May 1916
Volume 57: Sparks, June 1916-May 1917
Volume 58: Sparks, June 1917-May 1918
Volume 59: Sparks, June 1918-May 1919
Volume 60: Sparks, June 1919-May 1920
Volume 61: Sparks, June 1920-April 1921
Volume 62: Sparks, May 1922-April 1923
Volume 63: Sparks, May 1923-April 1924
Volume 64: Sparks, May 1924-April 1925
Volume 65: Sparks, May 1925-April 1926
Volume 66: Sparks, May 1926-April 1927
Volume 67: Sparks, May 1927-May 1928
Volume 68: Sparks, June 1928-June 1929
Volume 69: Sparks, July 1929-June 1930
Volume 70: Sparks, July 1930-June 1931

Box 7
Volume 71: Sparks, June 1931-June 1932
Volume 72: Sparks, July 1932-June 1933
Volume 73: Sparks, July 1933-June 1934
Volume 74: Sparks, July 1934-June 1935
Volume 75: Sparks, July 1935-June 1936
Volume 76: Sparks, July 1936-June 1937
Volume 77: Sparks, July 1937-June 1938
Volume 78: Sparks, July 1938-June 1939
Volume 79: Sparks, July 1939-June 1940
Volume 80: Sparks, July 1940-June 1941
Volume 81: Sparks, July 1941-June 1942
Volume 82: Sparks, June 1942-June 1943
Volume 83: Sparks, July 1943-June 1944
Volume 84: Sparks, July 1944-June 1945
Volume 85: Sparks, July 1945-June 1946

Box 8
Volume 86: Sparks, July 1946-June 1947
Volume 87: Sparks, July 1947-June 1948
Volume 88: Sparks, July 1948-June 1949
Volume 89: Sparks, July 1949-June 1950
Volume 90: Sparks, July 1950-June 1951
Volume 91: Sparks, July 1951-June 1952
Volume 92: Sparks, July 1952-June 1953
Volume 93: Sparks, July 1953-June 1954
Volume 94: Sparks, July 1954-June 1955
Volume 95: Sparks, July 1955-June 1956
Volume 96: Sparks, July 1956-June 1957
Volume 97: Sparks, July 1957-June 1958
Volume 98: Sparks, July 1958-June 1959

Box 9
Volume 99: Sparks, July 1959-June 1960
Volume 100: Sparks, July 1960-June 1961
Volume 101: Sparks, July 1961-June 1962
Volume 102: Sparks, July 1962-June 1963
Volume 103: Sparks, July 1963-June 1964
Volume 104: Sparks, July 1964-June 1965
Volume 105: Sparks, July 1965-June 1966
Volume 106: Sparks, July 1966-June 1967
Volume 107: Sparks, July 1967-June 1968
Volume 108: Sparks, July 1968-June 1969
Volume 109: Sparks, July 1969-June 1970
Volume 110: Sparks, July 1970-June 1971
Volume 111: Sparks, July 1971-June 1972
Volume 112: Sparks, July 1972-June 1973

Box 10
Volume 113: Sparks, July 1973-June 1974
Volume 114: Sparks, July 1974-June 1975
Volume 115: Sparks, July 1975-June 1976
Volume 116: Sparks, July 1976-June 1977
Volume 117: Sparks, July 1977-June 1978
Volume 118: Sparks, July 1978-June 1979
Volume 119: Sparks, July 1979-June 1980
Volume 120: Sparks, July 1980-June 1981
Volume 121: Sparks, July 1981-June 1982
Volume 122: Sparks, July 1982-June 1983
Volume 123: Sparks, July 1983-June 1984
Volume 124: Sparks, July 1984-June 1985
Volume 125: Sparks, July 1985-June 1986

Box 11
Volume 126: Sparks, July 1986-June 1987
Volume 127: Sparks, July 1987-June 1988
Volume 128: Sparks, July 1988-June 1989
Volume 129: Sparks, July 1989-June 1990
Volume 130: Sparks, July 1990-June 1991
Volume 131: Sparks, July 1991-June 1992
Volume 132: Sparks, July 1992-June 1993
Volume 133: Sparks, July 1993-June 1994
Volume 134: Sparks, July 1994-June 1995
Volume 135: Sparks, July 1995-June 1996
Volume 136: Sparks, July 1996-June 1997
Volume 137: Sparks, July 1997-June 1998
Volume 138: Sparks, July 1998-June 1999

Box 12
Volume 139: Sparks, July 1999-June 2000
Volume 140: Sparks, June 2000-June 2001
Volume 141: Sparks, June 2001-June 2002
Volume 142: Sparks, June 2002-June 2003
Volume 143: Sparks, June 2003-June 2004
Volume 144: Sparks, June 2004-June 2005
Volume 145: Sparks, June 2005-June 2006
Volume 146: Sparks, June 2006-June 2007
Volume 147: Sparks, June 2007-June 2008
Volume 148: Sparks, June 2008-June 2009
Volume 149: Sparks, June 2009-June 2010

Subject Headings

Boy Scouts of America – Kentucky.
Business enterprises – Kentucky – Louisville.
Businessmen – Kentucky – Louisville.
Businesswomen – Kentucky – Louisville.
Charities – Kentucky – Louisville.
Charitable contributions – Kentucky – Louisville.
Child Welfare – Kentucky – Louisville.
Clubs – Kentucky – Louisville.
Education – Kentucky – Louisville.
Louisville (Ky.) – History – 20th century.
Louisville (Ky.) – Social life and customs – 20th century.
Public health.
Rotary Fund of Louisville.