Historic Moments -- The Rotarian through time
The first issue of The National Rotarian included news, announcements, and an essay written by Paul P. Harris.
From its humble beginnings as a 12-page periodical, The Rotarian has grown into an award-winning publication with a circulation of over 500,000, inspiring the creation of a host of Rotary regional magazines.
The first issue of The National Rotarian appeared in January 1911. It included news items from existing clubs, announcements of new clubs, and an essay written by Paul P. Harris, in which he discussed the purpose of Rotary clubs.
As president of Rotary, Harris, along with secretary Chesley R. Perry, launched the publication as a way to share information with a growing number of Rotarians. Perry was the magazine’s first editor and held the position until 1928.
The formation of clubs in Canada and Great Britain and Ireland prompted the magazine to change its name to The Rotarian in 1912.
Early on, the magazine focused on business ethics, character development, and membership growth. Throughout the years, well-known critics and authors and popular artists and photographers contributed their work to its covers and pages.
In addition to The Rotarian , the Rotary World Magazine Press produces 31 Rotary regional magazines. These publications are produced independently by Rotarians, distributed in more than 130 countries, and published in over 20 languages.
The first regional magazine was published in Great Britain and Ireland in 1915. In the 1920s, a regional magazine in Australia became the predecessor of Rotary Down Under and the first regional publication to gain RI approval.
For more historical information about Rotary, visit Rotary History and Archives or the Rotary Global History Fellowship.