New York Rotary Presidents and the Formation of the United Nations

There were nearly fifty Rotarians at the Formation of the United Nations at the San Francisco Conference.  No organization was more international than Rotary at the time. And no Rotary Club was more influential in making Rotary an international organization than the legendary Rotary Club of New York.  Here is a short biography on the early New York Rotarian Presidents and their role in making Rotary a global organization.

1909-1911- Arthur Bullock Legal Publisher and Attorney’s Attorney, died while President of the club) was the first president of the Rotary Club of New York. He was born in Jackson Ind. and attended Terre Haute College and the Indiana State Normal School. He was admitted to the Indianapolis Bar in 1894. He then married Harriet Emaline Nowline of Terre Haute.
Arthur soon became connected with the American Legal News of Detroit, representing it as a special editor, from 1904 to 1906. He was the advertising manager of publication known as “The Lawyer and Credit Man” and did educational work in Indiana Schools. In 1897, he originated the business of acting as attorney to attorneys, being an intermediary between lawyers in all parts of the United States, and was one of the organizers of the Commercial Law League of America. His office was at 220 Broadway. He died suddenly of a heart attack at the New York Athletic club at sixth Ave and fifty-Ninth Street. He was 49 years old and still holding the office of President of the Rotary club of New York when he died.

1911-12 Orrel A. Parker  Automobile Enthusiast and promoter of the New York to Paris Automobile Race of 1908) was the 2nd President of the Rotary Club of New York. He was born in Ohio and graduated from Princeton University in 1895 with a B.S. in Science. He then attended New York Law School and graduated in 1897. In 1905 he was arrested for driving a” gasoline machine” on 5th Ave. at the alleged reckless speed of 20 miles an hour. Orrel, one of the founding members of the Automobile Club of America disputed the arresting officers charges stating the it was impossible for him to travel at such a speed since the car was geared-down to only be able to travel at safer 13 miles per hour. He vowed to the New York Times that he would take the case all the way to the Supreme Court. He was found guilty and paid the fine. However, he did handle an immigration case of a Puerto Rican women who was denied entry to the United States. Orrel argued that since Puerto Rico was now a protectorate of the United States, his client was entitled to stay in New York. While he did not actually try the case, the case did make it to the United States Supreme Court and changed the immigration law and policy for the entire country.

Orrville was also was of the main supports of the Great Auto Race from 1908 from New York to Paris via the Bearing Strait. The race was one of the biggest events of the decade and Orville gave weekly lectures and updates about the race. During this time Orrel was also instrumental in standardizing respective State laws in accepting automobile registrations from state to state.
In 1917 he was granted a patent to manufacture a new rim and he move to Ohio to produce the product.
1912-13 - V. Clement Jenkins the City Planner that was responsible for changing name of 6th Ave to Avenue of America) was the third President of the Rotary club of New York. While he was born in England, he was a graduate of the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute in 1895. He then studied for two years at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Widely known as a city planner, President Clement was chiefly responsible for the removal of the Sixth Ave. elevated train in 1927. His organization, the Sixth Ave. Association was responsible for changing the name Sixth Ave. to Avenue of the Americas in 1942. After being president of the Rotary Club of New York for years he remained the secretary and general manager of the Sixth Ave. Association. He believed that 6th Ave. was the Gateway of America starting at the Battery and extending to Central Park.
He also was the founder of the Americas Club, an organization handling scholarships for the study of South American and Central American Affairs and culture. After he retired in 1949, he lectured at Rutgers and Yale . He died in 1964 at the age of 87 in New Jersey.
Walter C. Gilbert was the 4th President of the Rotary Club of New York

William Gettinger was the owner of the Gettinger Printing Corporation at 293 Ninth Ave. He died at the age of 73 and lived in the Inwood section of Manhattan.
1916-17 B. Vanderver was also a City planner and encouraged rezoning laws for New York City to adjust to the wide use of the of the automobile, was the 6th president of the Rotary Club of New York. In 1924 he was head of the Broadway Association and wanted to relocate manufacturing from Manhattan. He told the New York Times that “I would rather be ridiculed in 1924 for proposing something that may at first look impossible than to be blamed in 1974 for having failed to look ahead in anticipation of the requirement of the growing metropolis”. His organization also recommends that the zoning laws be changed to have municipal parking lots. He also advocated that it would also be possible to built subterranean parking garages 40 feet below the street surface. In 1937 J.B. is pictured opening a new bus route on 57th st from river to river as Mr. Kickerbocker. His organization also implemented a cleanup drive and asked property owners to sweep their sidewalks in from of their place of business.

1918-19 Clinton E. Achom the club raised $700,00 for the War Camp community fund.
1919-20 Glen A. Tisdale the club raised 2,100,000 in Liberty Loans.

1920-22 Raymond J. Knoeppel was influential in the creating the 1922 Rotary International Constitution and its by-laws. His input based largely on the by-laws of the Rotary club of New York set the groundwork for RI to grow into a international organization. He was the ninth President of the Rotary Club of New York.
He commented to the New York Times regarding the Catholic Clergy not binge allowed to join Rotary. originally, the Holy See made a public announcement that had condemned Rotary for its alleged practice of inculcating a religion “without God”. “The news that the Catholic clergy would be allowed to join Rotary International will be approved by the Holy See will bring great joy to Rotarians regardless of creed”he is quoted in the New York Times.
1922-23 Robert L. Hatch was the 10th president of the Rotary Club of New York . As the 10 president the club celebrated that is had grown from 13 member in 1909 and it now had 514 during his term.
Thomas A. Dwyer who was well known for his controversial and provocative letters to the New York Times was the 11th president of the Rotary Club of New York. Born what is now known as Times Square in 1877, he was a graduate of City College and a member of the Lotus Club as well. He was the owner of Rational Recreation and operated eight bowling alleys and pool halls in New York City.
Shortly after his presidency, he became vice president of the Brunswick Corporation, a manufacturer of blowing alleys and general manager.
He was also a prolific writer of letters to the New York Times about life in New York City. In one letter he wrote that “Times Square should be deodorized, fumigated, and perfumed, and he remembers it wasn't Times Square nor Long acre Square nor any Square.”

Charles E. Keck was a chief spoke person and defender of Rotary by Social Critics. was born in Clinton N. Y. and graduated from Hamilton College in 1987. After College he was the principal of Palatine Bridge N. Y. Union School and the South Hampton N. Y. High School.
In 1901, President Charles joined the publishing company D. Appleton & Co. for 11 years. In 1912, he joined and became overseas manager of Scott, Foresman & Co., the educational book publisher at 114 east 23rd Street. He was appointed to its board of directors.
As president of the Rotary Club of New York, he struck back at criticism of Rotarians by Sinclair Lewis -the author of Babbitt. On the radio station WFBH, he characterized Mr. Lewis as someone who wrote two or three books and now thinks knows everything in the world. President Keck wanted to correct a misunderstanding about Rotary which has been spread by some writers who don't take into account the actual facts. The Basis of Rotary is to bring businessmen together in a way that no other organization can to enable them to work for the good of the community. President Charles stated on the Radio. He assured others that is not annoyed by Sinclair Lewis comments, he felt that Sinclair was” just a little bit off his trolley”.

During his presidency to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the completion of the first transatlantic cable by Cyrus W. Field Rotarians received messages from 7 overseas Rotary clubs. That same year they also created a Junior Rotary Club of Rotarian sons.

1926-27 Pirie Macdonald World Famous Photographer  including many world leaders such as Teddy Roosevelt was the 14 president of the Rotary Club of New York.
Ian Pirie MacDonald was born in Chicago on January 27, 1867, nine days after his mother arrived in this country from Scotland. The eldest of four children, he left his formal schooling at the age of 11 and took on a series of jobs to help support the family. In 1883 he began an apprenticeship in Hudson, New York. By 1890, MacDonald had opened his own portrait studio in Albany. President Pirie chose to henceforth photograph only men. This change in focus also inspired him to move to New York City where he would have a patron pool sizeable enough to support his specialty.
A long-time member of the Professional Photographers Society of New York and the Camera Club of New York, MacDonald was also a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain. He was active in a number of other non-photographic organizations as well, including the Boy Scouts of America, and the Adirondack Mountain Club, serving as an officer in each. In addition, he was the author and publisher of a drill manual for the Boy Scouts.
Rotarians celebrated a year–end party at the Waldorf Astoria as a going away party for President Pierre since he had to sail to Europe to judge several international Photo competitions. Rotarians and children and grandchildren were invited. During his presidency, our club’s Camp Cheerful, said to be the first camp for the exclusive use of crippled children in the world, was officially dedicated. The land was donated by the Long Island Parks Commission, headed by Robert Moses who was also a New York Rotarian. The club received more than 1,200 applications for the first season. The slogan for the camp was “Live and help live.”

1927-28 J. Burnett Jones was the 15th President of the Rotary Club of New York. He was the President of the Peck and Hills Furniture Company. He died in 1972 in New Milford Connecticut at the age of 91. Burnett directed a benefit vaudeville performance for the Rotary Club Crippled Children’s Camp at Fire Island, at the Joison Theatre. The Club raised $50,000 to maintain and operate the camp.

1928-29 Andrew H. Dykes was the 16th president of the Rotary Club of New York. He lived at One Fifth Ave and was president of the Dykes Lumber Company at 137 West Twenty-fourth St. He was also the president of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, vice president of the Central Mercantile Association, a director of the New York Credit Men’s Association, and a vice president of the Springfield Golf Club.

1930-31 Robert C. Farley, the Donald Trump of the 1920’s was the 18th President of the Rotary Club of New York. He was born in Fort Plains, N.Y. and graduated from Clinton Liberal Institute in NYC in 1888. In 1894, he earned an A.B. degree from Rutgers, and a Masters Degree in 1888. He graduated from New York Law School with honors in 1895. In 1899, he started the Robert E. Farley Organization which became one of the largest real estate companies in Westchester, with offices in Phillips Manor, Scarsdale, Manhattan, and White Plains. He organized the Westchester Hills golf club, the Country Tennis Club at Hartsdale, and the Grammatan National Bank in Bronxville. He also designed and built many of Westchester’s most prestigious housing developments. In addition, he owned the fashionable Griswald Hotel in New Haven until 1932.
During his year as president he was the Master of Ceremony where nearly 500 Rotarians including 150 delegates from England and other Rotary Clubs who were on their way to Chicago for Rotary’s Silver Jubilee. President Bob was quoted as stating at this luncheon “Every man, woman and child in the world today, should and must considered himself a citizen of the world. We are too close in physical and spiritual ties with other countries or peoples. Those who refuse to recognize it are out of step with age, and as a group cannot long be powerful.”
President Bob also had also to defend Rotary customs when an English essayist and novelist, Gilbert Chesterfield, was critical of Rotary using first names on name tags and being too complimentary to each other. President Farley recommend that the key to happiness is to just” laugh it off’.
Sadly while in poor health, in September of 1933 past-president Robert hung himself in his home attic.

1931-32 - Leo C. Faulkner was the general manager of the Dobb’s Ferry Children’s Village19th president of the Rotary Club of New York. Major was originally in the Baltimore Rotary Club in 1918 and then he moved to New York in 1924, and become a member of the Rotary Club of New York. He also became the District Governor.

William H Guppy was the 20th president of the Rotary Club of New York. He was the Eastern Sales Manager for the American Sterilizer Company of Erie Pa. He and his family lived in East Orange N. J. He was also active in the affairs of the Sanford Methodist Church of East Orange and he has a summer home in Long Branch N. J... He died in 1936 at the age of 56.
Ernest V. Moncrieff was the 24th president of the Rotary ‘Club of New York. He was president of the Swan Finch Oil Corporation.

1933-34 Dr. William Seaman Bainbridge, the internationally recognized surgeon and cancer expert was the 25th president of Rotary Club of New York.

He was born in Providence RI was educated at the Mohegan Lake and moved to Brooklyn as a pre-teen. He attended Military Academy in New York and graduated from the college of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. After his graduation, he spent several years in post-graduate study in Europe. During World War 1 he helped form the Medical Reserve of the United States Navy.
He was the professor of Surgery of operative gynecology of the New York Post Graduate Hospital and School. He was also Surgeon and Secretary of the research committee of the New York. A frequent public lecture on cancer he earn national attention when he became the first surgeon to use spinal analgesia and techniques to curb cancer and developed a technique for removal of the breast for cancer which became widely used.
While he received citations and awards in more than a dozen countries in 1942 he also received the gold medal of the Order of Distinguished Auxiliary Service of the Salvation Army for his outstanding contribution the science and art of healing his service to the United States in the first World War, his assistance in organizing the International Congress of Military Medicine and Surgery, his efforts toward better understanding, good will and friendship among nations and his service to the Salvation Army for moiré than 35 years.
He was significant promoter of Rotary when during his dozens of visits around the world. He always made time to speak and promote Rotary in other countries
1931-32 Leon C. Faulkner Managing Director of the Children’s Village of Dobbs Ferry

1934-35 Lewis I Hird was the 26th president of the Rotary Club of New York. He graduated from the Philadelphia Textile Institute in Philadelphia and was an executive of Samuel Hird & Sons chairman of the National Association of Wool Manufacturers. During World War 11 serviced on the committee to study the synthetic fiber industry between on the utilization of the material in Army equipment. He was also a member of the rotary international fiancé committee between 1938 and 1941. As president the club did a performance of Point Verlaine a new play by Noel Coward at the Ethel Barrymore theaters to raise funds for the Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry. The Village cared for more than 400underprivalge boys giving them home like surroundings and training them to earn their own livelihood after they leave its shelter boysHe died in 1947 at the age of 77 in Bethel Connecticut.

1937-38 Charles S. Morris was president of the Metropolitan Fireproof Warehouse, in his farewell address to the Club “despite financial and economic difficulties we have closed the past fiscal year with a balance budget”.
1938-40 Andre J. Haire, president of the Haire Publishing Company

1940-41 Henery H. Simmens president awards to underprivileged cripple children swimming classes who had shown the best improvement at the Evangeline Residence of the Salvation Army at 123 was thirteen street.
1942-43 Rev. Dr. Ray O. Wyland of Scarsdale and the director of education of the boy Scouts of America.

1943-44 Elmer W. Nelson Hosted a farewell banquet for Sir Godfrey Haggard from the British embassy.

Luther Hodges,  Governor of North Caroline and President Kennedy’s Secretary of Commerce and President of Rotary International was born in 1898 in Pittsyvania county VA and moved to
Leakesville N. C. and worked part time in a textile mill while going to
school. During WW 1 he was commissioned as second lieutenant in the
Army He received an A.B. Degree in 1919 at the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill. He became secretary to the general manager of
Marshall Field’s eight textile mills in the Leakesville Are.. During WW
11 he headed the textile division of the Office of price Administration
(OPA) The year before he became president of the Rotary Club of new
York and was Vice president of Marshall's Field &Co he was named
National Chairman for the five-year Post-war Anti Leprosy Program to be
carried on in Eight countries of Asia and Africa by the American Mission
to Lepers. He raised $500,000 by the end of 1945 to build and expand
twenty Leprosarium in Asia and Africa where an estimated 10,000,000
suffers of the disease live. In 1950 he was chief of the Industrial
Division of the office of United States High commission in Germany.

He was the author of Businessmen in the State House and The business

IN 1952 he was elected at Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina and
became governor when Governor William B. Umstead died in office. He
won a landslide victory in 1956 and service his own term

1949-50 - Alfred H. Nicholls was president of the Graybar Electric Company.
During President Alfred’s year as president the Rotary Club of New York
Donated an x-ray machine to the Children's Aid Society's James Boys
Club at 154 Hester Street. It was estimated that 1000 children a year
form the Boy's club as well as the Metropolitan Vocational High School
would benefit. During this year through a grant from the Charles
e. Culpeper Foundation, the Rotary Club provided free dental care for
650 boys at the Children's Aid society dental Clinics
 Kinsey N. Merritt He began his career with Railway Express in Baltimore as a clerk in 1908 and later Worked in Philadelphia. He became vice president in charge of traffic in 1947 and he retired from the company in 1958... He was 76 when he died in Elizabeth New Jersey.
1950-51 Arthur Schwartz publisher of “The Commercial Bar” a legal directory that he founded in 1927. He was born in Jersey City and was a graduate of City College. He was the co-founder and first President of the Downtown Glee Club of New York. This Glee club performed more than 50 concerts at Carnegie Hall from 1927 to 1953.
He lived in Brooklyn while president of the Club. He was also the president of World Education, an organization devoted to the cause of world literacy. He was 77 years old when he died in Decatur Ga.

1951-52 J. Elmer Hann lived in Acotch Plains New Jersey and was president of Lebanon Woolen Mills

1952-53 William Schroeder was an attorney with an office at 42 Broadway. He attended Dwight Preparatory school and a graduate of New York University. He was a liquidating Trustee of the Union ferry Company. He joined the Rotary club of New York in 1942 and was also a past president of the Downtown glee Club of New York and the Leiderkrang Club.
1952-54 Roger W. Burman the New York manager of the National Cash Register Company served two terms as the Club’s president
1954-55 Edgar B. Ingrahm

1955-56 William S. Hedges awarded the Rotary Service Medal to Helen Keller at the American Foundation for the Blind at 15 West Sixteenth St. In his address on the citation “To Helen Keller, out of whose inspiring triumph over handclaps came a lifetime of priceless service to humanity. Mayor Wager also visited and thanked the Club the Club during his year. Mayor Wagner your club helps the city in solving one of our most vexing problems: giving so many of our youngsters an opportunity in life. The club raised 15,000 for youth programs.

1956-57 William E. Walsh
1957-58 Mervin P. Bickely

1958-59 Henry Counts

1959-60 Kinsey N Meritt was the vice president of the Railway express Agency where he worked for 50 years. He began his career in 1908 in Baltimore. He did in 1967 in Elizabeth N.J.

1960-61 D. Stanley Corcoran

1961-62- George J. Balbach the New York  Judge was born in Manhattan where he and Robert F. Wagner were class mates at the Yorkville Grammar School. He graduated from City College and Brooklyn Law School both of which he attended at night while working as a clerk in a law office. He was senior Partner of the law firm Young, Balbach, Tilford & Lewis. partner in the

In 1961 Mayor Wagner appointed him to the City Tax Commissioner for Queens. In 1962 he was successful in getting the property taxes of home owners in the Rock away section of Queens lowered to the noise level of the aircraft flying to Idewild (JFK)airport. Later he was past president of the Queens borough Public Library. He also received the UBI Caritas the highest honor for laymen the Roman Catholic Church. Around 1960 he was appointed to his most notorious proceeding came with the second trail of Alice Crimmins, the cocktail waitress charged in the 1965 death of her 4-year old daughter and 5-year old son. She was convicted in 1968 He was community interest included the Wyckoff Heights Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital Center. He died in 1996. At the age of 86.

1962-63 Joseph Johnson Sr. was born in Columbus Ohio and graduated from the University of Chicago. He was a member of the Detroit Rotary Club before coming to New York 1954 an executive of Western Union international. He joined the Western Union company in 1927 and he retired in 1964 as a Senior vice president He was also a past president of the West Side Association of Commerce and a for vice president of the New York Board of Trade and the Broadway Association. He died in 1990 at the age of 83 in Huntington, Long Island.

Edwin J Fitzsimons executive vice president of the Weed Radio Corporation
Robert1966-67 President James was originally form North Dakota and graduated with a mechanical Engineering Degree from the North Dakota State University began his business career worth Pan AM Airlines in 1943. Around 1960 he headed Northeaster Airlines and then returned to Pan Am in 1970 as the General Manager and President of Northeastern Airlines
1967-68 Donald A Schwartz vice president of the Commercial Publishing Company as its 54th president. President Swhwartz was 35 years old and the youngest president of the club

1968-69 Robert A Lakamp special assistant to the president of J C Penny also a member of the Rotary Club of New York presented an award to the managing editor of the New York Times Clifton Daniel for the contribution to community and international understanding

1971-72 Herbert Steifel president of the Stielfel/Raymond Advertising Agency Incorporated He was a aboard member of the American Theater Wing, the Tony Selection committee. Among his honors were the Horatio Algiers Award and the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. He did in 1992 in Portland Oregon.

1972-73 Rudolf Berle was the brother of Adolf A. Berle assistant secretary of state. In 1939, Hull said: " Roosevelt …doesn't consult me or confide in me and I have to feel my way in the dark."[1]
Throughout World War II, Hull had been a very sick man and Sumner Welles had been Secretary in all but name. After Hull’s his visit to Moscow in September 1943, Hull forced President Franklin Roosevelt to dismiss Welles. Edward Stettinius then became Under-Secretary and when Hull resigned in October 1944, Stettinius moved up as Secretary of State. Joseph C. Grew, who had been ambassador in Japan for many years, was made Under-Secretary. Grew held that post for only nine months.
Dean Acheson had been appointed an Assistant Secretary of State in 1941. When Grew resigned in 1945, Acheson became Under-Secretary and remained in that post during the term as Secretary of James F. Byrnes and part of the term of George C. Marshall. In 1949 Acheson became Secretary of State upon Marshall's resignation.
When the Office of Special Political Affairs (OSPA) was created in 1944, Alger Hiss became the deputy director and late director. Hiss and others worked on the first drafts of the United Nations Charter. [2] John Carter Vincent was appointed head of the Far Eastern Division in 1945. John Carter Vincent was completely anti-Kuomintang (KMT) and pro-Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The State Department had a Coordinating Committee with immense power throughout the Department. It had "responsibility for considering matters of policy or actions and questions of inter-office relations referred to it by the Secretary, Under Secretary and Secretary's Staff Committee or initiated by the members." Acheson was chairman, Hiss was the next most powerful, and John Carter Vincent was also a member. In 1946 Hiss drew up a plan for reorganizing the State Department. Another official presented a protest in which he pointed out it was designed to give Hiss and his group "astounding control of the Department." A suggestion was made that the matter be brought to the attention of the FBI.
Adolph Berle, who had been an Assistant Secretary of State, testified before a Congressional investigating committee,
"in the fall of 1944, there was a difference of opinion in the State Department. I felt that the Russians were not going to be sympathetic and cooperative. Victory was then assured… and the intelligence reports which were in my charge, among other things, indicated a very aggressive policy, not at all in line with the kind of cooperation everyone was hoping for…The opposite group in the State Department was largely the men—Mr. Acheson's group, of course—with Mr. Hiss as a principal assistant in the matter.”[3]
Marshall, being unfamiliar with the world of Communist revolutionary activity, during his tenure fell under the influence of State Department China hands, John Stewart Service, John Paton Davies, John Carter Vincent, and others.

1974-75 Gaius W. Merwin was a vice president of the Manufacturers Trust Company
1983-84 Eugene D. Becken was the president of RCA Global communications. In 1973 established a communication satellite to provide voice, message and TV traffic between both coasts of the United States with Alaska.