History of the 1930's and 1940's

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The Lebanon Rotary Club was organized in October 1935 with twenty charter members.

The club was chartered on April 28, 1936. The Charter members included:

Eldon Bethel, Gene Bradley, John Breitenback,

Robert Conner, M. A. Eliff,  Ted Hart,

Authur Hartzog,  Elmer Holman,  Dwight Joslyn,

R. Kaffenberger,  Joe Knight,  F. W. May, 

C. B. Morton,  Ellis Rainey,  R. E. Riggs, 

Carl G. Ross,  Dr. J. H. Summers,  Dr. C. B. Thomas, 

I. Welty, and Edwin Woodfill.



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 It is thought that these business and community leaders organized the Lebanon Rotary Club for fellowship and encouragement among professionals during the difficult times of the  Great Depression. They first met for their organizational meetings in the apartment of Elmer Holman above the Holman Funeral Home. (Pictured Above)   According to Kenny Howe, Elmer Holman was selected as the first president since no one else would accept the position.  (Pictured Right/above)



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During the late 1930's and 1940's the Lebanon Rotary Club met at noon on Thursday in the Old Laclede Hotel on Commercial Street. (Pictured Left/above)   In 1948 the meetings were moved to the USO Building located on the corner of Pierce and Madison Streets.

Four categories of committees were established by the Lebanon Rotary Club based upon Rotary International guidelines. These categories included: Club Service, Community Service, Vocational Service, and International Service. 

Subcommittees were then established to assist in meeting the needs of the Lebanon Rotary Club. Some of these subcommittees of the 1940's included:

Fellowship & Entertainment,  Rotary Information, 

Public Information,  Attendance, 

The Boys Work Committee,  The Rural - Urban Committee, 

The Carnival Committee, and  The Fireside Chat Committee, 

It is notable that the Lebanon Rotary Club remained active during the war effort since a number of local Rotary clubs ceased to exist during this period of history.


The Four-Way Test was adopted as a code of ethics by Rotary International in 1943. A tradition was begun during weekly meetings by the Lebanon Rotary Club during the 1940's in which each of the members would recite the Four-Way Test asking the following questions:

Of the things we think, say or do:

(1) Is it the TRUTH?

(2) Is it FAIR to all concerned?

(3) Will it build GOODWILL AND BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?

(4) Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?


The Rotary Club's membership is based upon the concept of "Classification". When a member is accepted into the club, he or she is assigned a vacant classification as prescribed by Rotary. The explanation of the Classification System in early Rotary Yearbooks states that it "allows for equal representation of the community without allowing for one group, one profession or one business from dominating the club", and allows for the selection of the "ablest representative of a given profession or business".