Posted by Bill Boyd on May 25, 2020
The classification principle goes back to the start of Rotary in 1905 when Paul Harris and his friends decided that members should come from different classifications so as to represent a cross section of society and not become another focused self-interest group. Classifications were so important that Rotary International established a committee in 1923/24 to review and to make a list of acceptable classifications and clubs were advised that a list of members and their classifications be sent regularly to the General Secretary.

A publication was produced and regularly updated and it is interesting to read of some of the classifications in the 1937 edition. In today’s world it would be a challenge to find a stoker, with the choice of industrial or locomotive, and while some may wear a toupee, there must be a limited number of toupee manufacturers. Anyone use whisk brooms unless you are in the middle of Africa, and it would be the ultimate in political incorrectness to have as a classification “Insane Asylums”. While ship building is still current, ship delivery sounds rather limited.

Not sure if we have autographic registers and the probable alternative name for check writer is parent but only for another year or two.

All joking aside, classification lists have been an important membership tool for Rotary and could be even now. Clubs would compile a list of classifications within their area and ask members to suggest names that would then go the Membership Committee of the club to follow up. The list would be very different to that of 1937 but it certainly connects the club with the community!