Our History

History

Rotary began as an idea more than 100 years ago. Today, Rotary flourishes worldwide with 1.2 million members in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.

Rotary History and Archives is the authority on Rotary's rich, evolving history. Located in Lincolnwood, Illinois, USA, the History and Archives team continues to update and provide access to its collection of tens of thousands of items from all over the world.

Read more at the History of The Rotary Foundation and History of Rotary International pages.


THE FOUR WAY TEST
OF THE THINGS WE THINK SAY OR DO

FIRST - IS IT THE TRUTH
SECOND - IS IT FAIR TO ALL CONCERNED
THIRD - WILL IT BUILD GOOD WILL AND BETTER FRIENDSHIPS
FOURTH - WILL IT BE BENEFICIAL TO ALL CONCERNED

Herbert J. Taylor, president, Rotary Club of Chicago, 1939-40 and Rotary International 1954-55. He lived from 1893 to 1978. During a business crisis in 1932, he wrote the "Four Way Test," shown below. It was adopted as part of Rotary International in January of 1943.
Taylor's President's Page

One of our contributor's on the "Test"

The simple and straightforward Four Way Test was written by Chicago Rotarian Herbert J Taylor in 1932. It is not necessarily a catechism but rather a purely subjective form of self-analysis. Truth is, of course, relative.

The test was primarily written for his bankrupt Club Aluminium Company in 1932. Herb actually gave up his job in ‘packaged groceries; house to house sales’ (his classification in #1 club) in order to join 250 other employees onboard the so-called “sinking ship”.
...Read the entire essay...

Herb was the third child of Frank and Nellie Taylor, born in Pickford, Michigan in 1893. The family were devout Christians and Herb was no exception. He would go on to found the Christian Workers Foundation to develop youth organizations.
After graduating with a BS degree from Northwestern University, Herb worked for the YMCA in France. In 1917, he also joined the Naval Reserve as the USA entered the Great War.
Herb married Gloria Forbich in 1919 and moved to Oklahoma. It was there that he helped found the Rotary Club of Wynnewood. He moved to Chicago in the late '20s and joined Club #1 to which he served by holding almost every office of the Club including the Presidency.

Herb gave the right to use his famous Four Way Test to Rotary International in 1942 and also gave the movement the copyright in 1954 - the year when he himself served as RI President. (1954-55) He retained the rights to use the test for himself, his Club Aluminum Company and the Christian Workers Foundation.
Calum Thomson

Predating this, was an interesting article in the 1925 June issue of The Rotarian, "We all lie like that."