The Herman Blizzard Rotary Archives

The arranging and inventorying of the Rotary Collection is in progress. 
As inventories are completed they will be posted to this site. 
Meanwhile please visit the Herman Blizzard Rotary Archives Website by clicking the image of Mr. Blizzard below:

January 2003- An inventory of most of the collection has been completed. The inventory is an item list of all manuscript material. Please click here to see the completed inventory.

Please call or email Jerry Parnell, (910) 962-3276, with any questions you may have regarding the collection.

The Herman Blizzard Collection
Wilmington Rotary Club, Chartered 1915

This very special collection came to us from Herman Blizzard, historian, and collector/archivist of all things Rotary. The collection is so large, both in scope and content, that a "brief" written description as overview for student, researcher, historian, is not possible here. The focus will be to highlight the how and why of Rotary, the many accomplishments and growth of this outstanding international organization with the Wilmington Rotary Club as centerpiece.

Paul A. Harris, an attorney in Chicago, in 1905 brought together a small group of young professional and businessmen of like mind who adhered to the ideals of "service" and "friendship and fellowship". The Rotary motto is, "Service above Self", and "He Profits Most Who Serves Best". In 1908 a second club was organized, and by 1910 there were 16 clubs. Each established club would look for a suitable location that met Rotary criteria and offer to sponsor a new Rotary group. In 1913, the Richmond, VA. Club was established, and sponsored the first Wilmington Rotary, holding it's first meeting Feb. 2, 1915, at the Wilmington Hotel with 41 charter members, and John R. Murchison, presiding. Box 1, file 11 contains a Complete History of The Wilmington Rotary Club, by Louis T. Moore, 1957.

From inception the club formed various working committees to serve where most needed, such as promoting better relations between employer and employees, pressuring City Council for a better system of street improvements, addressing poor mail system, city comfort stations, a request to local newspapers to discontinue reporting juvenile court cases. Active support was given to campaign for funds for YMCA, and the Boys Work Committee, and in 1920 to establish a Baby Hospital near Wrightsville Beach. Over the years Rotary participated in or formed groups to benefit all ages in health, education, and welfare without regard to race. Rotarians cooperated with the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, and American Legion, also Law and Order League and Wilmington schools. Involvement in numerous quality of life issues from better trash removal to city zoning, to consolidation of city and county governments, improvement of the Public Library, and educational programs were added to a growing list of community endeavors.

As Rotary grew so did the Districts, and ultimately Rotary International, worldwide with the goal of better understanding among nations and exchange of people and cultures promoting world peace, understanding, and education, and growing annually.

Herman Blizzard kept personal files aside from routine club business, including letters, cards, news clippings, scrapbooks, programs, flags, documented history of District and Regional clubs in alphabetical order, including members, officers, activities, minutes, and attendance at various conventions. Included in the alphabetical membership files are news clippings, awards, application dates, and resignations or obituaries, and any personal correspondence between the member and Mr. Blizzard. These records span more than fifty years of activity, and it is not uncommon to find a 2nd or 3rd generation become a Rotarian.

The following activities are a sampling of Downtown Wilmington commitments:
Habitat for Humanity House, Matching Grants Program, Rotary Foundation (educational), Boys and Girls Homes - Lake Waccamaw, includes purchase of van for transportation, Hospice Sunrise Program, Salvation Army, Polio Plus Fund, Ambassadorial Scholarships Grant.

Also, the highly successful and much needed free Orthopaedic Clinic for children in need, offering medical services, braces, and prosthetics. On case by case basis this service became available to adults. Scholarships for UNCW students, all expense paid alcohol and drug free High School graduations, and the GSE Program, (Group Study Exchange) where students, teachers and business men and women from different countries would not only visit our city but stay with members in their homes, and we in turn sent the same mix to their country. All of these were paid with donations and Rotary fundraisers. Many more programs were added in later years from student loans, to Rotary Run, and in the 1990s, Eye Camp For India, and "Million Azaleas".

The collection has been compartmented into sections for ease of research, and where possible, each section is sequenced chronologically. Example sections: Wilmington Membership, Rotary Procedures and Business, Rotary Communicator (paper), Minutes since 1915, and of course the Herman Blizzard Files. A separate list of artifacts and programs, flags, memorabilia, posters, and books, banners and awards, including ribbons and pins, will be available on the special web site, and available in print as an addition to this index. William Madison Randall was President of Wilmington Rotary 1956 - 1957, and it is fitting that the collection now resides in the William Madison Randall Library, Special Collections.

This collection has no restrictions, however, an appointment is suggested to view artifacts.

Carroll R. Jones 
Special Collections
Fall/Winter 2002
March, 2003

Herman Blizzard Rotary Archives

Series and Organizational overview September 2002 (subject to revision)

Series 1
Wilmington Rotary 1915-

Series 2
Herman Blizzard related
Includes clippings about Blizzard and all items relating to his term as Rotary President and Governor

Series 3
Scrapbooks and minutes

Series 4
Rotary- Regional
Items uniquely regional

Series 5
Rotary- Other regions

Series 6

Rotary International
Items uniquely international

Series 7
Oversized items
collages, posters, newspapers

Series 8
Photographs and albums

Series 9
Photographs Large Format
Rotary International Convention panoramic photographs

Series 10
Publications- Duplicates
directories, handbooks, programs, menus etc.

Series 11
Including Rotary banners

Series 12
Catalogued with library call numbers- housed in Special Collections
To see what Publications have been catalogued, click here or go to the Randall Library home page and do an author search with Rotary as the author.