The Life And Times of James And Lillian Davidson P. 2

Introduction cont'd.

Rotary Past Presidents (Pidgeon, Klumph, Snedecor, McCullough, Manier), Honorary Special Commissioners (Teele, Coates, Davidson and Ralston), and members
of the Extension Committee (Barrett, Klumph, McCullough, Davidson) all actively addressed the issue of worldwide extension of Rotary Clubs during and after their
terms.  By 1927 Rotary had successfully extended northward to Canada (1910); and southward to Latin and South America (1916-1921).  After a slow start in 1911 it
had expanded rapidly throughout the British Isles (1921-1925); and then through Europe (1922-1927).  Westward it had spanned the Pacific to Australia, New
Zealand, Japan and China by 1921.  But there were still only two Clubs between Prague and Shanghai – in Calcutta (1921) and Lahore (1927).47

The plan to span the world received the necessary guidance, planning and attention, when Crawford McCullough became the first non-American Chairman of the
Extension Committee in 1923-1924.  The strategy he initiated was similar to the one that evolved for the 1921 chartering trip to Australia and New Zealand.48

At the second international convention in Toronto in 1924, eighty-eight Rotarians came from the British Isles (RIBI) and seventy-seven more from eighteen different
countries.  It demonstrated growing widespread international enthusiasm for the Rotary concept.  At the 1926 Denver convention a motion was passed to assess
every member an extra $1.00 for extension.  Rotary at that time had 120,000 members in 2400 Clubs.  The whole Denver convention program was devoted to
extension and expansion.   In 1926 there were Rotary Clubs in thirty-nine countries.  That same year RI increased its Board by two and appointed Canon William
Elliott, Jim Davidson and three more non-Americans as five of the fourteen members.

Following the triennial pattern of holding a convention outside the USA, the next RI convention was planned for Ostend, Belgium.  For the 1927 convention, two
thousand Rotarians and wives crossed the ocean for the first continental Europe convention.  It was almost double the 1,100 who had traveled to Edinburgh in
1921.  The closing speech at Ostend was by Past RIBI President Canon Elliott on his “World Wide view of Rotary”.49  Elliott defined the foundation of Rotary as the
ideal of service which, through cohesion, integration and unity could further world peace and fellowship amongst business and professional men.  He closed with the
conclusion Rotary was the integrating rock on which a world fellowship of nations could be built.

The Committee on Extension to which Davidson was reappointed in 1927, strongly encouraged him to introduce Rotary into Asia and the Orient.50  Paul Harris
described what happened.51

“The words ‘come over into Macedonia and help us’ did not fall on deaf ears.
One, only  heard them, but one was enough.
By his response he made them immortal…
It is given to many to hear, few to hear distinctly…
His memory will be revered by legions;
his work more admired by the passage of time…
Rotary may well pause in contemplation of Jim’s great gift;
his unswerving self-sacrificing devotion to the cause…”

In August 1927, Davidson agreed to go but said he wasn’t ready or prepared.  He was by November 9, 1927.  At the Extension Committee meeting he presented his
strategy in the form of a six page business plan.  His proposal was to implement Rotary’s Object #6…the promotion of peace, goodwill and fellowship…by
interpreting fellowship as friendship.52  The Board accepted the eight to nine month plan for Davidson to approach prospective new members from Asia Minor to the
Far East, by “Making New Friends”.  The Board also agreed to financially support the proposal.  What was expected was an implementable worldwide strategy, not
new club formation.  Some Rotarians viewed the trip as one which would create contacts for American businessmen.53

Davidson started the “$8,000” trip in August 1928.  He was joined by his wife Lillian and daughter Marjory.  Procuring letters of introduction from British and American
Rotarians, Kings, Presidents, Premiers and French and Dutch colonial ministers, the three headed to Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Jerusalem, India and the Far East.54

Despite car accidents and injuries, fevers, near fatal bites, language barriers, cultural differences and unfamiliar religions, Davidson’s determination faltered only
once, when moral and verbal persuasion from Lillian was necessary to keep the mission intact.  Faced with the challenge of interpreting and implementing Rotary’s
North American and European focused rules, he sent back copious reports.55  He made requests to the Board for changes that led to a broader interpretation of the
classification system.  One change RI allowed was to accept different ethnic classifications.  For instance a Malayan Doctor and Chinese Doctor could both belong
to the Singapore Club.  He recommended new classifications that weren’t found in North America.  He requested that Rotary literature be written in the new
languages.  His recommendations led to an increase in the charter membership maximum from thirty-five to over fifty, because of the absenteeism caused by
summer monsoons.

In the end Davidson completed 2200 one hour interviews with prospective Rotarians and found fewer than a dozen disinterested in Rotary.  In his interviews, he
overcame indifference, resistive attitudes and closed doors, which he found to be in all but two places.56  After thirty-two months Davidson was successful in
chartering twenty-three Clubs in twelve different countries.57

The Davidsons arrived back in Vancouver on March 21, 1931 to a remarkable dinner attended by nearly six hundred Rotarians and guests.58  For Davidson it was
the end of his third and last trip around the world, this time having spent a total of $250,000 including $32,000 in Rotary advances.59

47 Rotary International.  The First Rotary Club in each Country or Geographical Region.  16 pages, RI, May 1934.  F.W. Teele, an American engineer, chartered the ten clubs in ten countries (Mexico,
Europe); H.P. Coates, an American, four clubs in four countries in South America.  Teele was a full time Commissioner in Europe from 1921-1925.  In 1926 there were Rotary Clubs in thirty-nine
countries.  By 1933 Rotary had been planted in sixty-nine countries.
48 Crawford C. McCullough.  Principles, Policies and Procedures underlying the Work of Extension.  Attachments A and B to the Minutes of the Extension Committee of July 20, 1923.  The principles
were reaffirmed by the Committee on Extension at their meeting on August 2 and 3, 1927.  The strategy became (1) obtain Board support for it, (2) fund it, and (3) find Rotarians who could
accomplish it.
49 W.T. Elliot, “The World-Wide View of Rotary”, The Rotarian, pages 22-23, 45-46, August 1927.  For a precursor speech see another British Rotarian William Moffat’s, The International Significance of Rotary, in The Rotarian 16(2): 51-52, February 1920.
50 (James W. Davidson), RI Committee on Extension minutes August 2nd and 3rd, 1927.
51 In Memory of Jim Davidson.  Jean and Paul Harris’ Christmas card of 1933.  The card was reprinted in N.T. Joseph’s James Wheeler Davidson, Profile of a Rotarian, pages 124-125, 1987.
52 James W. Davidson, RI Committee on Extension Exhibit C.  Sixth (now fourth) Object Program.  5 pages.  Attached to the Minutes of November 9, 1927.
53 Brendan Goff, “The Heartland Abroad: The Civic Internationalism of Rotarian James W. Davidson”.  Presented to the conference on Canadian-American Relations: Do Borders Matter?  12
pages.  Organization for the History of Canada.  May 14, 2004.  Goff interpreted Davidson’s trip as part of “Rotary’s dual commitment to civic uplift through its local clerks and to the creation of a
global network of presumably like-minded businessmen and professional (which labelled as) “civic internationalism…”.  Borders sometimes mattered but often they did not.”  The Davidsons met
Lillian’s first cousin Leroy Vernon, the Washington Correspondent of the Chicago News before departing.  He understood “and he was not alone in this that the real value of Jim’s reports lay in
the unmet demand for such information from American businessmen seeking “world contacts” or…(Thy) revealed the kinds of obstacles met outside of North America for businessmen in general”. 
Goff also presented the paper at the 29th annual Social Science History Association meeting, November 21, 2004.
54 Lillian D. Davidson, “Trailing Along Through Asia”, The Rotarian 36(4): 38-40, 53-55, April 1930.  Jim Davidson had secured “Rotary is worthy of attention” testimonials from British Prime Minister
Ramsay Macdonald and Cabinet Minister Austin Chamberlain (Neville’s brother), three American Presidents, the Kings of Belgium, Italy and Spain, a half dozen Premiers and hundreds of Rotarians. 
For a British view of the trip see the Calgary Herald, December 15, 1928, which quoted a Rotary International British Isles (RIBI) interview with Davidson by E.J. Burrow, FRGS in England.  Copy in
the Abramson Archives.  For an American view see C. St. John’s “Somewhere East of Suez”, The Rotarian 33(2): 27, 41, August 1928.
55 James W. Davidson, Rotary International, Report of Honorary General Special Commissioner James W. Davidson.  First Report: Constantinopole.  Davidson would eventually write twenty-five
reports totalling about 200 typed pages.  They are deposited in RI and the Abramson Archives.  For details of his car accident at Malacca, see the Rotary Weekly Letter #14 of October 6, 1930; for his
Dengue fever in Singapore, the Weekly Letter #17 of October 27, 1930; for Bylaw changes to expand classifications see the Weekly Letter #42 of April 27, 1931.  Also see his Principles to be Applied
in Organizing Rotary Clubs in Asia and the Levant, 1 page (n.d., circa 1930 or 1931) in the James Davidson chapter, page 82.  Copy in the Abramson Archives.
56 Lillian D. Davidson, Reply to Spencer Hagen’s questions and request for comments, 13 December 1951 by Lillian Davidson, 2 pages.  Hagen was the Head of the Public Relations Department of
RI.  Also see Davidson’s report attached to the Minutes of the Board of Directors of RI (70 typed pages), April 16, 1931.  Manuscript in possession of the Abramson family; and Lillian Davidson’s letter
to “Gene” a University of Berkley classmate of 1904.  22 typed pages.  Dated May 20, 1929 from Octacamund, South India.  Copy in the Abramson Archives.  Jim Davidson confirmed that he “had the
pleasure of working in only two places where he had been invited to come and organize” (see the Rotary Weekly Letter of March 23, 1931).  For a discussion of Davidson’s attitude toward nicknames
like “Jim” and other Rotary “technicalities” see the Rotary Weekly Letters of March 30, 1931 and September 28, 1931.
57 Paul Harris, Adventure in Service: Historical Highlights pages 26-31; Four Avenues of Service – International Services, pages 77-83; Onward March for 1921 and 1928-31, see pages 96, 99, RI
1949.  Also see the year-by-year highlights, pages 96, 99.  There were 2000 Clubs in 1925 and 2600 in 1927.  For more details of the trip from a Rotarian perspective see N.T. Joseph’s, James
Wheeler Davidson
, pages 21-44.  For a detailed description of Davidson’s speech at the formation of the Rotary Club of Bangkok see the Siam Observer of September 18, 1930.  Copy in the
Abramson Archives.
58 James W. Davidson, RI Board members from 1928-31 sent 28 Letters of Appreciation which were bound by the Davidsons (Abramson Archives).  All 30 Board members memorialized the trip by presenting a Scroll of Appreciation and Affection dated March 1931 to Davidson.  Paul Harris sent a “welcome home” letter dated March 17, 1931.  (Abramson Archives).  Also see H. Hutchcroft’s,
The Life and Work of Jim Davidson, page 7, July 15, 1947.  Ches Peary took the train to Vancouver to meet the surprised Davidsons and attend a Goodwill Dinner hosted by the Vancouver Club,
March 21, 1931.  Nearly 600 attended (see the Rotary Weekly Letter of February 23, 1931 and the Vancouver Sun, March 23, 1931).  Members of the Calgary Club met the Davidsons at Field,
B.C. in the CPR Superintendent’s personal railcar.  The Club gave him a solid silver Chippendale tray, engraved with a Chart of Achievement showing Asia, the countries the Davidsons visited and
Rotary Clubs Davidson chartered.  The tray remains in the possession of the Abramson family.  For coverage of their Calgary arrival see the Calgary Albertan, March 28, 1931.
59 Chesley R. Perry, Letter to William Manier August 1, 1930 re: Jim Davidson’s expenses and the last $8000 cheque from Rotary.  Ruth Gorman gives Davidson’s friend K.G. Partridge as her source
for the same figure of $250,000 in her article in the Golden West Magazine, 3:32, summer 1968.  A second reference to the amount Davidson spent is provided by Lillian, in N.T. Joseph’s, Rotary in
(page 12) in 1972.  Joseph had corresponded with the Abramsons during his research of the book and visited them, as well as the Calgary Club and Stampede in July 1972.  See N.T. Joseph’s,
James Wheeler Davidson, pages 2-4.  “Her memory was sharp though age 92, but (she) was non-ambulatory because of a car accident.”

Davidson journeyed to Chicago in April to report to the RI Board on the success of the 150,000 mile trip.60  To the pleasure of Paul Harris, Lillian Davidson continued
her popular articles in The Rotarian which were gathering a worldwide audience.  Serialized from 1930-33, they revealed her latent talent to see, observe and record
businessmen and their wives in many different cultures and contexts.  Unfortunately Davidson was in failing health.61  He moved his family to Vancouver in
1932.  With Jim Davidson confined to hospital in 1932 and unable to speak at the Convention, RI’s Ches Perry invited Lillian to present highlights from their 1928-31
experiences to the 1932 RI Convention in Seattle.  Her presentation in front of a huge map of the world, was given with passion and sensitivity, captivating the all-
male audience.  Fortunately the Davidsons had pre-arranged for Lillian’s articles to be compiled into a book, Making New Friends.62

But Davidson wasn’t to be the only Rotary plenipotentiary.  He invited another Calgary Rotarian, Doug Howland to follow in his Far Eastern footsteps from
1932-4.  Howland in turn chartered fifteen more Clubs in five countries in Asia.63  Together Davidson, Ralston, and Howland chartered a total of forty-seven Clubs in
nineteen countries, from Athens to Hong Kong, Melbourne to Auckland, Karachi to Nanking, and in Canada from Alberta to Manitoba.  By 1933 Rotary Clubs existed
in sixty-nine countries.  In 1932 and 1934 Past RI Presidents Sydney W. Pascall and Allen D. Albert continued the visitation process.64  Paul Harris cemented these
initiatives in his four month tour in 1935.65  Crawford McCullough followed with another Goodwill Tour in 1936.66

Following Davidson’s premature death on July 18, 1933, there was a flood of eulogies, testimonials, telegrams and tributes.67  Perhaps the most telling was the one
given by the surgeon from Fort William, Crawford McCullough.  He talked of Davidson’s bequest, as one of idealism and humanism; love and respect; and of the
lasting friendships he formed with all he met.  McCullough admired Davidson’s example of service above self and his ability to present Rotary ideals with
enthusiasm, sensitivity, tact and persistency.  He marveled at Davidson’s powers of persuasion that never failed in the thousands of hours of personal presentations
he made.  Others wondered how such a gracious host, organist and entertainer, could communicate the Rotary message equally to kings and commoners.  Those
who watched him in action were amazed at how effectively he could spread his message through interpreters, different nationalities, cultures and religions.68

Many felt Rotary’s 6th (now 4th) Object was designed for Davidson.69  He exemplified what it meant; he planted the seeds of world fellowship; and he formed lasting
friendships.  In return Rotary gave Davidson an opportunity to travel, to open doors, to meet others, to make more friends; a chance to follow his passion for people,
to use his linguistic skills, and to promote peace and goodwill.  “His unfailing diplomacy, Rotary, and his remarkable capacity for work carried him over many almost
insurmountable barriers”.70

In October 1933, three months after Jim Davidson passed away, Paul Harris invited Lillian and Marjory to the Harris home in Morgan Park, Chicago.  There, they
planted a cultured blue spruce tree in the Harris’ Garden of Friendship.  It was dedicated by Marjory and inscribed by Paul Harris, “To the memory of James Wheeler
Davidson, world citizen”.  The dedication was highlighted in the Harris’ Christmas card of 1933 and referenced again when Paul Harris wrote of early Rotary men,
shortly before his death, in 1947.7`

In May 1934 the Barnes Circus came to Vancouver.  Out of admiration and respect for Davidson’s lifelong dedication to the Traveling Circus Association in North
America, circus members organized their own parade to the cemetery.  There a band played while twenty-five performers gave their own personal graveside tribute
to Davidson.  It was a moving moment. 71

In 1935 the Alberta Motor Association and the Rotary Club of Calgary requested that a prominent Rocky Mountain be named after James Wheeler
Davidson.  Accepted by the Canadian Geographic Names Board, the name never reached the topographical maps until the transposition error was discovered in
2002.72  Mount Davidson, elevation 2908 meters (9575 feet), is located nine kilometers north of the marker mountain The Devils Head, or eleven kilometers north of
Lake Minnewanka and is visible for one hundred and sixty kilometers to the east.  It was successfully climbed by fifteen Rotarians, nine family members and friends
from five Rotary Clubs on August 2, 2003.73  Now the Devils Head, which guided Natives across the eastern slopes of the Rockies for centuries, has next door to it
an even higher reminder of a celebrated Calgarian, Canadian and Rotarian James Wheeler Davidson.

Davidson’s legacy is large, just like he was.75  His colleagues described him as a big man, with a big heart, and a big laugh, and a memorable handshake.  He had a
zest for life and an irrepressible enthusiasm that went with it.  It never flagged.  He understood human nature like a book and always saw the best in everyone.  He
was a marvelous storyteller, and a good listener.  He loved his friends.  His house was always open for drop-ins.  Everyone young or old was comfortable in his
presence.  He made them so.  He loved music and built a music room in his Mount Royal home so he could relax or entertain by playing the organ.  He loved his
family and took them on all his chartering trips.  He loved the spirit and excitement of the circus and never missed one even if it was sixty miles away.  He loved
speed and power whether it was in his choices of cars, motorboats or sailboats.  He contributed to his community: Calgary’s Little Theatre, the Music Club, the Town
Planning Commission,  the Exhibition and Stampede, the Alpine Club, the Boys and Girls Club – now Camp Chief Hector, the Good Roads Association (now AMA)
and of course Rotary in Calgary.  He was indefatigable. 76

60 James W. Davidson, Minutes of a Meeting of the Board of Directors of RI, April 6, 1931.  80 typed pages.  RI, Chicago.
61 Paul Harris, “Rotary Begins to Spread”, pages 239-240, in My Road to Rotary, 1948.  “Jim Davidson left America (1928) with full understanding that he had not long to live.”  Davidson still made tri
ps to Chicago, Florida, New Orleans, etc. for Rotary speaking engagements.  Marjory Abramson indicated Jim Davidson suffered a heart attack shortly after his return from the Orient.  The Rotary Weekly Letters of January 4, 1932, February 29, 1932 and April 18, 1932 confirm “a many month – no visitor” hospitalization in Vancouver.  He died of “coronary sclerosis,” the result of cardiac “hypertrophy and dilatation” as per his Vital Statistics record.
62 Lillian D. Davidson, Making New Friends: From Near to Far East for Rotary.  174 pages, Rotary International, 1934.  It included an Introduction by Paul Harris and the Allan D. Albert’s tribute to “Rotary torchbearer James W. Davidson” given at the 1934 RI convention.  The book was a compilation of articles by Lillian Davidson serialized in The Rotarian from 1930-33.  During their serialization Paul
Harris asked, through Jim that he express to Lillian “my appreciation of the splendid series of articles which she has been writing for The Rotarian.  They are little gems…(and)…are entitled to a high
place in Rotariana.”  (n.d. circa late 1931)  Letter in the Abramson Archives.  600 copies of the book were printed.  A copy of Lillian Davidson’s 1932 Seattle convention speech and articles from the
Seattle Post Intelligence, June 23, 1932 were included in N.T. Joseph’s Profile of a Rotarian, pages 68-80.  A 24 page transcript of a taped presentation covering the 1928-31 trip by Marjorie Abramson
to the Ladner Rotary Club, May 1980, has been deposited in the Abramson Archives.  Unfortunately only the first tape has been found and transcribed.  The tape ends in Burma.
63 W.W. Emerson, A Brief History of Rotary in the 4th District, pages 7, 18-20, 40, 43, 49.
64 Sydney W. Pascall, “Backtracking Jim Davidson”, The Rotarian 41(1): 20-22, 52-53, July 1932.  Sydney Pascall was RI President 1931-32.  He was the first non-Canadian or non-American to be President of RI.  Paul Harris was particularly pleased with the Pascall election in June 1931 and wrote to Davidson “I am sure that it was as happy an incident to you as it was to me…It certainly
augers well for the future of Rotary.  We have at last plunged beneath the waters of internationalism”.  (n.d., c1931)  Letter in the Abramson Archives.  For the Allen Albert trip see Making New Friends, pages 173-174.  Allen Albert was RI President in 1915-16.
65 Owen Parnaby, Australia’s First Rotary Club (Melbourne), pages 62-65, Melbourne University Press 2002.  The Paul Harris visit to Rotary Clubs included those in the Philippines, Japan, East Asia,
Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand.
66 Crawford C. McCullough, Report to RI Board.  Deposited in the C.C. McCullough Papers at RI.
67 N.T. Joseph.  James Wheeler Davidson, Profile of a Rotarian, pages 81-108.  Also see N.T. Joseph’s Rotary in India, page 12; The Calgary Rotary Club Cog August 1, 1933; the Calgary Albertan
July 19, 1933.
68 N.T. Joseph.  James Wheeler Davidson, pages 107-108.  Eulogy by Stanley McLeod, August 1933.  Also see the Letter from Crawford McCullough to Lillian Davidson, January 22, 1936, which has attached to it McCullough’s submission to Who Was Who in Canada.  Copy in the Abramson Archives and in the James Davidson chapter, pages 107, 108.
69 J.M. Gunn.  An Appreciation of James Wheeler Davidson F.R.G.S. by Lt. Col. J.N. Gunn, D.S.O., M.D. (n.d.) (circa March 1935).  Dr. Gunn indicated Mount Davidson near Banff had been named
after him.  Copy in the Abramson Archives.  So did the Rotary Weekly Newsletter #30 of 16 May 1935.
70 N.T. Joseph.  James Wheeler Davidson, pages 105-106.
71 Paul Harris in N.T. Joseph’s, James Wheeler Davidson, pages 124-125.
72 Lillian D. Davidson, “My husband’s great love of the circus”.  Notes and recollections by Lillian Davidson (3 pages) and Jim Davidson (4 pages) on circus experiences.  (Abramson Archives)
73 Merrily Aubrey, Letter to R. Lampard, November 21, 2002 Re:  Mount Davidson.  “Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention.”  Ms. Aubrey wrote the letter as Head of the Alberta Geographic
Names program.  Dr. J.N. Gunn initiated the request on behalf of the AMA and the Rotary Club of Calgary, as confirmed in Lillian Davidson’s note on Jim Davidson, Trail Blazer(?).  The first letter
from the Rotary Club of Calgary to the Geographic Names Board was dated November 28, 1934.  The approval letter was dated March 9, 1935.  It referenced the Canadian Geographic Board
Minute (g)II of March 5, 1935.  The Rotary Weekly Letter of May 16, 1935 confirms the name and that “no mark of recognition could have pleased him more.”  The approved location was Tp28R.
10.W of 5th Meridian or approximately 9 kms NNW of the Devils Head and 11 kms N. of Lake Minnewanka, near Banff.  Eastern access is up the Waiparous Creek Valley from the Forestry Trunk
Road (Highway 40) 42 km north of Highway 1A.  The Waiparous Creek was first described by Dr. James Hector on December 10, 1858 (see the Calgary Associate Clinic Historical Bulletin 6(3): 7,
November 1941).  For a more detailed description see David Birrell’s 50 Roadside Panoramas in the Canadian Rockies, pages 100-102, Rocky Mountain Books, 2000 and his website.  Now (2004)
there are four Mount Davidsons in Canada: three in B.C. and one in Alberta.  Mount Davidson can be seen from over 100 miles (160 kms) away in Red Deer.
74 Robert Lampard.  Documented in (1) The Rotarian 182(6): 3, 4, 8, 9, December 2003; (2) The Rotary News Basket, August 27, 2003; (3) The District 5360 Governors Newsletter for August, 2003
on the First Ascent of Mount Davidson: A Banner Day for Rotary; (4) the Alberta Motor Association’s Westworld Magazine pages 10-11, November 2003; (5) the Red Deer Express, July 24th,
pages 1, 3 and August 7th, 2003, pages 1, 12, 13; (6) Tom Keenan in Calgary’s Business Edge, page 20, August 21/28, 2003; (7) John Morran’s Scaling Mount Davidson in Alberta Connections,
page 22, 23, Winter 2004; and (8) Robert Lampard’s Mt Davidson in the Canadian Alpine Journal 87: 129, 130, 2004.
75 Charles D. Smith, “Man with a Many-Sided Career – and still young enough to enjoy a circus.”  The Rotarian 23(4): 21, 54-56, October 1923.  There are a myriad of descriptions of Davidson of which
the best are J.N. Gunn’s Appreciation of James Wheeler Davidson, FRGS (2 pages); N.T. Joseph’s, James Wheeler Davidson which includes a reprinting of Marjory’s “A Daughter’s Impression of her Father” (4 pages), pages 11, 12; C.C. McCullough’s submission to Who Was Who in Canada, Fall 1935 reprinted on pages 107-8; L.D. Case’s, That Man Davidson (7 pages) presented at the Detroit Convention; and H. Hutchroft’s The Life and Work of Jim Davidson (6 pages) presented to the Calgary and Nanaimo Clubs in 1947.
76 Marmie P. Hess, Interview with R. Lampard, August 3, 2003.  20 pages.  Ms. Hess’ father and Jim Davidson were both Rotarians and contemporary Calgary lumbermen.  They included their
daughters in many, usually male only, Rotary events.  Both families lived in the Mount Royal district of Calgary.  Ms. Hess descriptively recalled Jim Davidson’s personality and influence on Calgary and Rotary in his time in a live interview on CBC, August 1, 2003 and in a recorded interview with Robert Lampard August 3, 2003, the day after the climb (copy in the possession of the author).  Ms. Hess
was the Honorary Team Leader for the August 2, 2003 ascent and was named an Honorary member of the Alpine Section of the Rotary Club of Red Deer, along with fourteen other Davidson related Rotarians, several of whom were telephoned from the summit of Mt Davidson on August 2, 2003 (Bhichai Rattakul, George MacDonald, Glen Labuc, Marmie Hess, John Eberhart, Royce Abbey and
Leslie Abramson)

Through their travels the Davidsons became astute collectors of now historical material.  The family has made major donations of: large Arctic artifacts to the HBC
Archives (Winnipeg, 1975); documents on the Second Peary Polar Expedition to the US Public Archives (Washington, 1975); small Arctic artifacts to the Prince of
Wales Museum (Yellowknife, 1990); Far East documents to the Formosa Institute of Taiwan History Academia Sinica (Taipei, 1992); and costumes and jewelry to the
BC Museum of Anthropology (Victoria, 2002).77

Regretfully Davidson’s life and times have been addressed by just a single book, “James Wheeler Davidson, Profile of a Rotarian,” written by Rotarian N.T. Joseph
of Cochin, India in 1987.  The originated from his original research in 1972 for his first book Rotary in India.78  Joseph met Lillian in 1972 three years before her
death in 1975.  He formed a close bond with Davidson’s daughter Marjory Abramson.  It was Rotarian Joseph who thoughtfully invited Marjory to the 1983 Toronto
RI Convention, where she was presented with a citation on the fiftieth anniversary of the death of her father.79

One eulogist writing to Lillian after Jim’s death in 1933 said “His place is with the truly great.  It remains to future generations to chronicle the links in the gold chain
of world peace and international friendship, which he so ably were.”80  Rotary, unbroken by two world wars or the Depression, has become a greater international
power for peace than Davidson and his colleagues could ever have envisaged.81

What effect did spanning the world with Rotary clubs have?  The epicenter of Rotary has now moved toward Asia and those countries in which Davidson planted the
Rotary flag.  Rotary, linked by the ideal of service, has remained a worldwide body.  Unified and cohesive, Rotary has become a spirit and force for goodwill and
fellowship, undiminished by culture, creed or nationality.  More importantly the Object of Rotary to promote Peace, Goodwill and Fellowship, has stood the test of
time, unaltered and unassailed.82

On the occasion of the one-hundredth anniversary of Rotary and Alberta in 2005, no more important step could be taken than to retell the story of this famous world
traveler and the legacy he left.83  For what better way to remind Rotarians, and all world citizens of Davidson’s example of personal Service above Self; his
philanthropy and fellowship; his idealism and goodwill; the friendships he made; the example he set; and the love he held for Rotary; for:

“Wherever there has been glowing generosity,
radiant sympathy, a giving of self through work…
those qualities shine on as the stars shine in the Canadian night.”84

Robert Lampard, M.D.
November 2005

77 Lillian D. Davidson and family, While donations have been made to major Museums in Calgary, Yellowknife, Winnipeg, Washington D.C., Taipei, and Victoria, the personal, private, photographic and Rotary material remain in the Abramson Archives.
78 N.T. Joseph, Rotary in India, 107 pages, Rotary Club of Cochin, India 1972.  Pages 10-20 describe the Davidson travels and chartering of Rotary in India.
79 N.T. Joseph, James Wheeler Davidson, opp. page 52.
80 Stanley McLeod, Quoted in N.T. Joseph’s James Wheeler Davidson, pages 106-107.
81 James W. Davidson, “Rotary as an International Power”, The Rotarian 17(1): 20-21, July 1920.
82 James Angus, Zone 22 contributions to Rotary International, in Under the Northern Lights.  The Story of Rotary in Zone 22, pages 11-22, RI, 2005.  A similar conclusion was reached by D.C. Forward
in his book A Century of Services, pages 193, 200, RI 2003.  Rotary’s pursuit of the Peace initiative reached a high point in 1959.  RI published a book (118 pages) entitled 7 Paths to Peace together
with a 23 page Discussion Guide for International Peace, RI No. 43-A, International Service.
83 David C. Forward, A Century of Service.  The story of Rotary International, pages 74, 82-87, RI 2003.  This 354 page centennial History of Rotary dedicated six pages to the Davidsons’ trips.  It is a readable, well referenced and indispensable introduction to RI.  While Canadian references are not excessive and Dr. McCullough is unmentioned except in the appended presidential summaries,
there are insightful chapters on (1) Rotary goes International (pages 77-87), and (2) Rotary the Peace Maker (page 191-204).
84 Allen D. Albert, “Tribute to a Rotary Torch Bearer”, in Making New Friends, pages 174-175, RI, 1934.  The Albert eulogy was given as part of a memorial service for Jim Davidson at the 1934 Detroit RI Convention.  It was presided over by the 3rd Canadian RI President (1933-1934) John Nelson of Montreal.  The service was described in a letter from John Nelson to Lillian Davidson, July 24, 1934. 
Copy in the Abramson Family Archives.

Back to P. 1