Chesley R. Reynolds (Ches) Perry

Chesley R. Reynolds (Ches) Perry

Ches Perry was a librarian and a veteran of the Spanish-American War of 1898 in which he served as an officer in the National Guard, joined the Chicago club on 23 January 1908, and served on a number of committees. In 1910 as the chairman of the club’s Extension Committee he invited delegates of the sixteen existing clubs to meet at the Congress Hotel in Chicago to form a National Association of Rotary clubs. Perry became the General Secretary of the Association, initially on a part-time basis with a salary of $100.00 per month and $25.00 expense allowance and an office was rented at $50.00 per month. Ches Perry served Rotary as General Secretary until his retirement at the conclusion of the Toronto Convention on 30 June 1942. Perry initiated the name badge and the first Rotary magazine which was named “The National Rotarian” and later “The Rotarian” which he edited for 17 years.

At the second Convention of the National Association of Rotary Clubs, held in Portland, Oregon, Elmer Rich, the Treasurer, reported as follows:

Total receipts $2,661.76,    Total Expenditures $2,617.38,   Balance on Hand $44.38

Ches Perry, Secretary, reported he had to pay $25 .00 a month for office rent. He was to get $100.00 a month for salary for a part-time job. He reported debts of $514.00 unpaid. He actually only got $428.40 for his year’s work. The President’s office expenses were $111.79; Vice-Pres. $2.50; Ches. Perry had to pay $816.75 of his salary himself to settle debts and he was never reimbursed for this expenditure. In 1912 he was elected General Secretary of Rotary International with a salary of $1,800 per annum.

Throughout his long tenure, Ches Perry supervised the rapid expansion of the Rotary movement into many countries, always ensuring that each new club that was formed followed the same structure as that created from the first club in Chicago, no simple matter considering the complexity of differing nationalities, customs and languages. Paul Harris acknowledged that although he was the” Architect,” Ches Perry “was the Builder of Rotary.” Following his retirement as General Secretary he became president of the Chicago club in 1944-45.

Ches Perry died on 21 February, 1960


Memorabilia of Chesley Perry

Chesley Reynolds Perry (1872 – 1960)
Secretary of Rotary International 1910 – 1942

Ches Perry’s Rotary Pin

Member of the Rotary Club of Chicago since 1908 50th Ann. Award from RC of Chicago

Rotary Club of Chicago honors Chesley R. Perry on his 50th anniversary as an exemplary member of the founder club Mitchel P. Davis, President 1957 – 58

From the Rotary Club of Osaka, presented in 1930

From the Rotary Club of Osaka, back inscription:

Chesley R. Perry Builder of Rotary With affectionate greetings from The Rotary Club of Osaka
June, 1930

And presentation case

From the Rotary Club of Guayaquil (14K gold), inscribed on the back Club Rotario Guayaquil, 1927-1952

Military Awards, likely from Perry’s service during the Spanish American War

Cuban Civilian Award: Knight’s Cross of Manuel des Cespedes

The back of the same award

Received during the Ostende convention of 1927 (possibly from the Crown Prince of Belgium) was the Officers Cross of the Order of the Crown of Belgium

During the convention in Vienna in 1931 he received the Goldenes Ehrenzeichen

During the convention in Nice in 1937 he received the Knight of Legion of Honor (Ches received three decorations during his lifetime as a Rotarian.)

Ches Perry’s Military Decorations

“Army of Occupation – Cuba” 1898-1902

Decoration from the American Legion in 1933

Perry’s belt buckle from the Spanish American War

Three Regimental Tokens, used for trade