Richard Paul Momsen

Richard Momsen was an American lawyer from Milwaukee who, after qualifying at George Washington University in Washington DC in 1913 with an LL.B, decided to spend two years in South America before setting up in the USA.
He secured a post with the Consular Service in Rio de Janeiro and once settled in Brazil, fell in love with the country and decided to stay there permanently.

From time to time he returned to the USA and in 1916 he attended a meeting of the Chicago Rotary Club and became very enthusiastic about the work of Rotary, especially after meeting and talking to Ches Perry.

In 1917 he was admitted to the Bar in Brazil as well as receiving a further degree from a Rio university.
Two years later, Momsen, now Doctor Momsen, was the Acting Consul General, but in 1919, he resigned his position to set up his own legal firm.

Momsen retained his links with the USA and in 1923 with help from Herbert Coates, he became involved in starting a Rotary Club in Rio.
Coates had also been in Chicago in 1916 and had started a Rotary Club in Uruguay in Montevideo.

Momsen had a great interest in education and was active in the Rio club’s ‘Education Committee’ which in 1948 presented the city with the Escola Rotary, a school for over 1200 pupils.

This initiative was repeated many times by Rotary Clubs throughout Brazil as a result of the efforts of Dr Momsen.

researched by RGHF Senior Historian, Basil Lewis. Posted January 2009