Celebrating 100 Years: A Look Back in Our Club’s History – National Attention in 1952

Rotary Club of Madison-Centennial LogoAs part of our celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Rotary Club of Madison, Jerry Thain and Rich Leffler will be publishing original documents from the Club’s archives and other sources. We hope that these documents will recall for you the rich history of the Club and the times during this momentous century.

This week, Rich Leffler provides the following history piece:

The Rotary Club of Madison has, from its early days, sought members from a cross-section of the community, including faculty members at the University and leaders in the Wisconsin Historical Society. The Club took great pride in 1952 when Newsweek and Time, the two great newsweeklies, printed stories about two Madison Rotarians, Professor Mac McCarty and Society Director Cliff Lord. Mac was one of the leading figures in the University’s effort to create a state broadcasting network and a television station. He served as Club president in 1975–76. Cliff Lord had been Director of the Society for six years in 1952. The Society is one of the greatest libraries in the world for the study of American History (I should know: my life’s work has depended on the Society’s great research collection).

Continuing in this tradition of broad-based membership, today the Club has as members Mike Crane of Wisconsin Public Radio, who joined on October 3, and Society Director Ellsworth Brown, a member since 2005, in addition to new-member Diane Nixa, co-director of the Wisconsin Historical Foundation. (Ron Bornstein, director of Wisconsin Public Television, was president of the Club in 1992–93; Malcolm Brett, director of Broadcasting at UW-Extension and General Manager of WHA-TV, was a longtime member; Dick Erney and Nick Muller were also members when they were directors of the Society.) Ellsworth, by the way, has corrected one of the few mistakes Cliff Lord made: he has restored the Reading Room to its original state, down to the reading lamps, as it was before the “modernization” done in the mid-1950s. The Reading Room is now an architectural masterpiece. You should take a look.

The October 25, 1952, issue of The Rotary News contained the following report by secretary Brud Hunter.

One response to “Celebrating 100 Years: A Look Back in Our Club’s History – National Attention in 1952

  1. Interesting read…..Rich’s comments on Cliff Lord and the Societies incredible library of American History are easy to believe if you were one of the fortunate to join Elsworth last year, on Vocational Fellowship day. In the lower level, not open to the public, you find priceless pieces of American history on every turn……truly amazing.

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