The Wallingford Historical Society welcomed author Fred Carvin for its June meeting. Carvin is the author of the biography entitled Paul Harris and the Birth of Rotary. The meeting was appropriately held in the Rotary building where Harris spent significant time in his youth while living in Wallingford.
Carvin explained in detail the extensive research he conducted over a four-year period to write the book. His research allowed him to spend a significant amount of time here in Vermont, particularly in Wallingford and Fair Haven where Harris and his family lived. Carvin recollected several of Harris’ boyhood escapades that he uncovered while conducting his local research. He then traveled all over the country, wherever Harris spent signficant time, in an effort to research the Rotary founder’s life.
Carvin’s biography is really only the second biography written on Harris’ life. As he explained, while there are presently four books that recount Harris’ life, one was written by Harris, called the Road to Rotary and the two others, written by British authors recount much of the information in the Road to Rotary. Paul Harris and the Birth of Rotary, the fourth book, is a well researched book evidenced by the time and effort Carvin expended in putting together his version as he explained in detail during the course of last night’s program. He was fortunate enough to be permitted access by the Wallingford Rotary to three versions of Harris’ handwritten drafts of The Road to Rotary book which he took months to transcribe in order to gain access to information that was omitted from Harris’ final version and shed light on Harris’ life and those that touched it.
For those of you, like me, that have never read about Paul Harris in detail, Carvin’s book seems to provide an entertaining and very well researched look into one of Wallingford’s famous residents.
A hearty thank you goes out to Fred Carvin and his wife, Judy for taking the time to share their wealth of information with the group and travel here to meet with us. For those of you who were not able to make the program, the book can be purchased online at http://www.paulharrisbook.com .