Texarkana Wilbur Smith Rotary
Interesting Historical Background of the term "Rotary Ann"
Prior to 1987, in many clubs, the wives of the members were called "Rotary Anns". Why were wives of male members affectionately called "Rotary Anns"? The year was 1914 when San Francisco Rotarians boarded a special train to attend the Rotary Convention being held in Houston. In those days few wives attended Rotary events, and until the train stopped in Los Angeles, the only woman aboard was the wife of Rotarian Brunnier. As the train picked up additional convention-bound delegates, Mrs. Ann Brunnier was introduced as the Rotarian's Ann. This title soon became "Rotary Ann". Since the clubs of the west were inviting the Rotarians to hold their next convention in San Francisco, a number of songs and stunts were organized which would be performed in Houston. One of the Rotarians wrote a "Rotary Ann" chant. On the train's arrival at the Houston depot, a delegation greeted the West Coast Rotarians. One of the greeters was Guy Gundaker of Philadelphia, whose wife was also named AnnDuring the rousing demonstration, someone started the Rotary Ann chant. The two petite ladies, Ann Brunnier and Ann Gundaker, were hoisted to the men's shoulders and parade about the hall. The group loved the title given to the two women named Ann. Immediately the same term of endearment was used for all of the wives in attendance and the name "Rotary Ann" was here to stay. Nine years later, in 1923, Guy Gundaker became president of Rotary International. Bru Brunnier was elected president in 1952, 29 years after that. Thus, each of the two original Rotary Anns became the "first lady of Rotary International." Oklahoma City, Club 29 is responsible for the origin of the Rotary Ann auxiliary organization. OKC Rotarian Virgil Browne's wife, Maimee Lee, proposed this organization to Club 29 in November, 1928, and its acceptance has spread to thousands of clubs throughout the Rotary world. One of the purposes of a Rotary Ann Club is to bring into fellowship the families of the members of the Rotary club. Other objectives include assisting Rotarians in the execution of various club and community projects and uphold the purposes and aims of Rotary. - excerpts from rotaryfirst100.org
-Thank you to Jennifer Futrell for the suggestion.