The first graphic novel dedicated to the youth of Rotary‘s founder

Chicago, February 23, 1905.
Paul Harris tells the story of his life to Silvestre Schiele, Gustav Loehr and Hiram Shorey: thus was born Rotary and began the fascinating journey spreading its ideal all over the world.

This graphic novel is a tribute to the youth of Paul Harris, an extraordinary example to show how a great idea can arise from the simple need to share and communicate.
Paul Harris isn’t a fearless “hero”: he is a strong young man whose determination has been the key to create a world-wide association based on a simple but significant intention: friendship and service above self

A must-have collectible graphic novel for every Rotarian, and a very expressive medium for spreading Rotary’s values.

ISBN 979-12-81244-00-9

The Graphic Novel

This graphic novel was commissioned by the Rotary Club Pistoia-Montecatini Terme (Italy), with the participation of District 2071 through the grant of District Funds provided by the Rotary Foundation, following a thoughtful evaluation of compliance with the principles of the 7 areas of focus of Rotary International.
The initiative moved in accordance with Rotary’s Purpose to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise.

This publication is not an official publication of Rotary International.
In compliance with Code of Policies of Rotary International, the Rotary Club Pistoia-Montecatini Terme, as the owner of the economic rights to the comic book, will allocate all royalties from the sale of this comic book, to the Rotary Foundation and to the implementation of the Club’s charitable projects in the 7 areas of focus of Rotary International. Reports will be posted periodically on the Club’s website.

For Rotary Districts / Clubs

For multiple copy purchases for District / Club activities,
we invite you to contact us for information
about the special quotation reserved for Rotary Districts / Clubs
by sending an e-mail to:


About Rotary

Rotary is a global network of 1.4 million neighbors, friends, and leaders volunteer their skills and resources to solve problems and address community needs, both locally and globally.

Rotary started with the vision of one man — Paul Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on 23 February 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships.
The name “Rotary” arises from the early habit of meeting on a rotating basis at members’ offices.

More info on Rotary’s website

Paul Harris

Paul P. Harris was born on 19 April 1868 in Racine, Wisconsin, USA. At age 3, he moved to Wallingford, Vermont, where he grew up in the care of his paternal grandparents. He attended the University of Vermont and Princeton University and received his law degree from the University of Iowa in 1891.

In 1896, Harris settled in Chicago and opened a law practice. Four years later, he met fellow attorney Bob Frank for dinner on Chicago’s North Side. They walked around the area, stopping at shops along the way. Harris was impressed that Frank was friendly with many of the shopkeepers. He had not seen this kind of camaraderie among businessmen since moving to Chicago and wondered if there was a way to channel it, because it reminded him of growing up in Wallingford. 

Harris eventually persuaded several business associates to discuss the idea of forming an organization for local professionals. On 23 February 1905, Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram Shorey gathered at Loehr’s office in downtown Chicago for what would become known as the first Rotary club meeting.

Harris died on 27 January 1947 in Chicago at age 78, after a prolonged illness. Before his death, he made it known that he preferred contributions to The Rotary Foundation in lieu of flowers. By coincidence, days before he died, Rotary leaders had committed to a major fundraising effort for the Foundation. 

The seven areas of Rotary focus

Rotary’s people of action have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to take action on our world’s most persistent issues. From literacy and peace to water and health, Rotary’s people are always working to better our world, and stay committed to the end.
More than $300 million is awarded annually for sustainable projects and global service initiatives.

Rotary has identified seven areas to target in order to maximize local and global impact.

Rotary's 7 areas of focus


February 23, 1905: in an office at the Unity Building, Paul Harris tells his life to Silvestre Schiele, a Jew of German origin and coal merchant, Gustav Loehr, a Catholic of Irish origin and mining engineer, and to Hiram Shorey, a Protestant of Swedish origin and tailor. 

The story takes place on two timelines that are alternated throughout the narrative: the years of Paul’s childhood in the “ideal” society of the Wallingford valley in Vermont, and the years of maturity in the hard reality of the city of Chicago.
The story begins with the memories from 1871 to 1886: facts and places that show the most intimate and nostalgic side of Paul. From the faces of the city’s inhabitants, to the scents and colors of the shops frequented as a child; and then sledding in winter, swimming in lakes, fishing in streams, caramelized maple syrup and so on.
His memory goes back to the years with his brother Cecil and his friend Fay Stafford, to the m playing hooky to go in search of Captain Kidd’s treasure on the White Rocks, to his dreams for his future – locomotive engineer, soldier, sailor, leader, spy … – up to the memories of his ancestors, John Alden and his grandfather Harry Bryan, pioneers and adventurers: the first arrived with the Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower in America, the second went west to look for gold, and instead of gold he found the wise teachings of an old Navajo chieftain.

This flow is contrasted with the Chicago of 1896, a chaotic, dirty city full of corruption, buildings burned down by the fire of a few years earlier, smog from factories and hundreds of strangers in the streets. Paul experiences his own solitude, made up of Sundays in church, in the park surrounded by unknown faces, at the table of a diner or alone at home staring out the window. One day Paul, among the books he studies, also finds an old copy of Thoreau’s “Walden”, which his grandfather had given him. 
A flashback begins where Paul remembers life with his grandfather and grandmother and their teachings, but also the conflicts with them, due to their criticisms of his parents. The flashback ends with Paul recounting his grandfather’s death in 1888 and how this story marked his entire life.

Paul, alone and lost in memory, reads the “Walden”. He is in the darkest moment of his life: the law firm is not going well, he has no friends, he has no prospects. In the small rented house in Jefferson Street, he sees himself appear as a boy, who scolds him, telling him that he is losing himself and that he must follow the boy inside him. Paul then recalls a conversation he had with his grandmother in 1890 in which she reminds him how much his grandfather believed in him.
Paul decides to get in action and contacts Bob Franks, a colleague. After a walk in which Bob introduces him to some entrepreneurs of the city, Paul is amazed at how his friend manages to build confidential relationships and the mutual support that all those people give each other. This reminds Paul of life in Wallingford Valley, where people helped each other, and all of them were committed to the community.

These memories lead him to the foundation of Rotary to bring back that tolerance, that respect, that idea of ​​service and community, in a world that has made individualism and selfishness its only banners.

Thus begins the wonderful journey of an ideal that has spread throughout the world.

Get in touch with Young Paul Harris

Who was Paul Harris? How had he spent his childhood? How did the idea of founding Rotary come about?
This graphic novel introduces the storytelling of the Founder’s life to young people (and others) in a simple but very expressive medium.

This work is offered to all Rotary members and to all the young of the world, with the hope that they can take on the values of friendship, love for their neighbor and service that Paul Harris had made his own.

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Andrea Meucci

Born in Florence in 1984. From childhood he was an avid reader and tireless storyteller.
In elementary schools he began to collect, invent and tell stories, even drawing them, so much so that after the Liceo Classico and some publications in newspapers and from various authors, he graduated in Historical Science. He then attended a screenplay course at the International School of Comics in Florence. Passionate about fairy tales, medieval history, role-playing games, mythology and folklore, he began working as a screenwriter. in 2015 and has since published comics, among others, published Double Shot, Kleiner Flug, BD, Newton Compton.

Vincenzo Angelo Arces

Born in Locorotondo in 1977. He made his professional debut in 2005, drawing some free stories for the magazines Lanciostory and Skorpio, on texts of Lorenzo Bartoli, Ottavio de Angelis, Alessandro Bottero and Diego Cajelli. In 2008 he joined the staff of “Unità Speciale” series. In 2009 he drew some numbers of the “Nucleo Operativo” series. In 2018, at Lucca Comics & Games, he presented “St. John Paul II, the life and works of Pope Wojtyla”, a graphic novel, using texts by Mario Leocata, published by Editoriale Aurea. He is currently working, for Editoriale Aurea, on the Freeman series, invented and written by Gianluca Piredda.

Rotary Club Pistoia–Montecatini Terme
(ID Club 12365)
Piazza dello Spirito Santo 1 – 51100 Pistoia (Italy)
Fiscal Code IT90014370473
info at

Young Paul Harris
(ISBN 979-12-81244-00-9)
is distributed by
La Traccia Buona Edizioni

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