The impact of James Wheeler Davidson on the internationalization of Rotary was, and remains, remarkable. His earlier experiences as an adventurer, a Far East journalist, war correspondent, and US Consul General in Shanghai and help prevent armed conflict before returning to North America to return to business. His active and successful business enterprises led him to Calgary where he joined Rotary and became very dedicated to supporting peace through friendship and expanding Rotary internationally.


  He travelled to Australia and New Zealand in 1921 with Rotarian J.L. Ralston, where they initiated the first four Rotary clubs there.


In 1928-31 he embarked with his wife Lillian and teen daughter Marjory on an ambitious mission to introduce Rotary to the Indian sub-continent and many SE Asia countries. He interviewed 2200 people one-on-one, successfully chartering 23 new Rotary Clubs in 12 countries, ultimately at the expense of his health resulting in his passing in 1933.
The reverence in which “Big Jim” is held in clubs that he chartered is evident in this link to a Video Created by the Rotary Club of Madras, India, in 2013 (7 minutes).
James wrote books on his earlier life, and Dr. Robert Lampard of Red Deer, Alberta researched and published The Life and Times of Rotarian James Wheeler Davidson.
The University of Calgary has published a book that draws on The James Wheeler Davidson Collection at the University of Calgary. The university has also published From Province to Republic to Colony to highlight the contents of its collection.