The Histories of Kiwanis

This page is not about the history of Kiwanis, but about the various histories of Kiwanis that have been written over the years.

I have accumulated copies of several of the histories which have been written, and they make interesting reading, both as history books and to compare to one another to see how perspectives have changed over time.

We Build, The Story of Kiwanis

Published in 1942 by Kiwanis International, this book was written by John H. Moss and Merton S. Heiss. The book has 162 pages. Heiss was editor of Kiwanis magazine from 1936-43, and Moss served as Kiwanis International president in 1925-26 and afterwards served many years at the official historian for Kiwanis.

The History of Kiwanis

Published in 1946, the 197-page book details the history of Kiwanis from 1915 through June 1946. Described as a revision of the 1942 book, it lists no authors. The book is dedicated to the 229 Kiwanians who died in World War II and the 15,047 Kiwanians who served in the armed forces during the war.

The book adds a chapter to the 1942 volume recording the developments in Kiwanis during the war years.

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The Widening Path

Subtitled, "An Interpretive Record of Kiwanis," this 1949 book was written by Oren Arnold. The 140-page book draws on the Kiwanis historical record with the goal of inspiring Kiwanians in their community service. It is less historical than the others. It includes drawings but no photographs.

The book includes many inspirational stories about Kiwanis activities around North America. Arnold, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Phoenix, Arizona, revised the book 10 times, the last in 1972.

The first cover shown is of the 1949 edition; the second is the final version, published in 1972.

The Men who wear the K

Subtitled "The Story of Kiwanis," this book was written in 1981 by L.A. "Larry" Hapgood, who had served as governor of the New York District in 1952 and served on the Kiwanis International staff from 1952-1978.

The 241-page book includes many lists of those involved in Kiwanis, as well as pictures from events throughout Kiwanis' history.

Dimensions of Service

Subtitled "The Kiwanis Story," and published in 1989, this history was an update by L.A. "Larry" Hapgood of his 1981 book. Its title was changed to reflect the change in the organization itself that occurred in 1987 when women were admitted to Kiwanis for the first time, and to chronicle those events which were so pivotal in the organization's history.

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The Kiwanis Legacy

A treasury of Kiwanis history, celebrating 90 years of service and fellowship. The two-volume, hard bound box set is illustrated with black-and-white and color photographs and takes readers on a journey through Kiwanis' distant and not-so-distant past. It was written by Chuck Jonak, former Kiwanis magazine managing editor.

Published in 2004 in anticipation of the 90th anniversary of Kiwanis in 2005, the first volume is subtitled "Building Communities 1915-1959", and the second volume is subtitled "Serving the World 1960-2004".

Kiwanis Song Books

Many Kiwanis Song Books have been published over the years. The one pictured at right, "Songs of Kiwanis," was originally compiled by the International Committee on Music in 1920-24 and revised by the same committee in 1926-27.

"The present editors have tried to make the book practical for the Kiwanians of today," wrote the editors only 12 years after Kiwanis came into existence.

The book includes suggestions for Kiwanis song leaders, and songs with titles like "Onward in Kiwanis," "Kiwanis," and "I'd Rather Belong to Kiwanis," along with many old standbys. The 128-page book also includes a list of suggested songs for special occasions, including Bastille Day and Washington's Birthday.

The newest version of the book, published in 1989, is on sale in the Kiwanis International online store.

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The Sacred Ninety Minutes

Oren Arnold (author of the Widening Path books above) also wrote a book about the service club movement, "The Sacred Ninety Minutes".

The book, published in 1975, provides a history of the three major service organizations as well as many smaller ones, noting the differences in the organizations' cultures.

My copy was autographed by Arnold, as shown at right. Arnold died in 1980.