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JUNE, 1941
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• * • iv
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS............................... . • v
ORGANIZATION ......................................
The Forrn of the Organization
The Public Relations of the Organization
Relation of the Chicago Association of Commerce
to Other Similar Organizations
II. DOMESTIC COMMERCE— MARKET P R O M O T I O N ................ 48
Nature of the t^arket
Market Events
Trade Extension
Industrial Development
Market Analysis and Protection
Transportation by Rail
Transportation by Water
IV. FOREIGN COMMERCE..............
Foreign Trade Promotion at the Central Office
Relations with the Federal Government and with
the Railroads
Trade Promotion in Foreign Markets
Lobbyi ng
The History of the Association in Politics
Civic Problems Given Continuous Study
Special Investigations
Specific Studies of Civic Problems
CONCLUSION.............................................. 191
- ii Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Chart of the Organization of the Cincinnati
Chamber of Commerce................ ..
APPENDIX B Committees with Which the ReorganizedBoston
Chamber of Commerce Started Work ..........
APPENDIX C Committees of the Cleveland Chamber of
Commerce . .........................
- ill .
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1. Personal Bata on Men Who Have Been President of
the Chicago Association of Commerce . . . . . .
2. Geographical Distribution of Country Merchants
Attending Association’s Market Week, Fourth Day
Meetings of 1906
3. Railway Lines Communicating Directly with
Chicago in 1904
4. Railway Lines Communicating Directly with
Chicago in 1939 ...............................
5. L.C.L. Shipments, First 11 Months, 1928 and
6. Shipments of Grain and Flour by Lake from
Chi ca go...............................
7. Expenditures of the C.A.C. for the Promotion of
Water Transportation .............. . . . . .
8. Value of Merchandise Passing through New York
and Chicago Customs for Selected Years . . . .
9. Foreign Trade of Chicago with Selected
10. Attitude of the C.A.C. on Measures Pending in
the State Legislature, 1925 ...................
11. Humber of Cars Entering Downtown Area on a
Typical Day in May .
- iv -
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1. Graph of Membership of the Chicago Association
of Commerce.................................
Organisation of the Chicago Association of
Commerce, 1939-1940 .........................
Chart Showing Proposed Reorganization of the
Chicago Association of Commerce.........
Chart Showing the dumber of Principal Officers
of the C.A.C. Whose Firms Were Also Members of
the Illinois Manufacturers' Association . . . .
Number of Conventions Held in Chicago oince
the Founding of the Convention Bureau of the
Chicago Association of Commerce ..............
Chicago Harbor and Adjacent Ports ...........
Illinois Waterway ...........................
Tonnage Chart— Illinois Waterway ...........
Chart of the Organization of the Cincinnati
Chamber of Commerce.........................
- v Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Among American cities from Charleston to San Francisco,
from New Orleans to 34. Paul, urban personalities emerge as unique
as their peculiar histories. The forces which create and shape
them are subtle,' so much so that a true portrait must be greatly
simplified in order to preserve beauty of color and coherence of
line. How best to sake the lines bold and sure is a challenge to
technique. And yet, who would not concede that it would be an
American unworthy of his heritage who did not feel differently on
Fifth Avenue than on the "Boul. Mich."? Aside from the obvious
dissimilarities of climate and buildings, what makes that feeling
of difference?
Although It is possible to feel the difference between New
York and Chicago without any great knowledge of either, cities
respond to a warmth of understanding in their visitors. Under­
standing implies a depth of goodwill, but also an accretion of
facts, small, inconsequential facts such as burnt toast for break­
fast, as well as catastrophes like ruined businesses and the death
of sons. Cities experience new streets, a railroad, market-days,
fires, riots, parades, reforms, dedications. These go into the
making of a city.
An interested man does not believe that he knows M s friend
until he knows something of his pleasure and his pain. Neither
does he know a city until he has learned how it makes its living,
protects its dependents, rewards its leaders, and builds for new
generations. No single study can describe for even an interested
reader all of these corporate experiences. Made simple enough,
however, it can suggest them. The present chapters are concerned
with the history and activity of only one institution, the Chicago
Association of Commerce. An organization of middle-class business
men, its interests are naturally those of the employers of the
c o m m u n i t y S o m e histories of Chicago labor organizations exist,
Charles and Mary Beard, America in Mldoasaage (New York:
The Macmillan Co., 1939), p. 563. The term "employers’ associa­
tion" is used in the text of this study also in a generalized
" 1 •
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but information concerning employers' organizations is not so
abundant. To make a little less indistinct the picture of
Chicago's commercial life, and hence to contribute a grain of pig­
ment to the portrait of Chicago, the city, is the general aim of
this study.
No group arrives at organization at once, and the business­
men of Chicago made several spasmodic attempts to achieve cohe­
sion before founding their present merchants', manufacturers', and
bankers' club.' Probably the earliest association to call itself
a chamber of commerce was a number of schismatics from the Board
of Trade who fell to quarreling in 1863 over issues pertaining to
the Civil War. Eventually their differences were healed and the
Chamber of Commerce retained its identity only because the char­
ter it had obtained from the state permitted it to erect a build­
ing. 3o complete was the reconciliation that the Board of Trade
utilized the Chamber as a "building organization and landlord."1
The building was located on the southeast corner of Washington
and La Salle Streets. "The design was not strictly in accordance
with any known style of architecture, the aesthetic element in
art being kept in subservience to the practical uses for which
the building was planned, and restricted by the economic limita2
tions to the cost of the proposed structure."
Yet this early
organization seems to have defined its purpose and to have ful­
filled it.
Years later some ninety-three merchants and manufacturers
decided that conservative businessmen of the city should unite
to further its commercial affairs and work together for the bet­
terment of its civic life.'1’ Accordingly, in October of 1904, the
sense and not in the more specific form of such writers as
Clarence E. Bonnet who, in his Employers' Associations in the
United States (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1922) defines such a
group as one "which seeks to promote the employers' interest in
labor matters" (p. 13). The labor policy of the C.A.C. is treat­
ed on pp. 176-78, infra . but the formulation of labor policies
is incidental to the main purpose of the organization which is
market promotion.
^Richard Cummings, "Development of the Board of Trade,
1848-1870" (unpublished M3, The University of Chicago, Department
of History, 1935), p. 27.
2A. T. Andreas, History of Chicago (Chicago: A. T. Andreas
Co., 1885), II, 358.
Chicago Commerce. December 7, 1929, p. 26.
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Chicago Association of Travellers and Merchants merged with the
Chicago Commercial Association to form the nucleus of the present
organization."*- Known at first as the Chicago Commercial Associa­
tion, repeated confusion with the Chicago Commercial Club resulted
in a decision in 1907 to assume the present title.
A still clear­
er identity might have been achieved had the group been able' to
be known as the Chicago Chamber of Commerce, for it is as a mod­
ern chamber of commerce that it functions. The chief purpose of
the Association is to promote the interests of the Chicago market.
Indeed its most popular slogan has been "The Great Central Market"
to the enlargement of which it directs its major efforts. In
thirty-five years of life, however, the organization has discov­
ered that the promotion of a market has guided its interests into
allied fields. Fairly obvious are the reasons why its members
should desire what they consider proper laws and adequate repre­
sentation of business thought in local, state, and federal govern­
ments. Ultimately apparent also are the reasons for its interest
in such civic matters as taxes, traffic, hospitals, schools, and
control of crime.
Interests ranging from technical information on railroad
tariffs to vocational guidance in the city high schools require
careful and continuous restatement. In order that each member of
the Association may be quite certain of the plans and aspirations
of his club, it has been the custom of the officers to formulate
an annual statement of major and secondary objectives. Such
statements are to be found in profusion among the records of the
Association and achieve wide circulation among the members. A
typical statement was that for 1938 which included:
Enlargement of our Industrial Development Department for
more intensive field work to get new industries for Chicago.
Modernization of the Chicago Building Code.
An early settlement of the local traction question.
A complete re-zoning of ail Chicago. It is imperative for
the industrial and residential growth of Chicago that every ef­
fort be made to promote this movement.
Enactment of a drivers’ license bill to promote greater
public safety.
*Bulletin. June 8, 1906.
Ibid.. June 26, 1907.
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- 4 Further rehabilitation of Navy Pier into a completely mod­
e m convention hall.
Continued efforts to secure amendments to the Wagner Labor
Passage of the Pettingill Long and Short Haul Bill (H.P..
1668) contemplating the modification of the Fourth Section of
the Interstate Commerce Act in the interest of the interior
shippers and the railroads.
Adoption by individual companies working where possible
with their own employees of an advertising campgign on "What
Helps Business Helps you" to present the real story of busi­
ness to the general public.*
The secondary objectives were eighteen in number, and were
concerned with such issues as improvements in the various publica­
tions of the organization, increasing the facilities for conven­
tions to be held in Chicago, adding to the variety of trade shows
and selling events, and further enlargements upon the political
and civic program of the Association. According to its own esti­
mate, these many activities of the Association in stimulating
trade, in saving taxes and so forth are annually worth two hun2
dred million dollars to Chicago's businessmen.
To carry on so extended a program it has been necessary to
have permanent headquarters. The first of these was established
in 1S05 on the ninth floor of the Great Northern Building-at
77 Jackson Boulevard.
Later, for a period of some fifteen years,
the official home was at 10 South La Salle Street, but in May of
1930, larger quarters were taken on the twenty-third floor of
1 North La Salle Street, where it has remained to the present.
From the foregoing it will be apparent that a high degree
of organization has been achieved by the Association. In fact,
the perfection of its structure reveals so much that is character­
istic of the methods of Chicago business that an entire section
of this study will be devoted to the topic. An accounting of the
Association's efforts to promote domestic and foreign commerce
will then be made, for here is the announced and accepted field
^Mimeographed leaflet procured at the central office of
SBulletin. June 1, 1905, p. 1.
Chicago Commerce. November 23, 1929, p. 8.
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of its greatest work. Activities in politics and civic projects
will then be treated, and finally, an attempt will be made to show
something of the value of the organization to the individual
Chicagoans who have Joined its ranks and dedicated their time and
enthusiasm to furthering its interests.
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The Form of the Organization
The members of the Chicago Association of Commerce are re­
cruited from the ranks of Chicago's businessmen. "Any individual,
firm or corporation, in good standing, resident or doing business
in Chicago, whose connection with the Association will promote
its usefulness, may be elected to a sustaining membership."*
Many individuals and firms join the group without solicitation,
but active recruiting is carried on almost constantly by a member­
ship committee. . In the early days of the organization, solicitors
were employed to secure new members at a commission of ten dollars
a membership, but this method was soon discontinued. Teams of
members conduct drives, and competition among the teams is whet3
ted by publication of records, and by banquets for the winners.
In addition to the memberships gained by the volunteer workers,
there are also full tipe employees on the administrative staff
who solicit firms and individuals to join. Others devote their
efforts to collections and reinstatements of resignations.
bership is annually renewable, but that many members have main­
tained a continuous interest in their organization is attested by
the fact that between two and three hundred firms celebrated
By-Laws of the Association of Commerce. Article IV, Sec.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1907," Bulletin, p. 16.
3Ibid.. 1913, p. 74.
Byres H. Getchell, "The Best Methods of Sustaining and
Increasing Membership," Commercial Organizations, ed. George
Bruce (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1920), p. 203. Mr.
Getchell also mentions the use of the commission system in secur­
ing new members. He says that the Chicago Association has tried
the system several times and finally abandoned it (p. 198).
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twenty-five years of membership with the twenty-fifth anniversary
of the Association.^
Membership in the Association of Commerce is, of coarse,
voluntary, and the dues are fifty dollars a year. Although the
membership fluctuates with business conditions, it is at present
close to four thousand. The accompanying graph shows the curve
somewhat on the upgrade after the shocks of recent depression.
If four thousand businessmen are to remain banded together of
their own free will, they must have an organization which meets
the requirements of individuals of many different interests and
capacities. It has been the aim of a continuous group of able
officials to devise a system which would assure to each member a
place in a small group of associates whose businesses were similar
to his own, and moreover, to enlist his interest in the business
life of the whole city. Consequently, each member is assigned to
an appropriate trade subdivision. If his enthusiasm for the ac­
tivities of the organization is slight, he may content himself
with attending the meetings of his subdivision and such general
dinners, luncheons, and banquets as appeal to his fancy. But it
is the intention of the moving spirits in the C.A.C. that as large
a number of members as possible shall assume some further respon2
sibility for' its business and civic programs.
Perhaps more active than any other one influence in excit­
ing the interest of the members are the weekly luncheon meetings
of the V<ays and Means Committee. These luncheons are the constant
forura of the Association, and a great variety of speakers is ob­
tained for its edification. The variety is inconsciously epito­
mized in a remark of Mr. Elmo J. Bowdall, who served as chairman
of the Reception Committee in 1922.
At some of the particularly big meetings [he wrote] like
those where the Association was addressed by General Pershing,
Sir Harry Lauder and Andy Gump, tact was required to satisfy :
those who were fortunate enough to have tickets, and to use
diplomacy in explaining-to others the impossibility of taking
care of everyone. . . .
^Chicago Commerce. January 1.B, 1930, p. 16.
"The Buyers' Guide," published with Chicago Commerce.
March, 1939, mentions 5? trade committees, 39 functional committees
and 900 actively working members.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1922," Chicago Commerce. January 13, 1923, p. £2.
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_ 8 -
F c j u.7-e f
Cr i-a p h o / jy iG r r ib
g t -iSht-p o f the.
A & iS O c tc z tto n off CQ+nmerce
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To enable the members to carry out their programs, a large
number of committees has been created. Many of the committees of
the C.A.C. are ephemeral, being called into existence for a speci­
fic and passing purpose such as raising money for the victims of
flood disaster. There are also standing committees varying in
number through the years, from nine in 1905 to thirty-five ih
1938 .A The chairmanship of one of the large standing committees,
such as the Ways and Means Committee, is deemed a considerable
honor and frequently serves as a preliminary training period for
one of the executive offices. Some idea of the demands made upon
the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee may be gained by the
number of its meetings during a year. In 1915, which appears to
have been a banner year for committee meetings, the Ways and Means
Committee alone met fifty-four times. The total number of meet­
ings for that year was 757. Feeling, perhaps, that greater ef­
ficiency could be obtained if the number of meetings did not be­
come a burden, a determined effort had lessened them to 418 in
Not unique in their devotion are the members of the Ways
and Means Committee. In 1930, for example, there were thirty
general meetings of the Advertising Council, forty-two of the
Executive Committee, forty-two of the Illinois, and forty of the
Membership Committee.
An early realization of the demands of
committee work upon the time of busy men was voiced by Mr. Edward
Skinner, a chairman of the Executive Committee, in the columns of
Chicago Commerce:
- Taking as a base [said Mr. Skinner] the ten days of ser­
vice devoted by each member of the Executive Committee for the
year and multiplying it by the 378 members serving on all com­
mittees, it will be. easy to grasp some idea of the great sac­
rifice and enormous value of time alone that is being contrib­
uted to the work of this association. The following is a sum­
mary of time spent in sessions of the Executive Committee dur­
ing the past year;
1Bulletin. June 1, 1905, p. 2; "Annual Report of the
Chicago Association of Commerce, 193S.” Chicago Commerce.
February, 1939, p. 44.
Ibid., 1915j "Annual Report of the Chicago Association of
Commerce, 1936,“ op. cit.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1930," Chicago Commerce. January 31, 1931.
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Members of the committee including president
(ex officio) . . . . . . . . . . . ................
dumber of Executive Committee meetings held . . .
Average attendance at each meeting . . . . . . .
Average time at each meeting
£ hours
Number of hours devoted to committee .work . . . .
Number of days, eight hours per d a y ............
Average number of days devoted by each member
of the c o m m i t t e e .................................
Membership on a committee is determined largely by recom­
mendation of the Committee on Personnel, which keeps a close ac­
count of the "service record" of each sustaining member, and makes
an equally close study of the accomplishments of the committees.
It is, of course, possible for a member to serve on several com­
mittees simultaneously, but it is the stated intention of the
Personnel Committee to follow a policy of rotation in office so
as to encourage as large a number as possible to assume active
The actual work of these will be con­
sidered in chapters ii through vii. Here is indicated only their
place in the general scheme of the organization.
Neither committee organization, nor the type of work taken
up by them is peculiar to the Chicago Association. The Cleveland
Chamber of Commerce, which came into being in its present form in
1893, has followed a plan very similar to that of the Chicago As­
sociation. So also have the Boston Chamber and that of Cincinnati.
A chart of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce as it was in 1920
and a list of the standing'committees for both the Cleveland and
the Eoston Chambers are to be found in Appendices A, B, and C,
showing how closely these organizations resemble one another in
purpose and form.
Charting the work of the Chicago committees presents vari­
ous difficulties, but in general their relationship to the total
work of the organization is revealed by the accompanying figure.
Two objections may well be levelled at this diagram: the first is
that it does not emphasize the directing force of the paid chief
March 1, 1909, p. 22.
Chicago Commerce. January 15, 1920, p. 31,
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- 11 -
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* 12 *
Organization of Standing Committees of the C.A.C.
for 1940
Domestic Commerce
Domestic Commerce
Agricultural Council
Business Research
Economic Policies
Illinois Committee
Postal Service
Foreign Commerce
Cartage Theft
Harbors and Waterways
Industrial Traffic Council
Industrial Development
Convention Bureau
Civic Affairs
Civic Affairs
Community Service
Federal Revenue and
Fire Prevention
Public Improvements
State and Municipal
Street Traffic
Subscriptions Investigating
Building Construction Council
All Chicago Council
Education and Culture
Golden Keys Clubs
Special Events
Fellowship Forum
Glee Club
Reception— Reception Reserve
Ways and Means
General Publicity
Public Relations
Advisory Policy
Senior Council
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13 -
Trade Subdivisions of the Chicago Association
of Commerce in Use, January, 1940
Accountants, Auditors and
Amusements, Shows and
Sports Goods
Automobiles,' Tire Parts
and Accessories
Board of Trade
Box Board Products
Beverages, Syrups and
Fountain Apparatus
Business Service
Chemicals, Drugs and
Kindred Lines
Clothing: Men's Wear
Woolens and Knit Goods
Clothing: Women's and
Children's; and
Coal, Coke, and Ice
Contractors and Euilding
Dry Goods, General Mer­
chandise and Kindred
Educational Institutions
Electrical Industries
Financial: Eanks and
Financial: Investment
Florists, Seedsmen, and
Nursery Products
Furniture: Frames; Bank
Office and Store
Groceries, Confectionery
Food Products and
Allied Lines
Hardware and Kindred Lines
Iron, Steel, Brass and
Jewelers, Optical and
Kindred Lines
Leather and Kindred Line's
Lumber, Wooden Boxes, Millisork and Cooperage
Members at Large
Office Appliances and
Packing and Live Stock
Paints and Glass
Paper and Envelopes
Physicians, Surgeons, and
Heating, Plumbing and Air
Printing Industries: Printers
Lithographers and Binders
Printing Industries: Printers
and Bookbinders’ Machinery
and Supplies
Printing Industries: Photo­
graphers, Engravers,
Produce and Dairy
Public Utilities
Publishers: Book and School
Publishers: Business Publi­
cations and Directories
Publishers: Newspapers,
Magazines and Publishers’
Railway Supplies and Equip­
Realty Interests
Restaurants and Caterers
Transfer, Storage and Freight
Travel and Transport
Personal Finance
Laundries, Linen, and Towel
Gasoline and Oil
Motor Truck Industries
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
— 14 —
executive officer, and the other that the exuberant growth of
committees during the past thirty-five years is not so orderly as
the figure would indicate. The organization itself has criticized
the coherence of its own structure and during the year of 1939
called in a new chief executive officer to reorganize it. The
standing committees and the trade subdivisions are appended to
Figure 2 to insure a complete picture of the present organization.
According to plans current in -July , 1940, the new Chief
Executive Officer, Mr. Leverett Lyon, has suggested a realignment
of committee activities along functional lines. This change sim­
plifies the classification of committee work as can be seen from
Mr. Lyon's diagram (Figure 3). At present, as the diagram shows,
the committees are grouped into appropriate divisions of which
there are ten, each headed by a vice-president. These divisions
are*. Domestic Commerce, Foreign Commerce, Industrial Development,
Convention Bureau, Civic Affairs, Building Construction Council,
All-Chicago Council, Education and Culture, Special Events, Trans­
portation. This divisional grouping is new, having been made by
amendments to the by-laws in November of 1939, at which time the
Transportation Bureau was made into a separate division, and the
Building Construction Council, The All-Chicago Council, and the
division of Education and Culture and that for Special Events were
created from several existing subdivisions^.1 Before the recent
revision of the by-laws, the Executive Committee was the guiding
force in the organization, but that committee has now been merged
with -the Eoard of Directors. The Board consists of fifty-two mem­
bers who- are representative of ail types of Association activity.
The officers are ex officio members of the Board.10
As with most organizations planned to function efficiently,
concentration of authority must occur in some one office, and with
the C.A.C. this concentration is in the office of president. *The
President shall supervise the executive affairs of the Association
and make an annual report thereof to the sustaining members. He
shall preside at all meetings of the Association and of the Board
of Directors. He shall be ex officio a member of all committees.*
^Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1939," Chicago Commerce. February, 1940, p. 32.
38y~Laws, Article V, Sec. 2.
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Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 16 This is a considerable charter of power and of responsibility,
indeed so much of a one that before the Association was ten years
old, a Senior Council had been created. Composed of the former
presidents and vice-presidents of the organization, it has served
as an advisory and policy determining body to aid the acting
president. It is always difficult to define the limits of poteer
to an office when manifestly a great portion of its effectiveness
depends upon the personality of the incumbent. But his opportuni­
ties to exert influence as well as the encroachments upon the
energies of the president are indicated in the following quota­
tion from the Annual Report of Eugene tJ. Kirabarkj
The demands upon the time of those who take part in asso­
ciation affairs may not be generally understood or appreciated.
It may be stated as a matter of record, for instance, that
your president has attended during the year of his service, in
addition to numerous daily informal conferences at his own of­
fice and at the office of the association, three-hundred and
twenty formal meetings, dinners and banquets.!
Because the honor was great and the responsibilities heavy,
it was thought best at first to have the president serve only one
year. Although David R. Forgan and John w. O ’Leary served through
two terms, this policy was not changed until the advent of
William R. Dawes in 1924.
A variety of firms and types of business have been repre­
sented in the persons of the twenty-five men who have assumed the
honors and duties of the presidency. It is an indication of the
importance of the office that these men should have been willing ;
to contribute their services to the organization. Following is a
chart giving personal data on the men who have been the Associa­
tion presidents. From it, it is possible to describe the type of
man who has directed its work. He has been in his early middle
age, married, the father of a family, of no great formal education,
and, by definition actively engaged in business^ If he cared to
state his political preference, it was Republican; and his reli­
gion, if acknowledged was Protestant. Socially he was likely to
belong to the Union League Club, a country club, an- athletic club,
and not infrequently to the exclusive Commercial Club, so that
although he may have started with little, he eventually achieved
substantial success.
And finally, h# was American.
Some devia-
1912, p. 2.
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- 17
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with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without
Age on
No. of
Year of Business Becom­ Country
Education Chil- Political
Holding Classi­
Office fication Presi­ Birth
Prank P. Winona.. „. 1929
Charles W. Seabury. 1929
Robert I. Randolph.. 1930-31 Engineer
George w * Rossetter 1932-33 Public
George W» Young..** 1934
Charles L. Rice*..* 1936-36 Western
1937-40 Packer
H a rtoyi
AT* .
X 9 U
I —* V
9 •
* *
Univ. of
9 »
can .
O 0 9 9 9 9 9 9 *
« * * * > • • « * •
v i i ■« w w >—
9 9 9 * * 9 9 0
Episco­ Union League
Episco­ University
Episco­ Union League
9 * *
* o
0 9 9 9 0 0
Union League:
La Grange
Lubhex41- Unlversitv
9 9 9 *
Examples of
Social Clubs
9 9
V . * *A* V ——
* 1#
- 20 tion from type might permit him to be born in Scotland, or to have
graduated from Harvard, but he would most certainly deviate very
slightly from the foregoing standards.
No organization of the size and permanence of the Chicago
Association of Commerce could function with only volunteer ser­
vice. The Association has always maintained a paid administrative
staff. In the spring of 1940, the number of permanent employees
was about aixty-five. As with most commercial organizations there
is a line between the policy-determining group of members and the
employees who put the policies into effect. This division of pow­
er is illustrated by the Transportation Bureau and the Bureau of
Foreign Commerce, the activities of which are described at length
elsewhere. Perhaps because those who determine the policies have
only honor as their reward whereas the staff is paid, the records
are relatively silent concerning their activities. For example,
a search through the February, 1939, number of Commerce. which
contains the Annual Report for 1938, does not reveal even the
names of those who have devoted their full working time to the
Association. A little pamphlet published in 1936, Again as for
Twenty Years an Unquestioned Leader, prints the official staff
for that year.* The list is included here to indicate the .way in
which the administrative duties of the Association are distribut­
J . P. Haynes .............. Executive Vice-President
Judd . .
Executive Secretary
Kunning - Manager
Domestic Commerce Department
Foreign Commerce Department
V. D. Seaman - Manager . .
L. A . Dummond - Manager
Industrial Department
ft. J. Hennessey - Manager
Convention Bureau
E . Hochstedler
. . . .
Traffic Director
(On leave of absence)
A. K. Schwiertert . . . . . Acting Traffic Director
F. J. Ashley - Director
, Public Relations
H . E. Smith - Editor . . .
R. D. Lee - Hanager . . . . Membership Department
R. H. Nau - Secretary . . ,
. Street Traffic and Good Roads
A . Jacobs - Secretary . . Subscriptions Investigating
E. P. Jones - Manager . . . Accounting Department
In review, then, what sort of organization has been worked
out by the Association of Commerce in the thirty-five years of
its existence? It is planned to assign each member to his appro­
priate trade subdivision.
To orovide him with friends and
P. 14.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
entertainment in the fora of luncheons, banquets, golf tourna­
ments, etc., and to encourage him to show an interest in programs
for the promotion of business and for the betterment of the com­
munity. These programs are conceived and carried through by com­
mittees. Committee work is organized into divisions according to
the nature of the work involved, and the heads of the divisions
are the Association's vice-presidents. The vice-presidents served
previously on the Executive Committee and upon the Board of Di­
rectors, but now they are only ex officio directors, the former
committee having been abolished. The highest office within the
gift of the Association is that of president. An office held by
men accustomed to wielding authority, it has constantly increased
in both honor and responsibility. The day-to-day work of the
Association is carried on by a paid administrative staff who de­
vote their full time to the Association. The paid officers are
appointed, but the members elect their other officers on the ba­
sis of services rendered in committee work. By the elimination
of unnecessary committees and the creation of new ones, the or­
ganization's work is adapted to changing conditions.
The Public Relations of the Organization
"A service for every public need." This popular slogan of
the Association of Commerce implies an organization with many an­
tennae vibrating to the public desire. Constant contact with
people is the only method by which their needs can be known.
These-contacts are established by all the means which an ingenious
membership can devise, and include, in addition to banquets, good­
will speeches, trips, and contests, a number of well-established,
publications as well as a thoughtful cultivation of the press.
The little pamphlet Just referred to lists sixteen fairly
regular announcements, reports, magazines, etc., put out by the
Association.1 Of these, five are intended for circulation outside
^Again as for Thirty-Two Years an Unquestioned Leader, o p .
cit.. pp. 11, 1 2 . The entire list is as follows;
The Market Letter.— A monthly summary of trade conditions
in Chicago, prepared especially to 3pread Chicago's influence as
a center of distribution and manufacture. This goes regularly to
thousands of Chicago's traveling salesmen, to retail merchants
who buy in Chicago and to others whose contact with Chicago is of
benefit to its commercial institutions.
Commerce.— A monthly magazine with wide circulation through-
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 22 the membership, and of them all Commerce, the Association’s magaout the Middle lest. This publication, which has a larger paid
circulation than any other local chamber of commerce periodical
in the country, is recognized as reflecting reliably the Middle
West business and civic attitude as well as an effective medium
for advancement of all Chicago activities, achievements and coming
Weekly Activity Report.-—A regular summary of all Associa­
tion endeavours; studies of legislation, both state and federal,
with recommendations for member action; new developments in local
trade, transportation and other affairs affecting local businessi
(These reports are issued in such a form that members may retain
them in binders for future reference.)
Weekly Meeting Hotices.— Regular announcements of meetings
for members designed particularly to enable them to hear what
America’s business, professional, and technical authorities have
to say on current questions.
Chicago Facts.— A complete guide to commercial, industrial
and recreational Chicago.
Foreign Trade Directory.— A comprehensive analysis of
Chicago’s leading importers and exporters, together with other re­
cent information affecting the city’s international business.
Wav to Ship.-^-Supplemented by the personal service of Asso­
ciation field representatives, this manual is saving thousands of
dollars annually for the shipping departments of Chicago manufac­
turers, jobbers, and distributors. Every condition or change of
railroad shipping service from Chicago is promptly reported.
Merchandise Car Reports.— Current check-ups of the fifteen
hundred package cars that leave Chicago daily with locally made
or distributed merchandise. These reports of extreme importance
to shipper and consignee alike, are Chicago’s insurance of minimum time deliveries, and elimination of delays on important L.C.L.
(less than car load) consignments.
Parcel Post Guide.— This bulletin is to parcel post users
what Way to Ship is to railroad freight users. Rates, delivery
points and other pertinent facts are amply covered.
Industrial Directory.— A summary of all firms in the
Chicago metropolitan area employing fifty or more persons.
Philanthropic and Charitable Organizations.-— This classi­
fied list of approximately 250 local welfare organizations is a
real safeguard against poorly considered philanthropy. Only
those institutions are listed which merit financial support. Is-j
sued annually, this publication limits endorsements to those or- i
ganizations which certified public audit and personal investiga­
tion of their physical properties and facilities indicate as pos­
sessed of sound business management and unquestioned standing.
Convention Lists.— Weekly, monthly, and quarterly advance
schedules of all business; trade, professional, fraternal, re­
ligious and civic organizations— state, regional, national or in­
ternational-booked to hold meetings or expositions in Chicago.
Industrial Traffic Bulletin.— General views of all trans­
portation problems affecting Chicago shippers or receivers.
Foreign Bulletin.— Digest of inquiries received from for­
eign companies seeking business connections with Chicago concerns;
digests of reciprocal trade agreements as announced; analysis of
new legislation affecting international trade; and much miscel­
laneous information of importance to those engaging in foreign
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
zine, is the most important. Its history and policies are the
history and policies of the Association and will be discussed
presently in more detail. Incidental publicity is secured by
methods tersely described in the same booklet.'1
11‘What Helps Business Helps You,' a public relations, con­
fidence-building service, consisting of stamps, stickers, electros,
and stuffers— free to all members.’*
In order to organize and maintain its public relations, and
to counteract false accounts of Chicago, a regular publicity de2
partment was established in 1928.
Mr. Frederick J. Ashley, who
had previously spent six years as publicity director for the
Western Electric Company, was put in charge, but he did not have
to take up an office with no established procedures. As early as
1914 the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee had agreed
no information regarding the affairs of the Association shall
be made public except through the President of the Association,
or the chairman of the General Publicity Committee, or the
Business Manager at headquarters, acting under the direction
of the President. No committee is authorized to make public
its activities or conclusions until the same are approved by
the Executive Committeet and then only through the office of
the Association.
This statement of the proper channels through which infor­
mation could be accorded to outsiders was made only after a con­
siderable volume of publicity had issued from its offices. In
1912, for example, the Annual Report claims that approximately
1,750,000 pieces of printed, lithographed, and engraved material
had been issued.
Statistics of Chicago Business.— A monthly service covering
twenty-two broad subjects, which taken together give the Chicago I
businessman a bird's-eye picture of what has occurred during the I
month just past as compared with the same month a year previous. ;
This summary of trends or indices appears monthly in Commerce
and is also supplied individually to members on request.
Blue Book of Chicago Commerce.— An annual market directory
and buyer's guide, providing an alphabetical list of Association
of Commerce members and a classified list of their business and
1P. 2.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1928iB Chicago Commerce. January 19, 1929, p. 22.
3Ibid., 1914, p. 93.
4Ibid.. p. 104.
Reproduced with permission o f the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 24 If the need of more carefully conducted public relations
was not new in 1928, neither was the realization that Chicago had
a somewhat lurid reputation with the rest of the world. A gaudy
history may make a proper background for a city*a, literature, but
not for its business interests. Indeed Mr. Joseph Easch, who con­
ducted the negotiations for the C.A.C. for conventions, voiced
his pride in its achievements in counter-propaganda in 1909.
Another of the [Convention] Bureau's achievements inesti­
mable in value is that of correcting false impressions and
overcoming unjust prejudice against Chicago. Until they were
brought into direct contact with the fact, thousands of conven­
tion visitors have believed, and in their minds (quite ex­
cusably) have enlarged upon the stories sent broadcast over the
country through sensational press reports, concerning the
awful (?) conditions prevailing here— unchecked crime, abomi­
nable streets, smoke eclipsed sunlight, lake hurricanes, filthy
thoroughfares, grasping businessmen, etc., etc. The falsity
and absurdity of these sensational stories is at once apparent
to the visitor, and he is quick to disabuse the erroneous be­
lief of his neighbor as soon as he returns home. In all this
connection we take occasion to observe that our city’s chief
traducers are numbered among our own citizens. What Chicago
wants is boosters, not knockers. Let us all get in line and
each give his beet boost.
Mr. Basch was concerned with what the Brother Bison of
Centerville might think of Chicago, but later as the city’s busi­
ness expanded, the same concern was shown for the opinion of
larger business communities. Mr. George W. Rossetter, who was
chairman of the Publicity Committee in 1932, proclaimed that
the Association continued unremittingly the world-wide effort
initiated by the General Publicity Committee four years ago
to -correct untrue and unwarranted criticism of Chicago. This
meant establishing contacts with more than 1,000 leading
American and foreign newspapers and supplying a constant stream
of constructive information in the form of news releases re­
garding our city.
Some of this steady stream of publicity which the Association has been issuing has been very definite information concern­
ing merchandise which Chicago dealers were eager to sell, some of
it has been data as to why the city was an ideal market for the
hinterland, and other effort has been extended to encourage the
location of now business near the market. How successful the
publicity has been is of course impossible to measure. That it
Ibid.. 1909, p. 28.
'Ibid., 1932, Commerce, February, 1933, p. 28.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 25 has upon occasion succeeded can not be doubted, as witness, for
instance, the acknowledgment of Mr. H. W. Selt, a jeweller from
Clay Center, Kansas, who wrote to the Bulletin in 1905 a “strong
endorsement” of a promotion magazine which had just come into his
Please accept our thanks for your handsome Magazine.
Aside from its Beauty and the Valuable' information it contained,
it shows a generousness on the part of the Chicago Commercial
Association, but so artfully innocent that the rough work of
other cities•seems awful.i
A popular form of publicity has been the book or pamphlet
about Chicago. There is nearly always one such item in each list
of publications. That issued in 1912 claimed to give by
map and description the complete story of Chicago's freight
facilities, and also living conditions that surround the em­
ployer and the laborer here; covering the housing situation,
the cost of living, the school facilities and all those other
conditions which are of paramount importance to one about to
change to a new environment.2
Distribution of this Handbook on Chicago was to many in­
terested people who inquired at the office. Six thousand five
hundred copies were printed. Desiring that the book should reach
even more people than those to whom it was given directly, the
Civic-Industrial Committee reported:
. . . In addition to the regular distribution from the of­
fice we have sent one copy to each university or college in
the United States having 200 or more students; a copy to each
librarian in the city and to the principal libraries through­
out the country; a copy to each of the most important consu­
lates in foreign lands and to each of the distinguished guests
who recently visited Chicago with the sixty European geogra­
phers; 20C German and Austrian scientists and government offi­
cials; and 400 delegates to the Fifth International Congress
of Chambers of Commerce and Industrial Associations. We are
also complimented that one high school in this city is using
this volume as a text book and that the school authorities
are considering the advisability of its more extended use in
August 11, 1905.
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1912. p. 31.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
the public schools of Chicago.
Another popular form of pamphlet publicity has been the
visitor’s guide. Originally these guides fulfilled two functions.
They provided a detailed street and transportation directory and
also emphasized Chicago’s "points of interest." In 1910 the As­
sociation arranged with Rand and McNally to take over the publi­
cation of the directory.2 This arrangement was apparently profit­
able, for the company has continued to issue such a booklet until
the present date.3 But the quarter page of the directory listing
interesting facts about Chicago in modest fine print seemed to
the Association an opportunity missed, so various supplementary
pamphlets have been issued under the Association’s name. The
most recent is What to See and Bo in Chicago. 1939 Visitor’s
Guide, fifteen cents. It assures the reader that "inspiring
Chicago offers everything," and urges him to "come for sport,
culture, leisure."4 It then proceeds to give him a glowing de­
scription with appropriate illustrations of the city’s "Museums—
Race Tracks— Theaters— Radio Stations— Zoos— Restaurants— Indus­
trial Plants— Parks— Stores— Baseball— Art Galleries— Markets—
Gardens— Forest Preserves— Airports— Music— Night Clubs." These
little guides can be purchased at almost any news stand in the
city, and their circulation must have afforded those who were con­
cerned for Chicago*3 good name a very considerable degree of
Ibid. Further indication of the volume and distribution
of C.A.C. publications may be obtained from the report of
F. H. Scott, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic and Foreign
Commerce in 1987:
1,000,000 Salesmen’s Bulletins
800.000 Chicago booklets
600.000 Circulars advertising "Market Week"
500.000 Miscellaneous circulars
200.000 Official programs of the rodeos
75.000 Merchandise bulletins
50.000 Chicago Market Facts
40.000 Facts on Lake Levels (Annual Report of the
Chicago Association of Commerce. 1987. p. 20).
2Ibid.. 1910, p. 63.
The current issue is Street Guide and Transportation
Directory of Chicago with Complete New Map (Chicago: F.and
McNally, 1939, price 50 cents).
4Pp. 4, 5.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
— 27 **
"Public Relations” is a large term. So far attention has
been directed to the swarms of ephemeral publications which the
Association issues in the course of a year’s work, so it has
seemed advisable to save the discussion of its press relations
and of its own magazine until the close. But, before these last
topics can be taken up, it seems wise to devote some time to a
kind of Association publicity which might be termed "occasional”
in the sense that it has no fixed date of issue or established
form. A vast amount of information is obtained, or at least com­
munication occurs, through the after-dinner speech. Foreign visi­
tors are fond of commenting upon the prevalence of speech-making
and the lack of conversation at American social functions. It is
ours at the moment, not to discuss this "folkway* but to observe
the extent to which the Association of Commerce has seen fit to
make use of it.
The luncheon or banquet is a favorite device of the Asso­
ciation for creating fellowship and for assuring itself publicity.
Many notables have appeared before it, including Bryan and Taft
at the time of their presidential campaign, James Henry Breasted,
J. Pierpont Morgan, "Andy Cutup," "Private Peat," and "Eddie"
Quest, to name a select if varied few. The weekly meetings of
the Ways and Means Committee have already been mentioned, but
accounts of annual meetings, fellowship smokers, and ladies*
nights occur in every year's record. Considering that "names are
news," the amount of incidental publicity secured for the Associa­
tion by its banquet speakers has been large. Indeed, after the
Bryan-Taft dinner, the Association boasted of its publicity not
by column, but by weight. The scrapbook of clippings containing
the relevant accounts weighed, they claimed, fifty pounds.1 Al­
lowing something for tne binding, and something more for enthu­
siasm, several pots of paste must still have been necessary prop­
erly to embalm these congratulations.
The Association's own social functions are but half the
story. An Illinois Relations Committee has taken over as one of
its chief duties the supplying of speakers to "post-prandial **
celebrations in other parts of the state» Selecting at random
from the Committee's reports ■, one learns thst in 1924, 569-3peok^Chicago Commerce. December 7, 1929, p. 211.
Reproduced with permission o f the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
ers were supplied, in 1928, 69?, but in 1929, apparently the
policy had been changed, for there were only 376 speakers who ap­
peared before "chambers of commerce, trade associations, luncheon
clubs, and other organizations in the Middle West."*- Obviously
these gentlemen did not fail to mention to their hosts the good­
will and infinite opportunity which awaited the down-state busi­
nessman if he would but turn to the Great Central Market when his
next economic need required assuagement.
Special businesses and special projects have also received
the attention of the Association. Just what should be done about
the status of agriculture in the United States has been a problem
to everyone with even a slight stake in America's economy. A
Committee on Agriculture has long been included among the Associa­
tion's standing committees. Publicity for the Association is only
an incidental motive of this committee and yet a list of its ac­
tivities can not but make evident the importance of its program
in bettering the Association's public relations. Chicago is, of
course, a grain center and a meat-packing center. Its Eoard of
Trade and its stockyards could scarcely fail to benefit in good­
will from these endeavours which included;
Attempts to develop among Chicago's businessmen a more in­
telligent knowledge of agricultural affairs
Attempts to establish friendly relations between city and
The securing of half rates on twelve railroads on L.C.L.
shipments of pure bred livestock
Initiation of broadcasts on subjects of interest to farm­
Entertainment of visiting fanners' organizations
Continuation of scholarships to agricultural colleges for j
winners of junior livestock judging contests at the International
Live Stock Exposition
Entertainment of thirteen hundred boys and girls, who came
as trip winners to the Stock Show
lwAnnual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1924,” Chicago Cofamerce. January 17, 1925, p. 39; tfrlfl., 1928,
oit.. p. 38; ibid.. 1929. Chicago Commerce. January 25, 1930, p.
64. The figure given for 1938 was 262 talks, delivered by 190
members (Commerce. February, 1939, p. 31).
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 29 -
Endorsement of the building of a Temple of Agriculture in
Public relations have been conceived by the Association to
include such activities as permitting its magazine to become the
official organ for A Century of Progress Exposition during the
years when it was being promoted and was in actual operation. ■* Or
the C.A.C. has undertaken to increase the public favor toward an
industry such as the airplane industry by every means in its pow­
er including ecstacy and sticker stamps. In the largest sense the
entire civic program of the Association is an effort to keep its
public relations enthusiastically alive. It is purposed here to
enter no further upon this increased area, but to restrain fur­
ther discussion to the procuring and distributing of publicity
through the newspapers and the magazine, Commerce.
Apparently the relation of the Association with the news­
papers of Chicago has always been pleasant. From the beginning
the Association has numbered the leading newspapers among its
Although they were at first inclined to confine
their cooperation to straight reporting of such events as they
deemed newsworthy, "persistent effort of a personal character"
enabled the Publicity Committee to report in 1912 that their at­
titude had so changed that it could be said that "the daily press
of this city is a strong ally of the Association.”
Just how
much this entente implied, the record does not state, but the same
year the chairman reported that press clipping bureaus had col­
lected *twenty-five hundred different news items and articles,"
from daily newspapers throughout the country concerning the
Chicago ASociatlon of Commerce. These, he estimated, would con­
stitute about five hundred columns of newspaper material. In
addition there were some magazine articles and he reported several
more in preparation by the staff. The following year the committee
stated that the number of individual items was in excess of thirtyfive hundred which represented between six and seven hundred col**
AThis list is briefed from the report of B* H. Heide,
chairman of the Agricultural Committee in the "Annual Report of
the Chic&go Association of Commerce, 1924," 0£. cit. . p. 39,
but the activities are believed to be typical.
2 Ibid.. 1907, p. 32
3Ibid.. 1912, p. 91
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
umns in metropolitan dailies.
In 1914, the number of items
mounted to five thousand and the space to fifteen hundred col­
umns.2 In 1916, the number of columns was raised to sixteen hun­
dred.0 By 1925, the report was 1,221 columns in the local press
axone, and five thousand columns *of beneficial Association and
Chicago publicity were printed in various papers of the UnitedStates."^ The confusion of the Association with Chicago makes
this latter figure ambiguous, but the 1,221 items would seem to
indicate a steady increase until that date. Later reports have
not included figures on this subject.
These items are sometimes regular reports made by the news­
paper reporters, but a large proportion of them are stories pre­
pared at the offices of the Association. Sometime before 1920,
Mr. H. F. Miller, the Business Manager of the Chicago Association,
submitted a paper to the national Association of Commercial See5
retaries, entitled, "News Value in Organization Publicity."
his little essay he described his method of gathering together
the men on the paid staff end the interested members of the C.A.C.
for the preparation of trade feature stories. Copies of such
stories would be sent to every trade paper in the line of business
with which the article was concerned as well as to newspapers.
From this system Mr. Miller claimed to have received "some 2,500
articles of daily newspapers—-500 columns news space.w Concluding
on a triumphant note, he remarked, "And you can figure up what
500 columns of news space would cost you at §1.00 a line. . .
.This policy of preparing articles for the press is still
used. Business surveys of identical wording which emanate from
the office of the Association appear sometimes on the same day in
the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Daily News. Moreover, one of
the financial editors of the News is also financial editor of
Commerce and publishes in it a signed column each month. From
these facts it is easy to deduce that relation between the Asso­
ciation and the press are close, even if not going so far as to
Ibid.. 1913, p. 96.
'Ibid., 1914, p. 93*
5Ibld.. 1916, p. 84.
Ibid., 1925, Chicago Commerce. January 16, 1926, p. 46,
^Commercial Organizations, op. clt., pp. 271, ff.
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- 31
call the press a "strong ally of the Association."
Aside from banquets, other functions of a social nature,
and business surveys, the Association makes news in its civic ac­
tivities. An indication of the types of activity deemed impor­
tant by the press was left by Mr. Francis T. Simmons in hi3 re­
port for the General Publicity Committee in 1915. He announced:
Particular enterprises of the year which were accorded ex­
tensive representation by the press, local and national, were
the investigation by the Association’s Committee on Smoke
Abatement and' Electrification; the organisation of a Chicago
branch of the National Security League; the observance on a
larger scale than in previous years of Chicago Market ®eek;
the efforts of the Local Committee to bring the national po­
litical conventions to Chicago; the second observance of
Illinois Day, of particular interest throughout the state; the
transfer of the Association’s South American office to the
Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce of the Department of
Commerce; and the investigation of the Civic-Industrial Com­
mittee with reference to Chicago's industrial facilities.1
Now having indicated the close relation of the press with
the Association, the channels through which news reaches the
press, something of its volume and the type of subjects with
which the news articles are concerned, it is at last time to turn
attention to Commerce. the chief news organ of the Association.
Commerce has had a reasonably smooth history, probably
because it has been under the editorship of one man during the
greater part of its life. William Hudson Harper was its first
editor and although now emeritus, still publishes occasional ar­
ticles. In consequence, editorials bearing his signature, par­
ticularly when he was writing of the history of the Association
or its magazine, came to have peculiar force. Historically speak­
ing he was himself °a source." In 1929, in the "Silver Anniver­
sary” number of the magazine, he reviewed the phases of its de­
velopment with which he was familiar.
Commerce has had three periods of progressive transforma­
tion. In 1904, announcing the birth of the Chicago Commercial
Association, it was of four pages, three columns, 10 x 12 1/2
inches. This was The Bulletin. On July 19, 1905, came its
first change, four pages 8 x 10 1/2 inches. By a second change
November 29, 1907, it became Chicago Commerce, a name distinc­
tive and beyond improvement. Its volume and advertising were
increasing. In its third transformation, April 5, 1919, it
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1915. p. 96,
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- 32 advanced to its present form with color effects in covers and
other changes influenced by magazine characteristics of the
The three periods of transformation which Mr. Harper men­
tions saw the magasine change from a little bulletin of trade and
market announcements, to a chatty weekly, which talked over
Chicago’s business as if it were perpetually an old-home week at
the Great Central Market. In the 1919 transformation the maga­
zine emerged with less of the Bill to Eob spirit, and became more
metropolitan and impersonal. In 1931, the magazine became a
monthly and began to concern itself with matters affecting the
entire Middle West. Its policy was to become the business and in2
dustrial voice of America’s great inland empire.
Eefore the transformation of 1931, Commerce was chiefly a
house organ and hence its distribution was limited to the members
of the Chicago Association, a subscription being a part of the
revenue insured by the payment of dues. Yvhen it became a monthly,
it also became the official promotion magazine for A Century of
Progress Exposition. Therefore, from 1931 until the fair closed
in 1934, its circulation was stepped up to between eighteen and
nineteen thousand. Since then its distribution has been less
wide, but has included more subscribers than the membership list.
The number of independent subscribers increased from approximately
twelve hundred in 1936 to over five thousand in 1940. The press
run increased from 12,319 in January, 1938, to 14,652 in June,
1940. Using the issue of May, 1940, as an example, the distribu­
tion was roughly; over 4,000 to members, about 15 per cent of the
total, or something over 2,000 to firms, over 5,000 to paid up
independent subscribers, and about 300 placed on railroad club
cars. Interested individuals inquiring at the offices of the Assoelation obtained copies of the magazine there.
According to its own announcements Commerce i3 now a maga­
zine "published in the interests of industry, trade, finance, and
^Chicago Commerce. December 7, 1929, p. 217.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1931," Commerce. February, 1932, p. 65.
I am indebted to Mr. Alan Sturdy, the present editor of
Commerce, for information regarding the circulation of the maga­
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
civic welfare in the Middle West." Furthermore, "its object is
to present articles that may prove interesting and informative to
businessmen and to help the Middle Best achieve a sense of unity
and cooperation." Sith these objects in mind it is a nice problem
whether almost all of its pages might not be classed as propaganda
Before trying to classify Commerce as chiefly propagandistic it is well to be as specific as the language permits as to
what is meant by propaganda. Let us take two definitions, one
popularly stated and the other more accurate. Leonard <v. Boob,
in his Propaganda. Its Psychology and Technique.1 says,
No matter how propaganda is defined, it is clear at the outset
that the term refers to an attempt by somebody to influence
somebody else. The crusading that propaganda implies charac­
terizes a state of conflict, conflict over ideas, supremacy or
merchandise. . . .
Certainly a magazine which has for its purpose the promotion of &
single market is attempting to "influence somebody about some­
thing." And since the paper was for long the house organ of a
commercial organization, it may be safely inferred that most of
its columns were devoted to any conflict which might have existed
in the reader’s mind concerning the superiority of Chicago’s mer­
But this definition by Mr. Doob is perhaps a little inclu­
sive. To do him justice he has preferred an inductive method and
has devoted his whole book to definition, so that were ©e obliged
to stop with his first tentative statement, we should have so
broad a charter we might as well classify the Bible as propaganda
for God (in part). Still the definition serves to introduce us
to the elements of influence, emotional persuasion, and the elimi­
nation of conflict. Let us now look for a more compact statement.
Mr. Herbert Blumer says,
Propaganda can be thought of as a deliberately evoked and
guided campaign to induce people to accept a given view, senti­
ment or value. Its peculiarity is that in seeking to attain
this end it does not give fair consideration to opposing views.
The end is dominant and the means are subversive to this end.2
Does a magazine published in the Interests of "industry,
■^Kew York: Henry Holt and Company, 1925, pp. 2, 4.
"Collective Behavior," An Outline of the Principles of
Sociology, edited by Robert E. Park (New York: Barnes and Noble,
1939), p. 250.
Reproduced with permission o f the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 34 trade, finance, etc." qualify as having a given view, sentiment,
or value? V?e think it does. As to whether it conducts a delib­
erately evoked and guided campaign depends somewhat on how defi­
nite a series of acts are implied by the word campaign. Its ar­
ticles, particularly in its last incarnation, do not insist upon
the purchase of John Doe’s shingles or Richard Roe’s bolts and
screws. They attempt to give a statistical analysis of Chicago
business including building permits, car loadings, etc. etc., and
also that most wretched of all figures, families on relief rolls.
This much starred feature appears monthly and without comment.
But then there is "The Business Voice of the Middle West,** listing
6uch items as "Government Share in Trucking," "Furniture’s Sign
on the Business Horizon," "Workers Are Chief Beneficiaries of Re­
covery." Other titles are "Highlight Statement of the Chicago
Association of Commerce," "Invest In the Middle West." These are
typical articles and would seem definitely on the business promo­
tion or campaign side. There are also occasional "broadening"
articles such as "iVhy We Should Not Expect War in Europe," by
General Charles Gates Dawes,1 but even these have their economic
implication. They are an effort to provide the businessman with
market information, more than that they are an effort to assure
him that his is a good market, and there -is no effort to inform
him of the disadvantages of it, nor of any other which might be
better. To this extent the campaign of goodwill is definitely
evoked and guided.
' As yet it has been attempted to establish only that
Commerce is a propaganda magazine. No very exact indication of
its methods has been attempted. To do so requires more careful
effort. Two things are necessary: (a) a statement of the ordinary
methods of propaganda, and (b) a cross section of type articles
which illustrate these methods as used by Commerce. For the first*
indebtedness is acknowledged to Alfred HcClung Lee and to Elizabeth
Briant Lee, who have recently published The Fine Art of Propaganda,
A Study of Father Coughlin’s Speeches. The Lees have observed
The titles for the articles mentioned in this paragraph
are taken from the issue of Commerce for February, 1939.
New York: Hareourt,Brace and Co., 1939. This is one of
the publications for The Institute for Propaganda Analysis.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 35 and briefly defined the seven devices of propaganda listed below.
Name Calling.— Giving an idea a bad label— is used
to make us reject and condemn the idea without examining the
ifcl. G1it ter ing Generali ty.— Asaoclating something with
a "virtue word"— is used to make us accept and approve the
thing.without examining the evidence.
m ^ 7) Transfer.— Carries the authority, sanction and pres­
tige of something respected and revered over to something else
in order to make the latter acceptable; or it carries authori­
ty, sanction and disapproval to cause us to reject and disap­
prove something the propagandist would have us reject and dis­
approve .
Testimonial consists in having some respected or
hated person say that a given idea, or program, or product, or
person is good or bad.
nS-N Plain Folks is the method by which the speaker at­
tempts to convince his audience that he and his ideas are good
because they are "of the people," the *plain folks."
["*►] Card Stacking involves the selection or use of facts
or falsehoods, illustrations or distractions, and logical or
illogical statements in order to give the best or worst pos­
sible case for an idea, program, person, or product.
Band Wagon has as its theme "Everybody— at least all
of us— is doing itH ; with it, the propagandist attempts to con­
vince us that all members of a group to which we belong are ac­
cepting his program and that we must therefore follow our crowd
and "jump on the band wagon."!
For observation we have chosen the titles to articles in
the twenty-fifth anniversary issue of Commerce (December 7, 1929).
This list of titles was selected because it was thought that as
many interests as were possible would be represented in the memo­
rial edition, and that they would be planned to sum up ideas and
attitudes which were considered established. Moreover the problem
seemed possible as being not too complicated for the amount of
space to be devoted to it. The chief disadvantage is that the
articles ir. a birthday edition are an even rosier rose than is
customary. Like a physician, however, we are attempting to diag­
nose from observing the area of infection. The method used was
to count all the devices used in the table of contents listed
"Science and the Meat Packers."
Philip D. Armour, Armour
& Co.
"Fa^^ in Tomorrow— Building a City Endqr|ng and Beautiful
'P. 23.
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for the Future.*
H . E. Dickinson, President, Indiana Lisestone
"Virgin Forests for Playgrounds— Breathing Spaces for Mil­
lions.” A. J. Cerraak, President of the CoBTT^ounty Board of Com­
missioners ,
"Selling Goods to World by Mail- .Chicago’s Own Industry.
George B. Everitt, President, Montgomery, V/ard & Co.
"Genius for Bui^^ng is Chicago's Great^gift.” Thomas E.
Tallmadge, author of History of American Architecture.
It would take too long to list all of the titles, and it
is not contended that any two people would come out with the same
score. But ours was: testimonials, 76; glittering generalities,
64; transfer, 37; plain folks, 8; card stacking, 4.
Testimonials rank unusually high because the list is from
the birthday edition, and card stacking is low because possible
unpleasantness can be avoided by omitting articles on the doubt­
ful subject. Also, it is a method more appropriate to argument
than to banners. Name calling is conspicuously absent. This is
typical. The members of the Association are boosters themselves,
therefore they must not indulge in knocking. Band wagon propa­
ganda is most adaptable to advertising. Its absence here may be
partly explainable because of the tendency of that type to'over­
lap with glittering generalities and plain folks. Also, differ­
ent readers make different classifications.
What then is the conclusion of this little experiment, of
this-chapter? Nothing startling, nothing new, nothing that might
not be expected. The Chicago Association of Commerce was organized
to promote the business of the Great Central Market. This it an­
nounces, and this it does. Its public relations are well managed,
being maintained by banquets, speeches, trips, etc., and more
specifically by ephemeral publications, constant cultivation of
the press, find by its own favorite propaganda organ, the magazine,
Chicago Commerce. It does not take a sleuth to come to these con­
clusions. The Association will furnish the answers to anyone who
cares to inquire. It remains for the naive to be surprised.
Reproduced with permission o f the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission
Relation of the C.A.C- to Other
Similar Organizations
A club or an association, even as an individual, does not
live in an empty room. It belongs to a family, sometimes to a
clan. The chamber of commerce movement is an old one in the
United States, in fact the New York chamber dates back to the
colonial period and the days of George III. But the real vigor
of the movement as we know it today became apparent only at the
end of the nineteenth century. The same impetus which caused the
growth of trade associations, manufacturers * associations, and
service clubs has promoted the growth of chambers of commerce.
On the reverse side of the picture, an increase in number and
variety of workingmen’s organizations can be observed. Insurance
clubs and labor unions are examples. What has happened? A varie­
ty of events. The Sherman Act, potentially explosive, the Pull­
man strike, vigorous stockyard disagreements, no more free land,
the Standard Oil, the United States Steel, panics, 1893, 1903,
1907. It was plain that the individual worker, the independent
businessman, would be reduced to hamburger in the grinding of
such opposing forces. He must unite with his fellows to control
his machines, his money, and his government. This he did with
such alacrity that the result is the bewildering array of organi­
zations which exist today in every community of the United States,
rural -or urban.
Just what is a chamber of commerce and how does it relate
to other similar organizations? In discussing the structure of
the Chicago organization and its public relations we have noticed
that local market promotion and civic betterment are its aims.
But in a 3ense these purposes could be ascribed to a manufactur­
ers’ association or a trade association. And what about the Board
of Trade? The answer to such questions is not simple. All of
these organizations were called into being to meet some special
need, to perform some particular service, and then with the pas­
sage of years, other, and in many instances overlapping interests,
were added unto the original plan. Thus the chamber of commerce
at the outset sought to perform certain duties of boards of trade
where there were none and to protect businessmen from aggressive
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 38 and destructive taxation.^- Very shortly these functions expanded
into market promotion and civic betterment. But some distinction
remained. The chamber of commerce included men interested in all
types of business, and over a considerable income range. It was
a community enterprise. It was only incidentally a shock troop
in the labor war or a legislative pressure group. The Board of
Trade existed primarily as a grain exchange, the various trade
associations included only those interested in the production of
a single type of commodity, the manufacturers' associations com­
bined those who were eager to unite on a labor policy and present
a solid front when the unions made wfcat they considered exorbitant
But what of the "service club"? Chicago is the birth­
place of Rotary, whose theme song is service and profits. How
does the Association of Commerce differ from "old Number One,"
the largest of the Rotarian organizations? .
There are some differences. Rotary is a much more limited
group. It was organized originally to provide profit and fellow­
ship for its members, and since fellowship is difficult where com­
petition is keen, membership was restricted to at least one indi­
vidual from each business classification. Later the service ideal
frosted over the profit motive, and the brethren took up a Variety
of charitable interests such as boys* club work or aid to crippled
In this latter phase they became, within the limits
of their membership, more like the chamber of commerce and less an
individual profit fellowship club.
It is impossible to be categorical about the limits of
these various organizations. As a matter of fact a man could be­
long to all of them. Many individuals certainly do belong to
more than one. Perhaps this is one reason for their tendency to
overlap. The accompanying diagram showing the number of principal
officers of the Chicago Association of Commerce whose firms were
also members of the Illinois Slanufacturers' Association gives some
*Paui Cherington, "The Field of Chambers of Commerce,"
Commercial Organizations, op. cit*, pp. 20 ff.
Alfred Kelly, "The Illinois Manufacturers* Association"
(Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Dept, of History, University of
Chicago, 1938), p. £2.
Social Science Survey Committee of the University of
Chicago, Botary (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1934),
PP. 75 ff.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
/O / / 3
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Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
idea of how common this duplication of membership and hence of
interest is. Thus of a possible 175 offices in the Association
of Commerce, 92 were held by men whose' firms also held membership
in the Illinois Manufacturers* Association. If Joe and Jasper be­
long to the same two clubs and Joe, as a member of the Illinois
Manufacturers* Association, is eager to prevent the passage of
the Women’s Eight Hour Bill, and Jasper, as a member of the Asso­
ciation of Commerce, would benefit by Joe's cooperation in putting
across a successful Market Week, a little swapping of influence
would seem inevitable. Likewise there remains as the peculiar
heritage of all lands blighted and blessed by Calvinism the feel­
ing that profits must be marinated in service to be acceptable.
(Formerly acceptable to God but now to one's neighbor.) This
tradition lends a similarity to the programs of all these organi­
This effort then at definition is not particularly accept­
able in the sense that limits can not be set on the functions of
these organizations. Each has one or two tasks at which it is
particularly efficient, and for the rest, the field is open to
all ana reduplication is avoided only because Joe and Jasper are
friends and good businessmen.
The clan we are observing is obviously that of the employ­
ing group in a capitalistic society, and the family, chamber of
commerce. Other members of the family are the state chamber of
commerce, the national chamber of commerce, the international
chamber, and finally foreign chambers of commerce. The reason
for mentioning them in this order is not chronological. Although
the municipal organization came first, that of the state appeared
last, not achieving any real form until 1919.^ The Chicago Asso­
ciation had long had an Illinois Relations Committee which had
done all in its power to promote good business relationship with
the rest of the state. It was favorable to the new organization
and the Chicago Association sent twenty-one delegates to the
Quincy meeting which created the state chamber.
It was organized
‘Illinois Journal of Commerce. October, 1939, p. 9.
“Chicago Commerce. June 21, 1919, p. 10.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 41 to advance the commercial, industrial, manufacturing, agricul­
tural and civic interests of the state, and to advocate legis­
lation thoroughly considerate of the business interests and
general welfare of the state and nation; to investigate and
analyze such legislation as is being proposed, so that it may
properly conform with and meet the needs of the state for en­
actments that are constructive, and advance the general inter­
ests of all classes.1
It had other announced purposes which are something of an elabora­
tion of that just given.
During the first year of its life, the state chamber took
up the task of ascertaining business sentiment throughout the state
on "certain principles of taxation pending in the revenue measures
before the state constitutional convention, and a referendum now
under consideration by the chambers on the institution in Illinois
of a state police force. . . . "
Naturally the state organization
has been interested in all state legislation affecting business
and keeps its members posted concerning events at Springfield.
It has also been active in promoting the tourist trade in Illinois
and has published tourist guides for the state similar to those
issued for Chicago by the municipal club, which were described in
the preceding section. Obviously its functions are to perforin
for the state the same services which are rendered to the city by
the local association.
In 1924 Commerce reported that there were 118 chambers in
the state which held membership in the state chamber and they rep3
resented 47,000 businessmen.
In July of 1939, the Labor Rela­
tions Committee of the Illinois Chamber filed some testimony in
reference to amendment to the National.Labor Relations Act. "In
so doing," it said it spoke "for 2,500 members representing a
cross section of business activity within the State of Illinois.
Industrialists, small businessmen and professional men make up
its membership."^
V*e are primarily interested in tracing the history and ac'Ibid., quoted from the constitution.
'Ibid., November 13, 1920, p. 22.
June 12, p. 28.
Illinois Journal of Commerce, August, 1939, p. 1.
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- 42 coraplishments of the Chicago Association. Although it is possible
to establish the fact of membership, there is probably no way of
measuring the extent of influence wielded by the metropolitan
club in the state organization. An examination of the 1939 file
of The Illinois Journal of Commerce, which is the monthly magazine
of the Illinois Chamber, failed to shed any light on this problem,
unless one takes the general silence concerning the Chicago organi­
zation as an indication that the smaller, down-state clubs are
somewhat avoid domination from so large a member. This
conclusion is doubtful, however, because the activities of the
Chicago Association are amply covered by its own magazine, Com­
merce. Consequently it may simply be the policy of the Illinois
Journal to devote its space to the work of chambers which have no
other columns at their disposal.
In the same decade that the Chicago Association was formed
a national organization was also set up. Indeed Chicago members
claim that they, together with the Boston Chamber, caused the
national organization to be created.^- The federal government ex2
tended its blessing and encouragement to this venture, and it
was felt that business had found a way, through it, to help regu­
late government regulation of business.
The activities of the national chamber have revolved around
the annual meetings which have been held at various large cities.''
At such times questions of national importance are debated and an
attempt is made to give expression to the best thought of organized
business upon these problems. In between meetings, the national
club has undertaken to ascertain business thought and opinion by
means of referenda which are mailed to the local organizations.
Typical matters which have been considered at the national confer­
ences are: "aeronautics, crime prevention, federal trade commis­
sion, health service, highways, highway transport, immigration,
interstate commerce commission, national defense, postal rates,
public construction, public lands, reclamation, taxation, vital
Chicago Commerce. December 7, 1919, p. 331.
Paul Studenski, "Chambers of Commerce,* The Encyclopaedia
of the Social Sciences. ed. by R.A. Seligman and Alvin Johnson,
vol. i n (1935).
Kenneth Sturgis, American Chambers of Commerce (printed
for the Dept, of Political Science of Williams College by Moffat,
Yard & Co., 1915), p. 67.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 43 gtstisticSi0
The national chamber purposes to influence ana shape public
opinion upon such matters as the foregoing and it also expects to
exert pressure to secure its ends in the halls of Congress. It
has insisted upon technical research by the government of a type
which is beneficial to business, and has been credited with much
responsibility in the passage of such acta as the Transportation
Act of 1920, the Budget Bill of 1921, a revision of the postal
rates in 1923, etc.
It was also very active in mobilizing the
country’s resources during the War of 1914-18. 3 Two of its great­
est concerns in the year of 1939-40 were federal regulation of
competition and amendments to the.Wagner Labor Relations Act.
In the form of its organization the national chamber very
naturally resembles that of the chambers already studied. No mem­
ber organization may have more than ten delegates or ten votes.
There are also associate and individual members who may enjoy the
various services of the organization, but who are not expected to
vote. Dues are based upon a percentage of the income of the mem­
ber associations and are about one-half of one per cent of such
There were 326 member organizations in 1913. By 1919
the number had increased to 1,256, and the figures for 1939 were1,603, with an estimated underlying membership of 641,543.*
The chief departments into which the work of the national
chamber is divided are: Agriculture, Construction and Civic DeRhlcago Commerce. April 24, 1916, p. 13.
Studenski, op. cit.
Merle Thorpe, "The Chambers of Commerce of the TJnited
States," Commercial Organizations, op. cit.. p. 164.
Referendum No. 73. Regulation of Competition (Washington:
Nat1onal Headquarters. December 20. 1939):'Referendum No. 74. On
the Report of the Department Committee for Manufacture on the
National Labor Relations Act (Washington: ?J. S. Chamber of Com­
merce , January 12, 1940).
Thorpe, op. cit.. p. 185.
6Ibid.. p. 181.
"Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America,”
World Almanac. 1939 (New York: New York World Telegram, 1939).
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- 44 velopmenfc, Domestic Distribution, Finance, Foreign Commerce, In­
surance, Manufacture, Natural Resources, Production, Transporta­
tion, and Communication.*- Among the greatest services which the
national chamber performs in the process of influencing and shap­
ing national opinion, is the publication of data bearing upon the
issues which it deems important]. Although not an impartial factfinding body, its tracts are prepared by well trained men and can
be used with the exercise of adequate care. Examples of such
tracts are -pamphlets published with each referendum. These at­
tempt to state the question impartially and to give both sides of
the argument.*
The Chicago Association has maintained a continuous inter­
est in the National Chamber of Commerce. In 1938, the annual re­
port mentioned that the officers of the C.A.C. had comprised its
delegation to the annual meeting of the national chamber held in
Washington, May 3-5.° This device very naturally keeps the Asso­
ciation in ready reach of the ideas of men who represent member
organisations of similar size and importance. At least three
Chicago men who served as president of the Chicago organization
have also been president of the national chamber. They are
Harry A. Wheeler, Joseph H. Befrees and John V.. O ’Leary. Mr.
/.heeler was the first president of the organization and was tv/ice
re-elected. Mr. Befrees served two terms. He also completed a
term as vice-president and was chairman of the Executive Committee.
Mr. Thomas E. Wilson has held office as vice-president of the
north central division, and Mr. O'Leary, subsequent to being presi4
dent, was a director.
Mr. Silas H. Strawn was president in
1931-32. Although Mr. Strain's services in the Chicago Associa­
tion have been limited, he. is echt Chicago, and bis career in
^Proposals for Directors: Nominations for Twenty-Eighth
Annual Meeting (Washington: Chamber of Commerce of the United
States)," pp. 4, 5.
Other typical examples are: Chamber of Commerce of the
United States, Stream Pollution Control: Foreign Commerce De­
partment , Foreign Trade Trends in Items Affected by Trade Agree­
ments : Insurance Department, Insurance Eulletln (Washington,
Commerce, February, 1939, p. 36.
^Chica,?o Commerce. May 24, 19l9, p. 17; May 10, 1924, p. 7.
Reproduced with permission o f the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 45 the national and international organizations naturally has increased the interest of the local club in their activities.
There are no doubt other ‘
-hicagoans who have held office
in the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, but the foregoing
list of important offices held by leaders in the Chicago Associa­
tion is sufficient to show how well articulated are the two organi­
Chicago’s influence in the International Chamber of Com­
merce is not so obvious. The name of Mr. Silas Strawn, who served
as vice-president of the international chamber is about the only
Chicago name to appear importantly on its rolls. But reports of
its sessions are always found in Commerce. The international
chamber carries the same form of organization and the same pur­
poses in business into international affairs that are to be noted
in the metropolitan club. The following quotation is inserted to
show specifically how the parallel is carried out; .
The ideal of a world commonwealth based upon a community
of economic interest is at the back of all international econo­
mic cooperation. The I.C.C., in the form of its organization,
has attempted to embody this ideal in a growing living insti­
tution. It provides organs common to community life; a world
community center known as International Headquarters, a presi­
dent, a council and an executive committee, resident national
administrative commissioners, an international secretariat, a
system of continuous international collaboration by wire, post
and deputation, a general assembly, an extensive system of com­
mittees, special conferences, a court of commercial arbitration,
and an official .journal, World Trade, published monthly in
three languages, in addition to a mass of technical reports
published from time to time.l
In addition to the central organizations which have just
been described, American chambers of commerce are to be found in
many foreign cities. As far back as 1924, Commerce reported fifty,
in twenty-six foreign countries and non-contiguous possessions of
the United States.
Foreign countries have pursued the same poli­
cy with regard to American cities. The foreign chambers are not
completely analogous to the American chambers. Usually they re­
flect the policies of the government rather than the voice of independent merchants.
In Chicago the Swedish Chamber of Commerce
^George L. Ridgeway, Merchants of Peace (New York: Columbia
University Press, 1938), p. 8.
July 26, p. 36.
Paul Cherington, ojD. cit♦. o. £2.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
of the U.S.A. has been active. At one time Commerce devoted an
entire issue to Swedish trade, a goodly share of the material be­
ing provided by the Swedish organization.'*' A Norwegian chamber
was organized in Chicago. This was done with the cooperation of
representatives from St. Paul, Minneapolis, New York, Mew Orleans,
Seattle, and other cities. The Svenska Kuriren observed that
"representatives from Armour and Co., Swift and Co., and other
meat processing firms have joined the Chamber of Commerce, as have
also the willing interests in Minneapolis.*'
A Czechoslovak
Chamber of Commerce aooeared in the hopeful days of 1919, and five
years later reported that it had three hundred members.
Its first
headquarters were in Chicago.4
To the Italians of Chicago must go the credit for having
the most active local organization. As early as 1907, the Chicago
Italian Chamber of Commerce was established. It was incorporated
by the State of Illinois that year, and officially recognized by
the Italian government in 1912.3 In 1928 it reported that it had
142 members in the United States and Italy, that its income amount­
ed to 53,560, of which $1,080 came in the form of a subsidy from
the Italian government.0 These figures do not indicate rapid
growth,for L *Italia had reported back in 1912 (September*1) that
there were 141 members. The income then, however, was given as
only -$586.15. Much the same methods as those which will later be
described in detail for the C.A.C. are used by this Italian cham­
ber. A brief quotation, for example, shows the interest and co­
operation of the Italian chamber in the activities of Foreign
September 4, 1920.
2Kovember 4, 1915. Translation of this reference was ob­
tained through the courtesy of Mr. T. B. Hall, Director of the
Foreign Language Project, Number 3C049, of the works Progress
Administration. Other translations used in this section were
procured from the same source.
3Chicago Commerce. April 4, 1924, p. 44; The Czechoslovak
Review, January, 1919, pp. 22, 23.
4Ibid., Vol. Ill, No. 4.
5Bolletino della Camera di Commercio Italians, September,
Reprod ced
permission o, me co p ,rig h, owned Further reproduction p ro h M e d without permission.
Trade Week of 1935,
Our Participation in Foreign Trade ’
Our institution has resolved to participate in the activities of Foreign Trade Week, which will be celebrated in the
United States from May 19 to May 25, under the auspices of the
United States Chamber of Commerce.
The aim of Foreign Trade Week is to give prominence during
that period of time to the various products exported or im­
ported by America. This Chamber naturally intends to devote
itself principally to the propaganda in favor of such products
and articles as are imported from Italy to Chicago. Therefore
this Chamber extends an invitation to all retailers of Italian
imported products to display those products in their stores or
show windows during this period.
'With the Chicago Italian Chamber of Commerce, the discus­
sion seems to have gone rather far afield. To review the material
in this section: it attempted to show that the Chicago Association
of Commerce is best understood as a small part of the great in­
dustrial need to organize both employers and employees in order
that men may control their own machines. Just what part of the
great movement the C.A.C. comprises it attempted to make clear
by showing what peculiar functions are performed by a chamber of
commerce in distinction from a board of trade, a manufacturers’
association, a trade association, or a service club. After ob­
serving how great was the overlapping of function among such clubs,
the discussion then concluded by defining the relationship of the
Chicago Association of Commerce to other chambers of commerce,
state, national, international, and foreign. It is only by this
laborious, this tedious method, that anything like an accurate
picture of the complexity of present employers* organizations can
be obtained.
^Chicago Italian Chamber of Commerce. March, 1935.
with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Nature of the Market
Of -all the factors which shape the personality of a city,
perhaps none is more important than the manner in which it makes
its living. Chicago's location at the center of many of the
country's most productive industries has contributed to a diversi­
fication of interests. Its ten leading industries given in the
order of their importance are: iron and steel, machinery, meat
packing, printing and publishing, petroleum refining, chemicals,
baking and confectionery, textiles, furniture, railroad cars.
Although these are huge and basic industries, they comprise only
a little more than sixty per cent of all the city's enterprises.
There are more than two hundred others.*' Its retail trade in
1955, transacted in 44,582 establishments, amounted to
$1,215,706,000, and its wholesale business, brought to fruition
in 6,462 establishments, amounted to |3,£6S,72S,000.2
With the aim of stimulating commerce, the Chicago Associa­
tion carries on various activities in domestic and foreign mar­
kets. For the moment it is purposed to discuss specifically what
is meant by the phrase, "market development," as it is applied to
the City of Chicago and its hinterland. This process involves a
consideration of the type of special market events favored by the
local club, attention to the matter of trade extension, industrial
development, market analysis, conventions. These subjects relate
intimately to the promotion of the Chicago market. Quite as rele­
vant is a consideration of transportation problems and the services
rendered by the Transportation Bureau of the C.A.C.
^Progress in Chicago Industrial Area (Chicago; Chicago
Association of Commerce, March 1940), Vol. I, No. 3, p. 4.
Chicago Facta (Chicago: Chicago Association of Commerce,
1938), pp. 27, 26.
with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Market Events
From the cutset the retail and wholesale markets of the
city have received care from the Association of Commerce. Be­
lieving that the simplest method of increasing their business was
to make these markets interesting and attractive, the Association
has sponsored numerous trade shows and has endeavoured to secure
favorable railroad rates for visiting merchants. The trade shows
have sometimes been planned to include a wide variety of products,
and on other occasions have concentrated upon & single commodity
as in the style shows, furniture displays and toy weeks. Detailed
records of attendance at these events have been kept, showing not
only the number of visitors, but the cities and states into which
they planned to take Chicago’s merchandise. Thus the editor of
the little Bulletin declared triumphantly that
when a country merchant, man or woman, onoe becomes listed in
the card index kept by Executive Secretary Colton, at head­
quarters, he or she is there until divorced from the Associa­
tion by death. He or she is a member, and one of over 100,000
country buyers thus catalogued.1
Thirty-five years of planning and carrying market events
to completion have made the Association m&3ter of a smooth tech­
nique. Consequently it could announce tranquilly in February,
Shortly after this edition of the Chicago Letter is placed
in the hands of the mailman, 16,000 or more retail store own­
ers and buyers will start purchasing transportation to Chicago
as a preliminary to their participation in the city's Spring
Market Opening scheduled for the week beginning February 5.
Spring Market Week in Chicago means thifc all of the major
dry goods, general merchandise, apparel, giftware, variety and
specialty lines will be on display; that some 2,200 Chicago
manufacturers and wholesale distributors will present their new
spring and early summer lines; that there will be twenty great
trade shows and merchandise exhibits; and thot 900 important
out of town lines will be moved to the city for the occasion.^
From the records just mentioned it is possible to obtain
a fair impression of the extent of the Chicago market. In the
fall of 1906 a convocation of country merchants was held under
October 19, 1905.
Chicago Letter (Chicago: Chicago Association of Commerce,
February, 1940).
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50 -
the auspices of the Chicago Association.
Below appears the dis­
tribution of merchants for the fourth day of the meetings.
Indiana..... .
Missouri ......
Mew IJexico. ...
New York.....
North Dakota..
Louth Carolina
Louth Dakota..
Texas.... .
Vest Virginia.
* ••
•♦ •
•• •
« ••
« « •
Bulletin. April 5, 1907.
Later reports were not printed in such detail. In 1908,
however, Chicago Commerce announced that at the meetings beginning
August 3 of that year and ending September 30, twenty-five states
and Ontario had been represented. The total attendance was 4,500,
and the delegations varied in size from Iowa's 1,457 to one lone
adventurer from Nevada.*' In February of 1909, 4,073 tickets were
validated by railroad representatives for the spring merchants'
^October 2, 1908, p. 10.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
meeting.*' In 1921, after the
organized, it3 membership was
establishments in twenty-nine
second Spring Merchants' Week
51 -
Interstate Merchants' Council was
"four hundred well rated retail
states."^ The following year the
was attended by more than 1,100
Among those who visited the Trade Department of the Association
for the purpose of validating their tickets were 164 retailers
from Iowa. . . . Other states represented by goodly numbers
were Minnesota 52, Missouri 39, Wisconsin 132, and of course,
Illinois with 305.3
Nothing is to be gained by multiplying examples, since it is
fairly apparent that the merchants who come to these trade events
return to the areas from which Chicago might logically be expected
to draw its trade, namely, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota,
Michigan, and f/isconsin, with a sparser delegation from the more
remote states of the Mississippi valley, and a few enterprising
individuals from the high plains and the lower South.
Even with Market Weeks and celebrations designed for specif­
ic commodities, products, or "lines," promising business might
elude Chicago if plans were not made for the individual making his
own private and unannounced "junket" to the market to replenish
his stock; so in 1921 an Interstate Merchants' Council was formed.
This Council was "for the furtherance of better merchandising
It helped to make the merchant feel that he was defi­
nitely a part of a permanent organization. And when the following
year the ?Jjerchants * Service Bureau was created, individual needs
were adequately met.
This bureau was planned to take care of in­
quiries from retail merchants wanting to know where to buy stated
types of merchandise.
"The buyer who is not acquainted in Chicago
is conducted to those business houses he may wish to visit and
every facility provided to meet hia requirements."0 It would seem
Ibid.. March 1, 1909, p. 21.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1921," Chicago Commerce. January 14, 1922, p. 18.
'"'Chicago Commerce, April 8, 1922, p. 7.
4"Annuai Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1921," o£. cit. . p. 18.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
cit.. p. 16.
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52 -
that solicitation could scarcely go further.
has done so.
But it could and
From the beginning the Association, in conjunction with the
railroads, and sometimes in spite of their desire, has offered
special rates to the visiting merchants. Here again we have recourse to the Bulletin. In the early days there were many such
items in the Bulletin, and so we have an unusually clear daguerreotype of them. Also, because the literature of market promotion
contains many such announcements, one long quotation is given:
. . . The four page circular going to tens of thousands of
merchants takes two forms. The one for the territory of the
Western Passenger association, 50,000 being sent, contains no­
tices of routes and dates, and rules governing acceptance of
special merchants’ fares at £ cents per mile each way. The
circular to merchants in the Southwestern Passenger association
territory, 22,500 being sent, invites merchants to avail them-'
selves of the low summer tourist fares to Chicago, the fact be­
ing that these fares are not only very low but that their use
enables buyers in the Great Central Market to come at a time
most opportune, and not at a time prescribed in schedules based
on fixed dates. Each circular contains a cogent appeal to the
man in a email community to regard Chicago as the country’s
supremely best place in which to fulfill the joint purpose of
buying and playing. And it can not be believed too quickly
and generally that this is an indisputed fact.1
Trade Extension
If, in spite of cordiality, efficiency, and beneficial
railroad rates, the merchant could not come to the Chicago market,
the Association has been fertile in devising ways of going to him.
Curing the first part of the century, Chicago was anxious to do
business with the southeastern states. This interest in the South­
east was manifested by a determined effort to eliminate discrimina­
tory freight rates, a matter which will be discussed later, and
also by the establishment of what might be termed an extension of­
fice in Atlanta, Georgia. This latter event followed upon the
successful efforts of the C. .0. and other shippers’ organizations
to reduce the through joint class rates to the Southeast, and
upon a trade extension tour through that territory. President
Dawes considered the Atlanta office of sufficient importance to
give it special notice in his report to the Association submitted
for 1928. He said, "An enterprise of major importance the past
year in the field of systematic market development has been the
XJuly 19, 1907.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
establishment in Atlanta of the Association’s first branch
office.'*■*■ Representatives from this office visited fifty southern
cities in an effort to obtain valuable information for trade exploitation. >'our men made up the Atlanta, staff, and two others
were on the road, working out of the Atlanta office, their aim
being to provide the cities of the Southeast with trade informa­
tion pertaining to the entire ’
diddle .Vest.
Whether this venture was a complete success is not revealed
by the always optimistic reports, but the fact is recorded that
the office was closed after a year of service, and its acting
manager returned to Chicago to conduct southeastern trade stimu2
lation from the home base.
Another and more common method by which the mountain has
sought out Kahomet has been through the trade extension tour.
The purpose of such expeditions is to make new friends who may de­
velop into customers, to renew old relationships, to straighten
out any existing difficulties with established accounts, and to
evaluate the economic potentialities of nev< and old patrons. The
experienced eye and ear pick up credit information on such expe­
ditions. The Bulletin used to carry letters from various repre­
sentatives who chose to make reports to those of their friends
who were interested in similar lines. Thus Kr. F. a* son of
the Vatson, Plummer Shoe Co., while on a trip to the Southwest
Uy conclusions are that from a shoe standpoint in that
country we must advertise more extensively, secure the best
talent to represent us and keep at work in the territory con­
stantly, regardless for the time being of the extra expense of
getting our shoes into the hands of the retailers more gener­
ally that they may fill the demand created by our advertising,
a strict adherence to solid shoes of medium high grade, good
sole leather particularly, and in ail features in shoe making
that are essential to wear in an extremely dry and trying soil
and climate.^
Mr. Thompson, of Kelly, Haus and Co., was interested in
heavy hardware, but he was not so optimistic as Sir. son. He
^■"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
0£. cit. . p. 14.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1929," op. cit. . p. 59.
3May 29, 1906.
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54 -
Replying to your favor of 17th inst., asking my views on
the California trip as same relates to our particular line of
business, would state that in my opinion it is utterly impos­
sible for Chicago to expect any large business in the territory
we visited. . . .
Such detailed attention has not been awarded the trade ex­
tension trips since the days of the Bulletin, but they have con­
tinued a fairly constant feature in Association practice. Various
methods have been devised for carrying out such expeditions. For
the more elaborate ones special cars are chartered and business is
frequently transacted from the train. Trips which take only a day
or two are often made by automobile, and Chicago has been abie to
plan at least one lake excursion. This latter expedition occurred
in 1S10 and was made on the “Theodore Roosevelt.** In this instance
the members acted as "visiting hosts,” as the boat accommodated as
many as 3,200 people. Visiting the cities along Lakes Michigan
and Superior, the travellers reported that about three thousand
callers paid their respects at each town visited.
The year preceding, an elaborate trip had been made through
North Dakota, Montana, T.ashington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming,
Colorado, and Nebraska. Thirty-nine persons set forth on this
journey in a special train of six cars. Thirty-seven cities were
listed in the itinerary, and as these calls were all made in seven3
teen days, the activity of the merchant adventurers was intense.
In 1911, thirty-two cities in Texas were canvassed for busi4
Attention the following season was concentrated nearer
home, and the principal cities of central and southern Illinois
were visited. An extensive expedition into the South and South5
east was the next venture.
During the war, 1914-18, the problems
of transportation as well as the expense of such undertakings
caused the Association to give them up. The year 1920 marked a
return to this type of market promotion, anda three weeks' trip,
again through the Southwest and on to the coast was planned. "A
solid compartment" train furnished accommodations for fifty men.
The estimated expense of §500.00 was considered "nominal," where­
as the opportunities for extending Chicago's commerce were "wonder1 Itld-
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
^Ibid. , 1909, p. 44.
SIbid. . 1914, p. 26.
, 19*1, p. 27.
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ful.'1 The possible undeveloped potentialities of the Southwest
have apparently been the greatest challenge to the Association,
for another tour, headed by President P.. I. Randolph, was taken
through that territory in 1930.
A quick review of the areas visited by ambitious Chicago
businessmen reveals that only the northeastern seacoast has been
neglected. Both Southeast and Southwest have received solicitous
attention, and the Northwest has also been the object of concern.
In addition to observing the regions through which these
trade trips are made it ia instructive to notice the cities which
»ere visited. Both large and small cities are considered prospec­
tive customers. In the expedition of 1909 referred to above the
cities visited were:
North Dakota
Valley City
Salt Lake City
Ko Yokimo
Rock Springs
Walla Salla
Denver .
Baker City
Grand Island
Trips through two other regions reveal the same desire
cultivate friends in all ports along the way. One, made in 19i
in the immediate vicinity of Chicago included:
Eay City
Grand Rapids SaginawPi qua
Van «ert°
Because the Association has been perpetually interested in
southern trade, the itinerary by cities of one of their southern
^Chicago Commerce, April 3, 1920, p. 13.
2"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
0£. cit. . p. 28.
Ibid. . 1908, p. 33.
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56 -
trips is included. This one was made in 1928, from February 12
to 29, inclusive. Eighteen cities were visited comprising the
following list:
New Orleans Macon
High Point
Montgomery Jacksonville Winston-Salem
Birmingham Savannah
If friends are to be permanent customers, simply dropping
by their pity for a call is helpful but not enough. Chambers of
commerce have therefore devised various methods of seeing that
the tie that binds a new customer to a visiting merchant is not
too tenuous to hold. It is customary to leave advertising with
the new patron. This may be informative literature put out by
individual firms, or it may be city advertising. Mr. Walter 5.
Whitten contributed a paper to one of the meetings of the National
Association of Commercial Organization Secretaries on "Trade Exo
tension through Excursions."
In it he took up the matter of the
best sort of advertising to leave in the wake of a trade extension
trip. He admonished his listeners:
Leave as much as possible behind to serve as a reminder
that you have been there. This includes trinkets for the
school children and high class advertising such as a tastily
gotten up pamphlet containing views of the city and descrip­
tions of its places of interest— in short, an advertisement
with the advertising idea not too obtrusive. Such literature
will probably adorn a desk or counter for months, and before
it reaches the waste-basket, be picked up and read by hundreds.
And of course there is always the advertising of individual
As might be expected letters are also a part of the "followup'' and much care and thought is expended or. the framing of such
notes. They must be friendly and personal, but not too eager, and
they must be sent immediately upon returning from the trip.
The values derived from this type of activity are difficult
if not impossible to estimate. This is admitted by Mr. Leroy
Gibbs in his paper, "Trade Extension Trips— Methods and Results,""'
but he insisted to his fellow commercial secretaries, before whom
he read the paper that " . . . such trips are unquestionably of
■^Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1923," o_£. cit.. p. 50.
Commercial Organizations, op. cit.. p. 147.
3 Ibid., p. 158.
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57 -
great value to a market, and there is no doubt that many cities
have developed a strength that would have been impossible except
through such methods.” The mere historian can simply note that
the members have put less faith, or at least proportionately less
money, into them in the twenties and thirties than in the preced­
ing fifteen years.
Industrial Development
"Market development" has been conceived by chambers of com­
merce generally to mean not only the stimulation of business al­
ready located in a city, and assiduous care in procuring new cus­
tomers, but a continuous study of the market as it exists with an
eye to attracting new businesses to the city. From the beginning
the Chicago Association has concerned itself with the location of
new industries in Chicago. An early example of efforts turned in
this channel is the case cited below. It will be noted that the
attempts mentioned to entice the United States Starch and Glucose
Company to their city were made by the members of the Association
even before they had completed the work of organizing the chamber
An interesting instance of the function of the Commercial
Association as an industrial promoter in Chicago appears in
correspondence passing between certain parties in Philadelphia,
the mayor of Chicago, and executive officers of this Associa­
tion. In brief, the United States Starch and Glucose Company
seeks a site for a large glucose and starch plant to employ
400 or 500 men. The secretary of Mayor Dunne, Guy Cramer, com­
municates with Clarence A. Cotton, secretary of the Commercial
Association. The matter is referred to H. C. Barlow, executive
director, who at once opens communication with the Philadelphia
people, who want to come to the right place, Mr; Barlow at the
same time asking the cooperation of E. £. Boyd, of the Board
of Trade. The machinery of location is thus started, and the
Association properly concerns itself in one of the activities
germane to its existence. In this instance the matter would
have originally passed to the Civic-Industrial Division, but
the latter doe3 not happen to be^yet organized. It will doubt­
less soon be in operating order.i
The chief means which the C.A.C. seems to have used in pre­
vailing upon new business to locate in Chicago has been the dis­
semination of information. When word has been received that an
industry is contemplating a change of site, the Civic-Industrial
Committee have been wont to send the responsible executives all
^Bulletin. April 13, 190S.
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58 -
available real estate and loan information. This information has
been prepared "from the technical standpoint of the engineer
rather than the ’professional* viewpoint of the promoter.* In­
quiries concerning factory sites have been transmitted anonymously
to 'members of the Association dealing in industrial real estate,
and the Civic-Industrial Committee made it a point to place in­
formation concerning all sites impartially before the interested
persons.^ Since the reorganization of the Chicago Association
more publicity concerning Chicago as a desirable location for new
business has been issued. Leaflets extolling "The Great Central
Industrial Area” have been published emphasizing the accessibility
of Chicago, its rail, water, and air transportation, switching
facilities, the number of Chicago’s industrial workers, the rela­
tively low incidence of strikes (538,000, over 4 per cent of the
nation’s workers with only i per cent of the time lost in strikes
in 1938). Also have been pointed out the excellence of the city's
factory sites,
large level areas available for new plants, nearly 10,000,000
square feet of Public t’arehousing area, Police and Fire pro­
tection and favorable tax rates-combine with these other ad­
vantages to complete the picture of Chicago as the most econo­
mical location for any kind of industry.2
However, it is safe to say that technical information has
been generously offered whenever it was accessible. Since fre­
quently the final negotiations were carried on through appropriate
subdivisions, it often happened that no records were kept of them.
In 1911, Hr. A. F. Barnes who was then chairman of the CivicIndustrial Comraitt-ee reported, "It is hardly probable that the
printed matter judiciously circulated and the correspondence carried on, will always fail of success.""' Failure, Mr. Earnes felt,
was most frequently occasioned by the fact that the Association
had no organization which could offer "assistance in financing"
the new industry.
1Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1916. p. 30.
Progress in Chicago Industrial Area. Vol. I, No. I,
January, 1940, p. 3.
Annual Peport of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1911. p. 30.
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- 59 -
Information concerning the activities of the Association
in attracting new industries to Chicago is noticeably scant in
the records. It is difficult to form any opinion from the state­
ments made as to how much of such activity as there has been, was
instigated solely or even chiefly by the Association, working in­
dependently of other promotional agencies. The common practice
is to include in the magazine regular reports of new businesses
established and important construction and repair work under way,
but these facts are not particularly illuminating.
Apparently the Association has felt that its work in this
respect has been inadequate, for a tentative statement was made
in the Annual Report for 1 9 3 ^ that thirty outside industries were
located in Chicago during that year. No claims were made by the
author of the report that the Association was responsible for
these modifications of the industrial scene, but he does go on to
say, "To facilitate industrial work, which the Association has
always carried on as one of its activities, the staff has been
enlarged by the addition of a man experienced in industrial loca­
tion work, who devotes his entire- time to these matters."
same chairman also notes that twenty concerns have been called
upon to try to dissuade them from leaving Chicago. Indeed the re­
moval of already well established industries, during the past few
years, has been the cause of continuous distress to the civic
bodies of Chicago.
During 1939 still further attempts to increase the effec­
tiveness of work in the field of industrial location were made.
After a series of "business clinics" had been held, there emerged
"Chicago's Plan for Progress." This plan included, among other
features, the establishment of a new promotional department to be
known as the. Industrial Development Department. In June, when the
recommendation was made, the president pointed out, "that at pres­
ent the Association of Commerce does not have a staff membership
group which has been concerned solely with bringing new payrolls
to the city and keeping present payrolls."3 By November, Cjornmerce
reported that the new head of the department had been selected.
10p. cit. , p. 43.
3Commerce. June, 1939, p. 14.
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- 60 -
He was Mr. E. P. Oueri. "Mr. Querl," the article continued,"will
broadcast the facts regarding Chicago’s industrial advantages to
every company not already represented in the city which might be
considered a logical possibility for a Chicago factory, warehouse
or-sales branch."1 The duties of the new employee were planned
to include "close contact with all affairs affecting labor, taxes,
transportation, real estate, and other matters that might be an
influence on any company considering Chicago as a possible loca­
After observing the paucity of information concerning fac­
tory location work, and the Association's present high hopes, it
would be unjust not to note such positive accomplishments as those
for which the Association has been responsible. A case in point
has been its continuous efforts to keep Chicago's possibilities
as an aeronautical center constantly before the public. A special
committee was created for this purpose, and in 1927 its chairman,
Mr. George E. Foster, announced that it had done everything^in its
power to expedite the construction of a lake front airport.* The
special committee was organized in 1924 and has continued its ac­
tivities to the present. In 1928, the chairman made a statement
to his fellow members which is quoted below in full because it in­
dicates to some degree the extent to which the Association has felt
responsible for the promotion of aeronautics in Chicago, and also
something of the type of activity which has been selected to carry
on this specific bit of promotional work.
Almost every step in Chicago's aviation development since
1924 has been under the scrutiny of the committee on aviation
which, was appointed February 21st of that year, and the final
result in some of these steps has been due directly to the ini­
tiative of this body; while in most instances the committee
has cooperated with other organizations in securing the needed
developments. The committee has taken a considerable part in
the following functions:
Banquet to the Bremen fliers
Air-mail birthday dinner— tenth anniversary
Entertainment of the French delegation to America which was
here studying landing fields and night flying conditions
National air tour of 1928
Air mail campaign in August . . .
IIbid. . November, 1939, p. 29.
^Annual Be port of the Chlc:..:o Association of Commerce,
1987. p. 6.
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International air race in September
First International Aeronautical exposition in December
Eeception and entertainment of the foreign and American
delegates to the International Civil Aeronautics conference,
who were in Chicago December S, 7, 8, and S.
Marking and lighting of the world's largest gas holder.
Interest in the promotion of Chicago as an aeronautical
center has continued until the present. The Association has co­
operated in the development of the municipal airport, but neither
it nor any other organisation has yet secured a lake front port.
In the summer of 1939 a report on aeronautics and the airplane
industry was prepared, but it-was the feeling of the Association
that the city had permitted a valuable industry to elude its
group. In the summer of 1940 agitation was begun to encourage
the location of factories for the construction of army tanka. In
this connection, the distance from both seaboards and from Mexico
were noted, as well as the familiar points concerning taxes, ab­
sence of strikes, factory sites, etc.
Another specific attempt to secure new business for Chicago
which can be mentioned in leas detail was the effort made in 1908
to secure a government warehouse. The Association that year sent
a delegation to Washington to present its arguments to the secre2
taries of the Departments of War, Kavy, and the Interior.
was also freely expended in 1909 to secure the location of a wool
warehouse for the city.
Attempts to promote the furniture indus­
try absorbed a very considerable part of the energies of the Trade
Extension Committee in 1917, At that time some 87,000 copies of
a folder containing relevant information were circulated through4
out the trade and mailed direct to the public.
Kow much the de­
velopment of the steel industry in the greater Chicago area owes
to the interested work of the Association is not a matter of record,
but it is felt to be a considerable debt. The Association has
also been far sighted in its policy of providing the smaller cities
within a radius of about fifty miles with information concerning
^"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1988,” op. cit., p. 34.
£Ibid.. 1908, p. 62.
Chicago Commerce. January 22, 1909, p. 22.
^Annual Report of the Chicago Asaociation of C o m m e r c e .
p .
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62 -
factories which seem better adapted to their conditions than to
those of a metropolis.
But the conclusion from the records is inexorable, that
the effectiveness of the Chicago Association has been limited in
promoting the location of new industries in its city. The ability
of the Association, however, to recognize its own weakness ir. this
respect and to attack the problem as one which can Le solved is
an evidence of inherent strength.
Market Analysis and Protection
In sponsoring market studies the Association has kept
abreast of the times. Market analysis has scarcely attained the
dignity of a science; but if it could achieve such accuracy, it
would undoubtedly contribute to the stabilization of American
business. Although any collection of data concerning the indus­
tries of a city may be colled an industrial survey, and the Asso­
ciation set itself from the outset to collect such information;
perhaps the first effort of any magnitude is the one referred to
in the Annual Report of 1914.
Survey of Chicago: A careful survey has been made by the
committee of ail the factors that influence industrial life in
the city, khile these data have not been put into printed
form, they have been collected and the manuscripts will probably
be published this year.
In addition to this information was collected from members
of the Association of Commerce regarding the following points:
Plants having insufficient output
Plants having idle equipment
New sources of raw materials
Articles manufactured by Chicago plants and principal
sources of raw materials used for each
By-products wasted and utilized by Chicago plants
Plants desiring to branch out in other lines
Condition of markets
New products wanted to manufacture
Export business
Sales methods
Number and character of employees
Employment methods
Partly finished products purchased outside of Chicago
General conditions surrounding Chicago business.
From these data an Industrial encyclopedia of Chicago is
to be constructed.i
1Pp. 34, 35.
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63 -
Subsequent reports do not refer to the encyclopedia and one
ia justified in doubting whether it was ever compiled, but a fact
finding intent is apparent.
The Association has been interested in various types of
business research. Both in theory and in fact it has supported
the work of the federal Census Bureau. In 1924 and 1925 the mana­
ger of the Industrial Department was made a deputy of the Bureau
of the Census, in which capacity he conducted a survey of the
business of Chicago and its environs. A census of distribution
was taken in 1927 mainly because the C.A.C. was ready to assume a
large part of the cost.'1'
Industrial surveys of Chicago are being made continuously.
In 1928, the Committee on Business Research reported that it had
made thirty-five in connection with efforts to encourage factories
to locate in the city. Twenty-seven more were made for national
publications "including a complete revision of Chicago data for
the Editor and Publisher of New York," and still another eighteen
were completed for other chambers of commerce. Yet another fact
finding venture has been the Industrial Employers* Directory which
lists "Manufacturers Employing Fifty or More Persons in Chicago
and the Metropolitan Area." This directory appeared in 1934. By
1936 the list had been extended to include manufacturers employ­
ing twenty-five or more workers. Of these there were 1,932, and
the number included employers hiring from twenty-five to over
10,000 employees. There were an estimated 6,000 employers who
hired less than twenty-five employees. This report did not in­
clude non-productive lines such as "department stores, wholesalers,
banks, retailers, hotels, railroads, or public utilities."
study is cited here, not because the figures are any longer vital,
but to show how specific is the information submitted.
Finally, it became manifest that a perpetual survey of
Chicago market conditions would be of value, so in 1937 the Com­
mittee undertook to publish such a survey each month in Commerce.
This much prized feature has already been referred to in the sec­
tion on public relations. "These statistics covering twenty-two
^Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1S27. p. 20.
Commerce. July, 1936, p. 2.
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- 64 -
business factors, are being followed to an increasing extent by
members, are generally quoted by the press on the occasion of
each monthly release, and are proving of material aid in giving
the outside business executive a quick picture of general business
conditions locally."
Statistics such as those just mentioned serve largely to
give the businessman a photograph of the market at any given mo­
ment, but particularly of late years he has needed another type
of service. As the federal, state, county, city, and other sub­
sidiary governmental units such as the sanitary district, have
been more and more hard pressed by the economic regression, and
the mounting public works programs, taxes have increased in variety
and rate. Indeed their computation and a knowledge of the exact
dates when they are due require a large body of specialized in­
formation. Consequently, during the year 1937, the Committee on
Industrial Development issued a Tax Calendar which listed the de­
sired information in accessible form.2 A testimony to the need
for such a document was its immediate popularity, which took the
form of many requests for a similar calendar for 1938.
Non-payment of taxes or their inaccurate computation are
sins of commission which may entail trouble with governments.
The purchase of bogus securities, or the patronage of concerns
which issue fraudulent advertising constitute another type of er­
ror into which the businessman may fall with different but no le3s
unfortunate results. During the twenties, the C.A.C. was largely
responsible for the organization of a bureau to protect business
from fraudulent advertising.5 Protection for investors was se­
cured. by cooperation with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and
the Illinois Bankers' Association. Offerings of questionable se­
curities and fraudulent advertising were reported to the bureau
and "in cases where the securities being offered are unqualified
and therefore illegal, their reports are at once referred to the
attorney-general for attention."4 There passed through the bureau
1"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1937," Commerce. February, 1938, p. 79.
2Ibid., p. 46.
^Chicago Commerce. March 16, 1929, p. 7.
4"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1920," Chicago Commerce, January 15, 1921, p. 44.
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that year, 650 applications made to the secretary of state to
qualify securities, but only 392 applications were approved.
Sometimes the approval v«;as sought first by the bureau and some­
times the secretary of state himself referred to the bureau for
its opinion. That same year the bureau examined 130 requests
made to the Association about questionable advertising. "These
inquiries in a great number of cases were from parties who have
been swindled through fraudulent Chicago advertisers using space
in outside of Chicago hewspap-ers. The extent of this character
of advertising both in domestic and exporting fields has become
a serious menace to Chicago credit as a market."
Proper methods
of advertising are constantly studied and many exhibits and con­
tests as well as appropriate handling of Bpecial advertising cam­
paigns are demonstrated through the Advertising Council.
Upon first thought "business research" might seem a some­
what academic matter. We have observed the Association’s interest
in such fact finding endeavours as the census, the perpetual sur­
vey of the market, and the tax calendar. With the attempts of the
Association to protect its members and the citizens of Chicago
from fraudulent advertising and the purchase of unsound securities,
research and action are more nearly joined, and with the activities
of the Cartage Theft Committee, the line between fact finding and
action becomes indiscernible. The complaints of the members that
they were losing valuable property from trucks while in transit
resulted in the organization of this committee. Acting in close
cooperation with the police department, records were kept of hi­
jackings in Chicago. Protected routes through the city were care­
fully mapped out and the information sent to shippers. In 1934,
this system was extended throughout the state, as far south as St.
louis and in all other directions to the state boundary.K Appre­
hension of hijackers was assured by the detailing of two experi­
enced officers of the police department by Police Commissioner
Allman. The detail was then Increased to six men. With charac­
teristic energy the Committee secured the cooperation of the state
attorney and the federal district attorney in the prosecution of
^Ibid.. p. 29. The report is by H. H. Kerrick, President
of the Advertisers’ and Investors’ Protective Bureau.
2"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1934,” Commerce, February, 1935, p. 46.
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truck hijacking gangs and fences. During 1934, recovered merchan­
dise was estimated at .566,417.74. The following year the figure
reached $88,371.60. In the latter year the number of hijackings
in Chicago was given as fifty, and those out of the city as thirtyfour, making a total of eighty-four.*- By 1939 the Committee was
able to report1 that there had been not a single motor freight hi­
jack in "Chicago proper." The cartage theft police detail did not
have a restful year, however. This happy resuit was achieved be­
cause, through its vigilance,. 198 arrests were made with 69 con­
victions. Goods recovered amounted to $12,623.£2, and §3,100 in
trucks and automobiles were restored to their rightful owners.
In spite of their relief, the Committee remembered to observe,
"The greatest asset of this well organized activity is still, how­
ever, in what it prevents because of its mere existence, based as
it is upon having been ’tried in the fire' many times and not
found wanting." 2 Decreased insurance rates or. freight trticking
witnessed the lessened anxiety of the accident insurance companies.
This lurid little chapter in the history of Association ac­
tivities with its almost renaissance flavor is also a part of the
organization’s anti-crime campaign which will be discussed in the
section on civic activities.
Every organization worthy of the name from those of learned
professors to purveyors of bathroom fixtures must have its conven­
tion. Great is the desire of man to "belong." He wishes to meet
with his kind, learn what others in his profession or trade are
about, and to win their approval. The proper method of securing
such meetings for a city, of seeing that the members are housed,
fed, allowed to exhibit their wares, and kept amused has become
a business itself. Transient trade is both immediately and poten­
tially valuable to the market, and the Chicago Association of Com­
merce is the city’s entrepreneur in this industry.
Although forced by candor to admit that 286 conventions
^""Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1935," ibid.. February, 1936, p. 63.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1935," op« cit. . p. 88.
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67 -
met in Chicago the year of the Columbian Exposition, a good eleven
years before its organization, the Association assumes the credit
for those which have come to the city since its formation. Meth­
ods of selling the city to visiting brotherhoods are numerous.
Even the weather is publicized as not a "precarious incident" but
as an "economic asset, a reliable condition which we should claim
to be 3ttchagainst any community which aspires to be anything but
a sandwich counter on the route to the Great Central Market, the
Convention City, the Continental Playground, the Summer Resort.n
One gains the impression that even the hotels, presumably erected
by private capital for the profit of investors, were really set
up to help the C.A.C. promote the convention business. "By erec­
tion of such large arid raagnificent hostelries as the La Salle,
Blackstone, Sherraan, etc., we can assure the largest organized
bodies every reouired accommodation and convenience, and are there2
by greatly aided in our assigned work."
But underlying these extravagant claims is much quiet and
systematic work. Hampered by lack of funds the Local Committee
(Convention Bureau) created a sinking fund in 1913 to be added to
by other funds and to be used *’to secure large events as occasion
A representative of the Bureau was present at every conven­
tion held in the city in 1916.4 In addition, daily rounds were
made to Chicago hotels and other meeting places in order to study
the needs of the different associations congregating there, an—
graved invitations to assemble in Chicago were sent out in 1917 to
organizations planning to convene. Folders and booklets asserted
the city’s attractions to some 4Q,00G interested recipients.
Nineteen eighteen was, of course, a sparse year because of trans­
portation difficulties resulting from war conditions. That year
in accordance with requests from the federal government, promotion
was concentrated on trade associations, but the convention busi­
ness suffered nevertheless.^ Following the war the Bureau renewed
•^Chicago Commerce, June 19, 1908, p. 12.
^Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1909. p. 27.
5Ibid.. 1913, p. 40.
» 1916, p. 95.
5Ibld.. 1917, p. 51.
6Ibid., 1918, p. 40.
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68 -
its efforts and sought to reorganize its methods. It finally con­
cluded that permanent staff members who devoted their full time
to travel and to planning meetings with interested secretaries
were the most successful agents. In 1937, three staff members
were-'engaged in this work alone.
These men visited 10E cities
and 805 conventions in session to submit Chicago’s claims to su­
periority as a host.
A tribute to the skill in securing conventions which
Chicago has developed was paid to the Convention Bureau in 1937
by the magazine Business Week. •
Chicago estimates that conventions bring #50,000,000 to
the city annually, and its Convention Bureau is a highly per­
fected set-up, supported jointly by tbs Association of Commerce
and the Greater Chicago Hotel Association, which act through
two policy making, money producing committees. During big cam­
paigns special committees may be appointed. In Indianapolis
next week a citizens’ committee will deposit with the American
Legion Convention Committee a check for $27,050 and show signed
pledges for an additional $75,000 guarantee if the Convention
comes to Chicago next year.2
An improvement in method immediately following the war,
1914-1918, was the organization of a Hotel Bureau at the Associa­
tion’s headquarters. This Bureau aimed to provide hotel accommo­
dations to every Chicago visitor. On the eve of the Republican
convention in 1920, this service was extended beyond mere hotel
facilities and became a "room finding s e r v i c e . I n 1934 active
cooperation with the Greater Chicago Hotel Association was an ac­
complished fact. The Convention Committee of the hotel group then
became an integral part of the Association of Commerce. The pro­
motion managers of the hotels also planned to meet with this new
group whenever important matters were being considered.
Merely providing information as to possible meeting places
constitutes a considerable service to inquiring secretaries. In
1928 a survey which gave authentic data concerning facilities for
meetings and exhibits was made. It included all the lodge halls,
community centers, theaters, etc. in the entire city of Chicago.
This survey proved particularly usef\1 when Rotary International
was planning to convene in the city because it needed no less
^Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1937 {• op. cit. . p. 38.
2May 1, 1937, p. 29.
Chicago Commerce. June 5, 1920, p. 24.
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69 -
than fifty meeting places aside from hotel accommodations. Maps
and charts were prepared at this time showing hotels, points of
interest and facilities for parking.1 It is the policy of the
Association to keep such data as this as contemporary as the cur­
rent employee salary budget will permit, for its value in securing
conventions is obvious. Attempts to encourage the building of
new convention halls and meeting places have been continuous.
These efforts have included endeavoring to persuade the legisla­
ture at Springfield on various occasions to pass enabling acts
for the city to build such a hall. The city council has also re­
ceived encouragement from the Convention Bureau to put the Kavy
Pier in condition for sundry expositions. In 1934, the chairman
of the Committee on Conventions announced triumphantly:
The International Amphitheater's 255,000 square feet of
space, completely equipped for all requirements, gives Chicago
the largest and most up-to-date convention and exposition hall
in the country, and to house meetings in conjunction with trade
shows held there, the Stock Yards Inn.ana the Saddle and Sir­
loin Club offer ample accommodations.**
These continuous efforts to attract conventions and to pro­
vide them with facilities for exposition and meeting are ba3ed
upon the estimate that each delegate who comes to Chicago will
have to spend money for his, bed, board, and transportation, fihile
here he will make sundry retail purchases and he vrill acquaint
himself with Chicago's market opportunities. The Association com­
putes the value of a delegate by assuming that he will stay in
the city from three to six days, average four, and that he will
spend from five to.fifteen dollars each day of his sojourn. Thus
in 1909, Mr. Joseph Basch, who was then the chairman of the Local
Committee proclaimed that "estimated on the best knowr. and gener­
ally accepted basis, the conventions of 19C9 have brought to
Chicago 200,000 visitors who, with an average stay of four
have left over $5,000,000 of 'new money' with our business
V'ith the rise in prices occasioned by the war the basis of
tation was changed to ten dollars a day. Later statements
A"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1928," ojo. cit. . p. 49.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1934," op. cit. . p. 33.
SIbid. . 1909, p. 28.
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sumed to disburse daily. The Chicago Letter for January, 1940,
in speaking of visiting delegates said, "Their average stay in
convention cities is 3 days; their average per delegate expendi­
ture is 112.00 per day." But in March, when the
that the Democratic Convention had been "landed" it estimated
happily, "30,000 visitors at $15.00 a day each for a minimum
seven-day visit. The answer is $3,150,000." Perhaps the $3.00.
difference can be charged to,political exuberance.
The number of conventions and the number of visitors have
shown a fairly steady increase since the year of 1906. In that
year, the first for which the Association kept records, there were
201 conventions with an estimated attendance of 165,000 people.
The largest number of conventions was achieved in 193o with 1,478
meetings recorded. This unusual number was, of course, the re­
sult of the success of A Century of Progress Exposition. The
largest attendance, however, seems to have occurred in 1926 when
1,628,652 persons are said to have visited the city. This excep­
tional attendance record is explained by the nature of the convo­
cations which that year’s schedule included. The International
Eucharlstic Congress assembled in the city in June. Among other
meetings of note were conventions of the Elks, the Moose, and the
Army and Navy game.
Obviously, with so many unknown factors involved in each
instance, the accuracy of figures which give the value in dollars
and cents to a city of the conventions which it has entertained
in a given year, are suspect. That conventions properly solicited
and conducted are a source of considerable income to a community
is agreed upon by commercial secretaries. Mr. L. H. i.ewis, in ad­
dressing a meeting of the secretaries of commercial organizations,
has expressed himself in no uncertain terms upon this issue.
Considered from every standpoint, the convention that is
really worth while to any city, if properly managed and obtained through what are recognized as approved methods, is one
of the best community developers on the market. More conven­
tions mean more hotels, more new money and a brand of advertis­
ing that money can not purchase. Many cities would not have
coliseums had they made no effort to get conventions. Th«ir
transportation lines would not be modern had they remained out
of this field. Many cities would be without some of their best
citizens and largest manufacturing concerns had they not acted
the part of convention host. The price of real estate and
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I! _____ ITT
t C o m m c/-
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property rentals would'not be as high in many cities had no
conventions been held there.-*•
'Whether one is inclined to attribute as many beneficial
results to conventions as does Mr. Lewis depends somewhat upon
his,native cynicism, but there seems little reason to doubt that
retail business, at least, crust profit to the extent of several
dollars per day for each person visiting the city in the capacity
of a delegate. That the Chicago Association of Commerce has been
consistent in its efforts to encourage meetings to convene in their
city, the most cursory glance at their records will establish.
That they have carried on this work by personal solicitation, by
publicity, by providing personal attention to the visitors, and
by making accessible to them all sorts of relevant information,
is also beyond dispute, and finally, that they have done ?/hat they
could to see that proper places for assembly were at their command
is attested by too many items to admit of any doubt. It is, there­
fore, a not very daring conclusion to assert that the Association
has fulfilled one of its many functions of market promotion in it3
conception of a convention policy, and in carrying that policy
over into definite and specific application.
1,1Convent ions, Their Cost and Value,’’ Commercial Organi­
zations, op. sit. , p. 137.
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Transportation by Rail
Even as the ways in which a city makes its living are of
the greatest importance in understanding its personality, ;Just so
it would be impossible to complete that understanding without a
knowledge of its connections with the rest of the world. Chicago
is a rail, water, and air center. There are twenty-one national
railroads and eight air lines which intermesh it with the rest of
the country. Twenty-one national and international steamship
lines bind the lake ports of the United States and Canada to it
and give it access to the rest of the world. Finally, some fif­
teen thousand miles of inland waterways keep clear its communica­
tion with the river cities of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio
rivers.'*' The railroad system of Chicago was well outlined by
1904, the year in which the Chicago Association of Commerce came
into being. Its extent and the additions which have been made to
it in tks past thirty-five years are indicated in the two accom­
panying tables. Although this network of transportation facilities
would undoubtedly have grown up without an Association of Commerce,
yet the existence -of such an organization has unquestionably af­
fected its development.
Just how, and to what extent it is the
purpose of this chapter to indicate.
In discussing the market events which the Association has
promoted throughout the whole of its history, reference was made
to the practice of securing special rates from the railroads for
merchants visiting Chicago. The Committee on Passenger Traffic
has considered that securing such rates was one of the greatest
services vrhich it could render to the market, and the following
quotation culled from the Annual Report for 1908 shows to what
degree the success of merchants’ events was thought to be dependent
1Progress in Chicago Industrial Area, op. cit., January,
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Baltimore and O h i o .............................. 4,410
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (Burlington
Routej a • • « « # 0 0 0 0 * 0 0 0 » » # » *
8, 420
Chicago Great W e s t e r n ........ . ............... 1,463
Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville (Monon) . .
Chicago, Illinois and Indiana . . . ..........
Chicago Junction .............................
Chicago, Lake Shore and E a s t e r n ..............
Chicago, Milwaukee and 3t. P a u l ................ 7,085
Chicago Terminal Transfer
Chicago and A l t o n ....................... . •
Chicago and Eastern Illinois (FriscoSystem) . . 5,549
Chicago and Northwestern (.Northwestern Line) . . 9,071
Chicago ana Western Indiana ..
Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis
(Eig 4 ) ...........................
Elgin, Joliet and Eastern .
E r i e ..................................... .. .
Grand Trunk S y s t e m ..............................4,178
Illinois Cent ra l.............................
Lake Shore and Michigan Southern .............. 1,411
Michigan Central .............................
New York, Chicago and St.Louis (Nickel Plate) .
Pennsylvania S y s t e m ..................... .. * 8,149
Pere Marquette
Rock Island S y s t e m .............................. 7 ,490
Santa Fe R o u t e .................................
W a b a s h ..........................................2,517
Wisconsin Central
Total .
1904. p. 165.
.......... 83,091
Chicago Eoardof Trade, Annual Report,
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- 75 -
Eai Iviay
Mi leage
A. T. and Santa Fe
................ 13,452
Ealtirnore and O h i o ........ ............
Baltimore and Ohio, ChicagoTerm...........
Belt of Chicago
Burlington Route .......................
Ches. and O h i o ...................
Chicago and East. Illinois . .
Chicago and Illinois West.................
Chicago and Northwestern ...............
Chicago and West. Indiana...........
Chicago and Great Western ...............
Chicago, Indiana and Louisville .........
Chicago Junction .......................
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Pauland Pacific .
Chicago River and Indiana ................
Chicago, P.ock Island and P a c i f i c ........
Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St.
L o u i s ..........................
E r i e ........ ...........................
Grand Trunk
Illinois Central System ..................
Illinois Northern........ ; .............
Indiana Harbor E e l t ................. . . .
Manufacturers* Junction ................
Michigan Central .......................
New York C e n t r a l .......................... 11,070
New York, Chicago and St. L o u i s ..........
Pennsylvania . . . . .................. . 10,236
Pore M a r q u e t t e .................
Boo Line
T o t a l ...........
^Source: List of railways taken from the
Official Guide of the Railways, Steam Navigation
Lines of the United States. Porto Rico. Canada.
Mexico and Cuba (New York: National Railway Pub1ication Co., 1939); mileage taken from U.S.
Interstate Commerce Commission, Fifty-Second
Annual Report on the Statistics of Railways In
the United States for the Year Ended December 51,
1938 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1939).
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
?6 upon these favorable rates:
The committee was successful in negotiating with lines in
the Central, ¥?estern and Southwestern Passenger Association,
for merchants’ excursion rates in effect from August 1 to
September 30, 1908. The attendance at these meetings was ap­
proximately 5,000 merchants.
The reason for the falling off in attendance at the summer
and fall merchants* meetings of 1908, compared with the same
time of 1907, was owing to a very large extent, to the failure
to secure rates in the spring of 1908. The committee believes
that this failure to secure rates in the spring is responsible
for the comparatively small attendance at the fall meetings,
the merchants having gotten out of the habit of coming to the
market on account of the failure to secure rates.
We believe that these rates are necessary to stimulate the
desire on the part of the merchant to visit the market, and
getting him to the market is the means to stimulate better buy­
ing, closer relations between the jobber, manufacturer and the
Selecting somewhat at random from similar accounts, one
observes that in 1911 rates of two cents a mile, good from January
of that year until the middle of April, were secured for merchants
from the Southwest, who expected to attend meetings in Chicago.2
Again in 1982 fare and a half rates were secured for the first
and second Spring Merchants’ Weeks, for delegates traveling parts
of ten specified states, over Western Passenger Association lines.
In his 1926 report, Mr, John T. Pirie of the Committee on Trans­
portation refers to the special reduced passenger rates for mer­
chants* meetings which have helped to promote the year’s market
Arrangements for stopovers in Chicago have also accom5
piishea somewhat the same results.
Efforts to secure special railroad rates for merchants are,
however, but a small part of the Association’s work in dealing
with Chicago’s transportation problems. Reconciling the interests
of shippers and carriers has from the outset been recognized as
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1906. p. 42.
2Ibld.. 1911, p. 28.
Chicago Commerce, February 85, 1922, p. 5.
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1926. p. 15.
For example, see, "Annual Report of the Chicago Association
of Commerce, 1933," Commerce. February, 1934, p. 45.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 77 one of the legitimate fields of activity for chambers of commerce.
The membership in whole or in part, is concerned with passenger
and freight transportation by rail, by water, by bus, and by air,
in short by every possible means of conveyance, and since the
history of this interest can be traced in detail it is well to
treat in somewhat general terms of the functions of a traffic de­
partment .
In 1929, the United States Chamber of Commerce issued a
pamphlet which endeavoured to summarize the duties assumed by such
departments throughout the country.The following
discussion is
based upon the findings of the United States Chamber. Nine sepa­
rate functions are commonly performed by such departments. They
are expected to assume leadership in deaiing with community trans­
portation problems. They should interest themselves in the de­
velopment of transportation service
for the entire community. The
community has a right to expect the traffic bureau to protect its
interests as opposed to those of other
districts or
cities, in
negotiating with the carriers for the adjustment of
rates and
services. This protection will frequently involve representation
of the community before the regulatory
bodies of local, state, arid
national governments. It will also be
necessary to
promote proper
legislation concerning transportation with the legislatures of
these three divisions of government. The members of the local
chamber, will have to be kept constantly informed concerning cur­
rent transportation situations. They will also expect, and should
receive many specific services in connection with their own indi­
vidual shipping problems. Since there will invariably be, in the
community, other organizations with similar functions to perform,
these associations should be brought to coordinate their efforts
with those of the chamber, and the cooperation of other areas and
cities should be sought when the problems are of sufficient magni­
tude to warrant joint action.*As the Chicago Association of Commerce serves a community
of such size and variety of interests, it goes without saying that
all of these functions are performed by it. Mr. William Hudson
Harper summed it up neatly in one of his articles for Commerce
^Traffic Bureaus and Transportation Departments of Chambers
of Commerce
Washington: Chamber of Commerce of t k United •
States, January, 1929), p. IS.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
78 -
''fohenThe said:
-' •
The service of today includes quotation of freight and exI press rates, routing information, tracing of cars, compiling ,
j of rate statements, advice about handling of claims, formal
i and informal complaints before regulatory bodies, and mainten-j
! pnce of a complete traffic library and tariff file for the
of members* In addition the department furnishes information j
in connection with motor track operation,, passenger service,
{md water transportation. Rate quotations, once but a few,
I now number over one thousand per month.1-
hocated as it is upon the inland water system of the con- j
jtinent, Chicago transportation problems are not only |hoae of
Uilroads and buses, but of lake and canal service
Situa- |
jfciona connected with railroad shipment will'be dealt with first j
in this exposition. For brevity*e sake no further attempt to
elaborate upon air and bus service will be made.
One of the specific problems of concern to both carriers
Snd shippers has long been the amount of loss on' package car
freight.2 The Chicago Association has been diligent in attempt- |
i n g t o eliminate shippers* carelessness In their X..C.L. (less
'than -carload) shipments. Careful schedules of through package
Cars have been published and are accessible to any member. Con- jstant checking is done on the performance of these cars. One year,
1919, the Business Manager reported that 15,000 postal cards were
used in tracing 65,958 package cars from Chicago. Changes in
routing accounted for 3,000 postal cards and 1,200 letters were j
3ent to the railroads urging the prompt movement of cars. Two .,j
hundred conferences were held with railroad officials over these j
matters. Additional cars were provided and schedules of as many !
ae 125 cars were shortened, presumably as a result of these con­
ferences.3 Thanks to the vigilance of carriers and shippers the!
following encouraging report was submitted in 1929.
^•Chicago Commerce, December 7, 1929, p. 201.
2See, for
h . Hanev. The Business of Railway
Tr^ftoortation (Kew York; Ronald Press Co., 1924), chap* XXVI,
“The Shipping of Freight."
^Annual Report of the Chicago Association. of Cose s roe.
1916. p. 94. ■
with permission of the copyright owner. Further reprodui-r
reproduction prohibited without permission.
''1988 AHD-X989*
Total cars reported...... 386,325
On time performance:
Number of c a r s . .... 348fOSS
Percentage of total....
Source: *Anva&l Beport of the Chicago
Association of Commerce, 1929,* op. cit.. p. 56.
Efficient handling of L.C.L, freight depends so ranch upon
Careful packing that the Traffic Department has assumed the bur- j
den of instructing the members., of.the Association in the proper
precautionary methods of preventing loss. Be<juire»enta for con- j
tainershave been studied, the percentage of illegible dray tickets
observed, the necessity for proper inspection of secondhand pack-*
ing cases has been emphasized, and attempts made to impress upon
Shippers the necessity of allowing adequate time for shipping.
A shipper wants to knov not only how to pack his raerchandise, but also how he should route it and how much it will cost to
Ship it. The cost is frequently affected by the manner of packing
since that may determine its rating, and also obviously by the
length of the journey which it has to take to reach its destina­
tion. Long and diligent service went into the preparation of the
Association's bulletin. Wav to Ship. It is a shipping guide which,
over a oeriod of some fourteen years, finally covered the tteilsd
Statesf so that any Association member could inform himself con­
cerning the most direct path to his customer. Special types of !
service, such aa that of refrigerator cars, are also noted in this
The extent to which the members have utilized the rate
quotation service of the department is Indicated fey Sr. Pirie’s
"Ibid.. 1913, pp. 67, 68.
2,Chicago-Gommorce. June 7. 1919, p. 10.
°Pynght owner Fnrih*
statement in 1935 that an' average of two thousand quotations were
jaade each month of that year.*
The types of service performed by the Association's Traf- '
fie Bureau which have <just been described are of a somewhat rou­
tin'®' nature, but the Bureau's efforts to represent the interests
of the city in the framing of rate schedules by the carriers have
been sdmewhat more dramatic. The Association “representa largely
the merchandise shipper as distinguished from the shipper handling
special commodities. .Such merchandise shippers are largely unorganized and are only represented by such organizations as our
The Association has been zealous in- its efforts to secure
rates for the merchandise shipper which would enable hi® to com- !
pete favorably with the shipper from other markets. This policy ;
has very naturally resulted in a close attention to ex-lake rates,
fates to both Atlantic and Pacific coasts, to the Southwest, to
the Southeast and to a consideration of the transcontinental rates.
The Association has endeavoured to promote harmonious relations
among shippers, carriers, and government agencies. Two interest­
ing examples of its efforts to aid the government and its own pa­
trons which come immediately to mind are the lending of its traffie manager, Mr. Barlow, to the government when the railroads
Were put under public direction, and the leave of absence granted
to Mr. Bochstedler* a later traffic director, to serve as western
traffic assistant while a study of traffic coordination was being
made under the Emergency Transportation Act of 1933.
It is not difficult to find examples of the Association's
efforts to promote harmony between the carriers and their Chicago
Shippers. An interesting case in point was the intervention of ‘
the Association, acting jointly with the Illinois Coal Operators *\
Association, the Commonwealth Edison Companyp and the Illinois
Manufacturers' Association, when the carriers announced in 1910
that they were going to raise the rates on coal from eight to
twelve cents per ton from all mines in Illinois to Chicago.
1“Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1935,* op. cit., p. 65.
2Chicago Commerce. December 31, '1981, p. 23.
^Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1917. p. 102; "Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce, 1933." op. cit.. p. 45.
P e rm issio n o f th e
c°Pynght owner.
F u rth e r
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without permission.
— 83* —
organizations Just mentioned asked the Illinois Bailrosd and Ware­
house Commission to employ outside experts to audit the books of j
the carriers in order that there might be some impartial data con­
cerning the necessity for increasing the rates. The Commission
ultimately decided upon an advance of seven cents per ton from
all mines inthe state, a decision to which the interested organi­
zations were willing to agree. The relevant point to note here,
however, is that these same organizations desired to settle the
batter in the manner $escribed and entered upon such action know­
ing that if their petition were granted they would have Jointly
to pay the cost of having the carriers* books audited.
Another example of cooperation between shippers and car­
riers occurred when the Interstate Commerce Commission proposed a
revision of Western Trunk Line rates. The Commission asked and
received aid from the railroads and their customers in this task,
and much litigation was avoided by having representatives of the :
two intereste thrash out questions pertaining to the rates in
Joint conferences. Curing this process the Chicago Association
helped to organize a steering committee representing various or­
ganizations throughout the eight states affected and the work pro­
ceeded under the guidance of this committee. The aim was to frame
new rates in such a way as to eliminate discriminations, and yet
result in a minimum advance.
An instance which illustrates the confidence placed in the'
Chicago Association by similar organizations of shippers is to be
noted in connection with the efforts to revise the rates in the
territory north of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi rivers.
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1910. p. 57.
2"Annual Beport of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1925," op. cit.. p. 35; Traffic Bureaus and Transportation Depart­
ments. op. cit.. pp. 56, 57. The latter publication attributes to
Chicago a leading part in this movement of cooperative rate mak­
ing, The report of the I.C.C. is noncommittal:
As a result of cooperative action of committees of ship­
pers and carriers and the advice and suggestions of the bureau
-CBureau of Traffic of the I. C. 13.3 a preliminary revision of
class rates in western trunk-line territory became effective
in dune. Joint committees of shippers and carriers are now
engaged in working out a sore complete readjustment (Annual
Beport of the Interstate Commerce Commission for 1925
ington: Government Printing Office, 1925j, p. 43).
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82 -
This case was argued before the Commission in July of 1929. For
the flnal.iargument the Chicago Association was ‘♦authorised and re­
quested to represent the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce and the
jlllinoia Manufacturers * Association, as well as many local cham- !
hers of commerce including St. Louis, Springfield, Rockford, '
;<jaincy, Hannibal , and others.wi
''In defending the Chicago market against the competition of
ptfaer cities and districts, the Association has insisted that as !
much shipping should be done by the lakes as the rates made feas­
ible. Lake and rail rates have consequently been a matter of con­
tinuous concern to the Association. The foilowing quotation
taken from the Bulletin for April 5, 190?, shows how early in the
history of the Association these rates were considered a vital
- !;
The Freight Traffic committee sees peril to Chicago in a j
i readjustment of rates affecting the lake and rail routes on
! the one hand and the ocean and rail routes on the other. By i
the new adjustment shipments can bemade as cheaply. fromKew j
: York and Boston to Memphis and St. Louis as through Chicago by
I lake and rail route. The eastern steamship and rail lines are
| talcing from Chicago an ancient 11-cant differential established
by reason of this city*a location. TheCommercial association
will be vigilant and aggressive in the matter.
The stand taken by the Committee on Transportation lnl9S8
was that rail and lake rates Should be 80 per cent of the all rail
rates. In the Eastern class rate investigation the Commission
recommended that the lake and rail rates should be 85 per cent of
the all rail rates. At the time that this recommendation was made
the figure was 91 per cent, but the Qhlc&go Association insisted
In its annual report that only a reduction to 80 per cent would
attract *a fair share of the moving traffic to the lake routes.*
The Association had been definitely trying for two years to de­
velop lake shipping for package freight, so it was in a position
to know its own feelings about these rates.* K-or has it stood
alone in pronouncing them discriminatory. For instance, the
Board of Trade remarked bitterly in 1913:
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1929.” o p . cit.. p. 38.
2Ibld.. 1926, p. 14} ”Annual Report of the Chicago Associa­
tion of Commerce, 1928,” op. cit.. p. 21.
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PrOWM« w il(,oUtpermisslw -
S3 -
. . . We are fully convinced that the ex-lake rates which
apply easterly from Buffalo on grain coming off the lake are,
and have been since 1908 too high, so high indeed that it is
cheaper to ship to most points all rail than it is to ship
lake and rail. In other words we are deprived of the value of
,our location on the lake and the value of cheap water trans­
In championing the Middle West, the Association has sought
to secure rates through Chicago to St. Paul and Minneapolis which
would remove any advantage St. Louis enjoyed in its earlier days
as a river city.
The Foreign Trade Committee has favored legis­
lation to provide through export and import rates between the
Mississippi valley and the Atlantic seaboard.
The Transportation
Committee has protested the discrimination shown against Chicago
in extra fare trains.
The Panama Canal has been apprehensively regarded by Chicago
shippers ever since it was opened as inevitably giving shipping
from east to west coast the advantage of water rates. If the cost
of production were relatively about the same in Kew York and
Chicago, producers in the two cities could compete on an equal
basis for west coast business only if the railroads were willing
to make rates from Chicago which would meet water competition.
Perfectly cognizant of this situation the railroads petitioned
for authority to publish lower rates from inland points to Pacific
coast cities. The Traffic Committee was represented at the hearS
ings, and urged that the request of the carriers be granted.
Lest anyone should think that this issue died with the years,
Chicago Board of Trade, Annual Reports of the Trade and
Commerce of Chicago (Chicago: Headstrom', Barry Co., 1913), p. xxx.
^Chicago Commerce. February 18, 1922, p. 16.
^“Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1920,” op. cit.. p. 20.
4*Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1930,w op. cit. . p. 52.
^Transportation literature is full of accounts of this
topic, but see, for example, the report of Emory R. Johnson,
Special Commissioner on Panama Traffic and Tolls, The Relation of
the pflnwma Canal to the Traffic and Bates of American Railroads,
62d Cong., 2d Seas., Senate Doc., Eumber 679 (Washington; Govern­
ment Printing-Office, 1912).
^Annual Report of the Chicago Aaaociatlon of Commerce.
1915. pp. 83, 84.
iuced with permission o f the c o n v r i r , m
ie copyright owner. F u rth e rm o re *■
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- 84 -
Mr. Pirie, long time chairman of the Association's Traffic Com­
mittee included reference to it in his report for 1932. "The
Interstate Commerce Commission," he was pleased to observe, "has
approved reductions on the rates on canned food products
from Pacific coast territory to Chicago to compete with the Panama
Canal route. . . ."*■ JNo, the issue does not die. It has been
fruitful in causing the Association to foster attempts to improve
canal and river traffic to New Orleans, a topic which will be men2
tioned later.
Concerning none of its battles for favorable rates, however,
has the Association been as proud as over the question of the re­
vision of the southeastern rates. As far back as 1878 the southern
railways hbd constructed a series of rates which favored the ship­
ment of merchandise and manufactured goods from the eastern cities,
New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. - St. Louis, the
Ohio river cities, particularly Cincinnati, and Chicago were loud
in their disapproval. In 1894 the cities of Cincinnati and Chicago
complained about these rates to the Commission which lent, as it
happened, a sympathetic ear to their plea, but the federal courts
inopportunely reminded the Commission that it had no rate-making
power, and so the cities of Cincinnati and Chicago were forced to
il,Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1932," o&. cit., p. 34.
An interesting commentary on the attitude of chambers of
commerce toward the rate making problems resulting from the con­
struction of the Panama Canal is afforded by the following quota­
tion from the annual report of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce
for the year 1923 (p. 65);
In 1920 the committee was authorized by the board of directors-to oppose the realignment of westbound transcontinental
rates, which, as proposed, would have increased the difficulty
of competition of Cleveland firms for Pacific coast business
with firms located west of Cleveland. The.Chamber of Commerce
was represented in proceedings before the Interstate Commerce
Commission, and in the spring of 1921, the Commission disap­
proved of the proposed rates and dismissed the case. It is
impossible to estimate the effect of a realignment such as the
one proposed, as its competitive features are so much more im­
portant than the mere increase in freight rates.
^Chicago Commerce. October 23, 1908, p. 3; 100 I.C.C. 513,
678 (note)” The complete record of the Southeastern Rate Investi­
gation ia to be found in 100 I.C.C. 513; 109 I.C.C. 300; 113 I.C.C.
200; 128 I.C.C. 567.
with permission o f the
copyright owner. Further
reproduction prohibited without
- 85 bide their time.1
In 1908, the powers of the Commission having been enlarged
meanwhile, a similar case was submitted. By that year the Associa­
tion of Commerce was fully organized so it joined forces with the
Receivers' and Shippers' Association of Cincinnati to make another
protest about the discriminations involved in the southeastern
rates. Although taken from the columns of Commerce, the following
contemporary summary of the situation is a quotation from the
Chicago Tribune;
The freight rate on dry goods shipped from Hew York City
to Chattanooga, 847 miles, is §1.05 per hundred pounds. If
that is a reasonable charge the rate of $1.11 from Chicago to
Chattanooga, 636 miles, is too high. It is so high that Chicago
merchants are shut out of territory which ought to be open to
them and it is turned over to Hew York and Boston merchants.
If that is not one of the discriminations which the Hepburn
law was enacted to get rid of, what is?
The standing excuse for this discrimination has been that
railroads running from New York to points on the southern
Atlantic seaboard have to face water competition, and hence
must charge lower rates. The argument is not without force as
far as Savannah for instance, is concerned. The argument does
not apply to an inland point like Chattanooga. The Chicago
merchant should have at least an equal opportunity there with
his eastern rival.2
Again were the hopes of Cincinnati and Chicago dashed, and
the southern rate schedules remained the same. A® it happened
the Board of Trade.was not idle in this controversy either, Mr.
w. H. Hopkins had presented evidence in the case submitted in
1906, and with its failure, agitation for better rates ori grain
was immediately begun. The decision in the Rosenbaum case was
rendered in 1911.
It at least favored Chicago.
As Mr. Hopkins
under this decision the Chicago grain merchant can draw grain
from the territory west of the Mississippi river including
Missouri river points and market it at points in the Southeast
on a basis of rates equal to the combination made through
Peoria, St. Louis and Ohio river gateways.3
^Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1906, p. 40.
2Quoted in Chicago Commerce. November 30, 1908, p. 31.
^Annual Report of the Board of Trade. 1911. op. cit., p.
p r o h .b ( t e d
.( i ) o u (
permte|M •
- 86 Further modifications in grain rates were conceded in 1914 in
Western Trunk Lines Territory to the Southeast by the Chicago and
Northwestern Bailway and by the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul.*
So "the Association of Commerce lost an ally, because the Board of
Trade had won the part of the battle in which it was most inter­
The Southern rate structure was without question even more
complicated than that.prevailing in other territories, and the
Interstate Commerce Commission on its own initiative decided to
review the whole schedule. Some 15,000 pages of testimony were
taken and over 2,000 exhibits were presented in this process.
At the close of this considerable endeavour, the Commission an;- ;
nounced that it hoped and believed the investigation would result
in rate structures of far greater uniformity than those which had
existed, and also pave the way for similar revisions of many com3
modity rates.
This revision was naturally concerned with many more prob­
lems than simply the rates from Chicago to the Southeastern ter­
ritory, so that the part played by the Association of Commerce in
the total action was relatively small. However, the persistence
of Chicago merchants and manufacturers was certainly behind the
Commission's statement, nThe shippers of Chicago and other cities
in central territory have long thought their combination rate3
too high as compared with the Joint rates in effect between the
East and the South. . . ."
Again the Commission mentions the
Association by name when commenting on the Joint rates:
In this connection it appears that the proposed Joint rates
from central territory are generally favored by the shippers
in that territory. Representations to that effect were made in
behalf of 40 commercial organizations and 675 individual ship­
pers, in behalf of the Chicago Association of Commerce, and in
behalf of Cleveland commercial organizations. . . .5
*Ibid., 1914, p. xxvi.
^Joseph H. Donnell and others, Railroad Freight Rate Struc­
tures Southern Territory (Chicago: La Salle Extension University,
1926), p. 106.
Annual Report of the Interstate Commerce Commission. 1927
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1927), p. 63.
4100 I.C.C. 513, 552.
5Ibid., p. 583.
Reproduced with permission o f the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
The Association was not the only Chicago organization represented,
for the record shows that Mr. Murray N. Eillings submitted testi­
mony for the Illinois Manufacturers* Association, and Chicago
Shippers* Conference Association.1 But the Association of Com­
merce could claim that from the moment of its organization, it
had contended for a change in the southeastern rates, and that by
192? the matter had been adjusted very much as it had insisted
for thirty years that- it should be.2 It did not claim to have
been the sole agent by which this change had been effected, but
was content to rejoice in the altered rates and to set about open­
ing an extension office in Atlanta.
The southeastern rate investigation has been followed in
detail to indicate as accurately as possible how the Chicago As­
sociation of Commerce procedes in the important function it per­
forms in representing shipper interests before government commis­
sions. As has been indicated, such activity is but a small part
of the responsibility delegated to the Traffic Department. We
turn to observe its activities in the development of Chicago’s
water borne traffic.
Transportation by Water
The Association of Commerce did not come into being until
long after the railroads of the district had centered around
Chicago. Consequently the chief railway problems of the Associa­
tion, as has just been indicated, have been the specific adjust­
ments which arise in connection with a system already well devel­
oped. Curiously the history.of water borne traffic is quite the
reverse. This statement does not imply that there has not been
lake traffic from the beginning of the city’s history. Indeed,
taking the grain trade as an example, the Board of Trade figures
show a healthy activity in lake grain shipping throughout the en­
tire period of concern in this study. - (See Table 6.) But the
conception of Chicago as an inland port, the center of a thriving
lake, canal, and river traffic has been longer in coming to ma­
High hopes bad been held for the old Illinois and Michigan
1Ibid.,pp. 515 ff.
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1927. p. 7.
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- 88 -
(000*8 omitted)
Tear %heat
1938 12,654
193? 19,254
1934 11,749
1931 43,502
1930 15,471
1929 10,317
1927 19,053
1926 20,200
1924 47,767
1923 17,685
1922 36,293
1921 27,095
1920 11,193
1919 35,522
1918 38,946
1915 16,206
1914 56,456
1913 16,528
1912 17,672
1911 14,634
1908 10,406
1907 14,369
• • « « •
♦ •
• •
« • « •
• • •
* • • • •
• •
• t
• • •
• • • «•
• • a • •
« • * • •
•• #«
• • •
• • • • *
• • •
• • •
• ••• •
•• ••
» • • • •
« • ♦ • •
• • • * •
• « • • •
• • * • •
1 ,274
• •
446 :
* •
Source: Chicago Board of Trade, The Eighty-Second Annual
Report of the Trade and Commerce of Chicago for the Year Lnded
December50. 1939 (Chicago : Lincoln Printing Company. 1940)."
p. 121.
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85 -
Canal, but misfortune and the railroads had laid the dream low.^
iith the building of the Sanitary and Shipping Canal, the dreams
of a century ago were revived. They have not come to complete
fruition even yet.
Nevertheless, the dreams however faerie, have discernible
outlines. It is desired to increase the port facilities of the
city by providing proper barge terminals, and both passenger and
industrial harbors on, the lake front. The barge terminals would
encourage the traffic which would hypothetically appear if the
Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal were to be utilized to the
full in conjunction with the Lakes-to-the-Gulf Waterway. The har­
bors would be needed if the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence. Waterway were
to receive careful and expensive attention from the federal gov­
ernment and from the government of the Dominion-of Canada. It is
not difficult to define the position of the Association of Com­
merce regarding this plan. The Association is '‘for" it. As usual
it has been articulate about its enthusiasm and its Rivers and
Harbors Committee has "encouraged," "promoted," and "cooperated"
with all endeavours to make the dream come true.
Anyone who makes hirnself familiar with Chicago’s story
learns caution. Not caution in credulity, but caution in skepti­
cism. Even that prince among the disillusioned, Mark Twain, writ­
ing in the 70*s upon returning from his most famous journey on the
Mississippi was moved to ejaculate:
We struck the homeward trail now, and in a few hours were
in that astonishing Chicago-— a city where they are always rub­
bing the lamp and fetching up genii, and contriving and achiev­
ing new impossibilities. It is hopeless for the occasional
visitor to try to keep up with Chicago— she outgrows his
prophecies faster than he can make them. She is always a
novelty, for she is never the Chicago you saw when you passed :
through the iast t i m e . 2
The ways of the men of the great valley region were the wisdom of
Mark. He lives today because he knew them well, and he did not
scoff at the aspirations of Chicago.
Practically, however, before this narrative goes to the
^For fuller information on the Illinois Michigan Canal, see
Bessie L. Pierce, A History of Chicago (New York: A. A. Knopf,
1937), pp. 118-23.
Samuel L. Clemens, Life on the Mississippi (New York:
Harper & Brothers, 1917), p. 436.
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- 90 -
clouds, what has the Association done to develop the port facili­
ties of Chicago? In 1909 it absorbed the Calumet River Improve­
ment Association because it felt that work in developing the
Chicago and Calumet rivers and harbors should be unified."^ This
organization existed for the purpose of developing the Calumet
river and harbor. The president, Sr. George A. Tripp, announced
the "merger" on October 29, 1909, saying that since the Rivers
and Harbors Committee, of the Chicago Association seemed fully
"alive to the importance of Calumet river as a Chicago harbor,"
the union of the two organizations seemed desirable.
The last
appearance of Calumet River Improvement Association was at a public
hearing held by Major Thomas H. Rees, Cfnited States engineer for
the Chicago district regarding the removal of.three center pier
railroad bridges over the Calumet river near 79th Street, the
straightening of the channel and the establishment of 140 foot
draws. The interested railroads were the Baltimore and Ohio, the
Lake Shore, and the Michigan Southern.
Two years later definite
action was taken to encourage the construction of an outer harbor.
At that time the Association recommended among other things "that
there shall be located the beginning of a harbor immediately north
of the mouth of the Chicago river, consisting of wharves and piers
of such units as shall be necessary to take care of passenger traf4
fic and package freight.**
This recommendation was "substantially
that adopted by the Ccity] Council, a commission being appointed
with instructions to proceed with all possible dispatch."
tinuous study of Chicago*s harbor problems convinced the committee
that the city stood badly in need of a commission of some sort
which had the interest and authority to provide for the building
of wharves, condemning of property, the necessary dredging of the
harbor, etc.° Gradually they swung around to the opinion that
Chicago's needs would be best served by the creation of an in1
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1909, p. 30.
Chicago Commerce. October 29, 1909, p. 2.
SIbid., p. 3.
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1911. p. 61.
6Ibid.. 1914, p. 73.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 91 dustrial harbor at Calumet, and of an interstate harbor farther
east on the lake front to be known as the Uliana harbor.
the efforts of the Committee, Turning Basin No. 3 on the Calumet
had been acquired by the federal government, after the City Coun­
cil and the owners of the property concerned had been persuaded
of theJ advisability of the purchase.
Careful bridge building
plans were reported on from year to year.
The Annual Report of
the Chicago Association for 1930 gives a succinct review of the
Committee's aspirations for Chicago Harbor. A Regional Port Com­
mission was appointed that year to provide an administrative nu­
cleus to restore and advance Chicago as a water port. Its stated
purposes were:
To act as a clearing house for terminal proposals similar
to the Chicago Plan Commission.
To study existing Harbor Plan.
To recommend efficient water terminal scheme.
To sake specific proposals providing for establishment of
proper Port Authority.
To advise as to proper maintenance and operation of exist­
ing facilities.
To develop Chicago's water facilities to the full.
The development of the Port Authority quickly became a pet
project of the Rivers and Harbors Committee. The Regional Port
Commission having become an accomplished fact, support was thrown
to the establishment of an interstate authority. The legislatures
of both Indiana and Illinois were urged to charter such an organi­
zation,5 which they eventually did. Mr. William E. Dawes became
its president. As a president of the Chicago Association and of
the Mississippi Valley Association, Mr. Dawes had long been in­
1"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
o p . cit., p. 27.
2Ibld.. 1914, p. 71.
5For example, see Annual Report of the Chicago Association
of Commerce. 1916. pp. 68-70.
4"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1930,* op. cit., p. 42.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1933," op. cit. , p. 46.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
92 terested in the project. The accompanying map illustrates the
Chicago Harbor as it was developed by 1938. It is one of several
which have been published by the Interstate Port Commission.
This considerable record of accomplishment was not achieved
solely through the efforts of the Association of Commerce. Pre­
viously instances have been cited showing how astutely the Asso­
ciation acts in conjunction with other similar organizations.
Although the development of .the proper port authority seems to
have been a favored child of the Association, the formulation of
a coherent harbor program for the city was immeasurably aided by
the action of the Chicago Commercial Club. In 1927 It published
The Harbor Plan of Chicago. Among the names of the committee pre­
senting the report were those of John V. Farwell, John T. Pirie,
and Kufus C. Dawes, all also directing energies.-in the Association
of Commerce. Cooperation in this instance must have been simple.
Indeed we have here an excellent example of the joint action. of
similar clubs which was described in the chapter on organization.
Chicago *3 harbor plans are intimately bound.up with those
to develop the Lakes-to-the-Gulf Waterway. A part of the Lakesto-the-Gulf scheme has been the completion of the Chicago Sanitary
and Shipping Canal. Any ordinary layman may be allowed a period
for silent confusion before he approaches this problem. As the
name implies, the Sanitary and Shipping Canal was constructed with
a double purpose in view. The sanitary problem involved was to
find a method of disposing of the city’s sewage in such a manner
as to avoid polluting the shores of Lake Michigan. For this pur­
pose a canal which was to be. flushed with water diverted from the
lake was to run parallel with the old Illinois and Michigan Canal.
This canal would connect Chicago with the Illinois river, then
with the Mississippi, and ultimately with the Gulf of Mexico. (See
map of Illinois Waterway.) From the outset, however, it was
planned to use the canal for shipping and it was consequently con­
structed with a greater capacity than was essential to mere sewage
disposal. (More specifically, the waterway is comprised of the
Chicago river, the Drainage Canal, the Calumet-Sag Canal, the Des
Plaines and the Illinois rivers.) In his testimony before the
Rivers and Harbors Committee of the House of Representatives,
Governor Henry Horner estimated that by 1938 the federal govern­
ment had expended $420,000,0G0
for the improvement of the
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O o m ’m (.■sS/o "i-y
V O /
- 93 -
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copyright owner. Further
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- 95 Mississippi river and its tributaries, and that the state of
Illinois and its municipalities had invested f80,000,000 on arti­
ficial canals and river improvements to connect the Great Lakes
with the Mississippi river system;1
So stated, the topic, except for the magnitude of the sums
involved, seems simple enough. Actually a train of difficulties
has sprung up in the efforts to carry the project to completion.
Gentlemen of no less-talent, than Elihu Root, William Howard Taft,
Oliver Wendell Holmes, as well as scores of individuals of lesser
fame, have been beset with them. The ability of the state and of
the city to deal with the sanitary problem involved has not been •
questioned. But did the state have authority to authorize a pro­
ject which affected so many phases of interstate commerce? How
much water was necessary to make the canal an efficient shipping
channel? Since the water was to be drawn from Lake Michigan, as­
suredly not the property of the city of Chicago, nor yet of the
State of Illinois, which of the three departments of the national
government should pronounce upon the matter, and to what extent?
If the federal government gave the measure support and life giving
funds, had Canada any right to make objection to the diversion of
water from the lake system? And always this project, as well as
its sister, the St. Lawrence navigation and power project were be­
deviled by the lack of information available. How much did the
drainage actually affect the lake levels?
How vast would be the
sums involved to harness these unruly rivers? Would there be
enough traffic to bring adequate return for the investment? And
would the projected waterways deprive the railroads of so much
U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, The Illinois
Waterway„ Hearings before the Committee on Rivers and Harbors,
75th Cong. 3d Sess. (Washington: Government Printing Office,
1938), p. 35.
It is difficult in so brief a'sketch of this problem to
give the reader any idea of the bitterness of the controversy over
lake levels. The opposition to the Chicago project is clearly
brought out in Illinois River. Illinois, and the Abstraction of
Water from Lake Michigan. Hearings before the Committee on Rivers
and Harbors, House of Representatives, 59th Cong., 1st Sess.,
February-April, 1926 (Washington: Government Printing Office,
1926). In connection with this study it is interesting to note
that Chicago diversion was condemned by the Chambers of Commerce
of Duluth, Toledo, Buffalo, and the Association of Commerce of
Milwaukee (Ibid., pp. 108-112).
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- 96 -
traffic that the overland systems already built and fairly effi­
cient would fail because of the competition?
These questions are framed here, not because there is any
thought that they can be answered in this study, but simply to in­
dicate the complexity of the situation. Kith these confusions in
mind the lack of definite accomplishment on the part of any group
of citizens can be understood. With regard to the problem of sew­
age disposal, the Association has assumed its duty to be one of
keeping its members informed -concerning the methods used by the
Sanitary District, and has usually given its judgment on the neces­
sity for its various bond issues. It has also constituted itself
an investigating authority to see that the funds were properly
Interest in the Shipping Canal has taken: at least two forms,
namely, propagandizing in favor of its construction, and the send­
ing of delegations or representatives to fteshington to appear be­
fore the proper committees, officials, and courts in behalf of
the waterway. For brevity’s sake one example only is cited here
illustrating both types of action:.
The Lake to the Gulf Waterway project has been receiving
active and constructive consideration during the past year.
McCormick Waterway Bill 4428 provides an important link in con­
junction with the building of locks and dams now being carried
on by the state. Your committee offered testimony before the
senatorial committee daring October in support of this legisla­
tion. Final completion of this development means much to
Chicago as a commercial center, in that it offers an all water
route carrying.large blocks of tonnage at low cost.1
The Lakes-to-the-Gulf Waterway was officially opened
June 22, 1933. The Association helped to arrange for the commemo­
rative festivities and observed with complacence in its annual re­
port for that year that the Federal Barge Line established a
twice-a-week service from Chicago throughout the summer and fall.
Other barges also planned immediately to make use of the Canal.
Five years later the troubled question as to whether there would
be enough traffic to Justify the building of the Canal was felt
by the Association to have been answered in the affirmative. Then
did its Rivers and Harbors Committee utter a shout of triumph.
1 "Annual'Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,.
1923," Chicago Commerce. January 19, 1924, p. 26.
2Coromerce. February, 1934, p. 45.
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- 97 Will it be used? 1938— 4 1/2 million tons (partly esti­
mated); 1937— 3 1/2 million; 1936— 1 l/2 million? Thus runs
in round figures the astonishing record of the Illinois Water­
way— a waterway not yet completed! Coal, petroleum and petro,leum products, and grain accounted for by far the greater part
of the tonnage, with Chicago the main destination, origin or
port of clearance* Actually Illinois River barge coal is still
moying and out-of-season contracts were being let in January
due to the favorable weather.
Fuller figures than those offered in the above statement are to
be found on the accompanying chart.
When Daniel H. Burnham submitted his chicago Plan to his
city, he told it to "Make no little plans; they have no magic to
stir men's blood, and probably themselves will not be realized."
His words became almost a creed with Chicagoans. In no instance
have they borne witness to it with greater sturdiness than with
regard to the St. Lawrence seaway. The dream of Chicago as a port
city sending prairie products throughout the world, with perhaps
the very ships which sailed fro® her wharves docking at foreign
ports— Europe, South America, Asia— it was a dream worthy of a
city which had decided to make no little plans.^ The fact that
no less an authority than Harold G. Moulton had put his staff and
himself to work on this project and had come to conclusions which
were not exactly favorable, did not deter the Association of Cora3
The men of the Association believed in the project, they
had been believing in it for years. They were not averse to Mr.
Moulton. They were even willing to publish an announcement of
his views in their magazine. They would go further and mention
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1938.* op. cit., p. 98.
Observe, for example, the leading article in Chicago Com­
merce for June 28, 1919 (p. 7), which describes the cbxistening
ceremonies of the "Lake Granby." This was a ship built at South
Chicago. After a baptismal blessing of champaign administered by
Mr. Merrick, the president of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
the boat bearing a cargo of provisions shipped by a group of
Chicago packers steamed off for Liverpool. Her course was through
the Welland Canal and St. Lawrence, across the Atlantic to British
Harold G. Moulton and others, The St. Lawrence Navigation
and Power Project (Washington: The Brookings Institution, 19£9).“
Chicago Commerce. March 30, 1929, p. 24.
Reproduced with permission o f the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
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- 99 -
Mr. Moulton's declaration that it would he as cheap to build
three freight double track railroads between Chicago and the sea­
board as to develop the proposed waterway. In his book he said a
great deal more which was equally damning, but it could be ignored,
there was no use wasting a spread on Mr. Moulton.
Spreads had been devoted often to the other side of the ar­
gument. In the issues of Commerce which appeared between the dates
March 26, 1921 through December 29, 1923, a count of the articles
favoring the St. Lawrence Waterway was kept. Between these dates
there were thirty-three articles published on this topic. Long
and short, they added up to about eighty-four columns of high pres­
sure salesmanship. "Reshape National Transportation Structure by
St. Lawrence Project Says Senator McKinley" (5 columns); "St.
Lawrence Route a Great Investment" (4 columns); "Deep Waterway
Commission Crges that Work Be Begun on St. Lawrence Seaway" (3
columns), etc., etc. There could never be any doubt of where the
men of the Association stood on this issue.
The Association was never one to limit its support of a
great project to mere words. "Active presentation before Congress"
has been resorted to and the members were told at the same time
that the "utmost influence as well as some financial support"
would be necessary. Although Canada has made notable improvements
in the Welland Canal, the whole St. Lawrence project is yet a
dream. Sr. Moulton wasted few words in describing it:
The distance from Chicago to Montreal is 1,244 miles. Of
this total approximately 296 miles are in restricted channels
and canals—-183 miles in the St. Lawrence River; 25 miles In
the Welland canal; 31 miles in the Detroit River; 41 miles in
the St. Clair River and 17 miles in Lake St. Clair. This
leaves about 947 miles of open water navigation.i
He estimated the cost at |614,000,000 as a navigation project and
$999,000,000 if the power developments were included.
But he
feared that his estimates were too moderate. The failure of the
federal government to secure a favorable treaty to carry out this
project is a matter of dolour to the Association, but like many
another dream, it may be only temporarily in abeyance.
The belief of an organization In any issue is always best
^Moulton, op. cit.. p. 28.
2 Ibld., p. 229.
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- 100 illustrated by its willingness to spend money for its promotion,
It happens that the expenditures of the Rivers and Harbors Com­
mittee are fairly easy to trace throughout the history of the As­
sociation of Commerce because it is one of the standing committees
which has existed from the outset for the work of which separate
appropriations have been made each year of its existence. Conse­
quently the yearly appropriations are listed below. The total
expend!tures are also given to show relatively how important the
work has been considered. As with any such list of figures, the
amounts are only indicative, because it is not unusual when some
special project is under way for the members to make separate and
unlisted contributions to the cause.
ft'ith these few pages on Chicago’s water borne traffic the
discussion of the efforts of the Association to develop the do­
mestic commerce of the city is brought to a close. At some length
we have described the efforts to promote the trade of the Great
Central Market, by special market events, industrial development,
business research and protection, trade extension trips, and con­
ventions. Careful attention has also been given to the labors of
the Traffic Department in defending the interests of its members
and of its city in increasing the amount and the efficiency of
both rail and water borne traffic. In considering the work of
this organization, it is doubtful if these activities could be
overemphasized because they represent its true field of endeavor.
To accomplish these ends is the primary reason that the Associa­
tion exists.
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- 101 -
to the Harbors
and Waterways
aSource; Annual Reports of the Chicago
Association of Commerce.
bThis committee was designated the Deep
Waterways Committee from 1906 to 1926.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Foreign Tr'ade Promotion at the Central Office
Thanks to its location at the heart of the nation's rail­
way system and at the center of an inland water system, Chicago
undoubtedly has a foreign trade of some proportions. Available
statistics as to its volume are inaccurate because the United
States Customs Office attributes commodities which leave the
country to the port of clearance rather than to the city at which
they originated.
In 1920 the Association made an effort to estimate the
volume of Chicago's foreign trade on the basis of reports which
it gathered from the banks of the city, and emerged with the fig­
ure §1-,750,000,000.^ The article which published this evaluation
mentions that the government estimates for the same year were
$100,000,000. The difference is so startling as to render both
calculations suspect. Later figures also should be accepted as
little more than guesses. Mr. V. Seaman, editor of the Inter­
national Trade Directory. 1951-32. named #1,000,000,000 as his
idea of the volume of the export and import trade for 1929. In
1930 Commerce claimed that Chicago cleared more than a billion
dollars worth of^merchandise through New York alone. To the Gulf
ports the same article attributed $100,000,000 of Chicago's foreign
shipments and to San Francisco,- $150,000,000.
Possibly a little
more faithful are the Association's figures for the number of
concerns interested in foreign shipping. Three annual reports
have Included these computations. In 1924 the number was approxiChicago Commerce. May 1, 1920, p. 45.
International Market. edited by V. Seaman (Chicago:
Chicago Association of Commerce, 1932), p. 11.
Chicago Commerce. July 12, 1930, p. 12.
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103 -
oately 1,000; for 1925 it was 1,500; for 1933 it had fallen to
As has been indicated, figures of Chicago's foreign trade
bdsed on the customs declarations are a gross understatement of
the volume of business which the city carries on with other
countries. Yet even these, as the two accompanying Tables show,
indicate that there is sufficient business to warrant the interest
and concern of the city's chamber of commerce. Perhaps the best
example of how inadequate these figures are is to be gained from
observing the meat-packing industry. As it happens Chicago Com­
merce published an article in 1929 on the local packing industry.
In it the statement was made "that it would take the next two
largest packing centers in this country to produce figures on
either a tonnage or a value basis comparable to Chicago's record1
This same article lists forty-eight packing firms which were re­
presented by membership in the Association of Commerce, so that
presumably both the firms and the Association were concerned with
the export of meat products, and yet with the exception of a few
items like sausage casings, Chicago does not appear as a port of
origin for meat exports on the government customs schedules for
that year. The reason is simple. The large companies which send
their products to other countries own their own refrigerating cars
and ship directly to New York, New Orleans, etc., so that Chicago'
meat is attributed to those cities on the federal customs returns.
Ae might be expected of a city at the center of one of the
greatest areas for the production of food stuffs, iron and steel,
and raw materials, Chicago's chief exports include agricultural
implements and machinery, mining machinery and equipment, build­
ing materials and specialties, radios and many other miscellaneous
items to the number of about a thousand.
Imports into this city
so rich in practical goods are largely luxuries.
They are hats,
^■"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1924," op. cit.. p. 19;
1925, op. cit.. p. 23; 1933, op. cit..
p. 28.
2February 2, 1929, p. 9.
Chicago Facts (Chicago: Chicago Association of Commerce,
1938), p. 28.
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- 104 gowns, perfumes, jewelry, linens, woolens, rugs, embroideries,
kid gloves, tapestries, laces and fine fabrics from remote points
scattered all over the world.3,
(in thousands of dollars)
New York
Compiled from "Imports and Exports of Merchandise into
and from the United States by Customs Districts," U.S. Bureau of
Foreign and Domestic Commerce, Foreign Commerce and Navigation
of the United States.
The work of foreign trade departments in commercial organi­
zations usually falls into two categories. It is necessary to
have a policy forming body or committee which determines such
questions as the Association’s attitude on the tariffs, or the
St. Lawrence Waterway. Then in addition there is a large number
of administrative services which are performed for individual
members by the employees of the Association organized into a
foreign trade bureau.
The Association has always had a group of men forming a
special committee on foreign trade. Sometimes it has been a sepa­
rate division, and sometimes its work has been joined with that of
^Chicago International Market. 1931-32. op. cit.. pp. 64-65.
Foreign Trade Promotion by Chambers of Commerce and Trade
Associations (Washington: Chamber of Commerce of the United
States, 1927).
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- 105 ~
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Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 106 the civic and industrial groups. The organization of the wcrk of
the committee can be indicated by the subdivisions of an early
group, that of 1909. The names are self-explanatory. They in­
clude: Consular Reform, Tariff Revision and Reciprocity Over Seas,
Merchant Marine, Canadian and Mexican Reciprocity, Foreign Banking
and International Law.^
These subcommittees jointly determine the year’s program
and policies. The program.for 1910 is summarized below. In that
year the Committee on Foreigh Trade:
Favored ownership of American Embassy buildings.
Desired development of American Merchant Marine through
favorable federal legislation.
Resolved to support a national exposition in 1915 to
celebrate completion of the Panama Canal.
Continued study and effort to have the government of the
United States collect information regarding the city in which ex-,
ported goods originated.
Pronounced the Association in favor of nonpartisan tariff
board. Gave a Tariff Eanquet.
Recommended the rejection of a treaty regarding collisions
at sea. Made protests to the President of the United States,
Secretary of State, and legislators from Chicago district.
Took under advisement a trip to the Orient.
Favored a permanent South American representative of C.A.C.
.Gave a dinner for Professor David Kinley which Indicated
interest in South American trade. Advised careful study of the
South American market.
Sent Chicago foreign trade directory to all foreign con- .
, 2
A glance at these ten items will determine that they are
concerned largely with matters of policy. But perhaps the largest
part of the Association’s work in the field of foreign trade is
administrative and done by its Bureau of Foreign Commerce. In
1920 the United States Chamber made a survey of the various speci­
fic activities in which the foreign trade bureaus of local asso^Chlcago Commerce. March 12, 1909, p. 3.
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1910. pp. 34-38.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 107 ciationa were interested. These are the administrative duties
which are carried on mostly by the full time paid employees of
the sponsoring organizations. Since later surveys have added
complexity rather than clarity to the 1920 list, it is given below:
Twenty-seven different activities in promotion of foreign
trade are pursued by the various chambers of commerce of this
country, a fact disclosed in a recent survey made by the Cham­
ber of Commerce of the United States. Among these activities
are systematic advertising of the city as a foreign trade
center, and at least one chamber is using motion pictures for
this purpose; distribution of directories of local exporters
and their products, exchange of membership and services with
chambers of commerce in foreign countries; holding of sample
exhibitions, promotion of foreign trade and language classes
and of foreign trade clubs and of other meetings to the same
end; working for better steamship, rail, cable, wireless and
postal service; organization of foreign trade tours; contribu­
tion to a column on foreign trade in one or.more local news­
papers; canvassing views of local exporters and importers,
etc., on foreign trade questions; conducting foreign trade re­
search; bringing of specific foreign trade opportunities to
attention of members; supplying information about mailing
dates, shipping rates, routing of shipments, special banking
requirements; handling of foreign traffic claims, maintaining
translation service, foreign advertising service and helping
members to draft foreign trade catalogues and other foreign
trade literature; helping in problems of foreign trade finance,
exchange, pilfering, marine insurance, etc., and helping the
filling out of all sorts of official and other documents re­
quired; supplying information relating to domestic and foreign
customs service, commercial travelers’ regulations, consular
requirements, marking requirements, parcel post and interna­
tional money order service, etc., aiding members to obtain
suitable employees for foreign trade ana to organize foreign
trade departments and mapping out foreign trade campaigns;
aiding members in adjustments in disputes on foreign sales;
including arbitration when necessary; aiding members in secur­
ing foreign trade-mark and foreign patent service, and also
foreign credit information and foreign collections; aiding
members in the use of cable codes.*
Tediousnese only could result in matching each of the fore­
going categories with examples from the activities of the Chicago
Association’s history. Instead, the plan which will be followed
is very like that used in explaining the promotion of the Great
Central Market in the field of domestic commerce. More detailed
attention concerning the methods of market promotion for foreign
trade will be directed to the topics: education in the business
methods of other countries, publicity, creation of good feeling
through entertainment, the relation of the Association to the
^Chicago Commerce. September 18, 1920, p. 22.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 108 railroads and to the regulatory bodies of the government which
are concerned with foreign trade. Finally, brief attention will
be concentrated on the Association's efforts within the foreign
countries themselves.
Assuming that many difficulties in maintaining successful
business relations with concerns from other countries are merely
the result of misunderstanding, the remedy is simple. Inform
yourself about the business methods of your customer or creditor.
From the beginning the Association has assumed the responsibility
of acquainting its members with the peculiarities of the foreign
market. A writer in the Bulletin admonished his readers:
The American system of attaching a draft to a bill of
lading, or drawing at thirty or sixty days sight, does hot
meet with universal favor. Foreign manufacturers have no
fixed rule regarding credits unless they en^oy a monopoly.
Credit will always be lengthened if that is the consideration
for a large order.1
Articles or paragraphs appeared in this same issue under
the revealing captions, "There Are Other Good People," "The Square
Deal Counts,""Meet Your Man and Know Him," "Respect Local Wants,"
and then came a final warning, "There exists no business method
with which European manufacture is not acquainted. . . . Compe­
tition today is keener than ever before."
An attempt to soften the abruptness characteristic of
American business is discernible in the following statement.
was made by the Association's South American representative. Ap­
parently he thought it worthy of considerable emphasis, for he
had it incorporated in the Annual Beport.
The degree of care and attention bestowed on the domestic
buyer [he wrote] is ^ust as essential or more 30 in the case
of the foreign merchant, who in many instances has been doing
business for years with European houses and is accustomed to
the politic and formal consideration which has become identi­
fied with international t r a d e .2
More systematic than occasional hortatory articles in the
publications of the Association is the information on how to know
your man and your market which can be found in the reference vol­
umes of the foreign trade library. This library is of course
accessible to all the members.
It includes a wide variety of
Hiay 24, 1907.
7. C. Enright in the Annual Report of the Chicago Asso­
ciation of Commerce. 1915. p. 46.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 109 titles from the various Buyers* Guides of foreign countries and
tariff citations, to general or semipopular works such as B. Olney
Hough*s Practical Exporting and Walter F. Wyman's Export Merchan­
Further acquaintance with prospective customers and their
ways of doing business is obtained through the promotional work
of various trade organizations with which the Association is af­
filiated. These organizations like the committee itself have ad­
ditional reasons for existence. An example was the organization
of a permanent trade body in 1914, representative of the Missis­
sippi valley and the central West. Along with more information
about the customers, this group sought ’’more adequate banking,
transportation and other facilities for the extension of trade
with foreign countries, particularly with Latin America.Hi For­
eign Trade Week, sponsored by the national chamber, is customarily
observed by the Chicago Association with appropriate displays,
luncheons, and speeches.
In 1935, the Foreign Trade Committee
with the aid of the Convention Bureau and the Export Managers*
Club of Chicago secured the National Foreign Trade Convention for
their city.
Assuredly, it is not the fault of the Association's
Bureau of Foreign Commerce if its members are unaware of the ex­
pectations or the needs of customers in distant lands.
Attempting to know the man and the market has caused the
Foreign Trade Bureau gradually to place assurance in definite
types of publicity. Probably the one which should be first men­
tioned is the issuance of Chicago. International Market. This
volume is a classified directory of the Chicago firms engaged in
* both export and import business. The names listed in it include
many which are not members of the Association. To date the di­
rectory has been issued three times, 1931-32, 1935, and 1938.
The compilation of such a book is an undertaking of some magni­
tude. That the volume has been Issued on a self-liquidating basis
is evidence of its value as well as of the acumen of the Aasocia^Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce, 1914.
p. 13.
See, for example, the “Annual Report of the Chicago Asso­
ciation of Commerce, 1936,** Commerce. February, 1937, p. 35.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 110 tion. Thus the issue of 1938 involved the expenditure of |18,000
but cost the sponsoring organization nothing.1 Foreign distribu­
tion amounted to 25,000 copies outside continental United States.
Recipients may be grouped into eight general classifica­
tions as follows: (1) Representatives of the United States
Department of Commerce; (2) The American Consular Corps;
(3) American chambers of commerce; (4) local chambers of com­
merce and other trade promotional agencies; (5) Banks with
foreign departments; (6) Municipal and business libraries;
(?) Importers; and (3) Exporters* representatives.^
Of interest, too, at this point, is the foreign commerce
bulletin which the central office decided to send out in 1934.
This bulletin "contains notices of customs changes in foreign
countries, important developments in our governmental efforts to
aid exporters, and digests of trade inquiries received from
In 1920, a particular effort was concentrated upon Swedish
trade, an entire issue of Commerce being given over to the en4
Naturally, incidental articles on foreign trade have
been numerous in that magazine. A regular department is devoted
to this subject. Articles such as the following are common:
"U.S. Makes Great Gain in China Trade" (August 4, 1920, p. 13),
"Says Mexico Is Best Market in World for the U. S. and Gives Some
Reasons ¥;hy* (January 8, 1921, p. 49), "British Consulate General
in Chicago Shows Trade Openings in British Industries Fair"
(January 15, 1921, p. 74).
Less obvious as a form of publicity but valuable for many
reasons, have been the visits of traveling foreign businessmen
and celebrities. The place of banquets and luncheons in Associa­
tion methods has already been observed, but a conception of the
number of foreign callers at the Association offices is necessary
to complete the picture. Information fully and quietly given to
the visitor who is not a celebrity is quite as important as a
lwAnnual Report of the Chicago.Association of Commerce,
1938,*’ op. cit. . p. 41.
Advertising leaflet issued at the time of the publication
of the third edition of the directory, 1938.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1934," op. cit. . p. 44.
4September 4, 1920.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- Ill banquet. Fortunately one chairman of the Foreign Trade Committee
left a record of his callers. The figure is old now, but it is
interesting to observe the variety of countries represented.
Since the beginning of the year more than 2,500 callers
, have been received at the office of the Foreign Trade Com­
mittee at Association headquarters. Among these were merchants
from the following countries who were interested in buying
American goods:
51 Mexico.......
7 Norway....... 7
7 Portugal.....
Central America;
28 Russia.......
3 Scotland.... . 4
England.... .
6 South America. 63
12 south Africa.. •2
1 Spain......
7 Sweden........ 9
India......... .
4 west Indies... 21
Japan..... .
But there are sound firms in other countries that would
like to do business in Chicago who can not send men to the Asso­
ciation offices to establish desirable connections in the city.
Realizing that such a handicap exists, the president directed a
message to such firms as a preface to the 1938 directory. "Any
businessman,” he wrote, "located in a foreign country who needs
a correspondent in Chicago is invited to select our Association
• for that purpose."
The president pointed out that the Chicago
chamber was organized to assist in the solution of problems likely
to arise in the transaction of business in the United States,
whether the business was selling or buying. If the hopeful firm
is considering the feasibility of establishing a branch in the
United States, the Association stands ready to supply relevant in­
formation concerning the wisdom of such a venture. It will also
provide counsel concerning suitable locations.
On the other hand it is sometimes difficult for a Chicago
firm to select a man to represent it in the foreign market. The
Association has stood ready to help its members in this respect.
For example, in 1914, an article appeared in Chicago Commerce,
announcing that a certain individual had qualified after inter­
views with the proper authorities at Association headquarters.
•^Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1915. p. 44.
*p. 1?.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
«■ 112 *»
This applicant, whose name would be furnished on request, knew
"trade conditions in Mexico, Cuba, South America, etc." In the
past he had handled office supplies, typewriters, safes, cash
registers, furniture and other articles, but he was confident
that he could be of important service in developing almost any
interest.'*' Telephone inquiries at the office for foreign repre­
sentatives are also common as well as such published notices as
the one just referred to.
Relations with the Federal Government and with
the Bailroada
If the Association is eager to represent foreign firms in
their dealings with Chicago businessmen, it has been equally ready
to represent Chicago institutions in their dealings with the rail­
roads and with the government. As was pointed out in the discus­
sion of the Transportation Bureau, the Association assumes the de­
fense of the shipper in dealing with both the railroads and the
government. It sometimes happens that the interests of the ship­
per and the railroads are closely allied. In such instances
entente is inevitable.
In 1927, for instance, the rail carriers
applied for relief under Section 4 of the Interstate Commerce Act
in fixing rates from Chicago to the Gulf in order that they might
compete with rail rates to the eastern seaboard. On this occa­
sion the Association threw its influence to the railroads when
their petition was submitted.
Both the Transportation Bureau and the Bureau of Foreign
Commerce have given their enthusiastic support to the railroads
in the framing of special through rates for goods designed for
export. When the first directory was issued, the editor comment­
ed happily upon the "settled policy" of the carriers of equaliz­
ing the rates applying on international traffic at all ports and
upon rates between Chicago, the Pacific, Gulf, and all Atlantic
ports which are "usually below the rates applying upon domestic
The low and practically equalized rates make possible
a choice of port on the part of the shipper insuring an even and
‘■July 24, 1914, p. 31.
gAnnual'Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1922, p. 7.
^Chicago. International Market. 1931-52. o p . cit.. p. 57.
Reproduced with permission o f the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
113 -
unimpeded distribution of export and import commerce.
Convenient ports and reduced rates are not the only advan­
tages to which the directory calls the attention of the prospec­
tive shipper. He i3 assured of speed. Both carload and package
freight normally arrive at shipside the third morning after leav­
ing Chicago if its destination be Kew York or Sew Orleans. Since
goods purchased at either of these port cities must also be trans­
ported to shipside, the handicap in time is even less than appears
at first glance. Added expense and-loss of time in shipment are
thus cleverly reduced by the directory to a minimum.
In addition to the Interstate Commerce Commission, before
which experience has already taught us the Association will be
represented whenever relevant cases make such action necessary,
the Bureau of Foreign Commerce also appears before the Federal
Trade Commission. The service and the type of case being similar,
it is not essential that more than one example be given as illus­
tration. An appearance before the Trade Commission referred to
by the chairman of the Foreign Commerce Committee of 19X5 makes a
fairly good example.
At the hearing of the Federal Trade Commission on July 2631, several members of the Association were heard. The Com­
mission desired to obtain the view of Chicago manufacturers as
to conditions surrounding export trade and invited recommenda­
tions from them, to be presented at the ensuing sessions of
Congress with a view to obtaining legislation that v^ould permit
latitude in foreign business.1
lost ubiquitous of issues in American political and economic
history is the tariff. How has the Association stood with regard
to the tariff, and from time to time, what action has its Bureau
of Foreign Trade recommended? Relations with the government
whether Republican or Democratic have been reasonably happy on
this issue.
In 1908, after declaring that the Foreign Commerce Com­
mittee’s paramount problem was the revision of the tariff, the
committee rose painfully through the ."whereas” stages of thought
to resolve in favor of the creation of a permanent tariff commis­
sion.2 The following year delegates to a national convention
1"Report of the Foreign Trade Committee," Annual Report
of the Chicago Association of Commerce. 1915. p. 45.
2Ibld.. 1908, p. 30.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 114 again resolved in favor of a tariff commission. Among other beneficial results which such a body might, \sithin reason, be expected
to bring about was listed:
The fixing of the rates of duty to be paid on the imports
, from any foreign country within the limits of the maximum and
minimum rates established by Congress under reciprocal trade
agreements negotiated by or under the direction of the Presi­
dent, in order thereby to develop and protect our foreign trade
by means favored by President McKinley and authorized by Sec­
tions 3 and 4 of the Dingley law.l
That the tariff would have been revised without help from
the Association of Commerce goes without saying. That the recip­
rocal trade agreements negotiated by the United States government
failed of the proper support at home is a matter remarked in any
high school textbook. There is no reason to suppose that the at­
titude taken by the Association was of determining weight either
way. But a nicer judgment is involved with regard to the estab­
lishment of the Tariff Commission. On December 3,_1910, the As­
sociation of Commerce was host at a banquet for the Tariff Board.
On this occasion the first public statements were made by the
board concerning both its labors and expenditures. The chairman
of the Executive Committee did not mind modestly admitting in his
annual report of that year that President Taft's desire that this
first public declaration should be made in Chicago came as a de­
served honor to the Association "which has from the beginning
stood staunchly for a nonpartisan Tariff Commission."
After the Y/ar of 1914-18, the policy of the Association
was not so coherent. In these years there emerged no adequate
debt policy for the country. The tariff issue, as is now conceded,
was a phase of the debt policy. To many, this was not clear. But
it can be said of the Association, that very early its leaders
were able to see this, and to drain off almost all bitterness from
their statements. In the quotation given below the part pertain­
ing to debts and their relation to tariffs is omitted for the sake
of brevity. No statesmanlike suggestion is made, to be sure, but
it is a remarkable quotation to bear the date of 1919, because it
is such an honest attempt to consider European and American af­
fairs with the mind and not the emotions.
The third fundamental factor in the foreign trade situation
^Annual Beport of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1909. p. 38.
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115 -
as enumerated above is our willingness to permit large imports,
as a means of paying for exports. Assuming that we can invest
abroad $500,000,000 annually and thus prevent the payment of
our debts, it will still be necessary for us to import heavily
if we are to expand our exports. But if we permit heavy im­
ports of foreign goods, will not European competition ssri, ously injure American industries that were build up during the
war? And should we not raise the tariff sufficiently to pro­
tect any American industry whose existence is threatened by
foreign sellers?
American manufacturers who wish to sell goods abroad and
?dio recognize that these exports must be paid for by imports
will undoubtedly be opposed to the erection of tariff walls de­
signed to prevent importations to this country in any lines
where American producers are now in the field. But American
manufacturers in lines which depend mainly or exclusively upon
home markets will not be disposed to view with equanimity the
undermining of the home market by “cheap foreign goods"! Here
is presented one of the most crucial problems of the near fu- „
ture. Difficulties are involved whichever way affairs go.
Restricted imports means restricted exports; and unrestricted
imports means serious competition in the home markets for many
American industries that were developed both during and before
the war.1
In concluding this discussion of the Association's attitude
on tariff, we return to the old matter of reciprocal agreements.
Already remarked has been the favor in which this doctrine was
held in the time of Taft. Whether its revival can be attributed
to such organizations as that of the Association of Commerce is
an interesting question. It is part of the larger debate as to
how much the influences of established businesses have weighed in
determining the policies of the Roosevelt administration.
Charles E. Herrick, chairman of the Association's Committee on
Foreign Commerce .for 1932, did not hesitate to include the fol­
lowing item in his annual accounting of the committee's work:
The committee successfully recommended the adoption by the
Executive Committee of a progressive and liberal tariff policy.
Following announcement of this policy, the Illinois Section of
the World Trade League of the United States was organized, all
the officers of which were chosen from members of our com­
mittee. Working jointly with this league it was possible to
secure the adoption of a similar policy by the Democratic
National Committee. The incoming .administration is therefore
committed to the tariff policy initiated by our committee.2
Other policies of the New Deal might involve a distribution
of honors with which the Association was not in sympathy, but each
*Chica£Q Commerce. May 3, 1919, p. 5.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1932," o&. cit.. p. 37.
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- 116 reciprocal trade agreement which Mr. Cordell Hull negotiated
brought as much pleasure to the Association as to Sir. Hull. In­
deed, their sentiments have led to a real spiritual rapprochement.T
A survey of the attitude taken by the Association on vari­
ous policies which have occupied public attention for the past
twenty-five years should complete the discussion begun by the
tariff discussion. In 1915, the C.A.C. very cannily refused to
pronounce on the question of establishing an international court
for the settlement of disputes between nations. This decision,
so the Executive Committee claimed, was made because it did not
wish to embarrass Congress to whom the matters must be committed.
When, two years later, a measure was submitted permitting com­
binations in export trade, it was not entangled in such drawing
room courtesies. It "strongly endorsed" this bill and "was
pleased that its efforts with those of other organizations were
In another two years the war was over, and the
Committee on Interstate and Foreign Trade was recommending that
the Association petition the government to take action with regard
to stabilizing foreign exchange. Since it was beyond the power
of individual firms to finance the enormous export business of
these years, the Committee hoped that government action to stabi4
lize currency and to extend loans would promote foreign trade.
Compare, for example, the reports of.the chairman of the
Foreign Committee for 1935 and 1938 in the Annual Reports for
those years (1935, op. cit.. p. 3'8; 1939, op.'" cit.T V. 39) with
Mr. Kali's speech, The Restoration of International Trade
(hashingtorn Government Printing Office,"1935
Although we have been concerned with the larger issues of
the tariff problem, another statement should be inserted here
parenthetically. Quite naturally the Bureau has always made it a
point to keep its members informed of the details of tariff revi­
sion. Thus when the Tariff Bill of 1930 was before Congress, the
Committee reported back the attitude it had taken on such matters
as the importation of articles bearing foreign trademarks, and the
proposed measure to require exhaustive data of importers within
forty-eight hours after the entry of their goods ("Annual Report
of the Chicago Association of Commerce, 1930," op. cit..p. 34).
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1915. p. 26.
5 Ibid.. 1917', p. 53.
4"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1919," Chicago Commerce. January 17, 1920, p. 20.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 117 - .
The record does not state whether the Association took the recom­
mended action. The following year it took the initiative in a
movement in which other organizations joined to improve the cus­
toms service of the United States. Legislation to bring about
this betterment was vigorously supported.*
The story of debts, reparations, indemnities, tariffs, and
depreciated currencies which belongs to the post-War years is a
worn groove in the mind. The Association made an earnest effort
to slay the giants. 'Since neither Jack por Saint George emerged
from the whole nation, the Association's efforts need not be de­
cried. It created a Special Committee on International Finance
and Economics which handed in its report in 1922. Reading this
report after the passage of eighteen years is somewhat like view­
ing the body, but not the giant's body. "There are two elemental
principles which if kept steadily in nind will contribute greatly
to a sound solution of the present world problem," concludes the
report. These elemental principles were that improvement rested
upon increased production. Increased production can not occur
while international commerce "languishes." "The crux of the prob­
lem therefore lies in the re-establishment of normal trade rela­
tions between nations— to the end that through specialized pro­
duction and exchange, the wealth of the world may be increased
and the welfare of all classes promoted."
The president of the
national chamber was so impressed with this report that it was
printed in pamphlet form and 25,000 copies were circulated.
A further contribution to the solution of international
problems was made by a staunch member of the Association. It was
the gift of his services made by John W. O'Leary to the Interna­
tional Conference at Geneva. His appointment was made by President Coolidge.~ In 1933 the chairman of the Committee on Foreign
Commerce commented hopefully on what proved to be the ill-fated
London Economic Conference, "The committee submitted a carefully
prepared program for the World Economic Conference held in London,
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1920," 0£. cit.., p. 20.
The report was reprinted in fuii in '"hica^o Commerce.
April 15, 1922, pp. 14-19.
^Chicago Commerce. April 19, 1927, p. 18.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
all seven points of which were included in the agenda of the con­
ference.*^ Although the collapse of the plana for the London
conference makes this declaration hollow today, it yet serves to
show that the counsels of the Association are heeded. That same
year the Committee favored government aid to exporters in the ex­
pansion of credit facilities and announced that such a program was
actually in preparation by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.
This plan was advocated because it was believed that American ex­
porters could meet their fo.reign competitors on a basis more nearly
equal since such cotapetitors usually enjoyed ^similar cooperation
from their governments.”
Trade Promotion in Foreign Markets
Up to this point the discussion has been concerned with two
groups of topics: (a) Association efforts-at home to promote the
foreign market; and (b) relations with the national government in
defense of the market as well as in its promotion. It is now
necessary to approach the subject of this chapter from another
angle and to answer the question, ’
i?hat efforts have been made by
the C.A.C. in the foreign markets to promote Chicago’s trade?
The answer resolves itself into a matter of determining the meth­
ods used in encouraging trade with those countries with which com­
mercial relations are well established, and in those with which a
definite increase in volume seems possible.
Naturally the efforts of the Chicago Association to main­
tain trade with the countries of western Europe are of the sort
which are suitable for a market already exploited. Many business
firms have already placed foreign representatives in the field.
If they are doing business in a city in which there is a good
sized American colony, they may have joined an American chamber
of commerce in that city. In that ca3e, although the parent firm
may be a member of the Chicago Association, the type of service
which it usually performs for its members will be more adequately
handled by the organization in the foreign country. But excluding
such special circumstances, the following examples are believed
to be typical of those used to increase good feeling and the flow
^"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1933,• 0£. cit. . p. 44.
2 Ibid.
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- 119 -
of orders from the nationals of other
First a picturesque if trivial
the establishment of a direct wire by
Chicago and London, the first message
Judson F. Stone, the President of the
Incident is selected. Upon
the Western Union between
to be sent was from
Chicago Association, to'
E. L. Barclay, the Chairman of the Council of the London Chamber
of Commerce. These felicitations probably did not result directly
in orders to te filled, but could scarcely have failed to make
the merchants of both cities feel more like neighbors.1
Acting under the leadership of the Boston Chamber of Com­
merce in 1911, Chicago joined with other cities throughout the
United States to send a delegation to visit England, Belgium,
Holland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, and
France. The tour began June 12 and the voyagers planned to return
August 22, so that presumably they had a busy two months. Accord­
ing to an announcement made in Kay, three delegates were the of­
ficial representatives of the Association, but it was expected
that several other members would join the party for at least a
part of its foreign adventure. This expedition was planned more
for the purpose of creating good feeling and studying the needs
of foreign cities than as a definite trade extension tour.
In 1920 there occurred a trade congress at Prague. The
Association did its best to play up the importance of sending a
delegation to the city, insisting not illogically, that the best
way for Chicago's businessmen to know the needs of Czechoslovakia
was to visit the country.'" After two years of effort, the Com­
mittee on Foreign Commerce was successful in its efforts to have
the vice-consulate at Stavanger, horway, reopened. This was a
happy achievement because tta large volume of exports to the United
States originates in the Stavanger area, and with no consular of­
fice there to legalize the required shipping documents, etc.,
Chicago importers were suffering vexatious and costly delays.*"
The same year the Committee reported -that at the home office it
had procured and sold some |10,000 worth of Canadian Customs
1Chlcago Commerce, January 12, 1924, p. 9.
2 Ibid., May 12, 1911, p. 20.
5 Ibld.. June 12, 1920.
^"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1938,” ojg.. cit. . p. 41.
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- 120 Duty Stamps.^- Interest in quick communication, encouragement of
visits to the market, improvements of the consular service, and
aid in the payment of customs, these are representative methods
In markets already exploited.
!Instances of unexploited markets are to be found in South
America and Sexico. A bright angel of hope has the South American
trade ever seemed to the Association. In seeking to promote trade
with the Latin Americas, the Association has shown much initiative.
An early example waq the appointment of Sr. Leopold Grahame as its
"South American trade diplomatist." It was understood that Mr.
Graharae was not to act as a salesman for individual members but
"to bring together the Chicago exporter and the Argentine im­
porter." His services began in October of 1909, and he agreed
to secure a market for products of Chicago which are at present
either not dealt in at ail or sold in insufficient quantities
in the said territories; to keep the association regularly in­
formed as to all local and commercial industrial developments;
to recommend responsible firms as selling agents; to advise
of tenders or bids to be called for the supply of machinery,
materials, etc., and generally to render such service and to
make such propaganda as would tend to an opening up and exten­
sion of trade between Chicago and the said territories, and to
co-operate at the same time and with the same objects with the
consular and diplomatic representatives of the United States in
said territories.Another interesting venture in the field of foreign trade
promotion was undertaken in January, 1911. Sr. F. C. Enright was
selected as the Association^ South American representative*
After spending two months in Chicago interviewing interested mem­
bers, he repaired to the field whence he sent lengthy reports of
his labors. In six months he had dispatched 163 letters to the
Association, received 333 from members, and at the time that he
wrote his report lamented that he had had time to answer but 320.
He had also by that time received 87 letters from South American
merchants and had sent out 98. Argentine and Chile had been
sprinkled with 5,000 pamphlets and another 5,000 were in reserve
for incidental distribution. To prove the efficiency of the new
office other relevant statistics were published. The Association
was informed the following year concerning the prospects in
Argentine, ^hile, Uruguay, and Brazil. Notes on the nature of
German competition and advice concerning credit terms, use of
Ibid., p. 42.
Chicago Commerce. July 2, 1909, p. 15.
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- 121 samples, and relations with other foreign representatives were
tendered. In July, 1913, the energetic Mr. Enright prepared an
exhibit of products manufactured by Association members which was
opened by the United States minister to the Argentine at Buenos
Aires. This exhibit did not fulfuil its promise because a depres­
sion broke over that most auspicious market, and the introduction
of new lines was made correspondingly difficult. Even in the face
of these harassraents, agencies had been placed for sixteen of the
forty-one exhibits sent. Twelve more exhibitors were firms
already represented so he refused to be, officially at least, too
Mr. B. P. Belt succeeded Mr. Enright. His terms with the
Association involved a somewhat different agreement. He was to
travel at ieast two hundred days of each year, and to visit and
address the commercial organizations of the cities in which he
was entertained. Mr. Belt’s record is not so informative as that
of Mr. Enright, because in 1915, the United States government lo­
cated a commercial attache at Buenos Aires. Representing the
federal Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, the commercial
attache could and did do at government expense much the same work
as the Association’s Mr. Belt. This situation did not escape the
Association, which retired from the field in some glory, leaving
its file of trade data to the government
In its attempts to develop the Mexican market, the Associa­
tion has also been fertile. In 1919 following a trade extension
trip to Mexico City, it was decided to establish a bureau there.
This bureau was set up only after many assurances of friendship
from Mexico of which the appended letter from President Carranza
*This discussion is taken from the accounts of the Com­
mittee on Foreign Commerce in the Annual Reports for 1911-1915,
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- 122 1
was simply the most official.
According to the plans of Mr.
Garver, Foreign Commissioner of the Association, the bureau was
not to be affiliated with the American Chamber of Commerce in
Mexico; it was an institution sponsored solely by the Chicago As2
sociation, and its services were to be for the supporting mem­
bers. Through the bureau inquiries for American goods were to be
telegraphed or cabled by representatives in the field. The bur­
eau was to communicate directly with firms listed with it which
were in a position t'o supply the needed goods. Bids for the or­
der were to be forwarded through Association headquarters. Shen
the business was closed, the field representative was to act as
agent of the concern making the sale, and it was agreed that he
was to be compensated on a commission basis. Interested firms
were to pay a registration fee of five dollars. The necessary
cable, and toll fees would be pro-rated. It was hoped that the
bureau would be self-liquidating.
Unfortunately there prevailed
in the Annual Reports an ominous silence as to the fate of this
office, bat hopeful efforts to elicit business from Mexico con­
tinued for several years. • In 1921, John P. Hovland, of the For­
eign Commerce Committee, reported "That nothing of importance
might be overlooked with respect to the Mexican market, the for­
eign trade adviser, by direction of the committee attended the
■Hrhis letter from the President of Mexico was published in
Chicago Commerce. June 21, 1919, p. 11.
Personal Correspondence of the President of
the United States of Mexico
. "Mexico, June 4, 191S.
"Senor Harry H. Merriek,
"President, Chicago Association of Commerce,
"10 South La Salle Street,
"Chicago, Illinois.
"Esteemed Sir:
"I duly received your favor of the 29th of last
April, and was very glad to learn from its contents of the im­
pressions gathered by yourself and by the honorable persons
who took part in the recent trip to this country. It is now
my hope that, understanding the true situation which prevails
in Mexico, the businessmen of your country will be able to
make up their minds to invest capital in Mexico.
"I remain with all consideration your obedient
"V. Carranza."
Chlcagb Commerce. June 21, 1919, p. 11.
5 Ibia.. May 10, 1919, p. 7.
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- 123 industrial conference in Mexico City last June. . . .,|i The pre­
ceding year another delegation had visited the same city, so
callers from Chicago must have become a familiar event. Further
ingenuity was displayed with the organization of a subcommittee
of the Interstate and Foreign Trade Committee which made a special
3tudy of Mexican relations.
Following this endeavour, through
package car service from Chicago to points in Mexico was announced.
When the schedule wa3 first published in 1923, two cars a week
left Chicago for Mex'ico.
Here we have trade extension trips, a foreign bureau,
special visits from the Association's trade commissioner, genuine
efforts at home to study the market, and the establishment of im­
proved transportation. The blanketing silence concerning Mexican
trade after 1923 is explainable for many reasons outside the con­
trol of the Association. The wisdom of investing money in Mexico
has proved dubious, to put the statement very mildly. But the
methods used to promote business are evidence-of the ingenuity of
the Association.
It will be noted that these last and most interesting ex­
amples of market encouragement were taken from the pre-depression
period. There have been no such venturesome undertakings recorded
since then. 7/hether this is evidence of a change in philosophy
concerning the importance of foreign trade to a sound economy,
or merely a lack of funds cannot be determined absolutely. How­
ever., the support of Hull’s reciprocal trade agreements, and the
publication of the rather ambitious trade directory indicate that
in the past decade it has been the times rather than the lack of
inclination which has limited the variety and extent of foreign
market promotion sponsored by the Association.
i,4Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1921," op. cit. , p. 16.
P"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1924," ££. cit. , p. £0.
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An interesting development can be observed in tracing the
relationships of the Association of Commerce with the various
governing units of Chicago, Although a legislative committee
does not appear among the original standing committees, one was
created sometime within the first five years of the organisation’s
history. However, it was not particularly active, and the Asso­
ciation did not feel compelled to take a definite stand on many
issues. The attitude, has gradually changed until now the Associa­
tion is regularly represented at the City Hali, at Springfield,
and in Washington, A method of dealing with legislation has been
perfected during the past thirty years, It is the purpose of
this chapter to observe the techniques of the Association, and the
number and variety of measures upon which it has pronounced its
It must not be supposed that because the Association of
Commerce in its legislative procedure is here and now conceded to
he a pressure group that the members themselves have always ac­
cepted this status. Being a section of the public they have been
confused about the function of such groups, and more than half
inclined to condemn their practices. This attitude is well illus­
trated in the stand they have taken from time to time concerning
the maintenance of a paid employee at Springfield. In 1911, the
Legislative Committee reported that it was "most necessary that
it should be authorized to have a representative at Springfield
daring the sessions of the Illinois Legislature.”
How else in­
deed, should it be informed of what was going on from day to day?
But three years later the committee was maintaining that its as­
sistant remained at Association headquarters and would not go to
^Annual Report of the Chicago A sociation of Commerce,
191i . p .
- 124 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 125 Springfield, because he was in no sense a lobbyist. Having made
that declaration, the committee flatly added, "The Association of
Commerce does not l o b b y . . Considerable confusion concerning the
practice is apparent here. As late as 1923, Commerce was assert­
ing that in keeping with its tradition the Association did not
maintain a legislative lobby. No, its recommendations were based
upon careful consideration of proposed measures and then conveyed
to the legislators in whatever manner was deemed necessary or ef­
fective. This same "article mentions that members of the Associa­
tion appeared before the committees of the House and Senate.
Also were members of the headquarters staff opportunely at the
state capitol to report upon the progress of bills in which the
Association was interested.
Save only permanent residence and
full time devotion of effort to the cause there seems little lack­
ing here that is essential to a lobby.
By 1927, the committee was willing to concede that the
manager of the Industrial Department was present at Springfield
throughout the greater part of the sessions. What was he doing
there? He was "making known the Association’s viewpoint on raeas3
ures in which it was interested."
However, by 1939, the manager
was not only present, but for some two years had been sending
Late Flashes which gave a play by play account of the advance of
certain bills through committee stages. Presumably he got around
a bit after he had done his homework and copied the Assembly’s
daily calendar of debate and investigation. It seems pointless
to quibble about his place of residence. A man can be an effec­
tive influence on legislation even if he must cone home between
sessions to vote and take a shower. The Association was employ­
ing a lobbyist.
The lobbyist knew what to do because over a period of
twenty-five years a system of considering legislation had been
developed. In 1914, the Legislative Committee announced that it
expected to have a plan soon perfected which would enable the
manager of the department to review all bills coming up at the
next session. He would then siibmit those which he considered
Ibid., 1914, p. 96.
Chicago Commerce. June 30, 1923, p.7.
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1927 . p. 82.
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- 186 relevant to the committee, which in its turn would recommend ac­
tion to the Executive Committee.1 Although in an effort to reach
a large number of members the referendum ballot has been used,
nothing better than committee debate for determining opinion on
mbot points has as yet developed.^ After the position of the As­
sociation had been determined, it was not a great step forward to
see what action other similar organizations were contemplating.
In 1938, for example, the chairman of the committee reported that
he had himself conferred with representatives of the Associated
Employers of Illinois, the Illinois SSanufacturers' Association,
the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Federation of
Retail Associations. These gentlemen agreed to unite their op­
position to the blanket license proposal for Illinois cities
(TI.5. 47) then pending. Having determined upon a uniform policy,
the members all along the line were notified of the dangers with
which they were threatened and a joint meeting was held at Spring­
field. All things being considered, one is not surprised to learn
that the bill was "withdrawn.''.
Logically enough, it not infrequently happens that the last
cooperation is with the opposition. Such is the case when-a long
disputed measure is about to pass, and the best arrangement pos­
sible must be wrung from defeat. Treaty was negotiated in 1936
with the labor groups over the new workman’s occupational disease
act, a health ana safety act, the blower act, and acts incorporat­
ing necessary amendments to the workman's compensation act and the
civil administrative code.^ When the lobbyistsof opposing inter­
ests are able to reach mutually acceptable conclusions, the pro­
posed acts are considered "agreed bills” and the legislator has
only to vote. Kis thinking has been done for him.
A lobbyist who knows what his employers want, who his co­
horts are, must also know how to work on those favored men who ae1 Ibld.. 1914, p. 95.
See also ibid.. 1918, p. 81.
The Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1987 gives an example of the referendum ballot (p. 22).
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1938,” op. cit. . p. 67.
^"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1936," op., cit. , p. 41.
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127 -
tually wield the vote. Thus a Late Flash of April 2, 1937, ad­
vises those on the mailing list of the most effective methods of
making their opposition known. In this instance, the bill was the
season's sure crocus, the Women's Eight Hour Bill. The employer
was informed that he should talk to his Senator personally before
the legislator should leave for Springfield. He should also let
his women employees know what the bill meant and encourage them
to communicate with their Senators, and he should plan if possible
to attend the state-wide meeting of employers to be held on
April 7, at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel at 10:30 A. M. There is no
ambiguity about instructions such as these. In case of need, the
names and addresses oi‘ senators and assemblymen are frequently
distributed. Here is pressure skillfully applied.
The conclusions of this chapter have so far been reached
from positive evidence. But there are a few relevant matters con­
cerning the legislative attitudes and procedures of the Association
about which there is no evidence. The fact that the Association
has made use of one of its regular employees a 3 a lobbyist is be­
yond dispute. In the great game of recruiting votes for the As­
sociation's measures there is no way of estimating how effective
he has been. As has been observed, this Association "cooperates"
with other employers* groups in backing and opposing legislation.
These groups also have their paid representatives. Jim knows Joe,
and Joe knows John, and John’s wife is the sister of the represen­
tative from Sangamon county. So gather round the gabboons boys
at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel, and let's decide how many votes we
can count on, how many might be changed and who can be expected to
produce the best testimony, and how many telegrams can be dis­
charged into Springfield by tomorrow night. It is in the nature
of such a raucous situation that no one not actually a member of
the group can measure the influence of any of its members. In any
event, it is the combination which counts. Trading of support
for desired acts also obscures the record of individuals and of
separate associations. If the employing association does not
definitely object, it may be well to endorse Joe's biii today, be­
cause next week you may want him to feed peanuts to the animals
for you.
There ia another method common to the lobbying procedure
concerning which there is no information in the records of the
Association of Commerce. The assemblyman is influenced by tele-
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128 -
grams, interviews, demonstrations and other exhibitions of inter­
est in his vote. But ©hat of that greatest of all influences, a
little help during the campaign? Naturally the written account
would not reveal in cold and unsympathetic figures that contribu­
tions have been made to the battle funds of a given candidate.
Anyway, such contributions would come from individuals in their
capacity as independent voters, for the Association is prohibited
by policy from pronouncing in favor of -candidate X or Y, since it
is theoretically nonpartisan. However, that an organization which
has developed a legislative procedure of even moderate precision
could neglect an occasional unofficial gesture toward a desired
candidate seems unlikely. But admittedly one has here entered
the realms of speculation.
Still another bit of negative evidence needs reviewing.
The itemized budgets for thirty-five years give appropriations for
the Legislative Committee for only sixteen years and run from the
seventy-one cents allocated to the committee in 1926, to the
$247.18 which was the appropriation for 1912. During the years
1933 through 1938 no figures are given. The budget for 1939 is
more frank than any yet published. It allocates $1,659.73 to
legislative expense. Since some of these amounts could not have
covered the expenditure of the committee for postage alone, and
also since there is ample evidence that legislative activity was
continued and varied in the five years from 1933 through 1938
when no figures at all are given, the conclusion that something
less than candour has prevailed is inescapable.
Now it is quite true that a planned absence of data may
have sinister implications. On the other hand, neither political
theorists nor the public have until recently been even tolerant
of lobbying. The relations of government to business having been
in a state of fluctuation for years, standards for the legislative
procedures of business often do not exist, or when they exist in
the minds of one group are ill defined in those of another. It
seems likely, therefore, that in failing to make public adequate
figures concerning its expenditures on legislative work, the As­
sociation was acting as any individual in a social dilemma.
wardly such a person will appear to conform; but where standards
are shifting, 'behavior will be secret. Actually, this changed
pattern of behavior may be good; certainly it need not be bad.
If the realists are right in arguing that the political system of
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129 -
the United States needs to be modified to provide for some form
of economic representation, and if they are correct in their fur­
ther contention that the American voter is gradually achieving
such representation through the pressure activities of his commer­
cial, trade, and professional groups, it must follow that money
spent to make these groups effective may be legitimately spent.
Finally, this item of fl,659.73 in the Association's budget for
1939 may be an early indication of a growing assurance on the
part of at least one organization that the public too, is becom­
ing realist, and will no longer censure its activities.
The History of the Association in Politics
For simplicity here a question might be framed: For what
type of measures has the Association lobbied? And the answer,
given with equal brevity is: The Association has lobbied for or
against banking laws, tariff measures, trust control, taxes of
ail kinds, good roads, railroads, in fact, for practically any
law which may affect the economic status of its members. Since
almost any legislation which comes to mind might conceivably af­
fect the economic interests of four thousand Chicago businessmen,
this answer to the question is not particularly illuminating, and
it will be necessary to trace the history of the Association's
political interests, to arrive at a really satisfactory conception
of its relations to government.
Several national measures of great import have felt the
impact of the Association's desires. In the days of the first
Roosevelt, it will be remembered.that one of the lesser panics of
our financial history menaced business. Businessmen were inclined
to feel th~t operations conducted under the shadow of the big
stick were not assured of success. Among others to besiege the
President with prayers for reassurance was the Chicago Association
of Commerce. It was represented by Richard C. Hall and John V.
Farwell. With members from other organizations these gentlemen
journeyed to Washington and there on a Friday evening in March of
1908, about 9:30 there occurred an interview which was
intimate and exhaustive, lasting fully an hour and a half. It
was a conference of fellow citizens over cigars and about a
hospital fireplace. The West was there to tell the President
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130 -
what it knew about trouble, and how it thought it could be
Writing of this conference twenty years later, Mr. Hall said that
it resulted in the President’s making a statement the following
day to the public press which was very encouraging and helpful to
Reassuring words from the President are not lasting in their
effect, and the necessity for sound currency legislation was con­
ceded by all. In 1911, the National Board of Trade called a meet­
ing of commercial organizations from all over the country. At
thi3 meeting the Chicago Association of Commerce was assigned the
task of creating a commission or league which would study the
banking needs of the country and would also invoke public opinion
in favor of new monetary legislation. The National Citizens’
League for the promotion of a sound banking system was the result.
The Executive Board of this league was nominated from the members
of the Chicago Association. This group was one of many which to­
gether ultimately achieved the establishment of the Federal Reserve
Agitation for banking reform was carried on in the adminis­
tration of Taft who was both conservative and Republican. A rea­
sonable accord between the leaders of business and his government
might therefore be expected. It is possibly surprising, however,
to observe that when the Clayton Acts were under debate, the As­
sociation spoke with equal assurance. Again a delegation including
among others, David R. Forgan, Edward E. Gore, Homer Stillwell,
and Joseph H. Defrees, advised with the President. These men also
consulted with the chairman of the appropriation committees of the
House ar.d Senate. Mr. Defrees' own statement as rendered in the
Annual Report of 1914 was, "That many of the principles which our
committee advocated are incorporated in the Trade Commission Bill,
as enacted Into law, is evidence of the value of the committee's
^Chicago Commerce, March 27, 1908, p. 5.
^Ibid.. December 7, 1929, p. 329.
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1911. p. 11. See also Chicago Commerce. November 21, 1925, p. 102.
4 p. 12.
See also Chicago Commerce. November 21, 1925,
p. 102 .
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151 -
When the War of 1914-1918 blighted the country, and the
tremendoua mobilization of business by the government occurred,
the Chicago Association of Commerce rushed to the colors. The
northern portions of Illinois, Indiana, and the entire State of
Iowa formed region number 9 under the .National War Resources Com­
mittee. The President of the C.A.C. became regional organizer,
and his committee acted as a clearing house for all information
concerning government needs throughout the region. The Associa­
tion also had a War Contract Bureau which cooperated with the War
Resources Committee. Enough has been published on the subject of
businessmen and the government to raise the question of how profit­
able patriotism was in those years.^ No monetary profit could
have accrued to the Association, however, for the maintenance of
its Selective Service Bureau. This Bureau surveyed the industries
of the city to determine what men could best be.spared without
curtailing production. Technical information was also given by
the Association’s Draft Bureau to employers suddenly confronted
with stacks of questionnaires to be filled out and returned to
the federal authorities.
Again when the Victory Loan was to be
floated, the Association donated the services of salesmen.^
Although the American public has not been able to determine
whether the war resulted in peace without victory, or victory with­
out peace, its business interests tried to be normal in the midst
of chaos. One of its dearest plans was to have the United States
Department of Commerce neatly its interests. The Board
of Directors of .the Chamber of Commerce of the United States met
for a three days' conference in Chicago in March of 1921. The
purpose of the meeting »aato discuss means of realizing this
ambition. Hoover himself appeared before an advisory board which
was appointed to work out the details of this cooperation. The
^The Annual Report for 1915 contains an appendix describing
the Association's efforts to form a nonprofit corporation for
handling war contracts. The project was admittedly rejected at
Washington. The reasons are now obscure, but. it is worthy of
note that the Association gave much time and expensive considera­
tion to the plan. Description of the organization of the War
Resources Committee is to be found on page 76 of the same report.
2 Ibld.. p. 24.
Chicago Commerce, April 19, 1919, p. 8 .
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132 -
principal industries of the country were to be represented and
foreign trade s&s to be a subject of special concern. Announce­
ments of these conferences were duly made through Commerce,^ and
the membership of the Association was thereby informed of another
effort on the part of their affiliation to work with their federal
government, and to have it work for them.
This same type of cooperation continued through the passage
of the K.R.A. In fact when General Hugh S. Johnson was faced with
the task of setting that cumbersome piece of legislation in mo­
tion, he telegraphed the Association for help. He wanted it to
take the initiative in forming a large committee of responsible
community organizations to hold itself in readiness for work with
President Rossetter sent a cautious reply that he would do
so, but could not consider the Association committed to any speci­
fic line of action until further information was transmitted.5
He was as good as his work and at the meeting the Chicago Recovery
Council was organized. For his pains and prestige, Mr. Rossetter
was made its chairman, and the Council was made the center of
«.R.A. activity in the city. A code committee, a speakers' bur­
eau, and a publicity committee went immediately to work. Under
the direction of the Council, it was estimated that 52,000 firms
and corporations, approximately 98 per cent of ail business es­
tablishments in the city were thereby enrolled in the President’s
Ee-employment Agreement.
The Chicago Recovery Council added
still another service to its not inconsiderable list when it or­
ganized a compliance board. This board investigated over seven
thousand charges of violation of the Ee-employment Agreement.
A N.R.A. information bureau was next established at Asso­
ciation headquarters. Through it data were supplied to employers
informing themselves in urgent haste concerning codes as well as
the rules, regulations, and interpretations which were issued
from Washington.
^hen the P.?;.A. was established the construc­
tion industry was given the benefit of a similar service relaying
Hiarch 26, 1921, p. 11.
The telegram is printed verbatim in the ♦'Annual Report of
the Chicago Association of Commerce, 1933," op. cit.. p. 42.
5 Ibid. '
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.. p. 89.
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133 -
information concerning procedure in applying for loans, govern­
mental and private projects for which loans had been made and
other relevant facts.*
Eefore going on to a full discussion of the attitude of
business toward the various measures of the New Deal as illustrat­
ed by this Association, it is desirable to mention two subjects
of perennial concern to both government and business. They are
railroads and taxes. A few examples will suffice here.
An outstanding example of the Association’s efforts to de­
fend shipper interests in railroad legislation can be observed
when amendments to the Mann-Elkins Act were being debated in 1910.
Here for once the record is specific.
The Association of Commerce through its Committee on Legis­
lation first put into definite shape the three ail important
amendments included within the so-called Mann-Elkins Law,
these amendments being as follows:
(1) Giving the shipper the right to route his freight.
(2) Giving the Interstate Commerce Commission the power to
suspend the talcing effect of rates.
(3) Making it an offense for a carrier to misquote a rate.
These three amendments were submitted to President Taft
personally. He supported them in public debate and included them
in the draft of the bill he had prepared for Congress. While the
legislature was debating the bill, members of the Association ap­
peared before committees of both House and Senate in support of
them, and the Association's committee was pleased to report that
debate on the bill did not center around its favored provisions.
The Association of Commerce has been a champion of the In­
terstate Commerce Commission on sundry occasions. In 1919, the
Freight Traffic Committee drew up a somewhat detailed statement
of policy headed by the declaration that it favored the maintenance
of one regulatory body, the Interstate Commerce Commission.
same year Traffic Director, Barlow, appeared before the Senate
Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce because the Associa1 Ibid., p. 36.
^Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1910. p. 65.
3 Ibid.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1919," op. cit., p. 32.
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134 -
tion wanted the Commission to be permitted to retain its discre­
tionary power concerning rates on long and short hauls under Sec­
tion 4 of the Interstate Commerce Act.'1' This same power for the
Commission was again championed by the Association in 1926.^ And
no measure received heartier condemnation among those recently
censored than that part of the Reorganization Bill which attempted
to place the regulatory commissions, including the I.C.C. under
the Jurisdiction of the Executive Department of the federal govern­
ment .^
Mention of taxes is made here because the citizen is for­
ever rendering unto Caesar and no discussion of his relations with
his governments which omits this topic can be considered complete.
In general, as might be expected, the Association opposes in­
creases in taxes. In this it is In accord with the rest of the
world. A more detailed knowledge of the attitude of the Associa­
tion on taxes should be picked up incidentally in connection with
our study of the hew Deal legislation, and of recent state legis­
lation In which the Association has expressed interest. But as
an example the following item, typical of a host of others is
quoted. In 1926, Mr. George Rossetter, who was then chairman of
the Executive Committee reported in passing that the Committee
"urged the repeal of federal tax upon the capital stock of cor­
porations and opposed any increase in the tax on corporation in­
Until the inauguration of the New Deal, the Association
does not appear to have been greatly disturbed concerning the ac­
tivities of government in business. Two waves of. reforming spirit,
prior to 1933, have fallen within the span of its life: that of
Theodore Roosevelt, and that of Wilson's administration. Roose­
velt, as has been indicated, it looked upon with tentative dis­
tress. To the Clayton Acts, or to at least that part of them in­
volving the establishment of the Federal Trade Commission, it gave
^Chicago Commerce. June 21, 1919, p. 21.
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1926. p. 14.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1937," o£. cit., p. 50.
4 Ibid., 1926, p. 5.
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155 -
cooperation. Aa did a large part of the business world it also
tendered support at the outset to the National Recovery Act.
Perhaps, as has been cogently argued, it saw in this act a method
of junking many burdensome restrictions with a grand patriotic
gesture. In any event, after the Supreme Court rejected the Re­
covery Act, the Association grew restive.
It is quite possible that some future historian writing of
the troubled days which followed will be able to say, "As the
United States became increasingly industrialized, it was found
in the decade of the thirties that it was advisable for the people
to extend their control of business through their government.
The thirties were a period of transition during which the methods
of control were worked out with some hardship. On the whole,
however, the readjustment in thinking was no greater than that
involved in securing the original federal legislation for the
control of railroads. The ructions accompanying the earlier
changes of relationship were if anything more violent, but were
accepted by a later generation as if they had been ordained by
that constellation of political luminaries known as the Founding
But the Association of Commerce lived in the present. Its
members were neither philosophers nor historians. They made
philosophy and history. They ovmea plants, managed banks, and
sold shoes. They suffered new labor codes, sit down strikes, in­
flated currency, and a host of new taxes. They did not starve,
it is true, and it is unlikely that many of them were cold; but
they had the responsibility for maintaining employment, and they
knew that relief rolls were something more than figures. Every
decade is a period of transition from the one before to the one
after. Even supposing he believes it, what does it avail a man
to know that the Grangers were madder and the Pinkertons meaner
than the people with whom he has to deal?
It is possible moreover, that the businessmen who made up
the Association felt as others felt that there was something more
fundamentally wrong in the depression of the thirties than in any
previous economic disturbance which the country had known. Late
in the decade would come the debate as to whether the largest cor­
porations were' financing their capital expansion from deprecia­
tion funds, whether they were, in a word, self-sustaining. Per­
haps the importance of ’
Sail Street was actually diminishing.
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There would come likewise the speculation as to whether the in­
dustrial system, if any, might not have been articulated to an
ever increasing production of heavy goods, whereas the market had
become a consumers* market. Only in a building boom and in unexploited foreign countries did there seem to appear any hope for
the sale of the products of the heavy industries. The building
trades were certainly beset by a complication of labor troubles
the like of which afflicted no other industry, and the foreign
market was almost closed by the tariff ana the debts already ow­
ing to the United States. The shades of Greenbackers, Jay Cooke,
and the Eoston fire notwithstanding, this must be a new situation.
The result of the Association's distrust of the world in
general and of the government's efforts to assert control over
business is reflected in its attitude toward the federal measures
listed below:
National Recovery Act-Given cooperation.
Federal Securities .Act— Opposed in large part.
Gold Standard— Earnest requests for return to, 1933.
Federal Housing Administration— Supported in part.
Wagner ^abor Disputes Act— Pronounced "unsound, unfair,
and unconstitutional."
Federal Revenue and Expenditure Act of 1935— Provision for
publicity concerning income tax returns— Opposed.
Guffey Coal Bill— Opposed.
Tennessee Valley Authority— Opposed.
Soldiers' Bonus Eill of 1935— Opposed.
Reorganization of Supreme Court— Opposed. .
Undistributed Profits Tax— Opposed.^Coiament in Commerce grew more antagonistic in 1934, than
at any other time in the magazine's history. "In this extraordiP
nary era of charm, politics, and academic doctrine . . ." "Meas­
uring national income against governmental expenditures, it is
believed that £4 cents out of every dollar is being eaten up by
^Expressions of opinion are to be found on these i&sues in
the following sources: "Annual Report of the Chicago Association
of Commerce, 1933," op., cit. . pp. 30, 34, 36, 48; "Annual Report
of the Chicago Association of Commerce, 1934," op. cit.. pp. 40,
54; Commerce, ..March, 1935, p. 48; "Annual Report of the Chicago
Association of Commerce, 1935," op. cit.. p. 40; "Annual Report
of the Chicago Association of Commerce, 1937," op. cit.., pp. 32,76.
Commerce. December, 1934, p. 7.
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137 -
taxes . . ."
“if the New Deal expects to go so far as to make
mailmen out of the officers of its defense system, telegraph
boys out of it3 bureaucrats, hello girls from the office forces
of its seething government buildings . - ."2 "Nothing so be­
wildering in political philosophy has ever appeared in America
as the New Deal . . .
These events are too close upon us to permit of any con­
clusions. It would be possible to say that the Association
proved more conservative than in previous periods, but even that
statement ventures further than the facts. It had not fought a
Tariff Commission, extended powers of the Interstate Commerce
Commission, nor the establishment of a Federal Trade Commission.
But for these reforms it had been prepared by so many years of
patient opposition that they were conceded by conservatives to be
due at the date of passage. The changes inaugurated by the New
Deal were thought by many to have been equally long overdue, but
neither the Association, nor any citizen however liberal and
propertyless had ever been faced by so many in such a short
period. Perhaps as has been suggested, the reform technique em­
ployed in this legislation did not make proper allowance for the
powerful social sentiments and inherent moral beliefs of a large
segment of the American people. Here it is safest to say only
that the Association was among the conservative forces which op­
posed the greater part of the measures passed it, the administra­
tion of Franklin B. Koosevelt.
The extent to which the Association of Commerce has inter­
ested itself in state legislation is difficult to. measure. Almost
from the beginning of its history there has been some concern for
public measures. Although the annual reports of the General
lecretary do not list a Legislative Committee among the important
standing committees of the Association until 1910, the report for
1909 included an account of "Disposed of Matters," and these mat­
ters appear to have been disposed of by a Legislative Committee
of some sort. There were only eight of them on the list and no
statement is made as to the position assumed by the committee.4
Ibid.. August, 1934, p. 13. Ibid., March, 1934, p. 7.
^Ibid. February, 1934, p. 8 .
Association of Commerce.----1909.
p> ?g> Annual Report of the Chicago
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138 -
Although it is not difficult to surmise what the attitude of the
Association was with regard to the Eight Hour Female Labor Bill,
it is scarcely enough to head a matter "disposed of*1 which is
cited simply as "Proposed Amendment to Cab Stand Ordinance." In
1923 the volume of business done by the Committee had doubled.
Six measures were approved by the Association and also by the
legislature, three were approved by the Association and failed in
the legislature, seven which the Association opposed, failed also
when put to actual vote, and two were opposed by the Association
and passed by the legislature, making a total of eighteen.1
Twenty years after the first report, the Legislative Com­
mittee returned a statement which read:
19 bills favored by the Association— 16 passed;
18 bills opposed by the Association— -13 killed.2
And ten years later, it required two mimeographed sheets .of single
space printing to list the bills in the state legislature alone
in which the Association had been interested, and the number of
bills listed was ninety-two.
This final accounting contained
matters too varied to be classified, for it included everything
from a state wage ahd hour bill to a bill prohibiting the use of
tetraethyl lead in motor fuel.
In spite of inevitable variety it is possible to observe
certain types of measures in which the Association has shown con­
sistent interest. Katurally, changes in the fundamental law of
the state have been of concern to it. Always it concentrates at­
tention on the subject of taxe3 . For good roads and sound methods
of financing them it has been willing to expend time and effort,
and, in these latter days in particular, a continuous study of
labor and industrial bills has been made.
The year 1917, saw a determined effort on the part of the
state government to revamp its administrative code. In this en­
deavour it was aided by a joint committee of the Association and
of the Chicago Commercial Club. The committee was authorized to
loAnnual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1923," op. cit.. p. 29.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1929," op. cit.. p. 66 .
3Late Flash. April 13, 1939.
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139 -
spend $2,500 to secure expert advice with the help of which it
framed a new code which.was subsequently enacted into law.
Three years later another change in fundamental law was being con­
sidered at a constitutional convention. The ancient problem of
how many representatives Cook County should be permitted to have
in the state assembly was under debate. The Association pronounced
any limitations as disastrous to the ratification of the new con­
stitution, and dispatched resolutions to the members of the conven2
tion to inform thenTof its opinion.
When after two years of ef­
fort the draft of the new organic law was submitted, the Associa­
tion approved it and appointed a special committee to work for
popular ratification.
The state legislature sent out another
call for a constitutional convention in 1931, and the Association
recognized that the necessity for new taxing powers was so great
that it endorsed the idea.' Even specific recommendations for
organic change receive the attention of the Association. Thus in
1915, the President included in his annual report as a measure to
be supported, the joint resolution covering the tax reform amend­
ment to the state constitution to permit the classification of
personal property.
Although any congregation of property owners must be inter­
ested in taxes, it can not be said that the Association showed
nervous concern over taxing matters until the late twenties. lShen
in 1930 Chicago and Cook County were facing a fiscal crisis of
genuine seriousness, the Association gave all the support it had
to the encouragement of a citizens* committee headed by Silas
Strawn. This committee framed a series of bills designed wto fi­
nance government service upon a sound basis, and to protect both
the tax payers and public officials against waste and misuse of
^Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1917, p. 83.
^"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
o p . cit., p .
3 Ibld.
4,1Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1931," ££. cit. ; p. 62.
5 Ibld.
1915, p. 13.
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140 -
the revenue thus p r o v i d e d . W h e n the Association gives its sup­
port, the phrase means something more than the friendly admoni­
tion, "If I can do anything let me know." In this instance it
meant that a group of members started out to do committee leg work.
Money had to be raised to see the city and county governments
through the crisis. Individual banks and corporations had to be
found to advance it, and a lot of jaw work had to be done to make
the idea popular. To do this in a city the size of Chicago is a
prodigious task. Something of the complexity of the actual prob­
lems involved can be envisaged when it is remembered that bills
had to be framed which related to Chicago, Cook County, the hoard
of Education, the Chicago Public Library, the Municipal Tubercu­
losis Sanitarium, and the three large park boards. These bills
purposed to set up strict budgetary control, to limit expendi­
tures, to place and keep the municipalities on a cash basis, to
finance the deficits which already existed, to validate 1928,
1929, and 1930 tax anticipation warrants, to validate 1928, 1929,
and 1930 annual appropriation ordinances, and to provide for the
payment from any available funds of the excess of warrants over
taxes collected.
Strictly speaking, the work of the Strawn Committee was
designed to relieve a local situation rather than a state wide
one. However, most of the powers involved flowed from grants of
the state, and furthermore, the Strawn Committee formed a valuable
precedent when in 1931 Governor Louis Emerson called a special
committee to discuss a state tax program. Joseph K. Brittain,
chairman of the State and Municipal Revenue Committee of the
Chicago Association, was given a new duty by the governor. Ke
was made chairman of the executive committee of the group called
together by the governor. Throughout the summer and autumn of
that year, this committee labored on its report. 3 Twenty-nine
measures were framed by these anxious men. These were submitted
to the legislature at a special session, but Mr. Brittain reported
^■"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1930," op., cit., p. 49.
, p .
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1931," op. cit. . p. 62.
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141 -
his discouragement to his Association in the end, for he said,
•’When the year closed the legislature had been in special session
since November 5 and had accomplished little of constructive
nature. . . ."'L
But this account is enough to show the minute concern of
the Association in taxing matters. The fact that it now includes
as a part of its committee plans, a group which studies problems
of federal revenue, and another which concentrates on state and
municipal revenue is itself indicative. These are not obstruc­
tionist groups. For example, in 1932 they endorsed the state
sales tax, although asserting that it was not to be considered as
a permanent addition to the general tax system.
They did achieve
consistency that year, however, by opposing a state income tax.
With the Illinois Manufacturers' Association and the Civic Federa­
tion of Illinois, this tax was contested in the courts, and the
State Supreme Court pronounced the law as framed unconstitutional. •
Continuing its scrutiny of tax legislation, the committee supported
in 1939, a measure to provide a joint legislative commission to
study and report to the next session recommendations covering tax
delinquency, another which permitted courts to appoint receivers
in foreclosure cases, and a third arranging for the preadjudica4
tion of tax rates.
Of the public improvements secured from the state funds
none has received more careful attention than the state road sys­
tem. A separate committee to study the most advantageous location
of hard roads and the best methods of financing their construction
was first organized in January, 1914.
This committee v*orks in
close cooperation with the authorities of the state, county, and
city. Acting with the Chicago Regional Planning Association, it
prepares plans for new roads and road improvements. It also sub­
1 Ibid.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1932,* op. cit.. p. 51.
3 Ibid.
Highlights of the Legislative Session at Springfield
(Chicago: Chicago Association of Commerce, July, 1939).
°Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1914. p. 57.
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142 -
mits detailed schedules to show how nearly bond issues or motor
fuel taxes will meet the expense involved. These are not haphaz­
ard recommendations. Indeed* they sometimes require construction
plans which demand several years for completion.'1' In 1931, the
state legislature authorized the appointment of a road commission
which was to report its findings only after two years had been
given to the study of state traffic needs. The commission was to
be composed of five representatives, five senators, and five citi­
zens. Of the five citizens, one represented the Chicago Regional
Planning Association, and another was the chairman of the Committee on Good Roads of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
public recognition of the Association’s work testifies to its
value as Vf-eil as to its influence.
At best an annotated group of measures whieh shows the con­
sistent support of the Association in certain types of legislation
can hot give an accurate picture of its part in the work of a
single session. Only a study of its own calendars of bills can
do that. For our purpose one such calendar will have to suffice.
The list for 1925 was chosen because it includes representative
interests and because it shows the type of program which the As­
sociation laid out for itself before the mass production of legis­
lative acts which has characterized all law making assemblies dur­
ing the last decade. (See Table 10.)
Returning to the topical survey, there is one more subject
on which it is important to note the attitude which the Associa­
tion takes. This is the subject of labor and social legislation.
In the accompanying list, nine bills are checked which fall under
this classification. It will be noticed that they were all op­
More information Is available for the activities of the
Sixty-First Session which was closed in the summer of 1939. In
all, the Association felt compelled to take a stand on 167 meas­
ures. Of these, 38 could be classed as labor and social measures.
Of the 38, four only were approved and passed. These four were
"agreed bills*’ and constituted amendments to the unemployment
^"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1930," op. cit.. p. 35.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1931," o£. cit. , p. 46.
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143 -
H.B. 34
II.B. 35
S.B. 58
*S.B. 86
S.B. 84
?h .b .
Transferring the Sanitary
District to State Control..
Creating State Control
License Commission for
Licensing and Regulating
Numerous Businesses........
Requiring Corporations to
Guarantee Payrolls........
Registration of Electrical
Contractors.............. .
^Child Labor Amendment to
the Federal Constitution...
86 Referendum on Child Labor
124 Amendment............... .
28 Anti—Injunction Bill.......
90 ^‘oraen's Eight Hour Bill....
H.B. 1
H.B. 2
H.B. 132
S.B. 155
H.B. 189
S.B. 10
S.B. 188
Authorizing Lincoln Park to
Expend $3,000,000 for
Bridge Construction........
Authorizing Lincoln Park to
Expend $9,000,000 for Park
Providing for Second Grand
Juries....... ........ .
The Illinois State Police
Raising Age Limit of Jurors
Amending Garnishment Act...
Amending Assessment of
Property Act..............
Attitude of Action of the
the C.A.C. Legislature
Source: “Annual Report of the Chicago Association of
Commerce, 1925,H op. cit.. p. 50; Illinois General Assembly,
Journal of the~ Senate . . .; Journal of the House of Representa­
tives . . 1 (Springfield, 1925).
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- 144 -
, Bill
H.B. 848 Amending the General Cor­
poration Act........ .
S.J.R. 4 Amending the Revenue
Article of State Constitu­
tion. . . . .... ......... .
H.B. 541 Providing for Bonding Milk
S.B. 298 Creating State Aeronautic
H.B. 592 Prohibiting Discrimination
in Purchasing Milk and
Cream.............. .....
3.E. 159 Creating a Deep Waterways
Commission.... ..........
S.B. 113 Legalising Location of the
H.B. 173 Kew County Jail and Crimi­
nal C’ourt Building.......
S.B. 444 Authorizing Underground
Garage in Grant Park.....
H.B. 615 Amending Laws P.egulating
H.B. 616 Practice of Public
H.B. 617 Accounting...... ........
S.J.R.10 Amending State Constitu­
tion to Provide Classifi­
cation of Personal
S.B. 237 Increasing Tax for Chicago
Public Library...........
S.B. 257 Appropriating $3,000,000
for Eradication of Tuber­
culous Cattle......... .
H.B. 272 Requiring Prompt Distribu­
tion of Public Funds......
Attitude of Action of the
the C.A.C. Legislature
S.B. 113
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145 -
compensation acts already on the statute books, and an amendment
to the occupational diseases act likewise already a law. There
were three more which might be so classified which the Association
favored, but which failed to pass. Two were bills connected with
efforts to revive the building industry, one amending the eminent
domain© act and another authorising a public service building
corporation for slum clearance. The third excluded executives and
supervisors from the ftomen*s. Eight Hour Law. The record of opposi­
tion, with limited "exceptions, is therefore, fairly consistent.
Among the biils which were opposed were such measures-as
S.B. 26—-Increasing Weekly Benefits under Workman's Compensation
Act; S.B. 58— Requires Surety Bond of Employers to Insure Payment
of Wages to Employees; S.B. 59— Provides for Five Bay Week;
H.B. 97— Limits Liability of Officers and Members of Labor Organi­
zations for Unlawful Acts; H.B. 390— Prohibits Employers' Housing
and Feeding Strike Breakers; H.B. 94— Prevents Employment of Pri­
vate Detective Agencies to Secure Information Regarding Present
or Proposed Labor Activities. The list is too long to be given
in complete form. It is necessary, at this point, to observe
only that the Association has quite consistently opposed measures
which are designated as labor legislation. It does not, however,
maintain an anti-labor legislation policy as one of its reasons
for existence. In obstructing such measures it is usually to be
found in alliance with the more aggressive policy of trade asso­
ciations and manufacturers' organizations throughout the state;
but it takes up .labor issues usually as an association of indi­
viduals who happen also, for the most part to be employers. The
variety of interests which are represented on its rolls keep it
from being the ideal shock troop in this type of civic warfare.
It has for conservatives more the function of a national guard.
Of the many highly debatable principles involved in the
legislation usually classed under the head of "social security,"
none has been more generally conceded than the need for some kind
of assistance for the dependent aged. There are probably members
of the Association who would concede this contention. But even
so, the fact remains that ho onehasyet framed a bill on the sub­
ject of aid for the dependent aged which has met with the approval
of the Association of Commerce. In the 1939 session, four bills
on this subject alone were opposed.
Here the Association has
been obstructionist, but the process of further judgment is com­
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1 46 -
plicated by the certain knowledge that much of this proposed
legislation was hasty and ill-considered. It is fortunate for
the democracy that it does not have to depend upon the Association
for social pioneering, but it is fortunate, too, that it has
raised up some cautious men also.1
The Chicago Association of Commerce, as the name implies,
is a municipal organization. Its interest in city life is mani­
fold. Here will be given an outline of Its strictly governmental
procedures. One of the assignments which the Association has
taken seriously is that of interesting its members in performing
the duties of citizenship. Governed by a host of political units,
it would truly take a citizen's whole time to perform intelligently
all those services to government which accrue to him by virtue of
being free, white, and twenty-one. Consequently, urging from some
respected authority is necessary if he is not to sign off entirely.
In addition to the frequent distribution of information concerning
how its members should vote, attention is often given to regular
get-out-the-vote campaigns. The Junior Association has also been
active in this type of endeavour. Employers are reminded to give
their employees time off in.which to exercise the franchise.^
Pledges have been sent out to inspire enthusiasm amongst Chicago- .
ans. "I will,® one of them solemnly declares, "assist in the ef­
fort to induce businessmen to assume positions of responsibility
in connection with their party organizations. I will agree to
render some personal service in connection with the coming ori3
These personal services have at other times included
pledges to serve on juries, and as watchers at the polls to in­
sure honest elections.
Eager to avoid the distribution of. offices among party
henchmen, bulletins have reminded the members of the necessity of
supporting nonpartisan aldermen. A study of the clty-manager
plan resulted in the Association’s endorsement for the same rea­
son. It has also been suggested that the Civic Affairs Committee
^ h i s analysis is based upon the complete list of measures
of the 61st General Assembly upon which the Association expressed
its attitude as published in the pamphlet, Highlights of the
Legislative Session at Springfield, op. cit.
Chicago Commerce. November 1, 1919, p. 7.
°Ibld.. February 11, 1922, p. 7.
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147 -
should focus its chief enthusiasm on the honest administration of
election machinery.1
But the Association is not merely hortatory in its activi­
ties in the field of municipal politics. It conceives it to be
its duty to work with the city government as it is, as well as to
struggle to make it more expressive and effective. In its con­
stant scrutiny of taxes, bond issues, and licensing bills, this
cooperation has been particularly noticeable. In support of the
forty measures framed by the Strawn Committee, this teamwork
could have been observed. An earlier example occurred in 1923.
That year, there was before the General Assembly a license tax
bill which sought to give cities throughout the state practically
unlimited powers to levy license taxes on its business and indus­
tries. Naturally such a bill excited the opposition of the Asso­
ciation. But it did not proceed until after the vice-rChairman of
the Committee on State and Municipal Revenue had held numerous
conferences with the corporation counsel of the City of Chicago.
Later, of course it testified before a Senate Committee against
the measure.2
The following year the Committee on Industrial Development
and Public Improvement reported that it had studied city improve­
ment projects which involved the expenditure of $15,000,000.^
But 1924 was in no way unusual in this respect. Such studies are
of course made available to the proper city authorities. An ex­
cellent example of the way in which the Association has worked
with the city officials is evidenced in the letter given below.
Incidentally it is in civic enterprises such as that referred to
in the letter that the Association has been of greatest benefit
to its city.
lMAnnual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1934," op. eft., p. 35.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1923," op. eft., p. 22.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1924," op. clt. . p. 24.
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- 148 -
"Chicago Association of Commerce,
"10 G. La Salle St.,
"Chicago, 111.
"The Chicago City Council Committee on Railway Termi­
nals wishes to thank you for the splendid cooperation rendered
in connection with the preparation and passage of the Illinois
Central and Lake”Front•Improvement Development Ordinance.
"It is the belief of the committee that we have done
our part with your assistance in projecting thi3 improvement
which— if consummated— ‘Will mark the beginning of a new epoch
in the development of Chicago. It is hoped it will furnish
the required impetus for the early accomplishment of the other
improvements our city so urgently need!sj.
"We feel that ail who participated have justly
merited the thanks of our people and have cause to feel proud
of their effort.
"In the event that we need your assistance in get­
ting the approval of the 7<ar Department for these improvements
may we feel free to call upon you?
"Again thanking you, I remain
"Very truly yours,
"W. F. Lipps
"Chairman of the Committee on Railway
With regard to street paving, lighting and traffic matters
the Association is sleepless. In 1915, the city was engaged in
the improvement of Twelfth Street. Observing this work, the Com­
mittee on Street Traffic concluded that the city's plans did not
show a proper concern for the Clark Street approaches to that
thoroughfare. Therefore, it presented this opinion at the City
Hall, and its opinion was heeded, for the committee duly reported
that "steps were taken to change the’plans so as to provide prop2
erly for this feature."
Traffic congestion in an impatient community like Chicago
^Chicago Commerce. April 23, 1919, p. 22.
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1915. p. 87.
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- 149 is not a text over which it is best to brood. In 1923, Robert
Isham Randolph, himself an engineer, was chairman of the Committee
on Harbors and Waterways. He announced in his line of duty that
his committee had.been active in an effort to alleviate the conges­
tion caused by bridge openings, and also to preserve the rights
of navigation on the river. **We have attended," he concluded,
"council meetings on this subject and have supplied the United
States district engineer with data and exhibits showing both
street traffic and vessel.movements.Special traffic surveys,
cordon counts of vehicles entering the Loop, the establishment of
experimental lighting, and light signals, all kinds of traffic
routing plans, and the installation of a Traffic Violation Bureau
have all been matters of Association experiment. It has unques­
tionably been both active and effective in this phase of its work.
It is xiot because the civic interests of the Association
have been so few that this part of its history is short in compari­
son to its federal and state record. On the contrary, it is pri­
marily a civic organization. Its interests are largely concentrat­
ed here upon its own streets. The height of its buildings, the
development of its parks, the adequacy of its hospitals, the edu­
cation of its children and the care of its poor, are matters of
genuine moment. The next chapter will cast over these accounts.
Although many of them have political implications, they are in a
larger sense truly civic.
But before proceeding, let us pause for a backward look.
V/e have seen the Association actually at work in Congress, Assembly
and City Council. A’e have observed that in its relations with
government, the Association cooperates with other employing organi­
zations to form in state and nation what might be termed an indus­
trial lobby. Almost unfailingly the Association has been conserva­
tive in national and state affairs. This does not mean that its
ideas are unsound. Indeed, as in its present tariff policy
(February, 1940), it may have the blessing of impersonal and dis­
interested economists upon it. It may occasionally be liberal
when liberalism is safe, as in the case of the currency investiga­
tion under Taft. It is at present ultra-conservative on labor
measures and social security legislation. Always it stands for
1"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1929," o£. cit. , p. 40.
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150 -
lawful procedure and reasonable budgetary control. Taxes It tol­
erates but does not encourage new ones. In the field of munici­
pal activity alone does it show daring and enterprise. It will
frame bills for tax systems and city plana here that are not
small dreams.
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Civic Problems Given Continuous Study
As an organization- of businessmen anxious to promote trade
and commerce, a chamber of commerce has certain well defined
fields of endeavour. Interest in business legislation is also
so apparent that the- problem is to determine the quantity and not
the fact of participation. Upon taking up the questions that are
usually considered "civic,1* however, the chamber of commerce has
had some difficulty in limiting and directing its enthusiasm.
The membership want to help create a city in which good business­
men will want to do sound business. But the principle is vague.
A man’s business is affected by city government, streets, hospi­
tals, schools, sewage, labor conditions, a variety of factors.
In a sense the Association of Commerce has felt impatient of its
inability to define its civic functions. This fact is apparent
from its recent publicity and from interviews with interested
leaders. Through the years it has tried to perform some duties
which might be assumed to belong to the municipal governmentt
some to the professional relief agencies, some to the police,
and some to the .churches and schools. A review of these activities
will leave an inevitable impression of incoherence. The most en­
couraging sign with the Chicago group is the present administra­
tion's determination to define its spheres of civic influence and
to become efficient within them.
Perhaps some of the amorphous quality of the Association’s
civic program can be attributed to the rapid and sprawling growth
of the
city itself. So conglomerate, so unplanned, so monstrous
is the
modern city, insists a certain critic of the industrial
age that the only place which will accommodate all of its citizens
is the city’s streets.
Mr. Mumford is torn with a cosmic pity
^Lewis'SJomford, The Culture of Cities (New York: Harcourt,
Brace & Co., 1933).
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152 -
when he contemplates the unhappy citizen emerging from his high
office, to be dropped to the ground floor, jostled through the
slimy thoroughfares, to be crammed upon some airless conveyance,
to struggle through the grime of his home street, to sink stupidly
into a chair in his sooted dormitory to wait for another day.
But Hr. Hurafora is not a booster. Whether he would be willing to
become a member of the Committee on Street Traffic of the Associa­
tion of Commerce and attend its perennial meetings is a question
only he could answer. The Committee would no doubt consider his
cosmic pity pretty morbid, but they would concede his case to the
extent of announcing that something should be done about the
streets. Moreover, they could insist proudly that they were do­
ing something about them.
The "something** has been of considerable value. The rec­
ords of the Street Traffic Committee are a commentary on urban
life in general. In 1910, when horseless carriages were beginning
to be a problem, the Association sent a member of the Police De­
partment to study European methods of controlling traffic condi­
tions.1 After visiting Liverpool, London, Paris, and Berlin,
Captain Healy returned to give lectures on traffic at home and
abroad to schools and civic groups who were interested.
Other and perhaps more fruitful traffic studies have been
made. In 1913, a committee of aldermen and citizens was created
to consider the whole matter of Downtown Municipal Improvements.
The subjects considered were subways, surface and elevated trac­
tion, sewage and sewage disposal, utility galleries, new sewers
and a high pressure water system. It was an advance in urban
planning that these baffling questions should have been consid­
ered as a series of related problems. Probably, however, the
most pretentious survey of Chicago traffic for which the Associa­
tion assumed responsibility was the Metropolitan Street Traffic
Report of 1926. This report was composed of three hundred pages
of recommendations, several of which resulted in favorable action
by the City Council. One of these was the institution of the
Greater Chicago Street Traffic Commission, and another was the
creation of a division of street traffic engineering in the city’s
^Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1910. p. 59.
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153 -
Department of Public Works.1 In 1927 the Council directed that
a new branch of the municipal court system should be organized in
the form of a bureau of traffic violation. This innovation was
also suggested in the Association report.
Another of its con­
tributions was the formulation of a model traffic ordinance. Lat­
er Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover created a special federal
committee to study urban traffic problems. As evidence of the
good work done in the Association’s survey^ the federal committee
took the Chicago cd'de as a basis for a model municipal traffic
ordinance. The survey cost the Association $50,000, so no doubt
it was glad to see that other cities could profit by its study.^
The committee is not a debating society. Surveys and in­
vestigations are valuable. But the Association has consistently
maintained the position that equal if not greater service was done
Chicago if the committee actually knew, and if its own employees
actually understood just what was being done about Chicago’s pav­
ing. It has for years kept a record of downtown streets in used
of paving repairs, and has inspected paving jobs all over the
city. To travel along the bumpy highways, observing viaducts,
sewer openings, and street crossings has been the yearly assign­
ments of some of its members. In 1913, it devoted some special
attention to parking places. Carefully the committee put the word
in quotation marks in its annual report showing how unaccustomed
they were to it.
Street numbering has also commanded attention
from the committee.
A new phase of city planning, or perhaps, one should say
the beginning of city planning, was assured when the Association
was able to proclaim the passage of a new state law permitting
the "districting" of cities for specified uses and the framing of
regulations governing the height of buildings and the area of
property to be improved. It may have been accidental, but the
word "zoning" does not appear in the announcement. Representatives
lwAnnual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1925," 0£. cit.. p. 4; ibid., 1927, p. 4.
2Ibid., p. 16.
^Chicago Commerce. October 20, 1928, p. 12.
^Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1913. p. 80.
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154 -
of the Association journeyed to Springfield in support of this
measure.^ Here again those who are moved by a medieval nostaglia,
proclaim that modern 2oning ordinances were only passed when real
estate values were already established and the city could not pay
for enough necessary condemnations to rid itself of undesirable
structures. Measures designed to limit the height of buildings
likewise, they observe, appeared only after expensive chasms had
been erected in the business districts of the city, ar.d thousands
of individuals were' already condemned to aimless toil in the
cliffs. There is truth in this comment. It is well, however,
that 2 oning and "step-backs" had been conceived by alert citizens
before the building boom of the twenties.
Prolonged traffic studies, attention to paving, parking,
zoning, and step-back buildings ail indirectly tell their tale of
the growth of the machine age city. Ko comment, however, could
be more succinct than the mere figures collected by the Street
Traffic Committee in their cordon counts of traffic entering the
downtown area. Over a period of years the committee selected a
typical day in May on which to take a census of vehicles entering
the most congested area of the city. It was gathering evidence
in proof of its contention that a no-parking ordinance in the
downtown district would not reduce the traffic. It seems to have
won its case, as shown by the figures in Table 11.
Although the streets in truth are the only place which will
accommodate all of Chicago's citizens, and although they are never
to be confused with the pavements of paradise, that they are not
more crowded, ill-surfaced and grimy than they are, is certainly
the result of just such efforts as those of the Association's
Street Traffic Committee.
The city's streets are not the only civic project in which
the Association has maintained interest over a period of years.
The administration of charity, certain phases of public education
and crime prevention have all received continuous attention.
Special investigations of conditions considered threatening to
business have been made. Studies of civic problems have been
presented to the public, and finally, the Association has listened
with sympathy to the cries of other cities in distress from fire
^""Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1919," op. cit. , p. 26.
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- 155 -
tabu; 11
Number of
1926... .............
1928. . . . .............
1931... .................
1935 ................, .
1938... .................
Source: "Annual Report of the
Chicago Association of Commerce, 1938,"
op. cit. , p. 93. The last figure is from
the Annual Report for 1939 (op. cit.. p. 31).
and flood.
Because its members represent established business, they
are constantly solicited for funds to aid in various' charitable
enterprises. Chicago's great size makes it impossible for any
individual to know much about the organizations which beseech him
for aid, and the possibilities for graft in haphazard solicitation
are obvious. So in 1910, the Association took upon itself a very
considerable civic responsibility. A letter from the city's mayor
suggested that it could do the entire community a service if it
would issue some- kind of a report on the organizations seeking
free contributions. With some reluctance a Subscriptions Investi­
gating Committee was created.'*' In order to make as few mistakes
as possible in dealing with a question frought with so much dif­
ficulty, an advisory council was also formed. It was made up of
influential and public spirited individuals whose interest and
experience in the administration of private charity were beyond
question. A few of the names on the list were: Miss Jane Addams,
Mrs. Joseph T. Bowen, Professor Charles Fs. Henderson, the Reverend
Jenkin Lloyd Jones, Miss Mary E. McDowell, Mr. Raymond Robbins,
Mr. Julius Rosenwald, and Professor Graham Taylor. frith their
1Ibid. ,' 1910, p. 19.
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- 156 -
help the Association then set forth to make its own contribution
to the great civic problem of the cars of the dependent.
This contribution was the gradual evolution of a scale by
which a charitable enterprise could be considered desirable or
not worthy of free gifts. This task was simplified in one respect.
The Association did not have any theories concerning special kinds
of charity. Presumably the generous member who was about to give
his money away would have his own ideas on that subject. But the
Association did propose if possible, to determine whether the so­
liciting charity was financially reliable. In the beginning it
decided upon five prerequisites. To receive its endorsement the
charity must have a regular audit of accounts; it must be incor­
porated, it must be under local management; and it must publish a
complete report of its activities. In addition, the charity must
be willing to cooperate with other organizations to prevent waste
and the overlapping of effort.1
Gradually other prerequisites of endorsement have been
added to this early list. Hospitals, dispensaries, sanitoria,
etc., were required to conform to the qualifications of the Depart­
ment of Health. Orphanages and child placing institutions were
requested to qualify for the license of the state board of admin2
Through the cooperation of the committee, the Social
Service Registration Bureau was reorganized and agencies doing
relief work were required to register their cases with the bureau.
Duplication of relief was thus lessened.5 New enterprises which
were thought worthy were asked in 1924 to give a pledge of the
sincerity of their intent by requesting the directors to raise
from twenty-five to thirty-five per cent of the necessary funds
among themselves, their officers, and friends.^
Countless interviews and investigations resulted in the
formulation of some definite rule3 on the basis of which endorse­
ment would be refused. One of these was the practice of paying
solicitors on commission.5
1Ibid.. 1911, p.
Endorsement is not now given for rais­
1912, p. 102.
5Ibid.. 1915, p. 105.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1925,11 o£. cit. , p. 32.
5Ibid.. 1915, p. 105.
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157 -
ing funds to pay off loans on new buildings unless the organiza­
tion has been previously endorsed. If the benefits are not in
proportion to the amount of money expended, endorsement is re­
fused. Nor can property occupied by the charitable institution
be privately owned by members of the board. The activities of
social and cultural clubs maintaining a philanthropic department
are not thought to fall within the scope of the committee's work.
The committee naturally does not pas3 judgment on the activities
of such national or international organizations as the Eed Cross.^
Since charity has been traditionally handled by the church,
its administration has been associated with other-worldly values.
The Association is not unmindful of this fact, but has felt that
its own role was strictly practical. The soundly administered
dollar wiii do more good In most instances than indiscriminate
largess. The first list of endorsed charities included seventy
agencies— its last 26?.^ These charities are private organiza­
tions. In 1937, there were 252 on the list. During that year
the Association reported th«it they expended $25,000,000 and that
they had assets amounting to approximately #130,000,000. Contri­
butions that year came to over $8,000,000, and income from endow­
ments and gifts for capital investment brought the total to more
than #11,000,000. What their other sources of income were is not
But as everyone now living is aware, private charities have
not been able to give even the essentials to the number of people
who have needed help since 1931. It is therefore, no surprisetto
learn that the Association has contributed its services to the at­
tempts t3 achieve equitable administration of public relief. Dur­
ing three months of 1931, the secretarial, staff of the Subscrip­
tions Investigating Committee was drafted into service by the
Governor's Commission on Unemployment Relief. The Joint Emergency
Relief Committee which shortly went into operation refused to
XIbid.. 1926, p. 13.
2Ibid., 1S12, p. 101; "Annual Report of the Chicago Asso­
ciation of Commerce, 1939," op. cit.. p. 31.
.^Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1937,'' o£. cit. , p . 86.
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158 -
appropriate money to agencies not on the committee's list.^ In
1955 the Community Fund adopted a similar policy. That same year
it was decided to employ a trained and experienced social worker
to be secretary to the committee.
This secretary and a member
of the Association were put at the head of an advisory committee
which was formed upon the request of the relief administrator of
the Chicago Relief Administration. Their duty was to make sug­
gestions concerning the economy and efficiency of the relief ser­
vices. With this contribution of advice based upon the accretion
of experience and data in its own files, the Association had en­
larged its Interests to include the far more complex field of
public relief. It had come a long way from its modest beginnings
of 1910. It is too soon to tell whether this intimate first hand
knowledge of the problems of relief will result in a more or less
liberal tax policy, but the connection between the two'is too ob­
vious to escape notice.
Whether the chamber of commerce is the best organization
through which subscriptions investigating can be done is a matter
open to doubt. That the Chicago Association has assumed a func­
tion performed by other similar organizations is attested by the
fact that Cleveland established a bureau for the collection of
information on soliciting schemes in 1904." In 1913, the Cin­
cinnati Chamber of Commerce reported that it was actively cooperat
ing with the city's council of social agencies.
But whether en­
dorsement or its refusal by a group of businessmen whose primary
interests are in the solvency of charitable institutions and the
economical administration of their funds, really produces the
kind of social aid best adapted to individual need is a matter
that social workers have been known to question. They prefer to
have social agencies endorsed by a council or committee of profes­
sionally trained workers who are actively engaged in the adminis^ "Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1931," o£. cit. . p. 69.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1935," 0£. cit.. p. 66.
Annual Report of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. 1904.
p. 95,
^Annual Report of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. 1913.
p. 55.
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- 159 tration of charity or relief.*
But the Chicago Association it­
self has no doubts, or at least it has not expressed any doubts,
about its ability to perform this civic function.
Among the civic interests to which the Association has
given constant attention has been that of education. Here, as in
its charitable enterprise, its efforts have been upon the practical
side. Placement of children in appropriate jobs, vocational
counseling, continuation schools, and the organization of high
school boys and girls for.campaigns of city improvement are the
concrete forms which its interest has assumed. One of the earli­
est and most successful of its projects was undertaken in 1912,
when the Committee on Education decided to make a study of the
number of children under sixteen who wished employment during the
summer months. With this beginning it went on to learn how many
resumed their studies in the autumn, how many could be helped by
pairing the children so each could go to school half time, and by
being responsible for half-time work could combine their hours,
enabling the employer to count on one full time employee. Ques­
tionnaires and individual Interviews with employers and boys and
girls who wanted work also resulted in the establishment of an
employment service. In the year 1914, the committee reported that
it had handled 819 cases, many requiring from two to eight inter­
views before they could be considered satisfactorily disposed of.
Of this number two hundred could be given only counsel, but the
others were given assistance in the following manner:
Placed in positions ........
. 258
Referred to other agencies
. 81
Returned to school ........
.. 58
Found jobs unaided ........
Dropped for various reasons .
. 73
Pending . . ...............
The kinds of work in which the applicants were placed included:
"Errands, office, stock, printing and engraving, bookbinding,
am indebted for this comment to Miss Sophonisba P.
Breckinridge of the School of Social Service Administration of
the University of Chicago (personal interview, June 28, 1940).
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1914. p. 61.
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160 -
dressmaking, mechnaical and electrical employment, sheet metal
work, etc.”^
Employment interviewing was handled daring office hoars at
school centers and at the offices of the Association. Some
follow-up work was done and interviews were also held with the
parents of the children. This work continued for four years and
in 1916 was taken over by the Eoard of Education. In that year
the Association turned over its files to the Vocational Education
Bureau of the city’s schools, and retired from the field feeling
that in carrying this work through its initial stages it had aco
coraplished its aim.
The following year it confined its efforts to establishing
scholarships at the Lane Technical High School.3 But in 1924, it
sponsored a study of continuation schools. At that time reports
showed 17,653 students enrolled in such schools, and the matter
seemed worthy of expert attention, so it was given over to Dr.
Charles H. Judd and Mr. Emery T. Filbey of the University of
This study took several years to complete. In 1927,
another study was made of the curriculum best suited for the high
school student "in the machine shop field."
A decade later the
Association joined with the Rotary Club to inaugurate an experiment. ir; vocational counseling with the students of the Senior class
of Hyde.Park High School. Dr. L. L. Thurstone of the University
of Chicago aided with this experiment and advised concerning the
administration of tests to determine the special abilities of
students. In 1938, Dr. William H. Johnson, Superintendent of
Schools, announced that he intended to extend this plan to about
nine other high schools in the city.
These are only a few of the
"studies" which the Association has caused to be made, but they
are typical of its methods of procedure and of the subjects which
have caught the interest of its members.
2Ibid.. 1916, p. 58.
3Ibid.. 1917, p. 45.
^"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1924,” op. cit. , p. 28.
5Ibid., 1927, p. 13.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1938,” 0£. cit. , p. 91.
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161 -
Undoubtedly the school activity of the Association which
has been most widely felt and observed has been the organization
of high school civic and industrial clubs. These organizations
were already receiving notice in the Annual Report of 1914, so
"today they may be considered well established. Following fairly
closely the plan of organization of the Association itself, they
have endeavored to inculcate in high school students a genuine
enthusiasm for all forms of civic iicprovement. Under their aus­
pices, lectures are held,- industrial excursions planned, libraries
are aided, and some social service is done.^
With the aid of the high school civic industrial clubs,
other school organizations, and over thirty-five adult clubs,
settlement houses and welfare groups, the Association has for many
years sponsored an annual "Clean-Up..Paint-Up..Light-Up Campaign”
which is almost as elaborate as its name. Its purpose is cleariy
one of polishing the face of the city. Thousands of school chil­
dren have been enlisted in these drives. In 1939, they were
finally organized on a neighborhood basis and 333 separate cam­
paigns were reported with 390 schools cooperating; 5,097,740
cleaning, painting, lighting, and repairing jobs were reported.2
Enormous publicity, banquets, posters, scholarships, awards, and
prizes accompany these campaigns. Observe:
Briefly 390 public and parochial schools took part; 348
campaign report books were submitted to the committee; 41,000
pupiIs acted as leaders and wore official buttons; 390 com­
munity campaigns were waged simultaneously; 2,583 merchants
displayed special posters; there were £2-9 community parades;
38 radio programs; 5,600 copies of a special school clean-up
newspaper were distributed; five sound trucks toured neighbor­
hoods; 3,750 letters to neighbors; 39,000 adult pledges signed;
over a thousand garbage cans placed; 4,873 before and after
pictures taken; 16 special movie house, programs; 117 articles
and 63 pictures in downtown newspapers; 370 articles and 58
pictures in community newspapers; 60 articles and 3 pictures
in foreign language newspapers; 398 articles and 22 pictures
in school newspapers; 420 school assemblies; 116 contests con­
ducted by schools; 7,656 pairs of shoes were collected for
repair and redistribution to needy school children.3
■**866, for example, ibid. . 1914, p. 37; 1915, p. 38.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1939," 0£. cit.. p. 30.
Ibid.; p. 81. These Civic-Industrial Leagues are .not pe­
culiar to the Chicago Association. In 1914, the Cincinnati Cham­
ber of Commerce announced the formation of similar high school
clubs (Annual Report of the Cincinnati C h a m ber of Commerce, 1920,
o. 15
r“ -------------------- ------ -----
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- 162 -
With such a hum of activity, Chicago should have been bur­
nished. However, an urban population is allegedly indifferent.
It is popularly supposed to take blaring noises and brilliant
colors to attract it. It is also efficient to combine interests
as is done in these campaigns. The Association has declared its
concern for the city’s streets and the city’s children. In plan­
ning and carrying through such wholesale house cleaning, the chil­
dren are taught to organize and the dusty troughs, which are the
only place large enough to accommodate the city’s people, are
made somewhat less drab. It is impossible not to wonder what
would happen if half of the adult energy it takes to manage these
campaigns were turned upon procuring the honest administration of
school funds, the payment of teachers and the study of the proper
methods of teacher certification. The Association did what it
could for the Strawn Committee, one of the problems of which was
the payment of tax warrants for teachers’ salaries. It does not
ignore inefficiency in school administration, but it does not
pretend to know anything about such matters as teacher certifica­
tion. For the most part it keeps out of them. It is practical.
And at the moment of greatest wonderment over the value of car
cards and sound trucks, one can always remember the thousand gar­
bage cans for which one can thank God and the Association.
Along the city’s streets have walked from time to time a
motley collection of distinguished men. But they have not always
been noteworthy because of their great social consciousness.
There is something virile about Chicago which defies description.
But it is there. Consequently, in legend at least, Chicago pro­
duces the tallest buildings, rides on the most complicated system
of railroads, develops the most diversified inland market, finest
department store-most extensive parks— largest stockyards— worst
The Association has been profoundly disturbed over the
flamboyance of Chicago’s crime record, and being made up of men
who, in their own way, are quite as determined as Chicago’s crimi­
nals, it has made two definite contributions towara the control
of crime. The first and most noteworthy was the organization of
Chicago's Crime Commission.1 Originally composed of about a
, 27<s-273.
"Chicago’s Crime Commission,” American Citv.
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163 -
hundred leading members of the Association, it quickly discovered
some very effective methods of procedure.^ There were at the
time no coordinated records of crimes and criminals in Cook County.
Combining patience and speed, the Commission proceeded to build
up such a record. It managed to make itself "into a combination
of a detective agency, a newspaper morgue, and an army intelli­
gence department."^ Then it began reporting on police perform­
ances. In fact it began reporting everything connected with
crime. Such publicity as-shortly began to appear about the methods
used for the bonding of criminals, about continuances granted in
trials, about pardons, paroles, and probation was not calculated
to give Chicago a savory reputation abroad. But it was calculated
to arouse fear in the hearts of criminals operating along the
city’s streets.3 The dockets of four Judges were then devoted
only to homicide cases. Sentences increased and to the dismay of
many, were actually carried out. Eventually a thousand new men
were added to the police department. Jail conditions were im­
proved. Bail bonds were investigated and fraudulent bonds became
difficult to procure. Daily checks were made on activities of
the police, the coroner’s office, bailiffs, and clerks. In short,
transgression became, if not impossible, at least more difficult.4
And this was all accomplished for a little over §50,000 each year,
contributed by anxious businessmen who preferred to hand over
their tribute money to the Commission rather than to racketeers.
It was a surprising accomplishment.
But it was not enough. During the twenties, a particularly
deadly combination of evils upset the building trades. These will
be discussed separately. The city also found that prohibition was
nurturing a generation of lawbreakers whose activities were of
unusual magnitude even for Chicago. A cold-blooded murder on.a
building Job on the Midway added to t'ne certain knowledge that an
illicit beer ring headed by the famous Alphonse Capone was operat­
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1919," oo. cit. . p. 32.
Kenneth L. Roberts, "Watchdogs of Crime," Saturday
Evening Post. CC (October 8, 1927), 45-47.
Chicago Commerce. July 17, 1926, p. 22.
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164 -
ing in the city, set the Association in action again.A With the
aid of the Crime Commission and also with some help from other
organizations such as the Chicago •Employers' Association, it was
estimated that Capone could count upon some $2,000,000 as a weekly
slush fund to be used in corrupting the police and politicians of
the city.
A committee of six, whose names had to be withheld from
attendant publicity, was formed. Funds were raised as for the
Crime Commission, end the- "Secret Six’* dashed into action. A year
later Chicago Commerce reported that the work of this committee
had greatly aided in gathering information which would lead to the
conviction of Ai Capone, Ralph Capone, and Mops Volpe.
Twentyone other investigations were then ,at a stage which would soon
make it possible to transfer them to prosecutors, and on thirtyfour others sufficient data had been assembled to make ultimate
prosecution seem almost certain.
It was not the intention of the Association that the "Secret
Six" should be a permanent organization. Eventually their work
was turned over to a Coordinating Committee for the Prevention of
Criminal and Civic Injustice. On this committee were represented
three organizations whose interest in fighting crime in Chicago
was a matter of record. This Coordinating Committee was authorized
by the Association to solicit funds which were to be allocated in
the following manner:
Chicago Crime Commission . . ... . 35$
. Employers* Association of Chicago. 25$
Citizens’ Association of Chicago . 15$
Contingent Fund (reserve) . . . . 25$5
The city, thanks to these vigorous, efforts had lost some
of its most notorious citizens, and its streets were relatively
"^Robert Isham Randolph, "Business Fights Crime in Chicago,"
Saturday Evening Post, CCIII (August 16, 1930), 12-13; "How to
Break Capone’s Gang," Collier’s LXXXVII (March 7, 1931), 7-9.
^October 31, 1931, p. 62.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1933," op. cit., p. 53. Crime investigation is also an activity
carried on by other chambers of commerce. In 1920, for example,
the Cleveland Chamber reported on its Crime Investigation Fund
(Annual Report of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. 1920. p. 99).
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purged. It was indeed time, for A Century of Progress was about
to be celebrated.
Special Investigations
Care of its streets, care of dependents, attention to
schools, aid in the prevention of crime, all represent fairly
constant interests of the Association of Commerce. Occasionally
a situation in one of the city's important industries, or in some
phase of public administration calls for vigorous action, and a
special investigation is set on foot. Instances of this nature
are the inquiry which resulted from tJpton Sinclair's revelations
concerning the stockyards in 1906, the efforts made by the Asso­
ciation to discover if anything was amiss in the administration of
the Sanitary District in 1925 and 1926, the creation of the Citi­
zens' Committee to Enforce the Landis Award. The last was an ef­
fort in 1921 and extending over several years to bring order into
the building trades.
The srackrakers of the early twentieth century are now his­
torical figures. Of all their efforts, none was any more con­
spicuous than TJpton Sinclair's attack on the packing industry of
Chicago. After a preliminary skirmish in the form of two articles
in Collier*s appeared The Jungle. Who can read that novel today
without a regurgitating tremor?
. . . And then there was the condemned meat industry with
its endlesB horrors. . . . There were men who worked in the
cooking rooms, in the midst of steam and sickening odors, by
artificial light; in these rooms the germs of tuberculosis
might live for two years, but the supply was renewed every
hour. . . . And as for the other men who worked in tank rooms
full of steam and in some of which there were open vats near
the level of the floor, their peculiar trouble was that they
fell into the vats; ; . . sometimes they would be overlooked
for days, till all but the bones of them had gone out to the
world as Durham's Pure Leaf Lard . . . the meat would be
shoveled into carts, and the man who did the shoveling would
not trouble to lift out a rat even when he saw one . . . There
were things which went into the sausage in comparison with
which a poisoned rat was a tid-bit.l
In 1932, Mr. C. C. Regier undertook to re-examine the work
of the muckrakers.
Having waded through the stockyard filth
^■Tjpton Sinclair, The Jungle (Kew York: Albert & Charles
Boni, 1925). -Sentences taken from pp. 112-117 and 161.
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again, when it might be supposed that it would have dried out and
blown away if not fed by some subterranean spring of truth, Mr.
Regier accepted the conclusion of Theodore Roosevelt's investi­
gating commission. "The commission,*' he says, "despite the fact
that the packers were aware that the investigation was going on
found conditions almost as bad as Sinclair had indicated, and the
Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was the result."1
Historians before Mr. Regier had accepted Sinclair's ac­
count as only slightly novelized, but the newspapers and the
businessmen of 1906 did not* They considered it an unwarranted
attack and did all they could to provide a counteroffensive. The
Commercial Association, as it was then called, joined with the
Illinois Manufacturers* Association to appoint a committee of ex­
perts to make an "impartial" report on conditions at the stock­
yards. The list of experts procured by this committee did indeed
contain titles and degrees which 3hould have enabled its holders
to render an informed account.
These "experts" reported to the
joint committee of the two sponsoring organizations. In fact,
they were accompanied through their investigation by their anxious
employers. And announced Mr. Starring:
This was no pink tea performance. The members of your Com­
mittee were up and at the Yards before daybreak and accompanied
by these experts and a competent official shorthand reporter
to make notes of everything that transpired, visited the Yards
morning after morning in time to witness the arrival of the
C. C. Regier, The Era of the Muckrakers (Chapel Hill:
The University of North Carolina Press., 1932), p. 136.
The report of the committee of experts is signed by the
following investigators:
Maximilian Herzog, M.D., Late pathologist, bureau of
science Manila, P.I.
M.P. Ravenel, M.D., Assistant director Henry Phipps Insti­
tute for the study, treatment, and prevention of tuber­
culosis, Philadelphia, formerly bacteriologist of the
State Live Stock Sanitary Board of Pennsylvania,
A. T. Peters, Professor of veterinary medicine, University
of Nebraska.
M. H. Reynolds, Professor of veterinary medicine, Univer­
sity of Minnesota.
W. A. Evans, M.S., M.L., Chairman, Professor of pathology,
medical department, University of Illinois; Pathologist
to the Columbus laboratories (Bulletin. July 13, 1906).
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first trains of cattle, swine, sheep, etc.^
What did the committee report as a result of its sunrise to
sunset labors? "After many weeks of unremitting work, your com­
mittee finally reached the positive conclusion; 'That the meat
products of the well known firms at the Yards are wholesome and
proper for food.'*
And so it proclaimed that the Commercial As­
sociation which had undertaken "a great work for the benefit of
a great Chicago industry” had really helped to reestablish that
industry when it had been- "unjustly attacked."
The conclusion is alo. tlie more startling because the re­
port of the experts was not so unqualified. In spite of a series
of misleading headlines, a careful reader of the Chicago RecordHerald as he sat over his paper, July 7, 1906, could have noticed
in the text of the experts' record sentences like these;
The committee does not decide as to the harmfulness or other­
wise of meat preservatives and commends the question for fur­
ther scientific inquiry. . . .
Ho special inspection of meats
for pickling is made. . . . The committee saw men walking in
the pickling vats wearing their ordinary shoes. . . . The
selecting and handling of the meat (for sausage) are not above
Various articles appeared concerning this report during
the* following week. The Record-Herald at least, was not totally
bamboozled by its own headlines which pronounced the meat whole­
some, for it noted the annoyance of the federal inspector over
the ambiguity of the survey.
And a lone editorial on the subject
It absurd to call it a clean bill of health since
the charges of uncleanliness remain. . . . The review simply
emphasizes our original contention that the packers must set
up new standards for themselves. Higher conceptions of duty
are forced upon them.5
Ho one can read the report and its accompanying publicity
without realizing that the Commercial and Manufacturers' Associa­
tions had not succeeded in their counteroffensive. The testimony
of their own hired experts does not.3ay solely what the Annual
^■"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1906," Bulletin, p. 21. Letter from !£r. H. B. Starring summarizing
the Stockyards Investigation.
4July 10, 1906.
5July 13, 1906.
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Heports of the Association claim for it. It is doubtful whether
it could have been of great assistance to the packing industry,
and the men who sponsored it must have been aware of both these
facts. They were whispering cheerful tunes to make themselves
"feel ''happy about the whole thing." And the Commercial Associa­
tion paid, according to its financial statement $4,718.22 for
this dubious privilege.
An investigation which' reflects far more Gredit upon the
Association of Commerce was that conducted into the affairs of
the Sanitary District. The' Sanitary District was created by the
Illinois legislature in 1899, Of the eighteen hundred or more
taxing and rule making bodies which oversee the lives of the
people of the Chicago region, none has
ana death than the Sanitary District.
the Drainage Canal which was described
water transportation. Hampered by the
held greater power of life
Its first task was to create
in the section on Chicago’s
lake levels controversy,
the Sanitary District had to proceed upon its enormous, task.
Drainage Canal was dug; sewage treatment plants were erected. In­
deed, as the interstate controversy over water diversion increased
in bitterness, pressure from the federal government seems to have
caused immediate expansion of plans for such piants. Water cribs
and connecting mains had also to be created far enough out in the
lake to prevent the pollution from adjacent towns along the shore
from contaminating the city’s water supply. One author, writing
in 1932 estimated that the Sanitary District must have disbursed
some |300,000,000 by that date.^ Moreover, these huge construc­
tion tasks were carried on in the midst of considerable obscurity.
Sanitary District trustees were elected at the usual biennial
November election amongst the general hurrah of that American
carnival, and no one paid much attention to who won or lost.
Still $300,000,000 is not to be ignored by the wise. Possibilities
lurk in that much cash, especially when the governing board is
harassed by a demanding federal government and a down-state legis­
lature which must be induced to vote bonding power. It was a com­
plicated cat’s cradle and in it lay each year a kitty of from
^10,000,000 to 150,000,000.
^Robert F. Stedaan, Public Health Organization in the
Chicago Region (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1932),
p~. 200 (note 3).
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169 -
Investigating scandals in the administration of the Sani­
tary District eventually became a “build-up” for ambitious politi­
cal reformers. Belov? is given a quotation from John T. Flynn's
fast flowing pen, which sums up the information gained on this
topic by June of 1940:
Then came an election, the Democratic control was broken,
a demand for opening up the District's books, including pay
rolls was enforced. There were legislative and several grand
jury investigations, a long court trial and various private
investigations of these transactions, all a matter of public
record. A simple statement of the facts without ornament or
adjective, is enough.
There were over 4,000 names on the pay roll. Two thousand
were promptly dropped as soon as the light hit, and officials
said another thousand were slated to go— the rolls were 75 per
cent padded.
Before election f65,000 a week was added to the rolls, and
the day after election 1,197 election workers hired during the
campaign were let out.
These secret rolls were a wasting place for the relatives,
friends, ward-workers and girl friends of half the politicians
of Chicago. Best of ail’, most of these good people v?ere not
required to do any work.
There was a book— a very special pay roll— on which the
names of some forty members of the legislature were carried—
mostly downstate members who didn't even live in Chicago. It
was called the Statesmen's Ledger.
Some of the regrettable incidents referred to in the pre­
ceding quotation had not yet occurred when the Association made
its investigation so it was manifestly impossible for them to be
discerned. Corrupt practices in the administration of the Sani­
tary District most certainly continued until 1928, and the in­
vestigation of the C.A.C. was concluded in 1926. Moreover, it
was a limited investigation being confined to a study of the
District's books. Even so, information turned up by the Associa­
tion of Commerce was damning enough.
In i9£5, the Association agreed to investigate the adminis­
tration of the Sanitary District. For this task it engaged Smart,
Gore and Company, a weil known firm of public accountants. They
began their labors June 30, 1925, and submitted two reports on
August 23, 1926. The reports covered a period of operation in
the history of the Sanitary District extending from January 1.
^John T. Flynn, "These Our Eulers," Collier's. CV (June 29,
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1921 to June 30, 1925.* It was a noteworthy report. It did not
withhold credit where it was due, neither did it try as in the
Stockyards investigation, to obscure the facts. The canal was
there, so were the sewage treatment plants and the water cribs
and mains. The engineers whose conclusions accompanied those of
the accountants pronounced these improvements adequate in struc­
ture and design. Chicago was relatively untroubled by water borne
But the accountants were Chicago people. They knew Chicago
names. It was impossible hot to observe some forty-two "whose
names are similar to tho^e in politics." These men and firms had
been paid §261,668.
Other lists of "experts” appeared in the
report. Some of them really had been expert and had helped pre­
pare the testimony for the lake levels cases in the Supreme Court.
As far as the work of the Sanitary District was concerned, those
cases were, and still are an intermittent fever requiring expensive
professional treatment. But other names on the lists classified
as investigators, lawyers, etc. could have been valuable only for
political reasons.
This information was given to the public through the news­
papers. Here at last was the dope on the Sanitary District. The
news comment seemed to reflect surprise that conditions were no
worse than they were. Chicago has long been deprived of adequate
representation in the state legislature. If the Sanitary District
was to obtain the necessary grants of power, they had to be wrung
from a legislature heavily weighted to the down-state interests.
And there had been only one way to succeed. "Bribery," remarked
the Tribune editorially, "is an ugly business always, bat if ever
it was justified from the point of view of the giver, it was in
the instance when the choice lay between bribery and pestilence."0
But there waB no justification at all for pay rolls padded
with the names of Chicago politicians. There was also prevalent
the certainty that the richest boodle was not apparent from even
the most discerning reading of names. How much money had been
^ Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1926« p. 3.
2Chicago Tribune. August 30, 1926, p. 6.
^August 31, 1926, p. S.
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171 -
lost to the taxpayer because building materials and labor costs
had been made high enough to allow for the draining off of a fair
percentage to political manipulators was a matter vfhieh no astute
manipulator would allow to appear in the figures. And heaven
knew Chicago had astute manipulators. From the moment the investi­
gation began, it was obvious that reforms would have to be made.
Armed with its report and the attendant publicity the Association
appointed a committee to consult with the officials of the Sani­
tary District who agreed to the following changes in policy:
1. Direct advertising for bids in papers and technical
engineering journals.
Transfer of funds from one appropriation to another
only upon formal action of the board.
3. Accounts to be audited by a firm of certified public
accountants recommended by the C.-.C. Accounting sys­
tem to be installed by the same firm.
4.Arrangements made for annual audit.
Law department to draft plan to provide for civil ser­
vice system among employees. The plan to be submitted
to the C.A.C.
6. Trustees to place in charge of auditing department
suitable persons recommended by auditors engaged to
audit the accounts of the district.
These reforms were likewise published abroad. They did not
make the Sanitary District as pure as its name, nor is it likely
that the whole series of investigations will be able to do so.
It has so much money to spend that it must always be a temptation
in a political system which has no legitimate means of support.
But the investigation did unquestionably accord the situation in
1926 a healthy publicity. For the current budgets, many dollars
were saved, and the taxpayer had had his suspicions sufficiently
confirmed to know that more ’'revelations" woulo have to be made.
The Association' had every cause to practice five-finger exercises
in pointing with pride.
On September 7, 1921, Judge Kenesaw fountain Landis handed
down an award which was to become famous in Chicago's labor his^Chicago Commerce, September 4, 1926, p. 7.
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172 -
tory. Ho rapid summary could do justice to the situation, but
the salient facts are not difficult to learn. The building trades
were bedeviled by jurisdictional controversies among bona fide
unions. Other unions and union officials whose right to call
themselves such was not always apparent, were accustomed to levy­
ing tribute of one sort and another. In the attempt of the unions
to define jobs and wages, a grand army of rules concerning classi­
fication of skilled and unskilled laborers, the amount of work
they could do, the materials they might work on, the tools they
might not use, etc. had been made by the unions. During 1920 a
state investigating commission headed by Senator John Daily "heard
dark and bloody tales, accompanied usually by an echo of the
jingle of dirty money. Sums ranging from §3,500 to §47,000, it
was alleged were 'coughed up* to assure the completion of big
buildings. There were seven strikes on the Drake Hotel job?
Both laborers and builders were anxious to clear up some
of the abuses in this situation, and the contractors were demand­
ing the right to lower wages. Judge Landis was eventually asked
to study these troubles and to make recommendations toward a
peaceful settlement. He insisted that he could not go into the
question of wage scales unless he might also examine the working
rules. Since some of the provisions in these working rules were
frankly monopolistic, Judge Landis may have felt antagonism to
them on legal grounds. In any event, he spent a period of some
weeks studying the rules. His study was based on more than mere
academic activity. He visited the various building jobs in prog­
ress in the city, talked to the men and observed the situation at
first hand. Then he made his award. The principles upon which
it was made were clearly stated. Presented briefly they were:
1. Monopolistic elements of association or union are in­
tolerable unless:
The public is served more economically with them
than without;
“Lloyd Lewis and Henry Justin Smith, Chicago, the History
of Its Reputation (Hew York: Harcdurt Brace & Co., 1929) , p. 407.
Cleveland suffered from a strike in the building industries also,
during the year, 1921. The Cleveland Chamber undertook a vigorous
campaign for the open shop with the hope of remedying the situa­
tion (Annual Report of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. 1921.
p ♦ 56 [notej).
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173 -
Anyone may 30 In without hindrance;
They serve anyone on demand without discrimination;
Sufficient apprentices supply demand for skilled
forking rules eliminate waste and promote peace.
2. Other things being equal, trades should have higher
wages or wages above the average if: is more hazardous;
Greater skill is required;
Longer apprenticeship is necessary; or
Work is intermittent or unsteady due to weather and
3. Other things being equal, trades should have lower
wages than average if rules or conditions produce
waste by:
Limiting work per man beyond that consistent with
his well-being or comfort;
Requiring travel on employers* time (to or from job)
Requiring skilled men to do work which could be
equally well done by unskilled labor;
Interfering with manager or foreman in dispatch of
work or introducing materials or appliances;
Requiring work to be done by hand which could be
done by machine, tools, or other improved methods;
Requiring excessive rates for overtime, or overtime
rates for shift work;
Requiring unnecessary foremen, shop or job stewards,
or payment of men who do not render corresponding
Requiring unnecessary helpers or assistants; or
Limiting number of members in association or union
or unreasonable limiting apprenticeships.1
This list is given in spite of its length because it is
only by such specific definition that the situation can be under­
stood. After the statement of principles, the award went on to
establish a wage scale and a uniform form of agreement.
On October 1, the Building Trades Council ratified the
1Ibld., p . 291.
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174 -
agreement. Seven trades which had not been parties to the award
repudiated it and later in the month six more joined them. The
contractors* association were in favor of the award. And at this
point in the drama the Association makes its entrance. Theoreti­
cally the Association represented the general public in this con­
troversy, the long suffering public which never seems to have
enough offices, hotels, schools, and homes in which to carry on
its activities. The Association created a Citizens* Committee to
Enforce the Landis Award.. It was made up of 150 representative
citizens whose minds and hearts were dedicated to this task.
Chicago Commerce proclaimed the dedication;
A civic or economic situation is grave, and of general dis­
advantage when the Association of Commerce thus formally throws
itself into a battle demanding of its varied interests faith,
loyalty and "guts," but never has it taken up a cause more
praiseworthy and which promises, when established, more perma­
nent good outraged city. He who enlists now, enlists
for the war.
Permanent headquarters were established and a general mana­
ger appointed who had administered a similar campaign in Duluth.
The citizens* Committee was incorporated. It then took out insur­
ance on the building jobs operating under the Landis Award. Meet­
ings were held with representatives of the mortgage bankers, banks,
etc. where "informal pledge was given that loans would be made
only where the Landis award was being observed.*1 As always the
carpenters were essentiax. Defection with regard to the hiring
of carpenters, that is, failing to maintain open shop, was checked
by a patrol system. (The carpenters were among the original seven
who repudiated the award.) This union was formally ignored after
December. Guards were hired to protect the lives of men at work
on Landis Award jobs. Later skilled mechanics were brought in
from other cities during the alack period, so that each Landis
Award contractor might be equipped with a picked crew of employees
when the busy season began. The committee established a free trade
school. It found more financial backers for its work. It made
an intensive telephone campaign to convince prospective builders
■^November 19, 1921, p. 17.
^Chicago Commerce. December 3, 1921, p. 7. Mr. Montgomery
seems to be in some doubt as to whether this policy was followed,
but since Commerce did not hesitate to announce it, there seems
to be little cause for confusion on this point.
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175 -
that they nraat Insist on Landis Award construction.^" It was a
busy ar.d a determined committee. It was dealing with bombings,
sluggings, and sabotage, none or which are delicate matters,
however delicately they must be handled.
The committee continued its activities for several years,
iihen it was disbanded, the contractors who had been operating with
its help formed a Landis Award Employers' Association which main­
tained existence for another ten years although with lessening
In looking back over"this one of the Association's activi­
ties, it is only the superficial statement of results which is
simple. The Award would in all likelihood have been tossed aside
but for the intervention of the Association. It was perpetuated
with some revisions until 1926, and in principle even longer.
Chicago building increased 169 per cent in the three years from
1922-24, as compared with the previous three years. During this
same period Kew York's increase was 112, Philadelphia*s 113, and
Detroit's 75 per cent, respectively. Cleveland's building actu­
ally decreased. Los Angeles alone exceeded Chicago with 175 per
cent. The Association did riot hesitate to ascribe the improve­
ment in the building trades to the employers who supported the
Landis Award and to the Citizens* Committee.
Without subscrib­
ing to the totality of its claims, it seems impossible not to con­
cede certain validity to them. Of course, the reform was not per­
manent. No reform ever is, and this one had less chance than most,
because it was a reform (or a change) choked down the throats of
protesting unions with little regard for legitimate objections.
The hatred engendered by the schism in the Building Trades Council
which resulted when half of the unions supported the Award and
half did not, boiled and bubbled for another decade. It is worthy
of note that the most recent platform of improvement for Chicago
announced by the Association in 1939, contained hopeful pronounce­
ments concerning reforms in the construction industries. The
1_Ibid. , October 14, 1922, p. 9.
^"Annual Eeport of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1936," o£. clt.. p. 70.
~A Survey of Chicago. 1924 (Chicago: Chicago Association of
of Commerce, 1924), p. 12.
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- 176 -
Landis Award controversy was only a chapter in the narrative. In
that chapter the Association of Commerce demonstrated its energy,
determination and willingness to act.
It has been convenient throughout this study to refer to
the Association of Commerce as an employers * association. In the
discussion of its legislative activities, the extent to which it
functions as a employing group was carefully observed, and in the
account jU3t given of the conflict over the Landis Award in the
building industries' it was again apparent that although the Asso­
ciation theoretically represented the public, actually its sym­
pathies were consistently those of the contractors and architects.
Consequently, it is relevant to interrupt the general narrative
at this point to insert a summary of its attitude on matters per­
taining to labor.
For only a brief period in its history has it maintained a
Committee on Labor Policy. At this time dtiring the early twenties
when the Manufacturers' Association and the Chamber of Commerce of
the United States were pushing an "open shop" drive, such a com­
mittee was organized under the leadership of Kr. John W. O'Leary.
This committee went on. record as favoring the "open shop." It is
also interesting to observe that Mr. O'Leery took a prominent part
in the formation of the Citizens* Committee to Enforce the Landis
Award.* But the life of the committee was short, and the Associa­
tion has preferred that its labor policy if any, should be devel­
oped incidentally.
It is therefore necessary to deduce its attitude from vari­
ous activities for which it has assumed responsibility. It has,
for example, sought to procure legislation limiting the extent
to which individuals may secure loans on salaries as yet unearned.
It has also devoted time and attention to studies made throughout
the country in the hope of increasing the knowledge of its members
concerning the problem of industrial disease. It has sponsored
elaborate athletic programs, and formed an industrial league
among its members.
It has given publicity to efforts on the part
^""Annual Beport of the Chiccgo Association of Commerce,
1920," op. clt. , p. 24.
gIbid.,- 1910, p. 20.
3Chlcago Commerce, February 7, 1920, p. 31.
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17? -
of employers to improve relations with their employees by parties,
banquets, and picnics. It has established an insurance pension
system for its own employees.^ And it has made available whenever
possible, information on the subject of unemployment.
At one time it decided to study the question of migratory
labor. Although Chicago has always been a center of migratory
labor, it quickly concluded that the question was ''national in
scope" and hence not a fruitful one for the Association.g In
1924, it published In Commerce the results of a five years' study
on unemployment by the Russell Sage Foundation of New York.'"' It
has recommended to the national chamber that it make a study of
employment stabilisation plans.
And it has from the outset fav5
ored the establishment of free employment agencies.
On the great problem of strikes, it has of necessity made
many public utterances. The Boston police strike in 1919, it
felt, could "be considered only as an outrage against life in a
civiii2 ed community."0 But that same year, rather surprisingly
it published an article not unsympathetic to the steel strikers
in Gary, insisting that Judge Gary was really standing out against
any collective bargaining with the unions, and asserted that col­
lective bargaining and strikes had both been declared legal by
the courts.
Later, however, it sent a telegram to the Representa­
tive in Congress from the district stating the Association’s opin­
ion that the steel strike should Le left to the corporations inQ
volved and to their employees.
It was not in favor of interfering
1"Annual Report of the Chicago Association, of Commerce,
1928," op. clt.« p. 17.
gIbld.. 1917, p. 70.
Chicago Commerce. October 4, 1924, p. 30.
^"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1931," op..cit.. p. 49.
5Ibid., 1915, p. 24.
^Chicago Commerce, September 20, 1919, p. 18.
7Ibid., September 27, 1919, p. 18.
s"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1919," o£. cit~. . p. 28.
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- 170 -
with a corporation so amply able to handle its own affairs.
When necessary, the Association tenders its services as
arbitrator, as in the case of the street car strike of 1922.^ In
the cases of the coal miners' strike and the railway shopmen's
strike that aarae season, "the Association assiduously devoted it­
self to ways and means of accomplishing a settlement in the public
interest, and not only refrained from advocating but steadfastly
opposed any compromise regarded as prejudicial to fair play and
absolute justice.,,£"' In 1937, it congratulated Chicago's city of­
ficials on the city's comparative freedom from sitdown strikes,
and recorded its commendation of the proper judges, state's at3
torneys, and sheriffs in its annual report for that year.
From these scattered data it is possible to draw a few
conclusions. The Association functions as a group which desires
to promote Chicago's commerce. Its attitudeson labor are inci­
dental. It is, as we noted earlier, conservative with regard to
legislation which the labor forces feel is best designed to pro­
mote the interests of the working class. It desires to encourage
good relations between employer and employee, although it may be
somewhat paternalistic in its endeavors to do so. Strikes, it
regards as questions to be settled on their individual merits,
and is willing to serve upon occasion either as an arbitrator or
as a distributor of information. In the instance of the Landis
Award, it displayed energy and determination, and threw its re­
sources to the employing group. Although its attack upon labor
problems is not one of continuous planning for solution, neither
is it one of simple opposition. Perhaps its methods are best
described as opportunist.
Specific Studies of Civic Problems
Resuming our discussion of the civic interests and projects
of the Association, we hove still to consider several brief at­
tempts to deal with specific evils. -The Association, like an am^Chicago Commerce, August 12, 1922, p. 5.
^"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Co«;merce,
1922," 0£. cit. , p. 5.
^"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1937," 0£. cit,., p. 34.
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179 -
bitious individual, engages in efforts which are not always attend­
ed by marked success. One of these was an elaborate study made
on the subject of Smoke Abatement and the Electrification of Ter­
minals, begun in 1911 and not completed until 1914. It was a good
study and an attempt to solve a very real civic problem. But the
continued smog and noise of the Loop area make comment on the
relative achievement of the venture superfluous."*"
Another project upon which the Association advanced full
joyously was that of'solving the housing problem. In 1911 it
created a committee for this"beneficient purpose. The committee
secured the cooperation of various other civic clubs, it issued
a booklet on The Housing Problem in Chicago which states *4n a
nutshell the housing conditions in this city, and points out why
additional appropriations should be made for hoiasing inspectors.
The committee investigated the work already done in this matter,
began a general campaign of education concerning it, and examined
the city budget to see what provisions were being made with re­
gard to housing. It mapped out a plan of action which included
•’a broad housing program which can be correlated with the plan for
Chicago, and which will offer a solution of the housing difficul3
ties which are likely to arise in Chicago in the future. . . ."
Everything was rosy.
These plans seem embued with an easy optimism. Indeed,
they are much less reflective than the report published by the
Cleveland Chamber in 1904, from which the following quotation is
With the realization of a very real problem in this respect
and with the belief that present conditions exist largely be­
cause of the ignorance of the public rather than lack of in­
terest, the committee has made it3 investigation with the ex­
pectation that its report would arouse the public to the facts,
would furnish a basis for intelligent legislation and would
indicate any further steps which might be taken for remedying
present evils and for preventing further abuse. In order that
of to
the the
on Smoke Abatement,
this ^For
work the
be done
best advantage,
methods employed
the Electrification of Terminals, see the Annual Reports of the
Association of Commerce for the years 1911-1914. The Cincinnati
Chamber of Commerce likewise lists a Committee on *moke Abatement
as one if its standing committees for 1913.
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1911. pp, 51, 52.
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- 180 -
in other cities were studied, and their experience as far as
possible utilized. Certain representative districts were
chosen and every house and apartment was carefully examined.
Cincinnati had a standing comraittee which concerned itself
by 1913 solely with housing problems.
So that even among its
colleagues the Chicago Association must stand convicted of super­
ficiality for its housing study of 1911.
Among other housing surveys of Chicago now available for
this period is Miss Edith Abbott*s study of Chicago tenements.
Miss Abbott and her assistants went out into the desolate alleys
of the city’s slums. They measured window spaces, counted windows
per room. They toiled up outaide staircases in winter, and noted
the number of lodgers per room, families per house, and toilets
per neighborhood. The results were anything but encouraging.
"But gradually it became clear," says Miss Abbott, "to our group
of social investigators that the housing problem was almost as
immovable as the sphinx."
And then after noting the renewal of interest in housing
problems, Kiss Abbott concludes, "There may be a new day dawning
on the darkness of the housing problem, but there is very little
light visible as.yet." 4 No, it is no wonder that the Association's
efforts to solve the housing problem reduced themselves by 1915
to the "encouragement of the planting of garden plots."
Be it
said, however, that the years which taught the group of social
investigators under Miss Abbott how insolvable was the housing
problem gave the same grim instruction to the Association. Mr.
Gerhardt F. Kayne, Chairman of Construction Industrial Council
for 1939, gave an analysis in his annual report not unlike Miss
Abbott's, except that he saw some hope in a liberalized building
•^Annual Report of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce for
1904. pp. 59-61.
Annual Report of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. «
1913. p. 47.
3Edith Abbott, Sophonisba Breckinridge and Assistants,
The Tenements of Chicago (Chicago: The University of Chicago
Press, 1936}, p. 476.
4Ibld.. p. 494.
SAnnual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1915. p. 67.
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- 181 code, re-zoning ordinances, the completion of the land use survey
now being made, and the projected;national investigation into the
practices of the building industries.1
During the decade from 1916 to 1926, the Association took
up Americanization work. This activity was attended with more
success than those which we have Just been observing. It consist­
ed chiefly in organizing classes in English and civics in the
factories and in attempting to give some kind of dignity to the
occasion upon which the foreign born of Chicago took out their
final papers and were awarded citizenship. In one year the Com­
mittee on Americanization announced that it was sponsoring twentynine classes holding fifty-eight sessions per week and that the
average attendance per session was twenty-three.2 The ceremony
of naturalization which it planned was simple. There were to be
flags in the court room, and small flags ©ere to be given the new
citizens. There was of course the inevitable speech, but even
more important, the court officials were to have it impressed
upon them that courteous treatment of the applicants was essential,
and the oaths be administered "with deliberation and dig3
A First Book of English for Non-English Speaking Adults
was also published in large numbers. It was an attractive l»oklet
giving such information as a laborer might be supposed to.want to
know. The lessons which used a simple but adult vocabulary taught
the reader how to go to the bank, to send money orders, to use the
transportation system to get to Chicago's parks, and something
about the fire and safety laws of the city and shop. It must have
supplied a real need.
With the passage of the new quota immigra­
tion law in 1925, the tide of immigration diminished and thereafter
the need for Americanization work required no further efforts by
the Committee.
•^Commerce. February, 1940, p. 46.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1924," op. cit. , p. 42. Similar activity i3 indicated by the
Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. See "Americanization Y/ork" in
its annual report for 1917.
^Frances K. ^etmore, A First Book of English for NonEnglish Speaking Adults (Chicago; The Chicago Association of
Commerce, 1920)7
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- 182 -
The Association has interested itself in so many civic ven­
tures that it would be wearying to call the roll. It would in­
clude everything from opera to commercial arbitration. Sany of
them would illustrate genuine civic service, and a few would be
futilities. But enough has been given to show the type of civic
service with which the organization identifies itself. One more
activity, however, should be mentioned. The Association seldom
turns a deaf ear to people who are caught in some great disaster.
Fire, flood, and peril at sea have awakened its sympathies. Thus
1532,000 was collected by it for the victims of the San Francisco
earthquake. Flood disasters in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois evoked
$321,325 by the same means. When the ^Eastland" sank in the
Chicago river,•another fund was conjured up by the Association.
A tornado in Illinois, a hurricane in Florida, and the recurrent
overflowing of the Ohio and IMssissippi rivers are ail disasters
which are written into our national epic, and since its organisa­
tion the Association has responded to these shrieks for aid.^
In mapping out the campaigns, in allocating the money, in procur­
ing the supplies needed and seeing that they are properly and
speedily shipped, the Association appears in one of its most ad­
mirable guises. In such instances, it has been prompt, efficient,
and ever generous.
^Chicago Commerce. December 7, 1929, p. 212.
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Somewhere deep within the individual lies the reason for
the success of such an organization as the Association of Com­
merce . It strengthens his steps along paths which he has already
chosen. It distracts him, amuses him, exalts him, and soothes
him, all with his own thoughts. They are simply written larger
than in his single mind, because they are the composite thoughts
of four thousand businessmen like himself. What are some of
these thoughts? Embedded in the writings of the organization,
they are as easy to find as stones in a New England pasture.
The normal man, the economic man, does not exist, and yet
we go on talking about him as if he inhabited every corner drug
store. Likewise there probably is no typical member of the Asso­
ciation of commerce. Nevertheless, familiarity with its litera­
ture forces one to believe that such a genus must live and pro­
create. Although he may be lean or fat, have green eyes or black
he will believe in optimism, progress, and fellowship for himself
He will be sure that Chicago is a dream city, and that business
is the hope of the nation. His ideal and pattern is some version
of the milk-boy-to-raagnate saga, incorporated in such individuals
as Mr. Silas Strawn, General Charles Gates Dawes, and Mr. Herbert
Hoover. However, under the bright hope of achieving a career
somewhat similar to theirs is the faint but nagging insistence
that big business and the nation are rather large theaters of
activity. Chicago, the dream city, is itself overwhelming. Or­
ganizations such as the Association can create a stage of less
magnitude, but of sufficient importance to rescue able men from
the thankless anonymity of the city.
’Se have just taken a long trek through the Association's
files of annual reports and sundry publications. From this jour­
ney the real business of the Association was discerned. Eut how
know that these men believe in optimism, progress, etc., etc.?
Shuffle the paragraphs together here and there and see what can
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- 184 be found.
It is a part of our Job as businessmen to spread enthusi­
astically the gospel of confidence and optimism. . . . There
is every reason to expect an era of Sane substantial prosperity.
I can not help but feel strangely optimistic regarding
1930 as a whole. . . . "The Committee of Arrangements of the
Eig Fellowship Supper Reports Final Plans" . . . Gbmpton,
Evangelist of fellowship, order, action . . . With increased
vitality its members have contributed to make this a year of
added progress. . . . A city must think progress . . .
Just so the sentences turn up in the shuffled paragraphs. .
And there are other evidences. There was for instance, the charm­
ing story of Mr. Kerfoot, who belongs in the Chicago legend as
the very embodiment of the Chicago businessman. Commerce pre­
served Mr. Kerfoot's memory, and it is fitting that further ef­
fort should be made here to perpetuate it.
The first building to go up in the business district after
the fire was the weii known shanty erected at 89 Washington
Street by W. D. Kerfoot, who lost everything October 9. On
the morning of October 10, it is said that Mr. Kerfoot, his
cleric and his clerk's father, put up the shanty. The ruins
were so hot that they could not get into the lot, so they put
up the shanty in the street. By October 19, the ruins had
cooled sufficiently so that it was possible to move the shanty
back on the building lot.
Mr Kerfoot put up signs which read "Xerfoot's Block,
W. B. Kerfoot. Everything gone but wife, children and energy."
His pluck cheered up his associates, who dropped in at his of­
fice so often that it became a sort of half way house between
the north and south sides. A bulletin board was erected in
front and upon this Chicagoans posted notices telling where
they could be found. For a time this was used for a city di­
rectory, and the office became an information bureau. Many a
man had a goo.d laugh when he looked at "Kerfoot's block," and
he went home feeling better.1
Mr. Kerfoot and his.successors believed in Chicago. To
them it is a beautiful and generous city. Lewis Mumford is re­
minded by Chicago of Peter the Great's city on the fens. To him
both cities are marked by blackness, a fake classic exterior, and
stubborn monotony, and he is apprehensive about it as a city which
is not friendly to culture, and which for all its spaciousness
actually permits practical brutality and callousness to exist
alongside a considerable amount of civic patriotism. Such charac­
teristics have been Joined in the past. The example of Rome rises
readily to the mind. So he writes, "I fear Chicago; and I fear
it not the leas because those who built it and are building it,
^Chicago Commerce, October 1, 1921, p. 35.
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- 185 have so often been good and upright men, full of excellent inten­
tions and efficient even to the point of carrying them out."^
To the civic patriotism, the excellent intentions, and the
efficiency the men of the Association would admit. To the rest,
never. Thqy believe in their "spires of business." The lights
which glow in them are "the diadem of Chicago." They rejoice in
"the dazzling white of the Wrigley building, the dramatic illumi­
nation of the superb 333 building, the turquoise necklace of the
Pure Oil dome . . .■*' They are profoundly moved over "plumes of
steam, roof masses, silhouetted water tanks and chimneys, the
Palmolive passages of sheer silver topped by the beacon of beacons,
the rotating 75 mile beam of the Lindbergh l i g h t . T h e i r pride
in their city is attested by numberless photographs, prints and
etchings of the city's bridges and towers which appear month after
month in Commerce. It is their city, intimately and grandly
theirs from sewage problems to opera.
Their pride goes deeper than thrills over the height of
its buildings. Occasionally one finds an effort to formulate this
faith In the city. For men who habitually deal in ingots or hides
to express a sentiment, is difficult, but for the sake of their
sons and ail other boys who must one day take over the city, their
self-consciousness may be overcome. Once Commerce printed on its
cover The Chicago Boy's Vow. Although written for boys, it might
weil stand.for the beliefs of the active members:
I am a Chicago boy and I believe in my Chicago. I will
work to make it the best city in the world. When a citizen I
will vote, and I will hit vice and crime hard. F.y city shall
be clean and beautiful, and millions will come to it for busi­
ness and pleasure. It shall be a healthy and well governed
city of decent homes where every person wants to be an America*.
I will not be content with a big city--1 will have a righteous
city-and honor and justice will ruie it. I will strive for a
city to hold in reverence as I hold my mother, and through the
Chicago^Association of Commerce I will work to fulfill this
In spite of efforts to prevent it, this vow is sentimental
^Lewis Kumford, "Reflections on Chicago," The New Republic.
L.VIII (February 27, 1929), 44.
^Dudley Crafts Watson, "Description of Chicago npon Return­
ing from California," Commerce. April, 1935, p. 15.
Chicago Commerce. January 1, 1921 (cover).
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- 186 -
and sentimentality Is not particularly characteristic of the As­
sociation. Its publications reveal vigor, determination, prac­
ticality, and much unconscious humor, but seldom "go soft." The
humor usually arises from the seriousness with which business is
ireated. Business is a personified farce in this literature, a
god who does not smile over any incongruity so long as his votaries
approach him in "harmony and earnestness.** The years have made
little difference in this phase of his worship. Presumably he
did not smile when In 190? the Bulletin exclaimed, "Trade follows
the flag, and the flag stays longest wherever advanced if backed
by godliness and gunnery.1*^ Kor was he tempted beyond his strength
to laughter when in 1938, the chairman of the Committee on Domes­
tic Commerce congratulated the Association on two new features
of its market promotion program. "These are 'Sweetest Day' and
'Chicago Retail Demonstration Week': 'Sweetest Day* promoted origi­
nally in behalf of the local confectionery trade, was participated
in and of benefit to florists, jewelers, department, gift and
specialty stores. . . . "
Business is too serious a business to
permit the little incongruities to twitch the lips.
Lest this deification seem a solemnity worthy of the Asso­
ciation's own prose, observe the following reference to the god.
Mr. A. R. Bone, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Council
is speaking. "The Ways and Means Committee is developing a strong
type of competent executive in action— far ceful, constructive,
patriotic— the men who do things for business and for the nation."®
The ¥far of 1914-18 illustrated how badly the whole world stood in
need of business management and discretion.
We have at this time serious trade problems. Our censor­
ship system is bad; businessmen must see that it is improved.
Our passport system puts us at a disadvantage commercially.
Businessmen must see that this handicap is removed without
loss of time. Businessmen must put the flag of the United
States in every port of the world.4
^November 22, 1907, p. 16.
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
1917. p. 63.
"Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce,
1938." op. cit.. p. 43.
Chicago Commerce. April 19, i919, p. 3.
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- 18? This last quotation though not characterized by modesty is yet
more restrained than those which follow:
Business was bound to get into government if the war were
to be won, and it3 contribution as a superaccoraplishment was
a vast emergency demonstration of the need of business in
government for perfection of the latter*s normal operations
in times of peace.
Where Seek Safer.Counselors Than in the Business
of the Nation?3
Where indeed? Perhaps the god of business is right in en­
couraging such self-confidence. Self-doubt is not good stock in
trade. As a business proposition assurance is preferred.
Whence this assurance? To be able to answer this question
involve a knowledge of the Mississippivalley as deep as
the limestone bedrock under the prairie loam, as high as the scud­
ding clouds over Lake Michigan, and as long as the century of
Chicago's history. But one source of it is the strength of hope.
From time to time one may doubt whether faith and charity have,
settled in.Chicago, but never hope. The belief thet an energetic,
ambitious boy may begin below the bottom and rise to the top still
lives in this city. The "top" is usually assumed to be industrial
or commercial although it maybe political.
Kraft's Rise Is the Romance of the Cheese Trade
Starting Out with a One Horse Rig as a Peddler
Former Grocery Clerk Euilds up in Tv;enty
Years an Annual Business of $36,000,0004
Among the personified ideals of the Association is Mr.
Silas Hardy Strawn. Did he not have the good fortune to have been
bcrn in the small Illinois town of Ottawa, and starting from ob­
scurity, can he not now with perfect honesty list many honors after
his name in Who's Who in America? Has he not been solicitor for
XIbid.. April 16, 1921, 'p. 30.
gIbid.. November 23, 1929, p. 13.
Commerce, February, 1933, p. 9.
4Chlcago Commerce. September 13, 1924, p. 53.
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- 188 the Alton railroad, a director and member of the Executive Comraittee of the First National Bank, a general counsel for the Union
Stockyard and Transit Company, a delegate of the United States to
the special conference at Peking on Chinese customs tariff,
American member and Chairman of the Chinese Extraterritoriality
Commission, President of the Chicago Bar Association, The Illinois
Bar Association, The American Ear Association, the United -states
Chamber of Commerce, Vice-President of the International Chamber
of Commerce, etc., etc.? -What more tangible evidence need one
adduce to prove that in Chicago a man may still cash in on his
brains and ability?
General Charles Gates Dawes is by way of being an oracle
in the Association. First a banker and businessman in Chicago,
did he not become Vice-President of the United States and economic
adviser of great repute to a troubled Europe? And Mr. Herbert
Hoover, the Quaker farm boy of Iowa, did he not rise through busi­
ness success to become a Secretary of Commerce, and a President of
the United States?
As has been previously mentioned, the Association has
looked with distrust upon the New Deal and the new New Deal, but
never upon its predecessor. In him were its own qualities en­
When Herbert Hoover talks to you, you do not feel the
politician or empiricist or purely scientific investigator,
but rather the functioning of a thoughtful man of broad and
impersonal benevolence. His service in the United States
Department of Commerce has already increased its vision and
authority, and in him business with its manifold problems
seems to have found an unprejudiced and instructive counselor.
This spiritual union of Mr. Hoover with his kind occurred when he
was Secretary of Commerce, but as President his methods of proce­
dure were equally well received. Indeed, in 1929 Commerce ex­
claimed happily, "The engineering chief of the 'White House is
improving the personnel and wages of government as if he really
were the chairman of the board of the Corporation of the People
of the United States, Unlimited."
The late lamented debacle of 1929 so inextricably associat­
ed with Mr. Hoover's name caused some self-searching and doubt
among the votaries of Business, but the change in administration
1Ibid., May 10, 1924, p. 38.
2 Ibid,. July
6, 1929, p. 5,
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- 189 -
resulted in the introduction of new social and economic legisla­
tion and caused such friction that blame could be transferred to
Mr. Hoover’s opponents. Thus Business and the ideal embodied in
Mr. Hoover could survive.
However, even in Chicago everyone who joins the Association
of Commerce can not hope to achieve fame in his riper years. The
Association has been astute in assuaging the self-doubt which may
accompany this knowledge. First of all, it makes a new member
feel as if he "belonged." • In an age when church and lodge ties
are weak, when political parties are machines, and corporations
are by definition legal persons without a soul, to belong to some­
thing is almost a spiritual necessity. In such a milieu it sat­
isfies one of man's deepest urges to know that he will "find it
both profitable and interesting to attend this great exhibition
of industrial and motor vehicles. . . . You surely are going
some night. Make it Wednesday night and be a part of the Associa­
tion crowd."
The ladder of achievement by which the individual member
raises himself to recognition within the Association has been
referred to in the first chapter. Here can be more fully compre­
hended the inner satisfaction which must result in a gradual pro­
motion from services on a special parade committee to the chair­
manship of the Ways and Means Committee. This progress has meant
acquaintance with new friends and accomplishment. It has meant
status. There could be no truer evidence that success in the
Association has meant realization of its members' need to demon­
strate the worth of their own personalities than is to be found
in the importance given to Association work in their obituaries.
When a man dies, his family and friends remember what was charac­
teristic of his best aspiration. They cling to what was symbolic
of his memory. The instances in which work on the committees of
the Association of Commerce is considered the best manifestation
of a man's personality are surprising. Upon the death of Mr.
John T. Pirie, who was chairman of the board of Carson Pirie Scott
and company, the Chicago Tribune devoted a column to commemoration.
Almost one-third of ihe article was given over to an account of
Mr. Pirie's activities as Chairman of the Transportation Committee
of the Association.^ Mr. Pirie's tribute was evoked by years of
^Chicago Tribune. February 26, i940.
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service on that committee, and his pride in it must have con­
tributed considerably to his sense of belonging to a group which
"ran things" in a great city.
General Dawes, who so effectively embodies much of the
best which the Association is and does, once combined these ideas
in a speech. Among other things he said:
I recogni2 e in the Association the broad reflection of all
the interests of Chicago— not just a part, but all. I feel
the power in the members when I appear before them. The Asso­
ciation of Commerce is the steam of Chicago, and generates the
Chicago spirit.
In generating the Chicago spirit, it has performed all the
many services which this study has described. Not the least of
its meaning is the aid and comfort it has given the egos of its
leaders, and the intimate feeling of being a part of a great en­
terprise, which it has given to all of its members.
•^Commerce. February, 1935, p. 2.
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In studying a chamber of commerce the exposition falls
naturally into form. The shape of its organization must be under­
stood, the methods which it uses to promote business at home and
abroad must be described. 'Its effect upon the political and
social groups in which it operates mu^t be indicated. The Chicago
Association of Commerce was organized in 1904. It has previously
been remarked that this was a period in which big business flour­
ished and smaller businesses joined in groups. This phenomenon
is a commonplace in American economic history, and the Chicago
Association is a fair example of it. That the forces of centrali­
zation were not spent was shown by the tendency of chambers of
commerce, manufacturers’ associations, and trade associations to
overlap and to cooperate. Throughout the exposition, illustra­
tions of this business cooperation have been pointed out. The
defeat of the Women's Eight Hour Bill and the development of the
Chicago Harbor plans are cases in point.
It is a temptation perhaps, to call ouch groupings "capital
and oppose them neatly in the mind to various labor organizations,
but in the interests of accuracy, this temptation must be eschewed
If any purpose was served by the accumulation of examples of poli­
tical and civic enterprises in which the Association has taken
part, it was as an illustration of how shifting such coalitions
have been. Rather, they have emphasized the conservative and in­
dividualistic attitude of the group of which the Association of
Commerce is composed. A man who is a member of a chamber of com­
merce expects to play ball with a manufacturers' association
rather than a labor union, but he prefers games in which the team
can be composed of his own organization. All-American teams are
best for speculative purposes only.
In its civic and social functions, the variety of the As­
sociation's activities is perhaps as impressive as its actual
The truth of this statement is reflected in the
very pattern of its organization which up to the present has in­
cluded so many civic committees that they could be classified
- 191 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
only on paper. Without indulging in speculation to any great ex­
tent, it would be possible, however, to concede that if such an
organization as the Association of Commerce could concentrate its
civic endeavours on one or two issues such as the reorganization
of the city’s tax plans, it would be able to render more effective
service to its metropolis than at present when the number of its
"projects*' includes classification of private schools, crime, re­
lief, flood control, etc., etc. This statement might be stretched
to cover the chamber' of commerce groups, but it particularly
true of the Chicago Association, because to this city its functions
do not have to scatter over any of the services of a board of
trade. That the Association has been effective in conducting
special investigations such as that of the books of the Sanitary
District, that it has encouraged the control of crime, ana spon­
sored several reasonably effective studies in vocational educa­
tion, for example, is readily conceded. That it could be more
effective if it would simplify its civic program is probably not
too daring a statement. It is also true that the Association has
served its individual members as an organization through which
they could express their civic patriotism and assure to themselves
the acclaim of their fellows. It is possible that as chambers of
commerce define their social and civic purposes more carefully,
they may come to have a function as nicely adjusted to the
American economic system as had the medieval trade gilds.
The reason why chambers of commerce are organized is to
increase the volume and the quality of the business of the com­
munity in which they are formed. This increase is accomplished
by market promotion, that is, by trade shows, trade extension,
publicity, conventions, market analysis, and market protection.
The protection may consist of the apprehension of hijackers and
the circumvention of fraudulent advertising, or it may be of an
entirely different nature and amount to the representation of the
city’s interest before the railroads and the various governmental
units in the framing of rates, and in their readjustment. All of
these activities as well as others have been described as the
chief occupations of the Chicago Association of Commerce. Compari­
son in form of structure asid procedure has been made with the
Chambers of Commerce of Boston, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, show­
ing the Chicago program to be similar to those of other cities.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Ingenuity and acumen have marked these activities of the Association both at home and in foreign countries. The impossibility of
devising units of success in such fields of endeavour prevents a
categorical conclusion concerning the effectiveness of the Asso­
ciation. However, it is safe to say that an organization that
has existed through war and depression and has had the vigor to
maintain two-thirds of its peak membership is a healthy organiza­
tion. That it can reorganize and make new plans in the face of
business recession is evidence of a capacity to grow. So the de­
duction seems manifest that in its chosen field of business pro­
motion, its work has been deemed effective by those who should be
able to judge it best, namely, its own members. They are the ones
who study the balance sheets.
This capacity for growth, vigorous and sprawling, this be­
lief in its own invincibility so well symbolized in "Kerfoot*s
Block" are part of the ineffable something which makes Chicago's
personality. This city which Carl Candburg has called "hog
butcher to the nation" boasts of the title. Its Association of
Commerce leads the cheering. To be sure the members prefer the
phrase "food provisioner to the nation," because it makes better
advertising copy; but they are proud of the packing industry.
These and their kind are the men who have made Chicago. Because
of them and their work the traveler does feel differently on
Fifth Avenue than on the "Eonl. Mich.1*
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 194 W e .tn b e ,n ~ s
o f C u L c .m n a -tL
C h a -m b & n
C o m m o ro e -
Pt^ &siaton.t
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C o tn rn c z + ^ G .
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e n n a - f i .
. yO .
C h d L t n & e . f-
o f
o f
O o r n m B f c G .
Reproduced with permission o f the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Affiliated and Subordi­
nate Organisations
Banking and Currency
City Planning
Foreign Trade
Fuel Supply
Industrial Relations
Metropolitan Improvements
Municipal and Metropolitan
Prevention of Disease and
Public Utilities
Railroad Rates on Import and
Export Freight
Reading Room and Library
Tariff Information
Trade Extension
Transportat ion
Wage Earners' Insurance
Maritime Affairs
Butter and
Trade Committees
Market Reports
Trade Rooms
“Source: Boston Chamber of Commerce,
Report (January* 1910), pp. 6-12.
- 195 -
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Standing Committees
Special Committees
Insurance Interests .
Labor Relations
Agricultural Development
American Merchant Marine
Patent Laws and Administration
Plans for 1930
City Finance
Postal Affairs
City Plan
Public Health
Public Utilities
Commercial Arbitration
Railway Station and Terminal
Foreign Trade
River and Harbor Improvement
Immigration and Emigra­
Soliciting Schemes
Industrial Development
Subsidiary Organizations
Retail Coal Dealers' Board
Convention Board
Bankers' and Trade Acceptance
Retail Merchants' Board
Manufacturers' and Whole­
Flower Club
sale Merchants' Board
Cleveland Safety Council
Grain and Hay Exchange
"Source: Cleveland Chamber of Commerce,
Annual Report. 1921-S2. pp. 10 ff.
- 196. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Publications of the Chicago
Association of Commerce
Annual Report of the Chicago Association of Commerce, 1905-1939.
Published separately 1908-18; 1926-2?.' In the Bulletin.
1905-1907; in Chicago Commerce, 1919-25; 1929-31; in
Commerce. 1932-1940.
The Bulletin. Published irregularly, 1904-1907.
Buyers* Guide. 4th issue. Chicago, 1939.
Chicago Association of Commerce Shakes Important Recommendations
to Business Men of the United States. Chicago, 1940.
Recommendations to the Chamber of Commerce of the United
States for its annual meeting, April 29 to Hay 2, 1940.
Chicago Commerce. Published weekly, November, 1907-February, 1931.
Continued as Commerce.
Chicago Facts. See Chicago. The City of Diversified Industry.
Chicago International Harket; A Directory of Exporting and Import­
ing Interests of the Chicago Trade Area. Edited by
Voris D. Seaman. 1st ed., 1931-32; £d ed., 1935; 3d ed.f
1938. Chicago, 1932-1938. Advertising leaflet Issued for
the 3d edition also published separately.
Chicago Letter. Vol. I, Nos. 1-6 (December, 1939-Jsarch, 1940).
Chicago. The City of Diversified Industry. Published by the In­
dustrial Department. Chicago, 1938. Also called Chicago
Chicago Visitors* Guide to All Features: Museums. Race Tracks.
Theaters. Radio Stations. Zoos. Restaurants. Industrial
Plants, Parks. Stores. Baseball. Art Galleries. Markets.
Gardens. Forest Preserves. Airports. Music. Night Clubs.
Chicago, 1939.
Commerce. Published monthly, August, i931rl940.
Constitution and By-Laws of the Chicago Association of Commerce.
Adopted December 15, 1905. Effective January 1, 190S.
Revised and reissued August I, 1907. Revised, 1934.
Highlights of the Legislative Session . . . at Springfield; A
Report of the Sixty-First General Assembly of Illinois.
Legislative Division of the Chicago Association of
Commerce, July, 1939.
Late Flash. Information on the progress of legislation,
December 10, 1936 to September 27, 1939 (mimeographed).
Lyon, Leverett S. Tentative Suggestion for Organization of
Chicago^Association of Commerce, July. 1940 (mimeographed).
Progress in Chicago Industrial Area.
I (January, 1940).
- 197 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 198 -
A Survey of Chicago. The Advisory Committee of the Chicago Asso­
ciation of Commerce. Chicago, 1924.
Publications of the Chamber of Commerce
of the United States
Foreign Trade Promotion by Chambers of Commerce and Trade Associa­
t i o n s " f.192?)
Foreign Trade Trends in Items Affected by Trade Agreements.
Washington, 1940.
Insurance Bulletin. No. 50 (February 3, 1940).
Policies Advocated by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States
Washington, 1939.
Power Capacity to Meet National Needs. Washington, 1939.
Proposals for Directors Nominations for Twenty-Eighth Annual Meet­
ing. 1940. Washington, 1940.
Public Employment Offices. Skilled Workers. Extent of Unemploy­
ment. Washington, 1939.
Public Relief. Its Fiscal Importance for State and Local Govern­
ments. Washington, 1939.
Referendum. No. 73. On the Report of the Special Committee on
Regulation of Competition. Washington, 1939.
Referendum. Ho. 74. On the Report of the DepartmentCommittee
for Manufactures on the National Labor Relations Act.
Washington, 1940.
Stream Pollution Control. Washington, 1940.
Traffic Bureaus and Transportation Departments of Chambers of
Commerce♦ Transportation and Communication Department.
Washington, 1929.
Hull, Cordell. Restoration of International Trade. Washington:
Government Printing Office, 1935.
Illinois. General Assembly. Journal of the Senate . . .
Journal of the House of Representatives . . . Springfield:
Interstate Commerce Commission. Annual Report. 1985. 1927.
Washington: Government Printing Office, 1925, 1927.
________. Reports, Vola. 100, 109, 113, 128. Washington:
Government Printing Office, 1925Johnson, Emory R. The Relation of the Panama Canal to the Traffic
and Rates of American Railroads. Senate Document, No. 175.
62d Cong., 2d Seas. Washington: Government Printing Office
U.S. Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. Foreign Commerce
and Navigation. 1898-1938. Washington: Government Printing
Office. ‘
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
199 -
U.S. Congress. House of Representatives. Chicago Harbor and
Adjacent Waterways. House Document, No. £37. 63d Cong.,
1st "Sess". Washington: Government Printing Office, 1913.
. Illinois Elver. Illinois and the Abstraction of Water
from Lake Michigan. Hearings before the Committee on
Rivers and Harbors. 69th Cong., 1st Sess. Washington:
Government Printing Office, 1926.
_____ . "The Illinois Waterway— Diversion of Water from Lake
Michigan. Hearings before the Committee on divers and
Harbors. 75th Cong., 3d Sess. Washington: Government
Printing Office, 1938.
Books and Pamphlets
Abbott, Edith and Sophonisba P. Breckinridge. The Tenements of
Chicago. 1908-1935. Chicago: The University of Chicago
Press, 1936.
Allen, Frederick L. Since Yesterday; The Nineteen-Thirties in
America, September 3. 1929-September 3. 1959. Hew York:
Harper & Brothers, 1940.
Andreas, A. T. History of Chicago from the Earliest Period to
the Present Time. 3 vols. Chicago: A. T. Andreas Company,
Eeard, Charles A. and Mary R. Beard. America in ?.Sidpas3age.
Vol. Ill of The Rise of American Civilization. New York:
The Macmillan Company, 1939.
Beard, Miriam. A History of the Business Man. New 'fork: The
Macmillan Company, 1938.
Bonnet, Clarence E. Employers* Associations in the United States;
A Study of Typical Associations. New York: The Macmillan
Company, 1922.
Book of Chicagoans. 1905. 1911, 1917. Chicago: A. N. Marquis Co.
Boston Chamber of Commerce. Annual Reports, 1908-1912. Boston:
Boston Chamber of Commerce.
Bruce, George Y. Commercial Organizations. Milwaukee: The Bruce
Publishing Company, 1920.
Carey, W. Gibson. Business Leadership. Washington, 1939.
_. Responsibility and Progress. Washington, 1940.
Chicago Board of Trade. Annual Reports. 1905-40. Chicago [Publisher
Chicago Regional Port Commission. The Interstate Port Handbook.
Chicago: Chicago Regional Port Commission, 1940.
Chicago Street Guide and Transportation Directory. Chicago:
Fand McNally & Company, 1939.
Chicago. University. Social Science Research Committee.
Rotary. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1934.
Cincinnati:Chamber of Commerce. Annual Reports. 1910-1920.
Cincinnati: Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 200 -
Clemens, Samuel L. Life on the Mississippi, New York; Harper
& Brothers, 1917."
Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. Annual Reports, 1693-1925.
Cleveland: Cleveland Chamber of Commerce.
Commercial Club of Chicago. Committee on Chicago Harbor and Port
Survey. The Harbor Plan of Chicago. Chicago, 1927.
Donnell, Joseph H. and others. F.ailroad Freight Bate Structures
Southern Territory. Chicago: La Salle Extension University,
Doob, Leonard W. Propaganda; Its Psychology and Technique.
New York: H. Holt ana Company, 1935.
Hacker, Louis M. A Short History of the New Deal. Kew York:
F. S. Crofts, 1934.
Haney, Lev,is H. The Business of Railway Transportation. New
York: The Ronald Press, 1934.
Harrison, Carter H. Stormy Years; The Autobiography of Carter H .
Harrison, Five Times Mayor of Chicago. New York: The
Eobba-Merrill Company, 1935.
Hough, B. Olney. Practical Exporting: A Handbook for Manufac­
turers and Merchants. New York: The Johnston Export
Publishing Company, 1920.
Lee, Alfred M. and Elizabeth Briant.Lee. The Fine Art of Propa­
ganda: A Study of Father Coughlin^ Speeches. New York:
Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1939.
Leighton, George R. Five Cities. New York: Harper & Brothers,
Lewis, Lloyd and Henry J. Smith. Chicago, The History of Its
Reputation. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1923.
Lewis, Sinclair. Eabbitt. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.,
Lynd, Robert S. and Helen K. Lynd. Middletown in Transition.
New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1937.
Moulton, Harold G. and others. The Saint Lawrence Navigation and
Power Project. Washington: The Brookings Institution,
Kumford, Lewis. The Culture of Cities. New York: Harcourt,
Brace and Company, 1938.
Official Guide of the Railways, Steam Navigation Lines of the
United States. Porto Rico. Canada. Mexico and tqba. New
York; National Failway Publishing Co., 1939.
Pierce, Bessie Louise. A History of Chicago. Vol. I. New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, 1937.
Regier, C. C. The Era of the Muckrakers. Chapel Hill: The
University of North Carolina Press, 1932.
Reuter, E. B. and C. W. Hart. Introduction to Sociology. New
York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1933.
Ridgeway, George L. Merchants of Peace. New York: Columbia
University Press, 1938.
Reproduced with permission o f the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle. Net? York: A. & C. Boni, 1928.
Steadman, Robert F. Public Health Organization in the Chicago
Region. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1930.
Sturges, Kenneth M. American Chambers of Commerce. New York:
Moffat, Yard and Company, 1915.
Thorndike, £. L. Your City. New York: Harcourt, Brace and
Company, 1939.
Who*a Who in America. 1938-39. Vol. XX. Articles "Charles
Gates Dawes" and "Silas Hardy Strawn."
Who *s Who jr. Chicagot 1926. Chicago: A. N. Marquis Co.
Who's Who in Chicago and Vicinity. 1931, 1935. Chicago:
A. N. Marquis Co.
Wilson, Lucius E. Community Leadership: The New Profession.
Mew York: The American City Bureau, 1919.
World Almanac and Book of Facts. 1939.
Wetmore, Frances K. A First Book of English for Non-English
Speaking Adults. Chicago, 1920.
Wyman, Walter F. Export Merchandising. New York: McGraw-Hill
Book Company, 1922.
Newspapers, Articles, and Other Essays
Beach, R. B. "Chicago's Crime Commission," American City. XX
(March, 1919), 272-73.
Blumer, Herbert. "Collective Behavior," An Outline of the
Principles of Sociology. Edited by Robert E. Park. New
York: Barnes and Noble, Inc., 1939. Pp. 221-283.
Business Week. July 20, 1935, p. 12; August 24, 1935, p. 30;
May 1, 1937, p. 29; February 5, 1938, p. 26.
Chase, Stuart. "Capital Not Wanted," Harpers. GLX.XX (February,
1940), 225-234.
Chicago Record-Herald. July 7-13, 1906.
Chicago Tribune. July, August, 1925; August 23-3eptember 7, 1926
passim., 1938-1940.
"Chicago's 'Trade Court' Proves Its Worth," Literary Digest.
LXX (July 23, 1921), 50-51.
"Chicago’s War or. Labor Terrorism," Literary Digest. LXXIII
(May 27, 1922), 7-9.
Flynn, John T. "These Our Rulers," Collier's CV (June 29, 1940)
14-15; 42-43.
"The Great American Salesman," Fortune. XXI (February, 1940).
Herring, E. Pendleton. "Lobby," The Encyclopaedia of the Social
Sciences. Fd. by R. A. Seiigman and Alvin Johnson.
Vol. IX, 1935.
Hopkins, Frank 3. "Quest for Wisdom," Harpers. CLXXX (February,
1940), 278-87.
Husband, Joseph. "An Inland Harbor," Atlantic Monthly. CXXIX
(May, 1922), 672-75.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
- 202 -
Illinois Journal of Commerce. XXI (January-November, 1939).
Koley, Raymond. ''Business in the Woodshed," Saturday Evening
Post. CCXII {April 6, 1940), 22.
Mumford, Lewis. "Reflections on Chicago," The New Republic.
LVIII (February 27, 1929), 44-45.
"Politics," Fortune, XXI (February, 1940).
Randolph, Robert I. "Business Fights Crime in Chicago," Saturday
Evening Post. CCIII (August 16, 1.930), 12-13.
"How to Wreck Capone's Gang," Collier *s. LXXXVXI
(March 7, 1931), 7-9.
Roberts, Kenneth L. "Uatchdogs of Crime," Saturday Evening Post.
CC (October 8, 1927), 45-47.
Studenski, Paul. "Chambers of Commerce," The Encyclopaedia of
the Social Sciences. Edited by R. A. Seligman and Alvin
Johnson. Vol. Ill, 1935.
"The 30,000 Managers," Fortune. XXI (February, 1940).
"The United States Frontier," Fortune. XXI (February, 1940).
Unpublished Material
Culp, Dorothy. "The American Legion: A Study in Pressure
Politics." Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, Department of
History, The University of Chicago, 193S.
Cummings, Richard. "Development of the Board of Trade, 18481870." Unpublished MS, Department of History, The
University of Chicago, 1935.
Kelly, Alfred R. "A History of the Illinois Manufacturers'
Association." Unpublished Ph. B. dissertation Department
of History, The University of Chicago, 1938.
Montgomery, Royal E. "Industrial Relations in the Chicago
Building Trades.” Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, Depart
ment of Political Economy, The University of Chicago, 1925
U.S. Dorks Progress Administration. Project No. 30049. Transla­
tions from Bollettino della Camera di Coimnercio Italians.
L'Italia. Svenska Kuriren. and The Czechoslovak Review.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
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