• IdentificationMSCBT0011
  • TitleChicago Board of Trade records: Series III - J.C.F. Merrill secretary correspondence MSCBT0011
  • PublisherSpecial Collections
  • LanguageEnglish
  • RepositorySpecial Collections
  • Physical Description38.5 Linear feet This series contains 89 Hollinger boxes and 1 oversize box.
  • Date
    • Bulk, 1912-1918
    • 1899-1918
  • LocationThe oversize items are shelved in B-242, Bay 8.

Processed by John Rosen, Lindsay Menard, and Kit Fluker November 2010-September 2011. Finding aid by Kit Fluker and Megan Keller. Edited and encoded by Jae Lurie April 2012.

[Collection Title], Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago

The records of the Chicago Board of Trade at the University of Illinois at Chicago are closed for 50 years from the date of record creation. Please contact Special Collections before visiting to ensure that the materials are available to the public.

The Chicago Board of Trade records were received by Special Collections and University Archives in numerous accessions between 1968 and 2000.

Materials from accessions 1968-113, 69-11, 72-44, 72-48, 74-16, 74-33, 75-68, 76-115, 77-53, 77-89, 78-91, 79-42, 81-21, 81-22, 81-23, 81-49, 81-110, 82-46, 83-50, 83-51, 84-28, 84-41, 84-42, 85-29, 86-3, 86-4, 86-5, 86-16, 86-17, 86-18, 91-11, 91-24, 92-11, 92-19, 93-1, 93-21, 93-30, 95-28, 97-2, 97-14, 97-32, 98-2, and 2000-37 were merged into one collection. Materials from each accession may be described in this finding aid.

Files are arranged alphabetically by year. File headings are mostly single letters, rather than names or phrases

Boxes 461-471 are also listed in George F. Stone's secretarial correspondence, and boxes 532-549 are also listed in Mauff's secretarial correspondence.

There are oversize materials associated with this series. They are listed at the end of the container list.

The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was started in 1848 by a small group of Chicago businessmen. The exchange was formed to help structure the grain trade in the Midwest. Before the Chicago Board of Trade came into being, the market for grain was extremely volatile with prices high in the winter and low in the summer, resulting in poor economic conditions for farmers. The early Board of Trade helped to create stable economic conditions for regional farmers and also worked to create standards and grades for various grains along with inspection processes to help ensure buyers received the goods for which they had paid. In 1859 the Illinois legislature granted the Chicago Board of Trade a charter allowing self-regulation. By 1865 the CBOT had a permanent location in the Chicago Chamber of Commerce Building and about 150 members. The Chicago Board of Trade was governed by its members and an elected Board of Directors. Rules and Regulations regarding day-to-day activities of the exchange were amended frequently as the organization responded to the issues of the time. The established organization of the Board of Trade in its early years was mostly maintained over time with revisions to rules and additions and subtractions to the organization based upon the economic, political, and technological climate at the time.

This record group contains J.C.F. Merrill's secretarial files from roughly 1912 to 1917. The material is mostly correspondence, but also includes clippings, articles, reports, pamphlets, warehouse records, legal agreements, meeting minutes, and financial records. Much of the correspondence is with CBOT members and relates to commodity prices, dues and payments, CBOT rules and regulations, and decisions made by the Board of Directors. Also present are notices to CBOT committees and departments, and correspondence with railroad companies and storage companies.

The record group includes correspondence with legal counsel such as attorney Henry S. Robbins, correspondence with national and state organizations such as the Council of Grain Exchanges and the Grain Dealers National Association, and correspondence with federal departments and agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Commerce. Problems of World War I food distribution are documented in correspondence with the United States Food Administration.

Merrill became secretary in the second half of 1912 after the death of secretary George F. Stone, and files from 1912-1913 (boxes 461-471) contain a large amount of Stone's papers. After Merrill's death, assistant secretary Walter S. Blowney was acting secretary until John R. Mauff was appointed secretary in December 1917. Files from 1917 to 1918 contain a large amount of Mauff's papers.

John Charles Fremont Merrill served many positions at the Board of Trade, beginning with his election as vice president in 1908, though he also chaired various committees since becoming a member in January 1879. In January 1911, he was elected president, and became secretary on August 1, 1912, after the death of George Stone. He remained secretary until his death on August 31, 1917. Merrill also served as President of the Council of Grain Exchanges. He co-founded Merrill & Lyons, which was one of the oldest firms at the Board of Trade until Merrill dissolved it following his appointment as secretary.

  • Names
    • Chicago Board of Trade.
    • Council of Grain Exchanges (Chicago, Ill.).
    • National Grain & Feed Association.
    • United States Food Administration.
    • United States. Department of Agriculture.
  • Subject
    • Commodity exchanges--Law and legislation.
    • Commodity exchanges.
    • Commodity futures.
    • Futures.
  • Geographic Coverage
    • Illinois--Chicago.
    • United States.