• IdentificationMSCBT0009
  • TitleChicago Board of Trade Records: Series III - President Thomas R. Donovan correspondence MSCBT0009
  • PublisherSpecial Collections
  • LanguageEnglish
  • RepositorySpecial Collections
  • Physical Description18.5 Linear feet
  • Date
    • Bulk, 1981-1983
    • 1969-1991

Processed by Sarah McMahon and Mike Hartge April 2011-May 2012. Finding aid by Kit Fluker and Jae Lurie. 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.

The materials are roughly organized alphabetically, and are not separated by year. These records comprise roughly the first two years of Donovan's presidency, and the rest of the records have been processed separately.

Some of Donovan’s correspondence is from Chicago area organizations and local people of note, such as politicians. Correspondence with other organizations and exchanges that were involved with CBOT is also present, as well as other CBOT officials’ correspondence. Much of the correspondence in Donovan’s files was originally addressed to other officials, but copied to Donovan for his information. This includes correspondence from governmental agencies such as the CFTC.

Thomas R. Donovan's secretarial records are located in Chicago Board of Trade records: Thomas R. Donovan secretary correspondence.

Thomas R. Donovan joined the Chicago Board of Trade as secretary in May 1979. In August 1982 he was elected CBOT President/CEO. Previously he was an administrative aide to Chicago mayors Richard J. Daley and Michael Bilandic. Donovan served as Daley’s patronage chief, a pivotal role within Chicago politics. The experience served him well as CBOT President, where he had extensive political contacts and consequently considerable influence over regulation and taxation of futures trading, especially in city politics.

Donovan helmed CBOT through many historical events, including the 1989 FBI probe into Chicago futures markets, the 1987 stock market crash, and the beginning of electronic trading (Project A/Aurora). He resigned in 2000.

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.

The record group contains correspondence, reports, financial records, pamphlets, legal documents, newsletters, texts of amendments to rules and regulations, records of Board of Directors and committee meetings, and records of Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) meetings.

  • Names
    • Chicago Board of Trade.
    • Donovan, Thomas R.
    • Futures Industry Association.
    • Kirkland & Ellis (Firm).
    • United States. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  • Subject
    • Commodity exchanges--Law and legislation.
    • Commodity exchanges--Taxation--Law and legislation.
    • Commodity exchanges.
    • Futures.
  • Geographic Coverage
    • Illinois--Chicago.
    • United States.