Commercial Paper Market
BACKGROUND FOR THIS SITE
I was an employee of A.G. Becker from 1958 until my resignation
in 1981 and was Chief Executive from 1968-78. It was a wonderful
organization and a great working experience, a view shared by
many other former Becker employees.
I have had a long and deep interest in history, in the areas
of family genealogy, the Civil War, golf, businesses, and other
organizations. I am pleased now to be able to devote some retirement
time to the task of chronicling the history of Becker.
In 1980, the year or so before my resignation, it was my goal
to write a history of the firm. I intended to start with the background
for its founding by A.G. Becker in 1893, and then cover the firm's
early growth through 1925, the year of A.G.Becker's death. This
would be a history of a man and his firm. If that work could be
completed, I intended then to move forward to later periods.
In 1980, I completed some research and a preliminary review,
at the Chicago Historical Society, of this early period and scanned
some old records stored in the firm's deep archives. With my resignation
and other personal developments after 1981, I had to put the Becker
history project on hold. Upon hearing of the intended sale to
Merrill Lynch of some of the firm's core operations in 1984, I
contacted Randy Harris who arranged for me to receive all the
records and archives of the firm which Merrill did not wish to
retain. They were trucked to a warehouse I rented. Chet Netko
helped obtain, deliver, and store some 50 boxes of archived material
shipped from various locations. A few years later, I relocated
these boxes to my basement, where they rested in peace, unopened
for some 20 years.
This past summer, I was finally able to devote some time to
a preliminary review of contents. Some 30-35 of the boxes contained
microfiche records of individual, institutional, dealer, and firm
accounts required at the time to be maintained under regulatory
protocols. I arranged for this material to be destroyed by a professional
commercial shredding company.
I am now undertaking a more careful inventory of the material
in the remaining boxes, the contents of which cover, in some way,
albeit unevenly, ninety years of history.
After completing this inventory, I intend first to concentrate
on the origination and founding period of the firm starting somewhat
before 1893 and running through about 1903. This story covers
some of Chicago's and the country's financial history leading
up to 1893-94; the demise of the predecessor firm, Hermann Schaffner
& Co., of which A.G. Becker was a junior partner; the early years
of the successor firm, A.G.Becker & Co.; and the unprecedented
voluntary repayment by A.G. Becker of much of the deposit debt
of old Schaffner Bank, generally completed by about 1903.
In reflecting on how best to "publish and distribute" the story
which I hoped to chronicle, I decided to use a website, so that
all former Becker employees -- and any other interested parties
-- could see and read my findings as material was developed and
posted. I believe the "Web" provides a rather unique and ideal
media for this story, since it permits the posting, in jpg, pdf,
or other formats, of replications of actual, original documents
-- letters, memos, news clips, photos, advertisements, and the
like. In many ways, these materials will tell parts of the story
better than anything I might write.
It is also generally my plan to post text and documents in historical
chronological order, and, by some method, to note the date of
my posting so that readers may identify new material as added
First Posted: December 10, 2006
Edited: December 26, 2006