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INTRODUCTION

I will start the A. G. Becker story with two postings which provide a broad survey of the firm's first 32 years of operation -- from the year of our founding in 1893, to the year of A. G. Becker's death in 1925. Links to these postings appear at the end of this introduction.

The first link takes the reader to excerpts from an internal publication prepared in 1973 by the firm's Communications Department, as part of our 80th birthday celebration. The "A. G. Becker Album" was enthusiastically received throughout the organization. It reminded each of us of our great inheritance, as well as the extent to which the organization had grown in 80 years.

The content of these "AGB 80" excerpts was drawn from various archival sources including a speech given by Howell Murray in the late 1950s, just a few years before his death. These excerpts comprise the second posting.

I know you will enjoy the delightful "folksy" tone of Howie Murray's memories. This speech must have been delivered internally to an employee group in 1956-58, perhaps to a new class of sales trainees. I have excerpted -- and lightly edited for better readability -- the parts of Howie's speech which relate to this early period of Becker history.

As noted, Howie joined the firm in 1915, knew Mr. Becker personally, and worked especially for and with him in the firm's commercial paper business for 10 years before his death. Howie idolized Mr. Becker, as did everyone else who knew him.

I quite well remember Howell Murray. Having joined the firm in the fall of 1958, I must have just missed hearing his speech. He was a rather jovial, beaming, enthusiastic, and much loved elder in the Chicago office. He was the general overseer of our commercial paper business, investment banker, quite active in the Chicago and Midwest business communities, and widely admired. He was especially remembered for his service to the Ravinia Association. More about Howie will be posted later.

The broad sweep of these two postings provides an excellent framework for future, more detailed postings of documents, photos, and other material. In that process, some small inaccuracies in the Album and Murray reviews will come to light and be corrected. However, these summaries provide an excellent overview of the firm's early roots and culture. They also illustrate how, quite early, the firm was dedicated to certain basic ethical principles, and to building an organization filled with exceptional people, developing and expanding organizational leadership, and steadily pursuing strategic diversification.

A. G. Becker Album (PDF 2 megabytes)

Howell Murray speech

Posted: December 27, 2006




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