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Guide to the New York Chamber of Commerce Collection
1768-1976 (bulk 1900-1950)
 PR 277

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Kelly McAnnaney

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on December 13, 2011
Description is in English.

Historical Note

The New York Chamber of Commerce was founded on April 5, 1768 by a group of merchants interested in the trade and commerce of New York City. The stated purpose of the organization was "promoting and encouraging commerce, supporting industry, adjusting disputes relative to trade and navigation, and procuring such laws and regulations as may be found necessary for the benefit of trade in general." The group received a royal charter from King George III in 1770, becoming the "Corporation of the Chamber of Commerce in the City of New York in America."

During the Revolutionary War, the membership was divided. Patriots left New York City during the British invasion while their loyalist colleagues remained, holding meetings and conducting business. Following the evacuation of the British in 1783, the patriot membership returned and quickly regained control. The group received a new charter and were renamed the "Corporation of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York."

Through the years the organization has counted some of the most powerful men in New York among its members, including more than half of the city's mayors between 1872 and 1901. The influential members of the Chamber played a large roll in shaping both New York City and the United States. The New York Chamber of Commerce campaigned for the building of the Erie Canal, supported Abraham Lincoln's campaign for president, organized the "Committee of Seventy," which helped drive the Tweed ring from power, and played a key role in creating the city's first subway system.