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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, February 26

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Photography Mon Sep 14 2009

Pat Arnow's Photographs of the Chicago Board of Trade, 1971

Chicago Board of Trade, 1971, by Pat Arnow

In her words:

In 1971, when parts of the Chicago Board of Trade building were about to be remodeled, a manager asked me, a young and green photographer, to take some pictures of the construction. The trading pit wasn't slated for renovation and was generally off-limits to visitors, but he got me in and allowed me to take some pictures.

The manager was disappointed that it wasn't a particularly raucous day when I was there. He wanted to show off the deafening din, but I thought it was plenty busy and noisy that day. They used blackboards and traded with hand signals and shouts.

Commodities listed on the board high in the background include soybeans oil, soybeans, corn, wheat, plywood, and silver. Other commodities were listed on other boards around the room.

All the traders were white men. There were some young women on the floor who worked as runners, a clerical job.

The trading floors have become computerized operations and the Chicago Board of Trade is now the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Chicago Board of Trade, 1971, by Pat Arnow

Chicago Board of Trade, 1971, by Pat Arnow

Chicago Board of Trade, 1971, by Pat Arnow

Chicago Board of Trade, 1971, by Pat Arnow

Chicago Board of Trade, 1971, by Pat Arnow

About the Photographer

Pat Arnow grew up in Chicago and has worked as a writer, editor and photographer, including a stint as culture editor of In These Times in Chicago. Today, she takes pictures for labor unions in New York City. Her work can be found on her website.

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Steven Giles / September 14, 2009 3:28 PM

Evocative images of the BC age (before computers). Early advanced capitalism.

Antonia Manda / September 14, 2009 7:35 PM

Lovely black and white. I particularly like the image of the man on the (very old-fashioned) phone, smiling... not what i'd have expected.

Andy Crestodina / September 20, 2009 9:20 PM

These are great. The CME still looks a lot like this today, except it's in color.

annie / May 22, 2011 2:59 AM

Pat Arnow seems to be a very very talented photographer. Thanks for sharing these, they're fantastic.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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