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Photography Mon Sep 14 2009
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.
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.