The Philadelphia Board of Realtors (PBR) was a professional organization established as a non-profit corporation on April 21, 1908 to "encourage trade and commerce in Real Estate, to inculcate just and equitable principles in trade, to [protect] against imposition and fraud, to bring about greater uniformity and certainty in business practices, and to establish closer ties of business association among the members."
Originally comprised of Center City realtors, the Board steadily incorporated chapters from outlying wards within the city of Philadelphia. By 1957 a formal amalgamation agreement ensured that all chapters would participate in the nomination and election of officers to the Board.
The Board worked closely with state and national organizations, the Pennsylvania Board of Realtors and the National Association of Real Estate Boards (NAREB), respectively. During the late 1950s through the 1960s, the Board enjoyed considerable influence on the national level. John E. "Jack" Teller, who served the Board in an administrative capacity for over twenty years, was an active member of the NAREB Executive Officers Council (EOC), and served as President of the Secretary's Council (the predecessor to the EOC) in 1958.
Major activities included training and certification of members, conducting appraisals of property, and hearing and adjudicating complaints against Board members brought either by other Realtors or by consumers.
During the mid- to late-1960s, the Board's self-policing functions were steadily superceded by governmental action as community organizations and civic groups pressed for greater oversight of real estate activities. These issues became particularly salient in the wake of major civil rights legislation that sought to end discriminatory practices in real estate. The Board resisted these efforts for a time but were forced to accomodate to the changing times under the threat of costly litigation and through the active involvement of federal, state and local governments.
The collection has been divided into 9 series:
- Series I: Administration and Organization
- Subseries IA: Minutes of Meetings
- Subseries IB: Correspondence and General Office Files
- Series II: Financial Records
- Series III: Property Appraisals
- Series IV: Arbitration and Ethics
- Series V: The Realtor (Magazine)
- Series VI: Education
- Series VII: Photographs
- Series VIII: Membership Applications
- Series IX: Miscellaneous
SCOPE AND CONTENT
The collection includes the minutes from executive committee and general membership meetings, correspondence and general office files, financial records, over one thousand property appraisals conducted between 1925 and 1959 (indexed separately by appraisal number and property name), Arbitration and Ethics Committee files, including the formal records of cases adjudicated by the panel, publications from both the PBR and state and national organizations, files from educational courses offered by the Board, and a sampling of membership applications (Closed to researchers).
Series VII: Photographs
Removed to Photographic Collection as PC-72.
Series VIII: Membership Applications
Selected Membership Applications, C-D, K-M. Closed to researchers for reasons of privacy. (3 Boxes, unprocessed as of July 1996).
Series IX: Miscellaneous
Several Annual Banquet programs and pamphlets relating to local properties.Deposited by John E. Teller through the Philadelphia Board of Realtors, Executive Vice President, 1602-04 Locust Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, May 1972 and May 1977.
Inventory compiled by Christopher A. Preble, June 1996.