The National Association of REALTORS® was founded as the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges on May 12, 1908 in Chicago. With 120 founding members, 19 Boards, and one state association, the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges' objective was "to unite the real estate men of America for the purpose of effectively exerting a combined influence upon matters affecting real estate interests."

Caption: Seal of the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges, founded May 12, 1908


The Association's founding boards included the Baltimore; Bellingham, Wash.; Chicago; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Detroit; Duluth, Minn.; Gary, Ind.; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; Omaha, Neb.; Philadelphia; St. Louis; St. Paul, Minn.; Seattle; Sioux City, Iowa; and Tacoma, Wash., boards and the California State Realty Federation (now the California Association of REALTORS®).

The Code of Ethics was adopted in 1913 with the Golden Rule as its theme.

In 1916, the National Association of Real Estate Exchange's name was changed to The National Association of Real Estate Boards (NAREB). That same year, the term “REALTOR,” identifying real estate professionals who are members of the National Association and subscribers to its strict Code of Ethics, was devised by Charles N. Chadbourn, a past president of the Minneapolis Real Estate Board.

The collective marks REALTORS® and REALTOR® were registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Sept. 13, 1949, and Jan. 10, 1950, respectively, under Registration Numbers 515,200 and 519,789. Since then, the association has maintained a vigilant defense of the trademarks, prevailing in numerous cases. Most recently, in Zimmerman v. NAR (2004), the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board denied a request to cancel the trademarks.

In 1972, the name of the National Association of Real Estate Boards was changed to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). The block "R" logo was adopted by the Association in 1973.


Caption: Detail from original advertisement announcing NAR’s new name and logo, 1973


The Association became the largest trade association in the United States in the early 1970s, with over 400,000 members. Today, the National Association of REALTORS® has over 1.1 million members, 54 state associations (including Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) and more than 1,300 local associations.


Lawrence Board of REALTORS®

According to a letter from Geneva H. Simmons “Re: Origin and Founding of the Lawrence Board of Realtors,” dated June 25, 1966, her father, S.J. Hunter, and other local members of the “National Realtors, having a feeling of pride in belonging to an organization of growing national importance and dedicated to the improvement of ethics in the real estate business,” founded the “Lawrence Board” in 1925. The original founding members were E.T. Arnold, C.B. Hosford, M.R. Gill, S.J. Hunter, Joshua M. Clevenger, and C.B. Holmes.

The letter further states: “The first great drive of this original group was to ‘rid the town of curb-stoners,’ that usually unethical and always office-less group of operators in real estate who loitered not far from the doors of legitimate real estate offices and latched onto departing customers or clients, offering a rosy sounding but phony deal. It took a few years, but the new Board of Realtors succeeded in clearing Massachusetts Street of this element.” Ms. Simmons stated, “the originating group operated under the name of Lawrence Real Estate Board.”

A list of the membership, dated January 1962, indicated there were thirteen Member Agencies with a total of 64 REALTOR® Members. In 1965, a copy of The Jayhawk REALTOR®, the “Official Publication of the Kansas Association of Real Estate Boards,” published in Wichita, Kansas, contained an article stating that the Lawrence Real Estate Board voted to officially change their name to Lawrence Board of REALTORS®.

Discussions with former Members of the Lawrence Board of REALTORS® reveal that the local association established a “Board Office” in 1975. One room above Francis Sporting Goods, 732 Massachusetts, was rented and a Mrs. Sheppard was hired as “Secretary of the Board.” A “hotsheet” (of new listings) could be picked up at the Board Office by each Member Agency on a weekly basis.

By 1979, the Board Office had moved to 1031 Vermont Street, and had three employees. New listing information was compiled, copied, and delivered to each Member Agency every Tuesday. The Multiple Listing Service became computerized in 1986 and provided “instant” information about listings to the Membership. In February of 1992, the Board Office was relocated to 3838 W. Sixth Street and currently has a staff of three people.

As of May, 2014, the LBOR had nearly 450 Members consisting of Board, MLS, Appraiser, and Affiliate Members.

Our Lawrence Board of REALTORS® Membership continues to provide better and more professional service to the citizens of the area, year after year.