History of the California Chamber of Commerce

CalChamber History

Helping California Business Do Business since 1890

The California Chamber of Commerce traces its roots directly to the California State Board of Trade, which incorporated on February 20, 1890 after three years as a voluntary organization. The primary goal of the organization in those early years was to encourage immigration to California, a goal the State Board of Trade pursued by publishing and circulating statistical and other descriptive information on the growth and products of the state.

In an effort to more effectively promote the business of the state, the California State Board of Trade merged with the Manufacturers and Producers Association of California and the California Promotion Committee in 1910. The new combined group, known as the California Development Board, carried out the aims of its parent groups. The board continued to promote immigration to California, the main focus of the Board of Trade. It encouraged pride in California-made products, as had the Manufacturers and Producers Association. It also disseminated information about the state, as had the California Promotion Committee.

​To better deal with the complexities of supporting a sound business climate in​ a rapidly growing state, the California Development Board merged with the California Industries Association in 1921 to form the California Development Association, Commerce and Industry. In September 1929, the organization incorporated as the California State Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture and Industry.

In 1972, the board of directors adopted the shorter name: California Chamber of Commerce.

Past Board Chairs and Presidents

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Over the decades, the volunteer leaders of the California Chamber of Commerce and the organizations from which it evolved have represented the diversity of the California economy. Past leaders have come from firms in the manufacturing, electronics, finance, agriculture, transportation, marketing, energy, telecommunications, retailing, hospitality/tourism and other industries, plus a number of the professions. Company sizes have ranged from small business operations to multinational corporations.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​