When Samuel S. Thorpe* was president, the National Association of REALTORS® consisted of a room in Mr. Thorpe's Minneapolis office, the first permanent headquarters which the Association was able to maintain. It was during his presidency that the Association employed its first executive secretary, Thomas S. Ingersoll. Mr. Thorpe equipped the young Association, which then boasted 42 member boards, with two desks and a typewriter.
Head of Thorpe Brothers, the largest real estate firm in Minneapolis, which he helped establish in 1885, Samuel Thorpe was a leader of his city's real estate development for more than 50 years. During this time Thorpe Brothers, dealing with homes, farms and mortgages, marketed over 70 subdivisions in the Twin Cities and in other cities and states.
Instrumental in securing the deepening of the Mississippi River channel which made steamship traffic to Minneapolis possible, Mr. Thorpe was credited by Minneapolitans as chiefl responsible for establishing the city as head of Mississippi navigation. One time president of the Upper Mississippi Barge Line Company, he resigned to become president of the federal government's Inland Waterways Advisory Board.
During the First World War, he was one of the REALTORS® who aided the federal government in large scale land appraisal and purchase.
A president of the Minneapolis Real Estate Board, Samuel Thorpe's first job was working for a Minnesota farmer for $8 per month. The farmer, he said, never got around to producing the monthly pay and finally rewarded the boy with a jacknife for his summer's work.
Source: Presidents of the National Association of REALTORS® (Chicago: NAR, 1980).