Nathaniel J. Upham* was president of the Duluth Real Estate Exchange when it issued its historic invitation to the inter-board meeting at which the formation of the National Association of Real Estate Boards was proposed.
Formerly a banker, Mr. Upham entered the real estate business in 1889, forming N.J. Upham and Co. with his brother T.H. Upham. Later in his career, Mr. Upham divided his time between Duluth and St. Petersburg, Florida, where he maintained an interest in various real estate investments.
Mr. Upham served as the only president of International Realty Associates, Inc., which was formed in 1913 to aid the then young and struggling National Association through sharing its profits. He directed the corporation's investments in Duluth, Louisville, Detroit, Toledo, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Portland and St. Petersburg. In addition, he was a past president of the Minnesota Real Estate Association.
Although he only served for a half a year, it was under Mr. Upham's presidency that the National Association adopted a plan for specialized divisions at the Association's annual business meeting of January 1923. The following divisions were formed: Brokers, Mortgage and Finance, Property Management, Industrial Property, Homebuilders and Subdividers, Farm Lands, and REALTOR®-Secretaries. During his term Herbert U. Nelson was appointed the Association's executive secretary, succeeding Tom Ingersoll.
Mr. Upham was the first NAREB officer to come out strongly in support of a national Home Loan Bank system. In the year prior to his presidency, he urged the Association to support the Calder Bill calling for the establishment of a Federal Home Loan Bank. At the last minute the Association decided to throw its weight instead to broadening the Federal Reserve system in respect to mortgage investment. As president, Mr. Upham continued to point out the need for a central mortgage banking system.
NAREB won a victory for the real estate profession during Mr. Upham's term when the United States Supreme Court decided in favor of the Association's position in Bratton vs Chandler, which sustained the constitutionality of real estate license laws.
Source: Presidents of the National Association of REALTORS®, (Chicago: NAR, 1980).