On May 17, 1792, twenty-four brokers signed the Buttonwood Agreement beneath a buttonwood (or sycamore) tree in front of 68 Wall Street. They agreed to trade with one another and to set a fixed commission for all interactions.
"We the Subscribers, Brokers for the Purchase and Sale of the Public Stock, do hereby solemnly promise and pledge ourselves to each other, that we will not buy or sell from this day for any person whatsoever, any kind of Public Stock, at least than one quarter of one percent Commission on the Specie value and that we will give preference to each other in our Negotiations. In Testimony whereof we have set our hands this 17th day of May at New York, 1792."
The traders first met and drafted their rules in the Merchant Coffee House at Water and Wall before moving across the street to the Tontine Coffee House in 1793. The organization would later move west on Wall, drafting a constitution in 1817, naming itself the New York Stock and Exchange Board. In 1863, the traders would come up with the snappier New York Stock Exchange.