National History

William L White graduated from Auburn University on June 22, 1919.  He had a dream to begin a national service organization for young business and professional men.  White had the spirit and initiative, but this young engineer and practical idealist lacked funding for such a major undertaking.

What to do?  Surprisingly enough, turpentine played a major role in this story.  At the time the turpentine industry was centered in Valdosta, GA.  The booming industry used turpentine cups to gather crude resin from long-leaf pines.  The resin was then distilled to produce turpentine and rosin. 

After graduating, White lost no time offering turpentine cups for sale. After selling two million turpentine cups, he put $1,000 into a revolving expansion fund.  By May 18, 1922, White had enough money to form the first American Business Club in Birmingham, Alabama.

The first club had 50 members and they adopted a constitution and the motto that is still used today:  Shoulders Together.

Through the years members began shortening the name American Business Clubs to AMBUCS. In 1961, the name AMBUCS was approved for official use by the organization.

Springfield American Business Club (ABC) was chartered January 9, 1925. 

State Fair History


Since 1953 Springfield ABC has managed the concessions at the Illinois State Fair Grandstand.  Each year has had it success stories and challenges.  With the success and outstanding ability to manage the concessions, Springfield ABC was offered the opportunity to manage the Illinois State Fair gate admissions and parking.  We continue both of these traditions to date.

We have been able to compile the history from each fair dating back to 1979.  

State Fair History 1979-present.pdf


What is the Big Hat Club? Who are Big Hatters?

ABC recognizes that its greatest asset is it’s members, and that the lifeblood of the club is adding new members.  To that end, we’ve established a “club within the club” called the Big Hat Club.  To become a “Big Hatter”, a member simply must bring three new members into the club within a 12-month period.  It’s not hard to do, especially after you’ve followed my advice above and realize the benefits.  It’s an easy sell.  But of the roughly 200 ABC members, only about 40 of us are Big Hatters.

In addition to the numerous ABC events we all enjoy, Big Hat members are privileged to enjoy numerous other events/benefits.  Unlike most regular ABC events that are family/friend friendly, Big Hat events are typically limited exclusively to Big Hat members

For more information, contact our Big Hat President - Brad DeLuka (217) 622-1591 or 


Copyright  American Business Club Springfield, 2015

American Business Club of Springfield is a 501(c) non-profit organization Illinois , P.O. Box 20408, Springfield, IL 62708

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