crown CU Home > Libraries Home
Columbia University Libraries Archival CollectionsRare Book & Manuscript Library Collections
 

   Arthur Levitt Papers, 1948-2007

Download and Print CitationContact Bookmark Share

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Arthur Levitt Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information

At a Glance

Bib ID:4079912 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Levitt, Arthur, 1931-
Title:Arthur Levitt Papers, 1948-2007
Physical description:30 linear feet in (62 boxes & 1 oversize box).
Language(s):In English
Access: This collection has no restrictions. This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.  More information »

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into 2 series:

Return to top

Description

Scope and Content

Correspondence, speeches, speech materials, news clippings, subject files, audio and videotapes relating to the professional activity of Arthur Levitt, Jr. The papers and audiovisual material deal primarily with his tenure as the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (1993-2001), but also contain earlier records, including some materials relating to Levitt's school years at the Polytechnic Preparatory Country Day School and at Williams College, and his work at Hayden Stone, the American Stock Exchange, and the New York Economic Development Corporation, and his advocacy of the National Endowment of the Arts during the 1991-1992 funding controversy. These papers also contain materials relating to his father, Arthur Levitt, Sr., who served for 24 years as New York State Comptroller.

Series I: Cataloged Correspondence

Original letters to Levitt from US congressmen and US and foreign government members.

Series II: Arranged Correspondence

Subseries II.1: Originals

includes some emails and faximiles. Most correspondence from SEC Correspondence 1993 - 2001scrapbook. Anonimous correspondence filed first.

Subseries II.2: Congressional photocopies.

These materials were part of additions, donated by A. Levitt in 2002. Photocopies of SEC chairman correspondence with members of US Senate and US House of Representatives. Fisrt folder contains index for this subseries. Subject files, arranged alphabetically by policy topic. Also includes transcripts of congressional hearings and background materials.

Subseries II.3: SEC Copy Correspondence

Series consists of photocopies of incoming and outgoing correspondence of Levitt as a SEC chairman. Letters are in original order - cronological (by outgoing correspondence) with threads grouped together. Thus incoming letters are usually filed immediately following the corresponding outgoing reply. In some cases incoming letters are filed both separately under their original arrival date and after the response. Correspondence, both external and internal, often includes lengthy attachments. Series is indexed by last name. (see SEC Correspondence Index) People referred to by their first name only are not indexed. Attachments, including enclosed letters to/from third parties are not indexed.

Series III: Speeches and Testimonies

Subseries III.1: SEC Speeches

Computer printouts of speeches, delivered by A. Levitt Jr. during his SEC tenure.

Subseries III.2: Congressional Testimonies

Computer printouts of Congressional Testimonies by Arthur Levitt Jr. as SEC chairman

Subseries III.3: Pre-SEC

Texts and drafts of speeches and testimonies by A. Levitt, 1969 - 1993.

Subseries III.4: Post-SEC

Texts and drafts of speeches and testimonies by A. Levitt, 2001 - 2007.

Series IV: Speeches Background Material

Printed materials, speeches by others with associated correspondence, notes and drafts relating to specific subjects and to public speaking in general.

Subseries IV.1: Individual Speakers' files

Individual files with speaches' texts by selected speakers

Subseries IV.2: Various speakers

Arranged alphabetically

Subseries IV.3: Drafts and Background Information

Speech drafts, notes, printed material, quotes, memos etc used as background for speeches. Arranged by subject.

Series V: Biographical & Articles About Levitt

Contains materials from Levitt's school years, pre-sec employment,TV appearances, honors.

Series VI: Printed Materials

Subseries VI.1: Periodicals and broshures

These materials were part of additions, donated by A. Levitt in 2002. They represent contents of original scrapbooks, created by A. Levitt. Materials are in original chronological order.

Subseries VI.2: News Clippings

Subseries VI.3: Books

Series VII: Arthur Levitt Sr. Papers

Papers relating to father, NY State Comptroller Arthur Levitt Sr. See Audiovisual - Photos and Audio subseries for audiovisual materials related to A. Levitt Sr.

Series VIII: Audiovisual Records

Series consists of 127 VHS tapes and 9 Audiotapes. Arranged Chronologically. Duplicate tapes are at the end of the series

Subseries VIII.1: Video

Subseries VIII.2: Audio

Subseries VIII.3: Photographs

Series IX: Digital Materials

These materials were part of additions, donated by A. Levitt in 2002 and 2014.

Series X: SEC Work Files

All files in this series were part of additions, donated by A. Levitt in 2002. Original titles. General SEC subject files are followed by subseries arranged alphabetically by office of origin or subject.

Subseris X.1: General

Subseris X.2: Auditors' Independence

Files arranged chronologically by starting date.

Subseris X.3: Division of Corporate Finance

Files arranged chronologically by starting date.

Subseris X.4: Division of Enforcement

Files arranged chronologically by starting date.

Subseris X.5: Division of Investment Management

Files arranged chronologically by starting date.

Subseris X.6: Division of Market Regulation

Files arranged chronologically by starting date.

Subseris X.7: International Accounting Standards Committee

Files arranged chronologically by starting date.

Subseris X.8: Office of Chief Accountant

Files arranged chronologically by starting date.

Subseris X.9: Office of Compliance, Inspection and Examination

Files arranged chronologically by starting date.

Subseris X.10: Office of General Council

Files arranged chronologically by starting date.

Subseris X.11: Office of Investor Education and Assistance

Files arranged chronologically by starting date.

Subseris X.12: Office of Municipal Securities

Files arranged chronologically by starting date.

Series XI: NEA Controversy

Arthur Levitt strongly advocated continued public funding for NEA without content restriction. Files arranged chronologically by starting date.

Series XII: Oversized Documents

Series XIII: SEC Correspondents Index

This index desribes Arranged Correspondence - SEC Photocopies subseries

Return to top

Using the Collection

Offsite

Access Restrictions

This collection has no restrictions.

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

      offsite requestMore information and link to off-site request form

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Arthur Levitt Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Return to top

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Papers Processed 07/12/2002 JG/HR

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion June 26, 2009 Finding aid written in English.
    2010-02-16 Legacy finding aid created from Pro Cite.

Return to top

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Articles.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Audiotapes.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Certificates.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Memorandums.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Notes.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Photographs.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Reports.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Speeches.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Videotapes.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Subjects

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
American Stock ExchangePortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Civil service.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hayden, Stone & Co.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Levitt, Arthur, 1900-1980.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
National Endowment for the Arts.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
New York City Economic Development Corporation.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Polytechnic Preparatory Country Day School.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Securities industry--Laws and legislationPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Stockbrokers.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States.--Securities and Exchange Commission.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Williams College.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Return to top

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Levitt, the 25th Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, was first appointed by President Clinton in July of 1993 and reappointed to a second five-year term in May of 1998. The longest serving Chairman in the history of the Commission, Arthur Levitt retired from the SEC on Feb. 9th 2001.

The SEC is an independant, nonpartisan, quasijudicial regulatory agency with responsibility for administering the federal securities laws. The purpose of these laws is to protect investors in securities markets that operate fairly and to ensure that investors have access to disclosure of all material information concerning publicly traded securities. The Commission also regulates firms engaged in the purchase or sale of securities, people who provide investment advice, and investment companies. Five Commissioners sit on the SEC with one designated as chairman by the President of the United States.

Key successes of Levitt's first term include reforming the debt markets, improving broker sales and pay practices, promoting the use of plain English in investment literature as well as in SEC communications with the public, preserving the independence of the private sector standard setting process, ensuring the independence of accountants, and encouraging foreign companies to list on U.S. markets.

During Chairman Levitt's tenure, the SEC established the Office of Investor Education and Assistance and created the SEC's World Wide Web site, one of the most popular on the internet, which allows the SEC to make all corporate filings available to the public free of charge. Chairman Levitt has been supportive of high-tech and online securities trading. He supported passage of both the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act in 1998 and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act in the 104th Congress. These bills are designed to reduce the number of frivolous class action lawsuits brought primarily against high tech companies in the computer, internet, and biotech industries.

Chairman Levitt has also sought to raise the industry's sales prectice standards and eliminate the conflicts of interest in how brokers are compensated. During his tenure at the SEC, Levitt worked to protect the interests of the individual investor, which manifested itself most clearly in the passage of Regulation FD. Regulation FD, which went into effect in October 2000, mandates that public companies must broadly disseminate material non-public information simultaneously to all investors. In the wake of Regulation FD, webcasting of company conference calls and other investment events has emerged as one of the most efficient and effective ways companies can help immunize themselves against potential selective disclosure issues.

The SEC has worked to sever ties between political campaign contributions and minicipal underwriting business, a practice known as pay-to-play, as well as improving the disclosure and transparency of the municipal bond market. Chairman Levitt tried to introduce rules barring CPA firms from providing consulting services to their audit clients, believing that consulting feed offer an unhealthy temptation to professional services firms that conduct certified audits. Levitt's initiatives were ment with a determined lobbying effort by the accounting industry. Eventually Levitt was forced to water down his proposals and he accepted a requirement that made companies disclose the dollar amount of the audit and consulting fees that they pay.

The Commission, together with the industry, has developed the Profile Prospectus and other plain English guidelines for investment products in an effort to make disclosure documents easier to understand without compromising the value of the information provided to investors.

Before joining the Commission, Mr Levitt owned Roll Call, a newspaper that covers Capitol Hill. From 1989 to 1993, he served as the Chairman of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. And from 1978 to 1989, he was the Chairman of the American Stock Exchange. Prior to joining the American Stock Exchange, Mr Levitt worked on Wall Street for 16 years, serving as a president for Carter Berlind & Weill and Shearson Hayden Stone, Inc. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College in 1952 before serving for two years in the Air Force.

Return to top