Established in 1940, the organization's founding members consisted of many of the leading jockeys of the day including Eddie Arcaro, Ray Workman, Johnny Longden, Alfred Robertson, Charley Kurtsinger, Red Pollard and Harry Richards. The Jockeys' Guild founding board was made up of:
* Harry C. Richards - President
* Lester Balaski - 1st Vice President
* Eddie Arcaro - 2nd Vice President
* Raymond Workman - 3rd Vice President
* Irving Anderson - Treasurer
On February 24, 2001, the Thoroughbred Times published an article captioned A debt of remembrance that tells the story of the important work by jockey Tommy Luther that led to the Guild's creation. The story recounted the influence on Luther when he was part of the horrific circumstances North American jockeys lived under at the time fellow jockey Earl "Sandy" Graham was killed while racing at Polo Park Racetrack in Winnipeg, Manitoba in September 1927.