1796.012: Plan of the Mutual Assurance Society against Fire.

Published: 1796

Full Title: Explanations of the plan "of the Mutual Assurance Society against fire on buildings of the state of Virginia", established the 26th of December, 1795, agreeable to law."

Author: Mutual Assurance Society Against Fire on Buildings of the State of Virginia

Place Issued: Richmond

Issuing Press: Uncertain

Description: 1 sheet [1 pg.]; 26 cm. x 22 cm. (broadside).


This Society was incorporated by an act of the Assembly in December 1794; its first year was devoted to accumulating the subscription of three million dollars required under the act, so its organizational meeting was not held until December 24, 1795; this title is one of the initial corporate publications issued in the wake of that meeting. The broadside appears to be a cover letter used in distributing two other initial titles – the society's constitution (1796.013) and its standard policy form (1796.014) – to the branch offices in Petersburg, Fredericksburg, Staunton, Alexandria, Winchester, and Norfolk; this sheet is signed in print by William F. Ast (William Frederick Ast, d. 1807), the Prussian-born Richmond merchant who was the society's principal agent and founder; Ast's letter is dated: "Richmond, February 12, 1796," hence the dating of these parts of the opening distribution. Title lacks printer credit, as with all of the Society's imprints; the subscription form that Ast circulated in January 1795 (1795.003) was attributed to Samuel Pleasants who was, at that time, principally a job-printer; that form established a precedent for the society to employ unnamed job-printers to produce its standardized forms (mostly assurance declarations). The archive division of the Library of Virginia is the principal repository of the society's records from 1795 to 1869, comprising thousands of such printed forms, all without attribution. Only recorded copy of this broadside comes from that collection at the Library of Virginia.

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