1796.013: Constitution of the Mutual Assurance Society against Fire.

Published: 1796

Full Title: Constitution, rules and regulations of the Mutual-Assurance Society, against fire on buildings of the State of Virginia as hereby agreed upon by the subscribers...at a meeting held at Richmond, by adjournments, the 26th Dec. 1795.

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

Place Issued: Richmond

Issuing Press: Uncertain

Description: 1 sheet [2 pg.]; 43 cm. (broadside, printed recto and verso).


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. This title was the constitution adopted by the twenty-one underwriters who attended that meeting; this sheet was evidently distributed to the society's branch offices in Petersburg, Fredericksburg, Staunton, Alexandria, Winchester, and Norfolk with two other initial titles: a cover letter explaining the concept of mutual assurance (1796.012) and its standard policy form (1796.014).William Frederick Ast (d. 1807) was the society's Prussian-born principal agent and its founder. 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.

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