Mutual Assurance Company (Green Tree) records
Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Mutual Assurance Company for Insuring Houses from Loss by Fire was organized in Philadelphia in 1784, in order to make fire insurance available to those citizens who wished to have trees in front of their houses. Insurance for such risks was written by The Philadelphia Contributionship from the time of its formation in 1752 until 1781 when a by-law was enacted excluding houses with trees nearby from Contributionship protection. Having failed in their efforts to persuade The Contributionship to revoke the ban on trees, a group of sixty-one men met on July 8, 1784 at the City (or London) Coffee House and agreed to create a new mutual fire insurance company. A deed of settlement was adopted and a green tree was selected as a symbol to appear on the company's policies and fire marks.
At a second general meeting held on September 29, 1784, the organization of the new company was completed. A Board of Trustees of thirteen members was elected and a treasurer, a surveyor, and a clerk were named. Houses with nearby trees were expressly included as insurable but an additional premium was levied on them because of the additional risk trees were thought to represent.
The new company, organized at a time of general financial instability, issued sixty-four policies during its first year of operation. Thereafter the rate of new business was slow, the low point being reached in 1787 when only eleven new policies were written. Not until 1791 did the company show a surplus, a slender one of $86.
During its first seven years of operation The Green Tree suffered no fire losses. Having experienced a growth of underwriting beginning in the 1790s, the company entered into a long period of growing financial strength. By 1806 the surplus was $12,659; in 1819 it was $88,954; and in 1850 it had reached $414,542. In July 1850 The Green Tree was faced with the greatest fire losses in its history. A major conflagration burned over a section of Philadelphia's downtown area, the heart of Mutual's underwriting territory. Fifty-eight Green Tree policyholders presented claims totaling $95,000. These were paid off promptly, with no lasting effect on the growth of company funds. In fact, in 1912 the financial structure of the company was so sound that it (following the lead of The Contributionship) began to pay annual dividends on deposits.
The Green Tree's most important contribution to American insurance underwriting practices was the institution of the perpetual policy. Until 1801 Mutual's policies were written for a seven-year term, renewable without additional deposit provided the owner made application within a designated time period. In order to save administrative costs and especially to avoid payment of the stamp tax levied in 1799 during the turmoil of the quasi-war with France, The Green Tree began writing perpetual policies. Term insurance was phased out and perpetual insurance on preferred risks has been the Mutual Assurance Company's major field of insurance since that time.
Between 1784 and 1812, The Green Tree had no company offices; business was conducted out of the office of the clerk, and meetings of the board and policyholders were held at various inns and other public buildings. In September 1812, the company took the important step of purchasing a building at 54 Walnut Street to house its offices, accommodate the monthly meetings and dinners of the Board of Trustees, and serve as a residence for the treasurer and his family.
Mutual's offices remained at 54 Walnut until the spring of 1856 when the board, feeling that the area had become too congested and inconvenient, authorized the purchase of new quarters at 526 Walnut Street. In 1912, the company made another move. Its property at 526 Walnut was purchased by the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, and The Green Tree bought adjoining town houses at 238 and 240 South 4th Street.
Both buildings are historically and architecturally important, and they were restored and preserved as faithfully as possible by The Green Tree. The Shippen-Wistar house, as 238 South 4th is known, is the older of the two, having been built in the 1750s or 1760s by William Shippen, Sr. on land granted by the Penns to the Shippen family in 1744. Shippen was a Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress.
His son, Dr. William Shippen, Jr., probably the first occupant of the house, was director general of hospitals for the Continental Army. He later delivered the first anatomy lectures ever given in the United States, either in the Shippen-Wistar house or in an annex. Shippen was married to the former Alice Lee of Stratford Hall in Virginia, whose family became famous for its military and diplomatic leadership. Two of Alice Lee Shippen's brothers attended the Continental Congress and one was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. During the convention the Shippen household was a center of social activity, visited by George Washington and John Adams, among others.
Following family tragedies, the Shippens left the house in 1797, and in the following year it was purchased and occupied by Dr. Caspar Wistar, a member of the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania and of the staff of the Pennsylvania Hospital. Wistar was a leading member of the American Philosophical Society, succeeding Thomas Jefferson as its president. His associates at the society often gathered at the Wistar home for informal parties. So popular were these gatherings that they continued even after Wistar's death and came to be known as "Wistar Parties." The Wisteria plant was named in Dr. Wistar's honor by botanist friends.
The Cadwalader House, 240 South 4th Street, was built by Joseph Parker Norris in 1826. Norris suffered financial reverses, and the house was sold at sheriff's sale. After passing through several hands, it was bought by Judge John Cadwalader in 1837. It remained in the possession of the Cadwaladers until it was purchased by The Green Tree in 1912.
By 1980 The Green Tree was outgrowing its offices. Temporary space was rented at 206 S. Fourth Street, and a property at 232 S. Third Street was purchased with the intent of moving some divisions of the company into it. Soon recognized to be impractical, the property was sold and The Green Tree purchased a group of properties, 400-414 Walnut Street and 206 S. Fourth Street, from General Accident Insurance Company in 1985. Major renovations were undertaken. Where original features of the building existed, notably in the lobby area and on the eleventh floor, they were restored as faithfully as possible. Departments moved in gradually until the move was completed in June 1988. 414 Walnut Street became the new official headquarters of The Green Tree. The Shippen-Wistar and Cadwalader houses were sold to the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.
414 Walnut Street was built in 1924 by General Accident Insurance Company according to the plans of John Watson. The facade of the building bears the coats of arms of the various countries in which General Accident was doing business at that time. Adjoining it at 400 Walnut Street is an earlier building also built by General Accident, circa 1906. The Green Tree provided access to this building on several different floors. 206 S. Fourth Street is an earlier townhouse, built circa 1840 and converted to office use.
Throughout its long history, members of the Mutual's Board of Trustees were drawn from leaders of Philadelphia's business and professional circles. Two early members, Matthew Clarkson (trustee, 1784-1800) and Robert Wharton (trustee, 1792-1830) were mayors of the city. The names Cadwalader, Mitchell, Norris, Biddle, and Wister recur on the list of trustees. There have been fifteen treasurers since the company was organized, of whom five have been members of the Lewis family. From 1833, when Lawrence Lewis became treasurer until Clifford Lewis Jr. retired in 1946, the office was occupied continuously by Lewises.
In 1949 The Stock Insurance Company of The Green Tree was organized by The Mutual Assurance Company. A wholly owned subsidiary, it formed to write extended coverage on houses insured against loss by fire by the Mutual. Its records are a part of the archives of The Mutual Assurance Company. In 1986 The Stock Insurance Company of The Green Tree changed its name to The Green Tree Insurance Company; in 1988 this company began writing a term homeowners policy. A downstream holding company, The Green Tree Companies, Inc., formed in 1986; the companies which comprise this group are: American Loyalty Insurance Company, Old Dominion Insurance Company, The Green Tree Insurance Company and The Mutual Assurance Company.
In 1988 The Mutual Assurance Company purchased Valley Insurance Company, which was located in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Formerly Valley Mutual Insurance Company, Valley was the result of a merger of five small farm mutuals operating in Cumberland and Franklin counties: Franklin County Mutual Insurance Company, Friendship Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Franklin County, Lurgan Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Franklin County, Centennial Mutual Fire Insurance Company and Cumberland Valley Farmers' Mutual Fire Insurance Company. The records of these companies, once a part of the archives of The Mutual Assurance Company, were given to the Cumberland County Historical Society but in 2013 were transferred to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania as a separate collection. Valley Insurance Company wrote homeowners, business owners, and farm owners insurance policies on a term basis. In 1990 The Mutual Assurance Company closed the office in Shippensburg and moved the insurance operations to the Philadelphia office. Valley merged into The Green Tree Insurance Company in 1992. This acquisition gave The Green Tree entree into the commercial insurance market. The company's business owners' policy (BOP) is written through Valley Insurance Company.
In 1989 The Mutual Assurance Company purchased American Loyalty Insurance Company from the Continental Corporation. American Loyalty, which was licensed in more than thirty states, principally sold homeowners insurance through mortgage lending companies as well as flood insurance. The company remained in Columbus, Ohio until 1990, when it moved to Gahanna outside of Columbus. In 1994 that office was closed and operations moved to Philadelphia.
Old Dominion Insurance Company was purchased by The Mutual Assurance Company in 1991. This company, headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, writes homeowners, ocean marine, inland marine, and private passenger and commercial automobile insurance and commercial multi-peril packages.
In 1996 The Mutual Assurance Company and its various subsidiaries merged into National Grange Mutual Insurance Company (NGM), headquartered in Keene, New Hampshire. The Mutual Assurance Company's perpetual policies continued in force, having been assumed by National Grange. In 2005, the company was converted to a mutual holding company structure, with NGM Insurance Company as the flagship carrier of the Main Street America Group.
The company archives of The Mutual Assurance Company, familiarly known as The Green Tree, consist of financial accounts and receipts, correspondence, histories, cancelled insurance surveys and policies, and miscellaneous material. The papers date from the formation of the company in 1784 to 1995.
The archival records of The Green Tree are arranged in five major sections: A. Histories of the company, research notes, and eighteenth and nineteenth century general papers; B. Minutes of meetings and related records; C. Cancelled surveys and cancelled policies; D. General papers, including correspondence; E. Financial records and receipts. The company archives also include fifty-eight volumes of treasurer's accounts, cash books, street registers, etc. In addition there are 151 volumes of manuscript and typescript records, which include original and typescript copies of the minutes of meetings of the Board of Trustees, copies of the company's annual reports to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, ledgers, cash books, and other financial records.
Gift of National Grange Mutual Insurance Company, 1996.
This is a lightly edited version of the finding aid that was compiled in the late 1990s. The finding aid was entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Garrett Boos and edited by Matthew Lyons, primarily for spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and to eliminate redundancy. References to materials retained by the company or stored elsewhere have also been edited to indicate that they may no longer be current.
The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.
Box D9 was not found during the most recent review of the collection.
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- Finding Aid Date
- December 2013
- The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use, except for Box D38a (Salaries, 1941-1947), which is closed to researchers until 2022.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
Because of The Green Tree's long unbroken record of providing property insurance in and around Philadelphia, the homogeneity and continuity of the membership of the Board of Trustees and staff over nearly two centuries, and the persistence of tradition in the company's management and routine, there has been considerable interest in the history of the company.
The Green Tree is the subject of two manuscript histories, copies of which are deposited in the company archives. These are "The Green Tree: Its Town and Times" by Owen Wister and "The Green Tree Grows in Philadelphia" by Clifford Lewis, Jr. These manuscripts, together with related correspondence, drafts, research notes, background material, etc., totaling six documents cases, comprise part of Section A of The Green Tree archives.
Owen Wister, 1860-1938, a well known author, was elected a trustee of The Green Tree in 1899 and chairman of the board in 1925. In Mr. Wister undertook the task of preparing a brief historical sketch of The Green Tree for publication and distribution in honor of the company's 150th anniversary. Once his research was underway, Mr. Wister enlarged his purpose, deciding to write a full scale history of the company set in perspective in relation to contemporary local and national events. This work was unfinished at the time of Wister's death in 1938. Wister's manuscript appears to have been completed or nearly completed in substance. It is apparent, however, that the author did not have an opportunity to revise or edit the draft.
A second attempt at writing a full scale history of The Green Tree was undertaken by Clifford Lewis, Jr. about a decade later. Lewis, treasurer of the Mutual from 1926-1946, was the fifth member of his family to hold that position. His ancestor, Lawrence Lewis, was named treasurer in 1933; and his grandfather, father, and brother preceded him in office. Moreover, several other ancestors served as members of the Board of Trustees, including the first board. Mr. Lewis was profoundly interested in the history of the company because of his own employment, his family's long association with it, and a temperamental bent toward historical research. Mr. Lewis spent a decade between his retirement in 1946 and his death in 1956 completing and perfecting his research, organizing and tabulating notes, and drafting chapters and parts of chapters in preparation for writing the history. He was aided in his research by Marjorie Robertson Maurer, his secretary and assistant. When Mr. Lewis died in 1956, Mrs. Maurer, at the request of the treasurer and a committee of the board, undertook to compile and draft a history of The Green Tree based for the most part on Mr. Lewis's research. Incorporating some additional research of her own, Mrs. Maurer completed her manuscript in May of 1957. The ribbon copy of the manuscript, entitled "The Green Tree Grows in Philadelphia," 230 pages typescript bound in leather loose leaf binders, was retained at the Green Tree's offices in Philadelphia. (N. B. Interleaved in these volumes were photocopies of some ninety-eight items gathered from Mutual's records and other sources for use as illustrations. The original documents have been placed in folders in Box A-2.1 in the archives. A list of these documents has been inserted in the front of the first volume of the manuscript.)
Mr. Lewis was a meticulous researcher with a preference for the accurate over the colorful. His history is based upon research in the minutes of the Board of Trustees, treasurer's reports, receipts, correspondence, and other archival records of the Mutual, oral tradition of the Lewis family and The Green Tree's Board of Directors, contemporary newspapers, and general histories of Philadelphia and the United States.
In celebration of the company's bicentennial Carol Wojtowicz wrote a third history of the company which was published in two parts, the first in 1984 and the second in 1985. They were mailed to policyholders in 1984 and 1985 with annual meeting materials. In 1984 the emphasis was placed upon the people who formed the Green Tree, governed, and staffed it over the years and the ways in which they influenced its growth. In 1985 Carol Wojtowicz examined the external influences on the company's development: economic, social and political.
The company also published two full-length books; The Architectural Surveys, in 1976 and the Catalogue of The Green Tree Collection, as its contribution to the Bicentennial celebration of the United States. They retained Dr. Anthony N. B. Garvan to write the books. The Architectural Surveys reproduced the first ten years of the company's extant surveys together with information on the early policyholders and the history of the policy. An extensive prologue placed the founding of the company in context, describing other insurance ventures, fire prevention efforts, the background of influential founders, and aspects of Philadelphia life. Garvan also provides a brief analysis of Philadelphia architecture as revealed through The Green Tree documents and a synopsis of early office procedures. The company initially planned to publish a second volume of surveys from 1794 to 1801, when the seven-year renewable surveys were discontinued. This was never accomplished although research on those policies and policyholders was done.
Boxes A15 and A16 contain sundry eighteenth and early nineteenth century papers. Except for cancelled policies and surveys, the minutes of meetings of the Board of Trustees (which are terse and devoid of extraneous information and detail), and early financial records, there is little pre-twentieth century material in the archives of The Green Tree. The several moves of the company's offices probably account in part for this. In addition, during its first century of operation the Mutual wrote insurance only on houses within very narrow geographic limits, and most of the company's business was consequently conducted in person.
Included are a ribbon copy and a positive photocopy of the typescript, plus two folders of related correspondence and other material. The typescript is 291 double-spaced pages plus twenty-nine additional pages that could not be fitted into the body of the typescript. There are two different versions of pages 9-16. Accompanying the manuscript is a six-page typed analysis entitled "Comments on Manuscript The Green Tree: Its Town and Times." These observations are dated July 12, 1939, and are unsigned, but references within the accompanying correspondence make clear that it is the work of Clifford Lewis, Jr. The first page of the "Comments" consists of a narrative evaluation of the manuscript as a whole. The remainder consists of specific criticisms referenced by letter to passages of the manuscript. These are indicated on the photocopy of the manuscript. In addition, there is one folder of correspondence (about forty items, 1934-1939) regarding the writing and possible publication of the book. Included are typed letters, carbon copies, and autograph letters by Owen Wister, Clifford Lewis, Jr., James D. Winsor, Richard Wood, Theodore W. Reath, and Owen J. Wister, son of the author and an executor of his estate. The posthumous correspondence concerns the possible revision, enlargement, and publication of the manuscript. For various reasons, this was not done.
The ribbon copy of the typescript, entitled 'The Green Tree Grows in Philadelphia," 230 pages bound in leather loose leaf binders, was retained at the Green Tree's offices in Philadelphia. (Interleaved in these volumes were photocopies of some ninety-eight items gathered from Mutual's records and other sources for use as illustrations. The original documents have been placed in folders. A list of these documents has been inserted in the front of the first volume of the manuscript.)
Includes a detailed table of contents, index, bibliography, list of trustees, and the ribbon copy of an earlier draft of 211 pages, plus a twenty-two page fragment. In addition there are two versions of a typescript pieced together from Mr. Lewis's notes, drafts, studies, and articles. These, compiled under Mr. Lewis's working title for his history "The Log of The Green Tree," contain much of the information which later was incorporated into "The Green Tree Grows in Philadelphia." However, it also contains some information which is not to be found in the later version.
Ernest Spofford of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania was commissioned by The Green Tree to prepare the biographies. The first folder of biographies contains an alphabetical list of trustees, 1784-1952, and a chronological list of trustees, presiding officers, and treasurers. Also included in Box A3 is a register of meetings of the trustees showing dates and places of meeting and attendance. There is a typescript and photocopy of studies by Mr. Lewis on the following topics: The Archives of The Green Tree; The Perpetual Policies of The Green Tree; Growth of Funds; Insurance in Force; Ages of Policies; Statistical Material, 1784-1934; and The Biography of Policy #2186.
Offices and Meeting Places of The Green Tree; Yellow Fever; Currency, Banks, and Banking; Policies and Policyholders; Fires and Firefighting; Funds of The Green Tree; Donations and Contributions; the Shippen-Wistar and Cadwalader Houses; McCall House (insured by Mutual Assurance Company Policy #1); Dickinson House (home of a leading Revolutionary figure); Early Clerks and Superintendents. There are also three folders of extracts from newspapers of the 1780s; extracts from the Minutes of the Board of Trustees, 1784-1803; a resume of Minutes; and a folder regarding the Deed of Settlement, including various printed versions. Finally there are three folders of biographical material, two of which are arranged alphabetically and one that includes information regarding trustees.
Examples: the City Tavern, rewards for exertions at fires; news of Philadelphia. Much of this data has been incorporated in the manuscript histories of The Green Tree. There is, however, a large quantity of extraneous information in these files.
A letter book containing copies of The Mutual Assurance Company's outgoing correspondence dated August 24, 1835 - November 14, 1862. There are fifty-eight letters by Lawrence Lewis and David Lewis regarding policies, mortgages, taxes, and Mutual's operating practices; a folder of approximately twenty-five letters from the fire marshall and volunteer fire and hose companies, 1812-1862; a folder of appeals for charitable and patriotic contributions (six items) 1845-1864; a folder of correspondence, etc., regarding office routine, 1793-1876; a folder of committee reports, 1805-1854; a folder of letters of members of the Board of Trustees, 1820-1845; a folder of letters regarding waiver of penalties, 1807-1841; a folder of correspondence concerning the McMurtrie Mortgage, 1785-1835; a folder of correspondence regarding mortgages and loans, 1809-1905; a letter of Matthew Clarkson dated May 6, 1794; a marine insurance policy of Robert Wharton; a folder of miscellaneous correspondence, 1806-1957; a folder of election records; a receipt book of John Clement Stocker; correspondence of Lawrence Lewis (1833-1856), of David Lewis (1856-1881), and of Clifford Lewis (1881-1919). Much of this material has been repaired and restored and many of the letters are mounted in folders. However, there are very fragile items among the material in Boxes A 15 and A 16, and they should be handled with care.
Minutes and other records relating to the meetings of the board of The Mutual Assurance Company and The Stock Insurance Company of The Green Tree, and of the committees of these boards, comprise Section B of The Mutual Assurance Company's archives. Included are thirty-two document cases of correspondence, notes, minutes, reports, and miscellaneous related material.
There are generally two sets of each minute book. The originals of these minutes are stored with other bound volumes in the archives.
Contents are varied during the early years, becoming more routine in later years. The following types of materials are irregularly present for the monthly meetings of the board; notes for minutes, drafts of minutes, financial and business activities reports, memoranda, committee reports, and correspondence relating to the meetings (mostly letters announcing meetings and responses). Similar records concern the annual meetings of policyholders and special meetings of the board. Records for more recent meetings were retained by the company. The correspondence is mostly that of the treasurer, chairman of the board, and other active members. It concerns almost exclusively Mutual Assurance Company business, with a very few personal notes and comments. There are approximately 5-20 letters by Owen Wister in this material. These records are filed chronologically by year only, as is much of Section B.
This is mostly routine material consisting of correspondence of the treasurer, committee members and Mutual's brokers regarding transactions, meetings, and investment practice and philosophy. In addition there are notes and memoranda regarding the meetings, a smattering of printed business surveys and reports, and records of security transactions (irregularly present) and other financial reports. These records are filed chronologically by year only. There are two folders of memoranda, correspondence, confirmations, etc., regarding security transactions, 1961-1966, filed separately at the end of the Finance Committee chronological material in Box B22.
This consist of correspondence, reports, memoranda, minutes, etc. regarding Mutual's charitable contributions. There are interesting letters soliciting gifts, reflecting corporate philosophy and individual opinion about philanthropy, and concerning tax benefits. There are also lists showing the record of Mutual's charitable contributions throughout its history. Later listings of charitable contributions made can be found in the Board minutes generally made at the December meeting.
This is largely correspondence with a lesser amount of memoranda and miscellaneous material. Early material is irregular and is general in subject matter. Material from the late 1930s and 1940s is more substantive, regarding the scope of The Green Tree's operations, relations with the Insurance Department of Pennsylvania, the payment of commissions to brokers, wording of policies, interpretation of the charter and deed of settlement, and other legal and policy matters. An important part of the correspondence is that of the legal counsel, Theodore W. Reath.
Boxes B26-B30 concern the meetings of the board and include memoranda, agenda, minutes, a slight amount of correspondence, and reports of the financial status and security transactions of the Stock Company. The remainder of the Stock Company material in boxes B31 and B32 consists of a box and a half of records of the Finance Committee, 1949-1970, which is almost entirely summaries of security holdings; and a folder of memoranda, 1959-1965, concerning the Insurance Committee.
A highly important component of The Mutual Assurance Company's archives is the 205 document case collection of cancelled surveys and policies. These represent a continuous, and surprisingly complete, record of the company's early term (1784-1801) and perpetual insurance business from the time of its inception until the present.
Prepared by surveyors employed by the company, the surveys provide descriptive information regarding the insured property in varying detail. Typically the descriptions include dimensions, type of construction, and architectural features. This may be amplified by sketches of floor plans information about the use the structure, descriptions of auxiliary buildings, etc. Later surveys also include photographs. Information regarding fire protection and unusual risks attendant upon the structure is usually included. In numerous cases, resurveys have been made to update earlier appraisals. Many of the surveys have been annotated to indicate alterations to the structure or modification in the nature of the risk.
Approximately 50% of the surveys for policies issued before 1801 (when the perpetual policy was adopted) survive. A partial list of missing surveys is included in Box C1. This was compiled from notes interfiled with the surveys, probably indicating that the staff or an outside researcher at some time had a need for the surveys cited.
A few interesting surveys and policies were removed from the archives for display in exhibits throughout the company's offices at 414 Walnut Street or as illustrative material for Mr. Lewis' history.
Many of the earlier surveys and policies are in very fragile condition and should be handled with care.
An index to the cancelled surveys and policies, done in the 1930s and kept current through the mid-1970s, is interfiled in HSP's PC 4c card catalog. There are frequent notations to "Map no." or "Sanbourn, p." Some of the company's twentieth century surveyors marked insured properties on the Sanbourn maps. Those maps form a part of the archives. (For Oak Lane policies -64th Street -78th Street check the North 32nd-73rd street files.)
There are also rolls of microfilm of surveys of the Mutual Assurance Company done by the National Park Service in 1956.
The following surveys are missing: Policy Nos. 5433, 7104, and 7963.
Policy No. 3663 is now Policy No. 9024. Similarly Policy No. 4486 is now 8465; No. 4569 is 6748; No. 4805 is 8420; No. 4812 is 6157; No. 4985 is 8893; No. 6892 is 6839; No. 7104 is 8372; and No. 7864 is 2237.
Policy No. 2074 has been renubered from 926. Similarly No. 2254 from 689-690; No. 2255 from 845-848; No. 2271 from 1094.
Some surveys have been reinsured under different numbers. Policy No. 2031 was originally Nos. 882 and 883; No. 2166 was originally 1545; No. 2264 was originally Nos. 815 and 816; and No. 2273 was originally 1073.
Surveys 2036, see earlier surveys for term policies 209-210.
Surveys are filed numerically by policy number. (Some of the early surveys have survey numbers which are at variance with their policy numbers. These have been disregarded for the purposes of filing since the great majority of surveys have been assigned the policy number.) There is one box containing surveys of what appear to be properties that were never insured. There are also some miscellaneous papers pertaining to surveys. These surveys need to be unfolded, foldered and indexed.
Surveys are filed numerically. A rough count of policies up to Policy Number 2267 (the oldest active policy) indicates that approximately 10% are missing. Policies include the address of the property, the date of coverage, the amount of insurance and the rate of premium. They may or may not provide a brief description of the property. Many are annotated (some very extensively) indicating transfer of ownership or alterations of the risk. The date of cancellation, and occasionally the reason, is noted.
These policies were all issued after 1949 when the company was formed. The early policies provided extended coverage and additional extended coverage on properties covered by Mutual fire insurance policies. The later polices are the first perpetual homeowners policies first written through the Stock Insurance Company.
These microfilms were created by the National Park Service in 1956. In 1984 the company converted its collection of survey negatives to a microfilm and microfiche format, as the early film which was on nitrate and acetate bases was starting to deteriorate. Images are filmed by policy number; both a positive and negative format exist for easy reference and reproduction. Full-size photographs can be printed by sending the negative image of the microfiche to a high quality photographic lab. The master copy of this microfiche is at Arca Data Security Inc.
The general papers of The Mutual Assurance Company consist of sixty-eight document cases of correspondence, memoranda and notes, circulars, and other records filed topically. Although there are occasional exceptions, by the far largest part of this material derives from the years between 1906 and 1946. Most of the papers surviving from the years before 1906 have been filed in Section A; general correspondence beginning with 1946 has not yet been brought into the archives. The bulk of the correspondence is made up of letters addressed to the treasurer and of carbon copies of his letters. Much of the material is Section D is routine, reflecting the day-to-day operations of the company. These records are generally filed alphabetically by topic.
Boxes D1.1 through D1.12 contain papers filed under the general heading "Acquisitions and Real Estate." This material is highly important in documenting the provenance of much of Mutual's furniture, china, glassware, silver, art and museum pieces as well as providing information about the acquisition and renovation of its offices. This material, in variance from the remainder of Section D, contains numerous bills, receipts and research notes deriving from Mr. Lewis's and Mrs. Maurer's study of the history of the company.
Contains material on the Shippen-Wistar and Cadwalader Houses including deeds, contracts, etc.; a 1973 architectural study of the Shippen-Wistar house by Winterthur scholar Wendy Wicks; correspondence and notes regarding the history of the houses and their early residents; bills, correspondence, etc. concerning the company offices at 526 Walnut Street and the move from there to the present offices; correspondence and other material pertaining to the organization of the Colonial Dames, tenants in the Shippen-Wistar and the Cadwalader houses before and for a brief time after the properties were acquired by Mutual; and papers relating to 404-406 Locust Street.
Includes plans, bills, correspondence, etc., pertaining to the renovation and decoration of the Shippen-Wistar and Cadwalader Houses in 1926 and alterations made in 1947 and 1957.
Includes further information regarding buildings and grounds, notably correspondence pertaining to the redevelopment of the Society Hill and Independence Hall areas and scattered committee reports of the Real Estate and Furniture Committee.
Includes files on the heating system, the vault, and the protective system, and committee reports, bills, plans, and correspondence regarding the gardens including quite a bit of material about the landscaping of Mutual's grounds in 1936. There is also a folder of material relating to the Historical Plaques affixed to the Shippen-Wistar House (including blueprints) and other plaques honoring individuals connected with the Mutual.
Contains 1934 and 1940 appraisals of Mutual's property by the Keystone Appraisal Corporation; a folder of correspondence on museum acquisitions and offerings, and another on the disposal of outdated and surplus furniture. There is a large lot of bills, letters, etc., regarding the purchase of Erskine-Danforth reproductions in the 1920s and a folder of material pertaining to the efforts of The Green Tree to purchase antique iron balconies. There are folders on the following specific topics: the Arms of England fireback, the Duncan Phyfe antique table in the board dining room, the John Wood clock, and the Canal Panels in the garden wall.
Contains inventories of furniture, glassware, etc., copies of bills, and research notes regarding the furnishing of the present and earlier offices of The Green Tree. It also contains correspondence of the Bicentennial Committee.
Contains correspondence of the Real Estate Committee from the 1970s, photographs of 240 S. Fourth St. and material pertaining to the 1983 renovations.
Contains material pertaining to the purchase of the Bishop Stevens House at 232 S. Third Street.
Contains materials pertaining to the sale of 240 S. Fourth Street in 1988.
Contains material pertaining to the purchase of 414 Walnut Street including the National Register Nomination form, correspondence and drawings from Cynthia Drayton, and correspondence pertaining to The Green Tree sign. A supplemental volume contains information on the financing, renovations and acquisitions. An additional volume contains contractors' specifications for renovations. This box was retained by NGM.
Contains deeds and properties of title for 400-414 Walnut Street as well as some of The Mutual's earlier offices. (Deeds for 400 - 414 Walnut Street were retained by NGM.)
Contains the materials pertaining to the Agreement of Sale for Old Dominion Insurance Company in 1989. (This box was retained by NGM.)
Internal Green Tree memos pertaining to the acquisition of American Loyalty in 1989 in addition to some advertising materials showing their affiliation as a Green Tree company
Contains correspondence, samples, memoranda, etc. (including a 1908 booklet issued by The Green Tree), as well as "A Comparative Study of the TV Commercials of Green Tree and the National Associations of Health and Life Insurance Companies" prepared for Dechert Price & Rhoads as part of the trademark suit (Box D2.1). Box D2.4 contains articles from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s from other publications referring to The Green Tree.
(General information, including 1967 correspondence with Winterthur about the photography of Mutual holdings for their collection of photographs of American Art before 1900; for material regarding Mutual's collection of portraits, see Box D36); Audits (audit reports are filed in Section E); Banks; and Bonds.
Including insurance brokers (there is a folder of material regarding the payment of commissions to brokers, a controversial subject at the Mutual) and securities brokers; the offer of insurance on the James Buchanan house in Lancaster, PA, the subject of some correspondence in 1944; buildings and grounds (covering real estate owned by The Green Tree other than its office buildings); and solicitations of business (mostly dating from the 1950s).
Solicitations, summaries of contributions, etc.; see also papers regarding the Committee on Charitable Contributions in Section B.
Late nineteenth century reviews of the treasurers' accounts, eighteenth and nineteenth century parchment deeds on property other than Green Tree offices.
Guest lists, receipts for food, beverages, etc. letters of acceptance and regret in response to Green Tree invitations, menus, etc., pertaining to Mutual's monthly trustees' dinners and annual policyholders' luncheons and outside dinners.
See also Boxes D30 and D31 for early lists of Voters.
Finances (including work sheets, statistics, and Clifford Lewis, Jr.'s Forecast of Growth of Funds); fire departments; the Fire Insurance Patrol; and fire marks (including important material about the acquisition of fire marks by The Mutual and the distribution of reproductions of early fire marks).
Guide books, clippings, circulars, etc. on Philadelphia and particularly the Society Hill and Independence Hall areas. Guidebooks listing the Mutual offices are included.
Garden parties; general meetings and proxies (see also proxies in Boxes D36 and D37); and history (mostly letters requesting and providing information about the history of the company and related subjects).
See also files on trustees who served as counsel such as John Cadwalader, Theodore Reath, and George Munson, and Lists of Voters in Nineteenth Century elections of the Board of Trustees.
Lists of voters; lightning clause; maps and correspondence about maps; miscellaneous correspondence; and inquiries about The Mutual Assurance Company (mostly generated by a 1950s newspaper advertising campaign; also included are inquiries about houses covered by early Green Tree surveys including Franklin's house and the "President's House").
Mutual Assurance Company inquiries; Mutual Insurance Institute; office maintenance; the old companies; and open house.
Includes personnel files pertaining to Marie Remi and George Klein, two employees who were assisted during their retirement years by The Green Tree although they retired before any formal pension plan had been adopted. There are also personnel-related items: employee handbooks, and newsletters.
Philadelphia Contributionship (pamphlets, letters, and historical material); Philadelphia on Parade, a 1936 exposition of Philadelphia businesses (circulars, correspondence, etc.).
Includes policies (including a history of Policy Number 1743, which lay dormant for many years then surfaced with a twentieth century loss, a claim which was paid by Mutual); portraits (requests for information about, loan and sale of Mutual portraits; appraisals; correspondence about insurance, storage, and restoration); proxies (including negative responses on the 1950 question of the contribution of company funds to the Community Chest, the Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania, and the YWCA).General Physical Description note
Proxies; publications (mostly questionnaires form business publications and a few publications with articles about The Green Tree); resolutions; and riders.
Salaries (1925-1933); state regulations; statements (1914-1918); audit reports and statements to the Insurance Commission, (1907-1911).
Includes reports on: non-lineal transfers; 1947 report to the trustees; policies assigned as collateral; unprotected policies; risks (listed by class); cancellable and noncancellable policies; losses, 1926-1951; losses, 1944-1956; and deposits and dividends.
Statistical reports on Losses, 1954, and Cancellations, 1944- 1953; taxes, mostly regarding federal income taxes.
Taxes; transfers; treasurers (with folders of correspondence, speeches, etc. of Treasurers David Lewis, Clifford Lewis, Jr., and J. Morgan Denison); trustees-general correspondence, obituaries and memorials (see also files of individuals trustees); and trustees' powers, including the authority to invest the funds of the company.
Recent trustee files have been retained by NGM.
Research notes, reminiscences, correspondence, etc. regarding the toast to the memory of George Washington which traditionally ends the Trustees' monthly dinners, Washington's visit to the Shippen-Wister House, and other material regarding Washington.
The financial records of The Mutual Assurance Company Archives consist of ninety-seven document cases of receipts, reports, accounts, etc. These are supplemented by bound financial records stored in the company archives (see attached inventory). It should be particularly noted that certain bills and receipts, especially those pertaining to acquisitions of furnishings, decorative pieces, and museum items, have been removed from the financial records and are filed with the general papers, mostly under heading "acquisitions", but a few may be found under particular topics such as "portraits." Check also the individual object files in the file cabinet in the outer office.
The various routine receipts from company files have not been consolidated and filed in strictly chronological order. Therefore it may be necessary to consult folders in several boxes in order to see all of the receipts from a given period.
Boxes E46-E95 contain bills and receipts of various types. Most of these are for routine costs and business expenses.
The earliest of the treasurer's accounts have been restored and rebound in a folder along with other financial records of the eighteenth century. (Treasurer's accounts 1912-1934 and 1960-1971 constitute volumes 110-112 in this collection.)
Four of these (E30-E33) contain balance sheets, reports of accounts, stock accounts, and property records from the years 1831 through 1869. E34 consists of stock accounts from the years 1870-1904; E35 contains balance sheets, 1870-1910; and E36 includes schedules of property (biannual lists of mortgages held by the company), 1878-1909; Box E37 contains statements of insurance business, 1870-1910; and lists of fire losses, 1870-1910. Box E38 includes condensed statements of receipts and payments from the years 1905-1910; lists of assets 1872-1910; lists of mortgages, 1872-1, and stock accounts, 1905-1910. Box E39 contains mortgages, titled searches, and powers of attorney, 1805-1904. Box E40 includes bonds, leases, etc., 1828- 1858; and sundry blueprints, titles, and specifications, 1829-1873. Box E41 contains records of deposits for insurance, 1792-1796; insurance withdrawals and refunds, 1811-1815; receipted checks, 1838-1839; and receipted payments, 1816-1919. Box E42 includes contractors' bills, 1830-1862, and receipted payments, April 1833-September 1834. Boxes E43 and E44 contain records of contributions to Volunteer Fire Companies, and Box 45 includes Annual reports 1870-1919 and a few receipted bills.
These contain authorizations for payment signed by members of the Board of Trustees. Bills for miscellaneous operating expenses, purchases of supplies, furnishings, fire losses, etc. are tipped in.
These cover only about one month of expenses from each year. They were retained as examples of petty cash expenditures; the remainder of the petty cash vouchers from these years were destroyed as part of the scheduled destruction program of office records.
All minutes of The Mutual Assurance Company and The Stock Insurance Company of The Green Tree, including both board and committee minutes from 1973 through 1995, were retained by NGM.
In this section are included oral history tapes and transcripts as well as company related videotapes, tapes of radio advertisements and photographs of company buildings and employees.
Transcripts and notes of: Clifford Lewis III, J. Ray McLane (past president of American Loyalty Insurance Company), Conrad Choynacky (Green Tree surveyor), and Anthony Mackiewicz (Green Tree controller).
This section contains samples of miscellaneous advertising materials, policy holders Christmas card communication material, Law & Charter information, Sanborn maps, recently cancelled policies and surveys (1983-1996), oversized graphics and newspapers.
These papers and volumes were omitted from the original finding aid but were later appended.
All these atlases can be found in HSP's Discover online catalog and most can be paged as part of this collection. Call numbers for some volumes that were listed but not linked to the Mutual Assurance collection are included. Atlases with an asterisk (*) were annotaed by the company.
*Property Atlas: Main Line Pennsylvania Railroad from Overbrook to Paoli, Bromley 1926.
Property Atlas, Main Line, Pennsylvania Railroad from Overbrook to Paoli, A. H. Mueller, 1908.
Fire Zone Maps, corrected to 1932. (annotated, but no policy numbers)
*North Penn Atlas ( Montgomery County) A. H. Mueller, 1916.
Property Atlas of Cheltenham, Abington, Springfield... A. H. Mueller, 1909. (call number 0 .672)
Map of Delaware County; Franklin Survey Company.
Atlas of Cheltenham, Abington & Springfield Townships, Montgomery County, A. H. Mueller, 1897.
Map of Philadelphia & Camden, C. S. Wertsner, 1931.
Atlas of Philadelphia & Its Environs, 1877, Hopkins. (call number O .725)
City Atlas of Philadelphia, 23rd Ward, v. 3, 1876, Hopkins.
Atlas of 22nd Ward, Philadelphia, Hopkins, 1885.
City Atlas of Philadelphia, Hopkins, volume 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. c. 1875-1876.
Atlas of West Philadelphia, G. M. Hopkins.
Atlas of Delaware County, G. M. Hopkins, 1870. (call number O. 64 FOLIO)
Atlas of Montgomery County, G. M. Hopkins, 1871.
Atlas of Properties along Pennsylvania RailRoad from City Line to Malvern, Hopkins, 1881.
*Atlas of Chester County, vol. 1, Franklin Survey Company, 1933.
Property Atlas, Main Line from Overbrook to Paoli, A. H. Mueller, 1920.
Atlas of Properties along the Pennsylvania RaIl Road from Overbrook to Malvern, J. L. Smith, 1887.
Main Line Atlas, Franklin Survey Co, 1937. (call number O .63592)
*Atlas of Delaware County, v. 1, Frank H. Klinge, 1929.
*Atlas of Montgomery County, vol. D, Franklin Survey Company, 1938.
*Atlas of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, vol. 2E, Sanborn, 1922.
*Property Atlas of Montgomery County, Franklin Survey Company, 1949.
*Insurance Maps of Delaware County, v. 3, Sanborn, 1925. (call number S PADE3)
Atlas of Chester County, A.R. Witmer, 1873.
Baist's Atlas of Properties along North Pennsylvania, Bound Brook and Pennsylvania RailRoad, 1891. (call number O .63595)
Revision of Street Names; Baist's Property Atlas of City and County of Philadelphia; 1895.
Atlas of Properties on Main Line Pennsylvania RailRoad; Overbrook to Paoli, Mueller, 1913.
The Independent Gazetteer -- August 21, 1784
New York Evening Post -- March 18, 1803
General Advertiser -- March 1, 1794; October 4, 1794
American Messenger -- August 16, 1837
The Philadelphia Inquirer -- October 27, 1862
United States Gazette -- October 6, 1815
Poulson's American Daily Advertiser -- April 18, 1801; October 3, 1801; October 7, 1801; March 20, 1801; September 29, 1804; January 8, 1806
Aurora -- April, 1804
The Pennsylvania Packet -- September 16, 1785; September 26, 1785; September 28, 1785; October 3, 1787; October 1, 1788; November 15, 1785; March 3, 1786; April 11, 1786; September 24, 1788
Philadelphia Mercantile Advertiser -- November 28, 182_
Pennsylvania Journal -- March 5, 1785
Atkinson's Saturday Evening Post -- September 24, 1831
The Philadelphia Inquirer, special report on Our Founding Fathers -- October 16, 1967; October 24, 1967
The Wall Street Journal -- December 22, 1967, article on The Green Tree and The Philadelphia Contributionship
Life -- June 24, 1886; June 26, 1892; May 26, 1892; October, 1893 calendar; March 9, 1893; March 25, 1897
Harper's Weekly -- August 17, 1861
Every Saturday -- October 1, 1871; June 24, 1871
The Country Gentleman -- July 1, 1880; April 22, 1880; April 29, 1880
Miscellaneous newspapers, c. 1929 used as padding found when unframing prints