Electronic book text
December 29, 2010
9780801899478
English
416
5 halftones, 1 line drawing
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$38.00 USD, £28.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
September 13, 2013
9781421411941
English
416
5 halftones, 1 line drawing
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.2 Pounds (US)
1.2 Pounds (US)
$38.00 USD, £28.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Investing in Life

Insurance in Antebellum America

Investing in Life considers the creation and expansion of the American life insurance industry from its early origins in the 1810s through the 1860s and examines how its growth paralleled and influenced the emergence of the middle class.

Using the economic instability of the period as her backdrop, Sharon Ann Murphy also analyzes changing roles for women; the attempts to adapt slavery to an urban, industrialized setting; the rise of statistical thinking; and efforts to regulate the business environment. Her research directly challenges the conclusions of previous scholars who have dismissed the importance of the earliest industry innovators while exaggerating clerical opposition to life insurance.

Murphy examines insurance as both a business and a social phenomenon. She looks at how insurance companies positioned themselves within the marketplace, calculated risks associated with disease, intemperance, occupational hazard, and war, and battled fraud, murder, and suicide. She also discusses the role of consumers—their reasons for purchasing life insurance, their perceptions of the industry, and how their desires and demands shaped the ultimate product.

About the Author

Sharon Ann Murphy is an associate professor of history at Providence College.

Reviews

"A well-written, well-argued book that makes a number of important contributions to the history of business and capitalism in antebellum America."—Sean H. Vanatta, Common-Place

"An intriguing, instructive history of the establishment and development of the life insurance industry that reveals a good deal about changing social and commercial conditions in antebellum America . . . Highly recommended."—Choice

"Investing in Life: Insurance in Antebellum America is an exemplary piece of scholarship that upon publication immediately became the standard work in the field."—Peter A. Coclanis, Civil War Book Review

"Informative . . . Murphy's account indicates that virtually every issue and problem faced by the modern life insurance industry was present at its beginnings two centuries ago."—Richard Sylla, Journal of American History

"This book makes a fine contribution to the study of the history of the insurance business."—Eric Hilt, EH.Net

"A meticulous history of a significant but understudied event in the making of liberalism, the invention of life insurance."—Michael Zakim, Journal of the Early Republic

"Murphy has filled a gap in the historiography of American life insurance by mining the records of several companies that shaped the industry from 1830 through the Civil War . . . In pursuing her arguments, she discloses an impressive array of insights that shed light on American business and culture more generally."—Timothy Alborn, Business History Review

"In this sparkling volume, Sharon Ann Murphy makes an enormous contribution to scholarship in a wide range of fields . . . Murphy's careful and close examination of life insurance as a new and vital safety valve for thousands of emerging middle-class households touches on just about every niche in the historical panorama . . . I highly recommend this wide-ranging and multifaceted survey of the rise of the life insurance sector, its customers, and its beneficiaries."—Edwin J. Perkins, American Historical Review

"This under described state is the part of what makes Investing in Life so rewarding, but the book is carefully crafted enough to hold its own in any case."—Liz McFall, Enterprise and Society

"A highly readable book detailing the rise of the American insurance industry up to and through the Civil War . . . Important and provocative."—Richard Sutch, Journal of Economic History

"Investing in Life represents absolutely first-rate research into the early history of the American life insurance industry. Murphy has dug deeply into corporate archives, the insurance and wider business press, metropolitan newspapers, and appellate legal opinions. The result is a deft reconstruction of the evolution of corporate strategies for marketing and organization, as well as the ambivalent popular responses to life insurance, especially among the urban middle class."—Edward Balleisen, Duke University

"A very thorough examination of the birth and growth of the life insurance industry in America from the early 1800s through the Civil War. The author's research is exceptional. . . In short, this excellent book provides a look at matters of life and death in the Civil War era that you may not have considered before."—James Schmidt, Civil War Medicine (and Writing)

9780801899478 : investing-in-life-murphy
Electronic book text
416 Pages
$38.00 USD
9781421411941 : investing-in-life-murphy
Paperback / softback
416 Pages
$38.00 USD

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