Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Whole Year Through: Home Fire Insurance Company, 1905

Whole Year Through: Home Fire Insurance Company, 1905

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 23, 2011


This was Heber J. Grant’s company; some of the ads use his name. These appeared in every issue of the Juvenile Instructor in 1905, as well as other years. (Ads were repeated, but the repeat dates are not shown here.)



1 January


1 February


15 March


1 April


15 May


1 June


1 August


15 September


1 October


15 October


1 November


15 November


1 December




  1. Ardis, any idea why the address changed 3 times during the year? From 26 S. Main to 26 1/2 S. Main to 20-26 S. Main.

    I assume this is the same place? Did Grant move offices to next door? take over next door? or did SLC change address systems or something?

    Comment by Kent Larsen — September 23, 2011 @ 7:09 am

  2. There’s something downright perverse about the slogan “Contentment comes with Possession.”

    Comment by Coffinberry — September 23, 2011 @ 8:19 am

  3. Is that Saltaire in the background of the November 1 ad? This one reminds me a bit of the opening sequence of “Chariots of Fire.”

    Comment by Steve — September 23, 2011 @ 9:41 am

  4. I can’t explain the address changes — I’ve skimmed through the hits for 1905 in the Digital Newspapers database (not easy when this company advertised so much!) without finding any news story about a move (I do see that the value of Home Fire Insurance is holding its own against all other local stocks). The increase from “26” to “20-26” sounds like a significant expansion rather than any possible renumbering by the city or postal system, but that’s just a guess.

    Don’t know any more than anyone else about these ads; just like their quaint flavor.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 23, 2011 @ 10:39 am

  5. Hmm. Maybe someone more knowledgeable than me could explain why the Church shifted from anti-Insurance to pro-insurance so rapidly.

    At least these insurance ads don’t involve chickens and watermelons.

    Comment by The Other Clark — September 23, 2011 @ 11:01 am

  6. Other Clark, I suspect it had to do with the transformation away from United Order experiments, using Bishops to resolve legal disputes, and of course polygamy. I vaguely remember Mormons in Transition mentioning this and also a paper by Nate Oman on it. (Don’t quote me – I’d have read this back in the late 90’s) Anyway I seem to remember an emphasis to stop going to the Church for everything and use the means available to America at wide.

    While I don’t recall anything about it I suspect the transition from fraternal organizations being the primary insurance providers in America to corporate entities also played in. When it was fraternal organizations there would be a reason for the Church to oppose it since they were suspicious of competing organizations to the PH and RS. (Look at anti-masonic sentiment in Utah despite a lot of leaders being former masons and utilizing a lot of masonic symbolism)

    I have a short article at home that goes through this peak in fraternal organizations due to their place of providing insurance. I believe it peaks in the 1920’s although the private non-fraternal organizations are already appearing and I think the writing is already on the wall.

    It’d be interesting knowing the details of how much Mormons used private insurance over time and see how that corresponds to the rise of modern insurance.

    Comment by Clark — September 23, 2011 @ 11:11 am

  7. I agree with Clark’s reference to turning to “normal” American economic methods rather than an insular Church-governed system, but I’d modify it a little — the push for home insurance was deliberately intended to keep insurance dollars at home (i.e., Utah/Idaho) rather than purchasing insurance from an eastern company with the result that the money was shipped out of the region to the benefit of men in the East. There are a number of editorials and a conference talk or two referring to the need to keep money in Utah/Idaho to build up the opportunities there for the Saints, pointing out how many times the same dollar would circulate to the benefit of the Saints if it were spent for local insurance, contrasted to its single use to buy insurance from an “away” company. There’s quite a drive among the Relief Society sisters, heavily promoted in the RS Magazine a few years after these ads, that makes it seem only a quarter step away from a total religious duty to purchase home insurance over national insurance.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 23, 2011 @ 11:53 am

  8. Steve (number 3) I don’t think it’s a saltire; the saltire is diagonal. Please also note that the sun is shining in the Nov 1st ad, unusual on the east coast of Scotland, where the opening scene of ‘Chariots of Fire’ was filmed!

    Comment by Anne (UK) — September 23, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  9. Ardis, do you know when Beneficial Life got started? I know it was early in the 20th century but I’d imagine it’s origin would tie into the moves you mention.

    Comment by Clark — September 23, 2011 @ 11:25 pm

  10. Looks like it was founded in 1905, coincidentally. I see Home Fire as a subsidiary of Beneficial Life a few years after that, though, so the one didn’t morph directly into the other.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 24, 2011 @ 8:48 am

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