This month in New York Life history—August.

New York Life | July 29, 2020


At New York Life

Aug 2, 1923

Sitting U.S. President and New York Life policyholder Warren G. Harding died suddenly of a heart attack. He was succeeded as president by another New York Life policyholder (and future member of the board of directors), Calvin Coolidge.  

Aug 10, 1859

New York Life became a coast-to-coast company when it opened its first West Coast agency in San Francisco.

Aug 13, 1860

New York Life changed the American life insurance industry forever with the first American policy to contain a non-forfeiture clause. Policy 14,415, on the life of William Harrison Sigourney for $1,000, contained a provision that, in the event of a missed payment, the policyholder was entitled to a prorated benefit or refund of some sort instead of simply losing all the money spent on premiums up to that point. At the time, most insurers were against such a measure because of the expense involved, but New York Life embraced the practice as “strictly equitable” from a financial perspective.

Aug 20, 1947

Mildred McAfee Horton was elected to be the first woman director of New York Life. At the time, Horton was the President of Wellesley College and a former director of the women’s branch of the Naval Reserve during World War II. New York Life President George Harrison celebrated her election, declaring that “with a large number of women holding insurance or serving as beneficiaries in policies, it is only natural that they should be represented on the directorate.”

Aug 23, 1993

New York Life International (then New York Life Worldwide Holding) announced its expansion into Mexico through the acquisition of Compania de Seguros, S.A.

Aug 26, 2014

One Last Hug: Three Days at Grief Camp, an HBO (now MAX) documentary partially funded by the New York Life Foundation, received the 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program.

Around the world

Aug 1: Star-Spangled Banner author Francis Scott Key was born in Frederick County, Maryland.

Aug 2, 1776: In Philadelphia, most of the 55 members of the Continental Congress signed the parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Aug 6, 1881: Penicillin discoverer Alexander Fleming was born in Lochfield, Scotland. He received the Nobel Prize in 1954.

Aug 13, 1961: The Berlin Wall came into existence after the East German government closed the border between east and west sectors of Berlin with barbed wire to discourage emigration to the West.

Aug 15, 1969: Woodstock began in a field near Yasgur’s Farm at Bethel, New York. The three-day concert featured 24 rock bands and drew a crowd of more than 300,000 young people.

Aug 21, 1959: President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Hawaii to the Union as the 50th state.

Aug 24, 79 A.D.: Vesuvius, an active volcano in southern Italy, erupted and destroyed the cities of Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum.


Go back to our newsroom to read more stories.

Media contact

Kevin Maher
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937