This month in New York Life history—October.

New York Life | October 1, 2023


At New York Life

Oct 1, 2002

New York Life sponsored the four-part PBS television series The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, whose first episode premiered on this date. The series would win a Peabody Award.

In conjunction with the series, New York Life sponsored a website designed to aid educators in teaching the Jim Crow era, and a travelling art exhibit, Rising Above Jim Crow: The Paintings of Johnnie Lee Gray, which exhibited the paintings of an African American artist who chronicled life under segregation. The exhibit began at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in November 2002 and then toured the U.S. between 2003 and 2004.

Oct 2, 2015  

AARP, Inc. selected New York Life as its exclusive provider of long-term care insurance.

Oct 3, 1954

The sitcom Father Knows Best premiered on CBS after having been a popular radio program since 1949. The titular father (played by Robert Young) was an insurance agent reportedly modeled on New York Life agent Frank Nathan. The show would air for a total of six seasons on CBS and NBC.

Oct 11, 1871

The board of trustees voted to allocate $5,000 to relief efforts after the Great Chicago Fire, which had burned from October 8 to 10.

Oct 19, 1987

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than twenty percent on Black Monday. The declining value of stocks drove many investors towards the relative safety of the bond market, which increased the value of New York Life’s extensive bond portfolio. It was the beginning of the vindication of New York Life’s prudent investments during the 1980s, when many competitors were chasing the heavier returns of a booming but dangerous market.

Oct 20 1964

Former U.S. President and New York Life director and policyholder Herbert Hoover passed away.

Oct 24, 1929

On “Black Thursday,” the U.S. stock market began a protracted crash that is widely credited with triggering the Great Depressionwhich lasted until approximately 1939.

When the crash hit, New York Life had been enjoying its best year to that point: in the first nine months of the year, its assets grew nearly $100 million, and it set a record for new business.

The company would not be immune from the collateral effects of a global collapse, but it would weather the tough times better than most of its competitors. It emerged from the Depression with a burnished reputation for stability and endurance that left it primed to take on the booming post-World War II market.

Oct 26, 2004

New York Life’s Westchester campus formally opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The ceremony capped the move of almost 1,000 employees from the Home Office Building on Madison Avenue to the new facility, the largest move of company personnel since the Home Office was occupied in 1928.

Oct 30, 2000

The Home Office Building at 51 Madison Avenue was designated an official New York City Landmark by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.


Around the World

October 1, 1908 

Henry Ford's Model T, a "universal car" designed for the masses, went on sale for the first time.

October 2, 1967

Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) was sworn in as the first African American associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He served until 1991 and was known for opposing discrimination and the death penalty, and for championing free speech and civil liberties.

October 3, 1863

President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation designating the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

October 3, 1974

Frank Robinson was hired by the Cleveland Indians as baseball's first African American major league manager.

October 4, 1957

The Space Age began as the Russians launched the first satellite into orbit. Sputnik I weighed just 184 lbs. and transmitted a beeping radio signal for 21 days. The remarkable accomplishment by Soviet Russia sent a shockwave through the American political leadership resulting in U.S. efforts to be the first on the moon.

October 5, 1910

Portugal became a republic following a successful revolt against King Manuel II.

October 6, 1927

The first "talkie" opened in New York. The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson was the first full-length feature film using spoken dialogue.

October 8, 1871

The Great Fire of Chicago erupted. According to legend, it started when Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a lantern in her barn on DeKoven Street. Over 300 persons were killed and 90,000 were left homeless as the fire leveled 3.5 square miles, destroying 17,450 buildings. Financial losses totaled over $200 million.

October 11, 1962

The Second Vatican Council was opened in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome by Pope John XXIII. Sessions were held in four successive autumns from 1962-65. Vatican II resulted in sweeping changes to the Catholic Church including the use of English and local native languages in the Mass instead of Latin, and openness and cooperation with other religions and denominations.

October 13, 1884

Greenwich was established as the universal time from which standard times throughout the world are calculated.

October 14, 1912

Former President Theodore Roosevelt was shot by a fanatic while campaigning in Milwaukee. Roosevelt was saved by his thick overcoat, a glasses case and a folded speech in his breast pocket.

Although wounded, he insisted on making the speech with the bullet lodged in his chest and did not go to the hospital until the meeting ended. Roosevelt, a rugged outdoorsman, fully recovered in two weeks.

October 19, 1987

 "Black Monday" occurred on Wall Street as stocks plunged a record 508 points or 22.6 per cent, the largest one-day drop in stock market history.

October 21, 1915

The first transatlantic radio voice message was made by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company from Virginia to Paris.

October 24, 1922

The Irish Parliament voted to adopt a constitution for an Irish Free State, which formally came into existence in December.

October 24, 1945

The United Nations was founded.

October 26, 1825

The Erie Canal opened as the first major man-made waterway in America, linking Lake Erie with the Hudson River, bypassing the British-controlled lower St. Lawrence. The canal cost over $7 million and took eight years to complete.

October 27, 1904

The New York City subway began operating, running from City Hall to West 145th Street, the first underground and underwater rail system in the world.

October 28, 1886

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor. The statue was a gift from the people of France commemorating the French-American alliance during the American Revolutionary War.

October 31, 1941

Mount Rushmore National Memorial was completed after 14 years of work. The memorial contains 60-foot-tall sculptures of the heads of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt - representing America's founding, political philosophy, preservation, and expansion and conservation.


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Media contact

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