Antique Insurance and Actuarial Books

The Term Guy's hobby is collecting antique insurance books.  Here we've scanned many of our out of copyright books for your enjoyment and perhaps research purposes. Stay tuned, more books coming as I have time to scan them!

We have extracted table data from many of these books and made the information available as excel spreadsheets. In the download of spreadsheets we have also included a high def image of each of the pages containing the tables. The image filename for each page and the excel spreadsheet have the same name, i.e. image0001.jpg.xlxs contains table data from image0001.jpg. You may download and use the data unrestricted, but we would ask that you consider giving us a link from your website so that others can find this information as well.

Mortality & Life Tables

A Sketch of an Analysis Applicable to the Estimation of the Value of Life Contingencies

Benjamin Gompertz, 1820

First appearance of the works that would later become the Gompertz-Makeham distribution.

A Supplement to: On the Science connected with Human Mortality

Benjamin Gompertz, 1861

Followup to the first two papers by Gompertz that led to the famous Gompertz-Makeham distribution.

American-Canadian Mortality Investigation, Policies issued from 1843 to 1914, Volume 1

American Institute of Actuaries, 1918

Two volumes, comprehensive data collected with the intention of replacing/updating the American Table in use at that time.

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Medico-Actuarial Mortality Investigation V1

Actuarial Society of America, 1912

Covering 97% of the life insurance policies in force from 1885-1908. Interesting, they did not cover term life insurance as they didn’t have enough data. 
V1: Statistics of Height and Weight of Insured persons
Rates of Mortality to be used as a standard of expected deaths

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Medico-Actuarial Mortality Investigation V2

Actuarial Society of America, 1912

Influence of build on mortality, causes of death, mortality among north American Indians, negroes, Chinese and Japenese in North America

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Medico-Actuarial Mortality Investigation V3

Actuarial Society of America, 1912

Effect of Occupation on Mortality, Including “Baths: Rubbers and Shampooers”, “Match Factory” and “Dynamite Factory Employees”.

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Medico-Actuarial Mortality Investigation V4

Actuarial Society of America, 1912

Medical Impairments, defects in Condition, personal history or family history.

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Medico-Actuarial Mortality Investigation V5

Actuarial Society of America, 1912

Mortality in southern states, mortality under joint life policies. This volume also has a comprehensive list of all the tables for all 5 volumes.

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Willich’s Popular Tables

Charles M. Willich, Actuary, 1881

I bought this book because I wanted a copy of the Carlisle Mortality tables, but the book also has Northampton, London and a bunch of other tables form the 1840’s, including some from other European countries.

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Tables of Life Contingencies, Among the members of the Equitable Society

Griffith Davies, Actuary to the Guardian Assurance Co, 1825

Contains information from 1768 through 1825.

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Mortality Statistics 1905

Department of Commerce and Labor, 1907

Data from this government source is broken down as far as individual U.S. county.

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United States Life Tables, 1890,1901,1910, and 1901-1910

James W. Glover, Department of Commerce, 1921

Details on the actual calculations, plus life tables of foreign countries and mortality tables of life insurance companies.

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Mortality Among Southern Negroes Since 1920

Mary Gover, Associate Statistician, 1937

While this book focuses exclusively on race, it's worth noting that many of the mortality books on this page contain data split by race - differentiating between US born whites, foreign born whites, and blacks.  

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Mortality Statistics of the Seventh Census of the United States, 1850

J.D.B. De Bow, Superintendent U.S. Census, 1855

Weird, another book that splits data out by race and for whites, whether they're born in the U.S. or immigrants (they call it 'nativities').  Foreign born includes California and Territories.  

Twenty-Five Years of Health Progress 

Louis I. Dublin, Alfred J. Lotka, 1937

A study of the mortality experience among Industrial policyholders of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 1911-1935. FYI, in the days of 'industrial' insurance policyholders, life insurance agents would call at your door every week to collect your life insurance premiums.  Seems awkward.

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Mortality Statistics of insured Wage-Earners and Their Families

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 1919

Met Life’s mortality experience tables 1911-1916. Weird diseases, experience split by race, etc. But that’s not even the coolest part. This copy was donated by Met Life to Dr. Herman G. Morgan. This guy was the Board of Health Secretary in Indiana and ordered business closures, a cap on community gatherings, and mandatory mask wearing during the pandemic of 1918. What a connection to of the present to the past this particular book is.

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Continuous Investigation into the Mortality of Assured Lives

Institute of Actuaries, Faculty of Actuaries in Scotland, 1939

Pages of tables of D’s, P’s, and A angle n’s with data from 1924-1929. I suspect this was published for the use of pricing actuaries. 

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British Offices Life Annuity Tables

Insitute of Actuaries and The Faculty of Actuaries in Scotland, 1903

Numerous life and annuity tables based on insured experience from 1863-1893.

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On the Rate of Mortality among Persons of Intemperate Habits

F.G.P Neison, Esq., F.L.S, 1851

Lots of mortality tables in this one, it’s a paper read before a statistical society. FYI, people of intemperate habits have the best parties.

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The Causes of Death Among the Assured in the Scottish Widows Fund

Claud Muirhead, M.D., 1902

Covering 1874 to 1894. Data plus unfiltered listings of causes of death. Some too gross to imagine, some I’ve never heard of and suspect are no longer mortality factors like Glanders. You get glanders from horses. But it’s treatable with penicillins and similiar, so the CDC describes it as ‘rare’.  

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Valuation Tables for Friendly Societies Based Upon Sickness Experience of the I.O.O.F. Manchester Unity

Valuation Tables for Friendly Societys Based Upon Sickness Experience of the I.O.O.F. Manchester Unity, 1933

Tons of morbidity and mortality data from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

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Sickness and Mortality Experience of The I.O.O.F Manchester Unity

The Grand Master and Board of Directors of The I.O.O.F. M.U., 1903

Mortality tables (1893-1897) and some information about the formation of life insurance from fraternal organizations.

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An Essay on Probabilities on Their Application to Life Contingencies and Insurance Offices

Augustus De Morgan, 1838

I bought this book just because it’s De Morgan. This guy has his own laws even. Anyway, this is historically interesting if not actuarially interesting. There are so many examples of the mathematicians back in the 1800’s developing mathematics and blazing inroads into actuarial science, De Morgan is one of them.

A Sketch of the History of the Science of Life Contingencies with Special Reference to the Origin and Construction of Mortality Tables

J.J. W. Deuchar, F.F.A., A.I.A., Assistant actuary of the City of Glasgow Life Assurance Company, 1882

History of mortality tables. Did you know that around 300BC they had mortality tables? And those same tables were actually used in the 1500’s? Crazy. Anyway, this is a historical journey through the development of mortality tables. It’s over 100 years old now, and there’s been lots of developments since then. Maybe someday I’ll do some research and extend what the author did.

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Report of Committee on Joint Investigation of Experience of American and Canadian Companies with Reference to Total and Permanent Disability Benefits

Actuarial Society of America, 1926

Data from 23 American companies and 6 Canadian companies. Also the longest title for any book I own.

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A Short Collection of Actuarial Tables

Institute of Actuaries, 1930

All sorts of tables intended for use by actuarial students. Interest/PV tables, life tables with all the lx/dx etc, e-x, values of annuities, mortality and morbidity tables, etc.

Tables contained are the English Life Table, IOA Experience with Makeham graduation, British offices life tables 1893, and Manchester Unity.

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Sources and Characteristics of the Principal Mortality Tables

James S. Elston 1932

A compilation of mortality tables, throughout time. There’s mortality tables reproduced in this book from the 1700’s into the 1800’s. Quite a collection!

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Some Recent Researches in the Theory of Statistics and Actuarial Science

J.F. Steffensen,Professor of Actuarial Science, University of Copenhagen, 1930

Collection of three lectures the author did, so this isn’t exam level stuff – it’s basically a collection of research papers. Limits of error in calculating a-bar-sub-x, theoretical foundations of functions, etc.

Disability Benefits in Life Insurance Policies

Arthur Hunter, James T. Phillips, 1932

Full treatment from the ground up of Disability Benefits. 

Life Insurance Income Settlements, Their Functions, Problems, and Administration

Roger W. Clark, 1942

Wow, what a niche insurance topic.Today most life insurance policies pay a lump sum, but you can choose to have the proceeds doled out over time to the beneficiaries - basically letting the insurance company do the investing. This book is a deep dive into that type of policy benefit. The author was an associate secretary at The Union Central Life Insurance Company.

Total Disability Benefits in Life Insurance

Lucius McAdam, M.Sc., F.A.I.A., 1913

Lots of old morbidity tables, calculations, and examples.

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The Theory of the Construction of Tables of Mortality, etc. and of Similar Statistical Tables in use by the Actuary.

G.F. Hardy, F.I.A., 1909

An old school treatment of life contingencies and mortality table math. The author was important enough to warrant his own wikipedia page.

Actuarial Statistics Volume 1 Statistics & Graduation

H. Tetley, M.A, F.I.A, 1946

This is an old school actuarial textbook. It covers most of the upfront stats and probability material. Curiously there’s some stuff in there that aren’t covered in modern actuarial exams (like Makeham and Gompertz, I don’t think they get covered until the later exams today).

Actuarial Statistics Volume II Construction of Mortality & Other Tables

J.L. Anderson, B.A, F.I.A, J.B. Dow, M.A, F.F.A, 1946

Volume 2 of this series of actuarial textbooks. Very initial treatment of mortality tables etc. The current text used by the SOA by Hardy et al. is much more comprehensive, but this text also goes into other things that I don’t think are on the current curriculum, like age nearest/last etc.

Actuarial Theory

William A. Robertson, Frederick A. Ross, 1908

This old textbook is for the ‘Second Exam’ of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. I tell ya what, the old people had it good. The text starts with introduction to interest theory and makes its way all the way to mortality table construction. That’s like 2-3 exams these days. 

Calculus and Probability for Actuarial Students

Alfred Henry, F.I.A., 1927

Textbook on finite differences and some calculus. They used a L (sort of an upside down angle like “a angle n”) to represent factorials, so that’s changed over time. The book was owned by an actuary named J. Arnold Yates who worked at Travellers and Connecticut Life Insurance Company. 

Contributions to the Study of Insurance, Fire and Life, as a Science and an Art

John M. McCandlish, F.R.S.E., 1866

Calling it ‘experienced judgement based on data’ sounds better than calling it an art. The author of this book was the first president of the Faculty of Actuaries in Scotland. 

Distribution of Surplus

Joseph B. Maclean, 1937

The actuarial societies have funded, generated, and created tons of important studies and collections of data, spanning over 100 years. This is one such study from about 90 years ago or so. And all that work is there for the rest of us now, permanently.  

Frequency Curves and Correlation

W. Palin Elderton, 1906

Let the author speak on this one: "By the preparation of the following pages an attempt is made to bring before Actuaries the more practical methods of modern statistical work."

Introduction to the Theory of Life Contingencies

M.A. Mackenzie, N.E. Sheppard, 1931

Hard core comprehensive life contingencies textbook. It covers everything from life tables to force of mortality to premiums, policy values, select risks, loadings, and substandard lives. Content is similiar to current actuarial exams. Author N.E. Sheppard was a University of Toronto professor for 50 years. Also, he fought in a tank division in WWI, and set up the pension plan for the staff of the United Nations. This guy was one hardcore actuary.

Introduction to Actuarial Science

Harry Anson Finney 1920

This material covers some of second level life actuarial exams – interest theory, bonds, etc. The author is in the accounting hall of fame and was a prof at Northwestern University.

Assurance Premiums for Every Value of Annuity on Single or Joint Lives, or Survivors. Adapted to Any table of Mortality.

William Orchard, F.I.A, 1850

Not much to say beyond what’s in the title of the book. Which, BTW, I abbreviated.


Life Insurance as a Life Work

Hugh D. Hart, 1926

Most of these sales books are either methods in hard selling, or self congratulatory bro-code slap on the back books. This one is the second.  Excerpt from the book: “A man can’t be hid. He may be a peddler in the mountains, but the world will find him out to make him a king of finance.’. 100 pages of more of the same.

Practical Salesmanship Demonstration Method, Closing the Deal

National Salesmen’s Training Association, 1929

Even if you don’t do sales, this is another book worth reading some of the stories in there. There’s a reason insurance sales have a bad rap, this is the way they used to do it. 

Wanted, A Man!

J.J. Johnston, 1897

More of the ‘how to sell as a bro’ stuff. But the really interesting stuff are the notes inside the front cover. “Compliments of the Author to Rev. W.S. Johnston”, and then “My Husband’s Uncle wrote this book. I want to keep it in my family, Mattie T. Johnston.” and then below that, ”But now I want Paul D. Cail (Great Great Nephew) to have it. Mattie Talley Johnston, March 31st 1946”. Sad I guess that at some point it’s passed out of the family, but the good news is that it’s now in my possession and I appreciate it.

Sales Methods of 222 Life Insurance Field Men, Told by Themselves

Mutual Underwriter Company, 1923

More old school high pressure selling techniques including advice such as ‘carry in lots of stuff, your umbrella and books, and when they open the door, walk in and put your stuff down, make yourself at home’. Yeah, that’ll get you hoisted out the door today.

Analyzing Life Situations for Insurance Needs

Griffing M. Lovelace, 1922

It’s 1922, and we finally see the beginnings of modern sales methodologies. Rather than high pressure sales tactics (well, there’s still some of that), the author breaks down life insurance needs into various cases and reviews what to discuss with prospects. The author wrote a series of books on sales, this one focuses exclusively on life insurance.

Insurance at Piney Woods

Samuel H. Davis, 1896

My favourite ‘sales’ book by far. It’s not a book on how to sell, it’s a collection of newpaper articles written by the local insurance agent. And this guy shades everyone. The widow who took out an ad thanking the insurance company for the death benefit gets called out for ‘advertising for a new husband due to the insurance proceeds’. Nobody can understand the actuaries, so just ignore them. Etc. The book was owned by H.A. Schmidt, an insurance agent in Winona Minnestota. There happened to be an ebay auction for some of his cards as I was writing this, and since there’s no other info online about him, I’ll post that he worked with National Union Fire Insurance Company, Firemen’s insurance Company, and looks like his brokerage was called Loyalty Group. 502 East Howard St, Winona Minn.

Agents’ Monetary, Life & Valuation Tables with Valuable Explanations

D. Parks Fackler, Consulting Actuary and Accountant, 1870

Actuarial tables for agents. Though I’ve no idea why an agent would need net premiums or mortality tables. But I guess if you did, hey, just whip out this book. Good for parties, etc.


Instructions And Information for Medical Examiners

The Prudential Insurance Company of America, 1938

Complete breakdown of all the things that a medical examiner needs to test for during the medical exam.


The Insurance Guide and Hand-Book

Joseph H. Matthews, F.C.I.I., 1922

Not really strictly actuarial or agent, this is a comprehensive primer on all types of insurance. The book was owned by London Life (now Canada Life), probably from back in the day when life companies kept libraries of actuarial texts for theirs students to use for exams. Yes, I am old enough to remember that practice.

Insurance Principles and Practices

Robert Reigel, Ph.D (Professor of Statistics and Insurance, University of Buffalo), Jerome S. Miller, B.S., M.B.A. (Insurance Consultant), 1947

Another comprehensive primer on life insurance. The book is dedicated to Solomon S. Huebner, a prof at Wharton. S.S. Heubner was a pioneer in actuarial and insurance education, I see his name all over the place on these old books (he wrote many of them).

Life Insurance Companies Should be Compelled to Invest in the Securities of Those States in Which the Fund Originate.

Fitz Hugh McMaster, Insurance Commissioner of South Carolina, 1867

This guy had a real bone to pick with life companies. He variously wrote and spoke on requiring life companies to invest money in the states where they sold insurance. I think I read that this came from his time in the civil war when he tried to get money for the war from life companies – but I can’t find a source for that any longer.

Life Insurance 

Solomon S. Huebner, Professor of Insurance, University of Pennsylvania, 1921

A textbook undertaken by the National Association of Life Underwriters, it’s a comprehensive primer for those new to the life insurance industry.

Life Insurance: It’s Economic and Social Relations, Taxation

Harry J. Loman, Professor of Insurance, Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, 1927

Probably an FSA level text at the time, it’s a technical treatment of all things tax related to life insurance. Solomon S. Heubner also participated in the book.

Life Insurance: It’s Economic and Social Relations, Wills, Trusts and Estates

James L. Madden, 1927

Another FSA-level text (roughly speaking) on wills, trusts, and estates. 

Proceedings of the Celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company of Philadelphia

Penn Mutual Life, 1897

Quite a party by all accounts. Showcasing mustachioed men of all sorts.

Principles and Practices of Life Insurance

The Spectator Company, 1892

Primer on life insurance basics, interest, annuities, etc. Meant more for non-actuaries. The Spectator Company was a prominent life insurance industry publisher back then. There’s a more comprehensive list of all their books at the u of penn site here. Another interesting point, the original owner of this book was actually employed at Mutual Life insurance in Waterloo, Ontario (local to me) and lived in Guelph, Ontario (also local to me).

The President’s Book – The Story of the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada

George H. Harris, 1928

This is pretty close to ‘original source material’ for the history of Sun Life. It was put out by Sun and covers their history until that date. Lots of info like names, first policies, investment strategies, etc.


In the early 1900's, life insurance companies frequently gave away cookbooks and other life advice type of books as promotional material.

The Universal Cook Books

The Universal Life Assurance and Annuity Company, 1938

Canning Guide

London Life Insurance Company, Circa 1920

Warning: Do not use this antique guide for canning. The canning practices in this guide are outdated and can be deadly.

Selected Recipes

The Ontario Equitable Life & Accident Insurance Company, Circa 1930

Interesting, some of the recipes included are from the president of the company's wife!

Three Meals a Day

Met Life, Circa 1920

Info on food groups, budgeting and planning for meals, including meals at various pricing levels. Includes a variety of recipes, including quite a few recipes for liver, and even one for peanut butter soup.

Golden Anniversary Recipes

The Lutheran Brotherhood Bond, 1967

Metropolitan Cookbook

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 1918

Old school cooking, including boiling vegetables for 45 minutes.

Metropolitan Cookbook

Metropolitan Life insurance Company, 1925

Including such family favourites as cottage cheese sandwiches as a school lunch for the kids.