Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 23

Elizur Wright

insurance abolitionist massachusetts companies

Abolitionist and insurance reformer, born in South Canaan, Connecticut, USA. After graduating from Yale he taught in the early 1830s at Western Reserve (Ohio), but hostility towards his abolitionist activism led him to resign. Moving to New York, he helped found and became secretary of the New York Anti-Slavery Society (1833), edited its publications, and resigned (1839) to serve briefly as editor of a Massachusetts abolitionist journal. In 1846 he founded and became editor of The Weekly Chronicle (later purchased by the Free Soil Party). In this capacity, and later, as Massachusetts' insurance commissioner (1859–66), he fought for and won the enactment of insurance reforms that had wide impact on the US insurance industry, including those that required companies to maintain adequate reserves. Although his reforms led to his dismissal from his state office position by the industry, he worked as an actuary for insurance companies. He was also active in conserving the natural environment.

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