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Highlight historical books and manuscripts

A selection of highlight books and manuscripts held by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) in its special historical collections

Please consult Books, Manuscripts and Documents Dating Before 1901 in the Libraries of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries for a full catalogue listing of our holdings that is updated annually with additions to the collection.

Manuscripts 

Frederick Hendriks' 'Research notes relating to the discovery in 1851 of Johan De Witt's treatise on life annuities, 1671' contains autograph letters with European politicians and documents, translations from the Dutch, that led to his articles 'Contributions to the history of insurance, and the theory of life contingencies', Journal of the Institute of Actuaries I and II (1851, 1852). 

Original works of Thomas Bayes, James Dodson, Richard Price and William Morgan feature in the Archive of the Equitable Life Assurance Society acquired by the UK actuarial profession in 2006. There are holdings of examples of early mathematical practitioners considering compound interest in the accumulation of funds, and commutation tables calculated by actuaries investigating company mortality data. 

Separately the library has obtained small sets of letters by Richard Price concerning actuarial questions ca. 1778 and by Benjamin Gompertz who in the 1820s first explored a common law of the force or intensity of mortality over the course of life.

Mathematics 

Coverage includes works of probability and logarithm tables, from the 17th to 19th centuries. These are some of the rarest books in the Library and are items cited in English Short Title Catalogue bibliographies: 

  • Ian Trenchant, L'Arithmetique (1558)
  • Ludolph Van Ceulen, Van den Circkel (1596) on compound interest
  • John Napier, Mirifici logarithmorum canonis descriptio (1614); Mirifici logarithmorum canonis constructio (1620); Rabdologiae, seu numerationis per virgulas libri duo (1617) on logarithms
  • Pierre-Rémond de Montmort, Essay d'analyse sur les jeux de hasard (1708; and 1713 editions)
  • Nicolaas Struyck, Uytreekening der kanssen in het speelen, door de arithmetica en algebra, beneevens een vehandeling van looteryen en interest... [1716]
  • Abraham De Moivre, The Doctrine of Chances (1718, 1738 and 1756 editions)
  • Thomas Bayes, Notebook c.1747-1761
  • Charles Babbage, Specimen of logarithm tables printed with different coloured inks on variously coloured papers (1831) has a manuscript note 'only 1 copy having been printed' and a letter presentation to W. Streatfield'.

Mortality analysis 

  • John Graunt, Natural and political observations mentioned in a following index and made upon the Bills of Mortality (1662, and editions of 1665, and posthumously 1676). This is considered a breakthrough in statistical history for signalling how parish record data might be used to estimate population size (and men able to bear arms) and survival to age bands
  • Company of Parish Clerks of London, London's dreadful visitation. Or, A Collection of all the Bills of Mortality for the present year... (1665) at the time of the Great Plague
  • John Smart, 'An account of the number of persons dying at the several ages under mencioned [sic] as published by the Company of Parish Clerks, in the Yearly Bills of Mortality…’ [years 1728-1741] was appended in 1738 to Smart’s earlier work, Tables of interest, discount, annuities &c. 2nd ed., 1726. Smart was first to analyse the London Bills of Mortality after age of death began to be recorded from 1728; he presented his findings through the Royal Society in a letter ‘shewing the probabilities of life in order to estimate annuities &c.’ in 1738. Further analysis has been added by another for the years 1742-1771
  • Corbyn Morris, Observations on the past growth and the present state of the City of London (1751) was the work on the London Bills of Mortality that informed James Dodson as he first outlined how premiums could be set according to age commercial life assurance based on actuarial mathematics
  • Nicolaas Struyck, Inleiding tot de de algemeene geographie beneevens eenige sterrekundige en andere verhandelingen (1740) contains 'Appendix to the conjectures on the state of the human race and the calculation of annuities' (in Dutch) in which he first discerned from Holland's state tontine registers that male and female mortality (and life expectancy) could be separately observed 
  • Antoine Deparcieux, Essai sur les probabilités de la durée de la vie humaine; d'où l'on déduit la manière de déterminer les Rentes Viagères, tant simples qu'en tontines: précédé d'une courte Explication sur les Rentes à Terme, ou Annuités; et accompagné d'un grand nombre de Tables. Paris: Guérin, 1746. ‘Géometre’ Deparcieux analysed the mortality experience from tontine registers and that of nuns of convents, his tables becoming much relied upon for appraisal of financial schemes contingent on life in Europe.

Theory and practice of life assurance and annuities 

  • Abraham De Moivre, Annuities upon lives (1725) - arguably a first textbook on actuarial questions 
  • Alexander Webster, Robert Wallace, Colin Mclarin, Calculations with the principles and data on whcih they are instituted: relative to a late Act of Parliament entitled, an Act for raising and establishing a Fund for the provision for the widows and children of the ministers of the Church and of the heads, principals and masters of the universities of Scotland (1748)
  • Richard Price, Observations on reversionary payments, 1st ed. (1771) and later editions
  • Charles Babbage, A comparative view of the various institutions for the assurance of lives (1826).

Non-life insurance 

  • Corbyn Morris, An essay towards the Science of Insurance ... (1747) applied binomial theorem to assess matters of marine insurance.

Insurance prospectuses and promotional leaflets

This collection is said to have started with the gift from the Clerical, Medical and General Assurance Society of a bound volume of various companies' prospectuses (with reports to policyholders and specimen policy conditions) trawled from the period 1832-1851. Another set is in three volumes bound by the Colonial Life Assurance Company in 1846 covering English, Irish, Scottish and foreign offices. Also, there is a volume of statutes of French and German insurance companies of the 1850s.

Pamphlets have been bound in a series of 'Tracts' covering mainly nineteenth-century papers on life assurance, statistics, friendly societies, mortality rates with some Dutch, French and German insurance literature. They include a collection bought in 1880 from Cornelius Walford (1827-1885), author of The Insurance Cyclopaedia ... (volumes I-V: Aba - Han) (1871-1880). Some 'Tracts' pamphlets listed in 1907 have been later disbound but all are traceable using the Library database catalogue.

Newmarch collection 

The Royal Statistical Society has deposited six volumes of pamphlets - mainly on life assurance bequeathed by William Newmarch F.R.S.S. (1820-1882), Manager of Glyn Mills and Company Bank - with the Institute Library upon permanent loan.

Journals and periodicals 

The London library holds several current journals of American and European actuarial associations. Its historical holdings include Post Magazine (weekly news on the insurance industry) from 1849 onwards and Transactions of the International Congress of Actuaries from 1895.

Faculty of Actuaries Collection (Edinburgh University Library)

Some 1500 catalogued items of the former Faculty's historical collections are deposited at Edinburgh University Library. Significant among these are sets of 19th century prospectuses of life asssurance societies originating in Scotland, and original early 17th centrury publications of John Napier on logarithms.

Equitable Life Archive 

The Institute and Faculty acquired the Archive of the Equitable Life Assurance Society dating from 1762 to 1950 and associated historical research in 2006. The Society was the first to practise actuarial science in insurance and the Archive takes a special place in the profession's heritage.

Archive of the IFoA

Since it began, originally by the foundation of the Institute of Actuaries in 1848 (Royal Charter, 1884) and then of the Faculty of Actuaries in 1856 (Royal Charter, 1868), the UK actuarial profession has fostered production of education textbooks for student actuaries and technical papers dedicated to its subject field through the Journal of the Institute of Actuaries (1951-1994) and Transactions of the Faculty of Actuaries (1901-1994) - now the British Actuarial Journal since 1995. The achievements of leading figures and professional committees in contributing to legislation with appropriate public interest roles for actuaries can be traced through the respective Yearbooks and Members Handbooks of the two organisations. 

London and Edinburgh offices retain series of former Faculty and Institute council and committee and general meeting minute books.

The Libraries also have albums of photographs of actuaries since 1848 with their insurance company associations. 

In 2010, the memberships of the two bodies voted for merger becoming the IFoA.

Contact Details

For any library enquiries please contact:

libraries@actuaries.org.uk

We try to respond to email queries within one working day. Researcher access to historical resources may require notice in advance of visit in order to retrieve items from storage.

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Events calendar

  • TIGI 2019 (Technical Issues in General Insurance)

    Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4LE
    25-26 April 2019
    Spaces available

    This General Insurance CPD offering has been changed from former years of individual one day seminars to include individual sessions for IFRS 17, Pricing, Capital Modelling and Reserving over a two-day event  packaged as Technical Issues in General Insurance, providing attendees with a varied program . The event is suitable for anyone who works, or are interested, in these areas.

  • Fully booked.

    Data Visualisation helps to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means.  This talk will showcase some visualisations that the working party has found useful for common actuarial situations.  The event is now full, however if you would like to join a waiting list, please email Barry_shannon@standardlife.com

  • Francophone Actuaries Meeting 2019

    Aviva, Saint Helen's, 1 Undershaft, London EC3P 3DQ, UK
    2 May 2019

    Spaces available

    L'Institut des Actuaires and French actuaries in the UK, partnered with Aviva, are delighted to be hosting their annual "l'afterwork" event for French speaking actuaries in the UK. The event will mix French and English interventions.

    Register via this link to be added to the guest list:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rencontre-annuelle-des-actuaires-francophones-londres-tickets-59758941603

     

     

  • Spaces available

    CPD

    CPD
    1.00 hours

    The CMI SAPS Mortality Committee and Mortality Projections Committee will be holding a joint webinar, aimed primarily at pension scheme trustees, describing considerations relating to setting longevity assumptions in 2019.

  • SIAS EVENT - Hurricane Clustering: A New Reality?

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    7 May 2019

    Spaces available

    The 2017 North Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most active on record. We saw multiple hurricanes coming close together causing significant damage and human loss. The talk discusses whether 2017 was an exceptional year or indicative of what we expect to see in the near future, and the implications for (re)insurers.

  • IFoA Asia Conference 2019, Chengdu

    Crowne Plaza Chengdu Panda Garden, Poly Park 198, No. 1980 ShuLong Avenue,Xindu District, Chengdu
    09-10 May 2019
    Spaces available

    IfoA Logo for eventsOffering a diverse selection of plenary sessions and cross-practice workshops, the annual Asia Conference is the perfect opportunity to discover and discuss current and developing actuarial topics in Asia, whilst providing excellent opportunity to grow your network of contacts.

  • DAG event - Can we overcome unconscious bias?

    KPMG LLP  Saltire Court,  20 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2EG
    9 May 2019

    Spaces available

    This session will examine our biases, look at what it feels like to be an outsider and give attendees practical tools and actions we can all take to support and grow diversity and inclusion, within the profession. This session is also designed to meet the objectives of the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training for experienced members.

  • Welsh Actuarial Society event – The Annual Funding Statement 2019

    Quantum Advisory’s Cardiff Office, Cypress House, Pascal Cl, St. Mellons CF3 0LW
    13 May 2019

    Spaces available

    Join us as Neil Bull from the Pensions Regulator presents on “The Annual Funding Statement 2019”.  His presentation will include a discussion on the key messages of the AFS 2019 including the Long Term Funding Target, maturity, what tPR expects of Trustees / Employers and the new regulatory approach.

    RSVP

  • KSS event – IQ+EQ = Future Success

    Royal London, 1 Thistle Street, Edinburgh
    14 May 2019

    Spaces available

    In this interactive session, our facilitators, Russell Borland and Thomas Chalmers, Partners of UK-based coaching consulting firm, Leading Figures, will explore how we can enhance our EQ to make the most of our IQ. They will introduce an Emotional Intelligence framework developed by psychologist Daniel Goleman and provide participants with an opportunity to personally assess their own Emotional Intelligence.  To register please email Caitlin.stronach@royallondon.com

  • CILA 2019

    30 Euston Square, London NW1 2FB
    14 May 2019

    Spaces available

    CILA is one of the pre-eminent events in the annual Life calendar. It is aimed at practicing life actuaries from life offices, consulting firms and other employers of actuaries. It will also be of interest to all those who work in or advise on, the life assurance market in the UK and Europe.

  • KSS event – Bulk Annuity Market Update

    Willis Towers Watson 2 Lochrin Square, 96 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QA
    15 May 2019

    Fully booked.

    This KSS talk will give a bulk annuity market update over 2018 and for 2019 and beyond.  The presenters will also consider bulk annuity options as part of pension scheme de-risking strategies, and how pension schemes can best prepare when requesting a quote in order to achieve a favourable outcome. Please note this event is now full, however, if you wish to join a waiting list, please email Dawn.Neil@willistowerswatson.com.

  • KSS event – Bulk Annuity Market Update

    Willis Towers Watson 2 West Regent Street Glasgow G2 1RW
    16 May 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk will give a bulk annuity market update over 2018 and for 2019 and beyond. The presenters will also consider bulk annuity options as part of pension scheme de-risking strategies, and how pension schemes can best prepare when requesting a quote in order to achieve a favourable outcome. To book a place please email Dawn.Neil@willistowerswatson.com

  • How to protect SMEs from Cyber Attacks

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ.  
    16 May 2019

    Spaces available

    The aim of this interdisciplinary symposium is to gain understanding and awareness of UK private SMEs about their insurance need as a part of cyber risk management and mitigation strategies.

  • Risk and Investment Conference 2019

    Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, Strand, London WC2N 5HX
    20-21 May 2019
    Spaces available

    This year's event begins with a Professional Skills Training plenary to help build your CPD, followed by a formal drinks reception and dinner on the evening of 20 May.  The following day will then be a programme full of topical plenaries and workshops covering the latest trends and topical issues in the risk and investment sector with plenty of opportunities to network with colleagues and build your CPD.

  • LMS Invited Lectures 2019

    ICMS, The Bayes Centre, 47 Potterrow, Edinburgh EH8 9BT
    20 May 2019 - 24 May 2019

    Spaces available

    On May 20-24 2019, Prof Søren Asmussen (Aarhus University) will deliver a course on lectures on advanced topics in life insurance mathematics.  This will be held at the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Edinburgh, and will be accompanied by supporting lectures from Prof Corina Constantinescu (University of Liverpool) and Prof Andrew Cairns (Heriot-Watt University). To register, please visit https://www.icms.org.uk/LMSAsmussen.php.

  • Mortality and Longevity Symposium 2019

    ICC Birmingham, Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA
    04-05 June 2019
    Spaces available

    The Mortality and Longevity Symposium aims to expand delegates’ horizons by giving a better view of the scope of current mortality research in a wide variety of relevant disciplines, and by providing a forum to discuss the implications for actuarial practice and it will be of interest to all actuaries concerned with setting or reviewing mortality and longevity assumptions, underwriters, demographers, epidemiologists, policy-

  • Protection, Health and Care Conference 2019

    ICC Birmingham  Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA
    04-06 June 2019
    Spaces available

    The Protection, Health and Care Conference is an annual conference aimed at all insurance professionals with a passion for harnessing insurance risk in their organisations. The conference uses a combination of workshops by individuals who work at the coalface and ‘big name’ experts to explore how innovation, technological/medical advances, the political landscape and other market development will impact the Protection, Health and Care markets.

  • NED Event: Behavioural Finance and Boards

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    18 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Substantial work has been undertaken in the field of behavioural finance to explore the psychological factors affecting investment decisions made by individuals.  In contrast, “behavioural” factors (such as politics or human psychology) affecting decisions and actions made by institutional investors, such as insurers or pension schemes, are less understood.

  • Pensions Conference 2019

    Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre, 2 Lower Castle Street, Old Market, Bristol, BS1 3AD
    18-19 June 2019
    Spaces available

    Covering current topics and industry trends, the conference also includes a pre-conference evening dinner (18 June) giving you the opportunity to develop your network. 

  • KSS event – FinTech and The Actuarial Profession

    EY, Atria One, 144 Morrison Street, Edinburgh
    19 June 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk from FinTech Scotland's CEO will explore the mission to create an integrated Fintech ecosystem through provision of funding, support, infrastructure and talent that recognises and responds to the needs of all stakeholders - and the overarching aim for Scotland to be one of the top 5 Fintech global leaders by 2020.

    To book your place, please email Barry_Shannon@standardlife.com 

  • Current Issues in General Insurance (CIGI) 2019

    Inmarsat, 99 City Road, London, EC1Y 1BJ
    19 June 2019

    Spaces available

    CIGI will provide an excellent and diverse line-up of speakers, each providing their insight and knowledge on a range of topics.  The programme will be broad in nature, so will be of most value to those with some experience in the industry. 

  • AGM and Presidential Address 2019

    The Hub  Castlehill Edinburgh EH1 2NE
    26 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Notice is hereby given that the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the INSTITUTE AND FACULTY OF ACTUARIES will be held at The Hub, Edinburgh on Wednesday 26 June 2019 at 16.30 (Preceded by tea from 16.00) and followed by a PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS given by John Taylor.

  • SIAS: The Impact of Air Pollution on Health and Life Expectancy

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    2 July 2019

    Spaces available

    Air pollution has gained increasing attention lately. Nicola Oliver, head of longevity and mortality research for Medical Intelligence, will discuss not only the impacts of air pollution on health and life expectancy but also how as an industry we should be addressing it.

  • GIRO Conference 2019

    EICC, The Exchange, 150 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3 8EE
    24-26 September 2019
    Spaces available

    GIRO is attended annually by over 800 delegates and speakers who are keen to discuss key topics such as Pricing, Reserving, Modelling and the future of the insurance industry. GIRO 2018 was a huge success and we have opened bookings early for what we hope will be another brilliant conference at the EICC in Edinburgh this year.