Heritage Server > Our People > Charles R. Page


Charles R. Page was a native San Franciscan, born on May 24, 1878. He was the son of Charles Page, an admiralty attorney, counsel for the Fireman’s Fund and a long-time director of the Fund. Page attended high school at St. Paul’s School in Concord, Massachusetts and graduated from Yale University in 1900. After graduation, he joined the ship Arthur Sewall sailing from New York to Yokohama via the Cape of Good Hope. He spent the next year travelling in Europe and joined the Fireman’s Fund upon his return to the United States in June, 1902.

By 1915, Page had worked his way from office boy to marine loss clerk to the charge of marine and automobile losses to general auditor of the company. During the San Francisco Conflagration, Page and his family suffered along with the rest of the city, watching the fire creep toward his home and eventually fleeing to Berkeley. Of the experience, Page wrote to his son at M.I.T., "We spent the morning in the street, sitting in our garden coping…The best in human nature has been brought out…(San Francisco’s) inhabitants are of all kinds; but neither race, or education, or condition of life could be distinguished in the spontaneous outburst of bravery, generosity, and self-sacrifice."

He resigned from Fireman’s Fund in 1917 when he was appointed commissioner of the United States Shipping Board by then President Woodrow Wilson. He served in that position until the close of the war, and was recognized for his service to the Allies by the French government with a Cross of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.

Upon his resignation, he undertook the organization of the United States Salvage Association, a cooperative enterprise of marine underwriters headquartered in New York City. After ensuring the organization’s solvency, Page returned to San Francisco and to the service of the Fireman’s Fund in January, 1922. That year, he was made manager of the Atlantic Marine Department, and in May 1926, he became vice-president of the Fireman’s Fund.

In 1937, Page was elected president of Fireman’s Fund, and elevated to chairman in 1943. In 1941, he served as Western Regional Director, National Office of Civilian Defense, and in 1943, was appointed chairman of the Northern California War Finance Committee for the U.S. Treasury Department. During his long career, Page also held the directorships of the Pacific Gas and Electric, the Kern County Land Company, the American President Lines and the California Pacific Title Insurance Company. He also served on the boards of the American Red Cross and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, among other organizations. In 1939, he was elected a Fellow of the Insurance Institute of America, Inc.

Page served as the chairman of Fireman’s Fund until 1960, and as honorary chairman from 1960 to 1962. He died on April 6, 1963, 100 years and 1 month to the day after the founding of the Fireman’s Fund Company.

Biography—April 22, 1955 [01-03-00-006-0003, 01-29], Letter written by Charles Page in 1906, April 21, 1906 [01-03-00-006-0001], Charles R. Page bio, 1970, [01-03-00-0006-0007]


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