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No source identified, probably written in the 1920s.

In the early days of the Fireman's Fund the annual election of Directors was conducted in a manner no longer followed by corporations. Tickets were printed, as at a political election, a ballot box provided, a judge and clerks of election appointed, and balloting was kept open for three hours - from 12 to 3 P. M.

As an attraction to the stockholders, a somewhat elaborate lunch was provided by a caterer, who was present with his assistants, and served salads, cold meats, fowl, California wine, and imported Champagne ad lib. Even a few black bottles were provided for those whose taste called for a stronger appetizer. The President saw that there were plenty of good cigars for those who smoked. This "Birthday Reception" became so Popular that it was continued until 1906 and only succumbed, like our city, to the destruction of that conflagration.

Many of our present merchants and underwriters will remember the smile with which they greeted the appearance of the company's long burgee floating from its flag-pole, and announcing, not only to its stockholders, but to all its friends in and out of the business, that this was reception day at the Fireman's Fund office. Hundreds of our friends called to express good will and to take a sandwich and a glass of wine and a cigar with us on our birthday.

This delightful old custom could not have been continued in any event under present prohibition conditions, but the spirit of true good-fellowship that prompted it can never be exterminated by any Act of Congress. It is a heritage of the old days of San Francisco - one that finds new expression today in a certain characteristic "humanness", typical of the men of that city and of the institutions which they have built.

[Fireman's Fund Archives: 4-1-2-4-6; 0718.]


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