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Aug. 29, 1920: Insurance against spinsterhood

Posted by: Ben Welter under Minnesota History Updated: January 13, 2014 - 10:33 AM
 
The young woman who hatched the insurance idea described in the Minneapolis Tribune story below appears to have been an intelligent person with a broad range of interests. She was an accomplished debater at North High and at the University of Minnesota. She took first place in oratory in her sophomore year at the U and worked as a reporter at the Minnesota Daily as a junior. She was a Big Sisters volunteer. She was active in her synagogue. She planned a career in life insurance in an era in which women’s workplace roles were severely limited. So how did she come up with this cockamamie idea?

Spinsterhood Specter Fades
Under New Insurance Plan

University Girl Evolves Idea For Consoling Unmated as Years Roll By.

College Women Regarded Poor Risks and Would Pay Higher Premiums.

Bachelors may now “bach” until Kingdom Come, and naught be the care of the aging maiden!

For now comes Miss Rose Feigelman, University of Minnesota co-ed and life insurance saleswoman, with a new idea to console the feminine heart and mind which finds itself living in single blessedness as the years pass onward.

It is “Matrimonial Risk Insurance.”

Rose Feigelman

Under this plan it would be possible for fond parents to insure their daughters at birth and be happy in the realization that when the daughter reaches the age of 35 and is still unmarried, she will be paid $10,000 by the insurance company. The plan is still in embryo, Miss Feigelman said, but “it’s nearing practicality.”

There is now life insurance, accident insurance, health insurance, insurance against business loss, almost every conceivable sort of insurance, and so, why not matrimonial risk insurance? That’s the query of this young co-ed and distributor of life insurance policies! It’s the plan which, she says, would make every woman’s outlook upon life one of high optimism as year after year passes and no man looms on the horizon.

“Well, now,” she was asked by one of her “prospects,” who was told the plan, “supposing an applicant were not so – er – good looking? Would you impose a higher premium? Or don’t looks make any difference?”

“That has not yet been worked out,” came the answer with a smile. “But I doubt it there would be any difference.”

“Risks would be regarded as nearly equal for any two women then?”

“University women will have to pay a higher premium, they’re a poor risk when it comes to matrimony, so small a percentage of them marry, they get too particular and independent,” she answered quickly.

“Are you a – oh, a poor risk?”

“Maybe,” and she smiled quizzically.

Miss Feigelman is a senior at the university. When the vacation periods come she sells life insurance.

“Some people think it’s strange that a girl should sell life insurance,” she continued. “They think I ought to be a stenographer or a clerk in a department store or something, but I differ with them.”

Miss Feigelman is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Feigelman, 1028 Newton avenue north.

 
 
FOLLOWUP: Scouring the Web, I've been unable to find much more about Miss Feigelman. It's no surprise that her matrimonial risk insurance idea appears to have come to naught. But what about the woman herself? Did she pursue a career in insurance sales? Did she marry, have children? All I can say with assurance is that her father was Louis B. Feigelman, owner of a jewelry shop at 522 Nicollet Avenue. The shop advertised regularly in the Minneapolis Tribune and was listed the Minneapolis city directories of that period. Her mother's name might have been Fanny. Rose had a younger sister, Miriam, whose charming letter to the Tribune's Happy Thought Club was published on Dec. 31, 1922:

"Dear Fairy Happy Thought: May I join your dear little club? Please let me. I have a sister but she is too big to write to the club. Her name is Rose. I have a talking doll two and one-half feet tall. I have many other dolls but she is the best. Her name is Margaret. She is very pretty. She has staring eyes. I like school very much. My teacher's name is Miss Williams. I guess I will close now. Your new friend. MIRIAM FEIGELMAN, 1028 Newton Ave. N., Mpls, Minn."
 
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