Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Victor_1932 by midgefrazel
Victor_1932, a photo by midgefrazel on Flickr.

Legal Stuff?

This clip from the 1931 Westerly, Rhode Island City Directory stopped me cold. I puzzled over it and asked our favorite legal mind, Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist to help me out. She was very nice to stop what she was doing, carefully read it and ask for the link to this directory. I complied.

What she was looking for was the list of abbreviations that is near the front (or the back) of each city directory. It didn't help. I'd already read it. Sigh!

I decided that it needed "crowdsourcing" so let's take a look at what we know. Update below!

By 1931, Victor Cleansing Co. was an established business. Incorporated in Rhode Island in 1928 with stores in several locations  and a plant (where the work was done at 42 Cyr St. in Washington Park). This clip and some others like it in later issues of the directory, list the words:

CAP NO PAR before the names of the officers of the company for that year.

At this time in 1931, great grandfather, Charlie is President (he died in 1937), Robert Simpson (ancestor of my friend Jim Ricci who shared photos with me) is Vice President, Catherine V. Carey is secretary (and office manager) and my grandfather, Evans is treasurer. 

I think that "cap no par" must be a legal abbreviation of the time and may be because the business had no partners other than the officers listed. Partners means that those people invest their money into the business.  Of course, this time period is the depression and so people don't have money to spare.

Maybe the abbreviation "cap" means capital or "capped off" for this year.

Ideas are welcome.....  

Update! A Facebook friend, Jenny says: "Could refer to capital "no par" stock - meaning the stock is issued without a face value, and the value is determined by the board based on capital." She suggests further reading here. Thanks, Jenny!

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