John F. Dryden

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John F. Dryden
Portrait of John Fairfield Dryden.jpg
United States Senator
from New Jersey
In office
January 29, 1902 – March 3, 1907
Preceded byWilliam Joyce Sewell
Succeeded byFrank O. Briggs
Personal details
John Fairfield Dryden

(1839-08-07)August 7, 1839
Temple, Maine, U.S.
DiedNovember 24, 1911(1911-11-24) (aged 72)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Political partyRepublican

John Fairfield Dryden (August 7, 1839 – November 24, 1911) was the founder of the Prudential Insurance Company and a United States Senator from New Jersey. He was known as the "father of industrial insurance".[1]

Life and career[edit]

Born in Temple, Maine, Dryden moved in 1846 with his parents to Worcester, Massachusetts. He graduated from Worcester Academy and later attended Yale College. In 1875, he founded the Widows and Orphans Friendly Society (now Prudential Financial) in Newark, New Jersey, becoming its first secretary and in 1881 its president, serving in the latter position until 1911. Dryden was one of the founders of the Fidelity Trust Company and was involved in the establishment and management of various street railways, banks, and other financial enterprises in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. He was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William J. Sewell, serving from January 29, 1902, to March 3, 1907. Dryden was a candidate for reelection, but withdrew because of a deadlock in the state legislature, which at the time elected U.S. Senators. While in the Senate, he was chairman of the Committee on Relations with Canada (57th Congress) and a member of the Committee on Enrolled Bills (58th and 59th Congresses).

Dryden died in Newark, New Jersey on November 24, 1911 from pneumonia following removal of gall stones two weeks earlier.[1][2] His estate was valued at $50,000,000.[1] He was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Newark.


In addition to his home in Bernardsville, New Jersey, Dryden was in the process of constructing a home in High Point, New Jersey that was to be one of the largest homes in the country.[1]

His daughter, Susan married Anthony R. Kuser, who would use part of the Prudential fortune to donate 10,500 acres (42 km2) for a state park at New Jersey's highest point. John Dryden Kuser, Dryden's grandson, was a state senator and Brooke Astor's first husband.


  1. ^ a b c d "John F. Dryden Dies Worth $50,000,000. Ex-Senator from New Jersey Succumbs to Pneumonia, Following an Operation". The New York Times. November 25, 1911. Retrieved 2010-10-20. Ex-United States Senator John F. Dryden, President of the Prudential Insurance Company of America, also known as the "Father of Industrial Insurance", died at 6 o'clock last night at his home, 1020 Broad Street, Newark, N.J. The ex-Senator was operated on a week ago to-day for the removal of gall stones.
  2. ^ "John F. Dryden Operated On". Hartford Courant. November 20, 1911. Retrieved 2010-10-20. John F Dryden president of the Prudential Insurance Company was operated on for gallstones yesterday at his home in Newark, N.J. ...

External links[edit]

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
William J. Sewell
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from New Jersey
Served alongside: John Kean
Succeeded by
Frank O. Briggs