John F. Dryden was born on August 7, 1839 in Temple, Maine, United States.
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Father of industrial insurance
He was born in Temple, Maine and he moved in 1846 with his parents to Worcester. John Dryden introduced industrial life insurance into America and brought it to wide acceptance as a major social and economic device. This constituted a new concept of family financing planning and brought life insurance within the financial reach of all people. He witnessed the financial despair of the post-Civil War America, which contributed to low wages, frequent unemployment, and frequent failing of financial institutions holding entrusted savings. His study of the industrial insurance system, introduced in England in 1854, convinced him of the need for and practicality of a "poor man’s life insurance company." Despite government opposition and a public attitude hostile to insurance, he founded in 1873 The Widows and Orphans Friendly Society. This became the Prudential Insurance Company of America in 1877. He remained the guiding genius of the company for 36 years. Along with weekly premium insurance, Dryden introduced into America the debit system of collecting premiums at the home of the insured. This system helped keep policies in force during difficult economic times and tended to educate broad masses of people to the value of life insurance. He led the insurance business in introducing liberalization of industrial policies and in extending new benefits by concession to the holders of older policies. His insistence on sharing corporate profits with policyholders led to the eventual mutualization of the company. He died in Newark, New Jersey, United States.
He graduated from Worcester Academy, and then attended Yale College.
John Fairfield Dryden was the founder of the Prudential Insurance Company and a United States Senator from New Jersey. 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, and served in the latter position until 1911. He was one of the founders of the Fidelity Trust Company. He was involved in the establishment and management of various street railways, banks, and other financial enterprises in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William J. Sewell and served from January 29, 1902, to March 4, 1907. Dryden was a candidate for reelection, but withdrew because of a deadlock in the legislature, which at the time elected U.S. Senators. While in the Senate, Dryden was chairman of the Committee on Relations with Canada (57th Congress) and a member of the Committee on Enrolled Bills (58th and 59th Congresses).
He died in Newark, New Jersey on November 24, 1911 from pneumonia following removal of gall stones two weeks earlier. His estate was valued at $50,000,000. He was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Newark.