Robert C. Pruyn

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1892 photo of Pruyn.

Robert Clarence Pruyn (October 23, 1847 – October 29, 1934), of Albany, New York, was an influential American inventor, banker, businessman, and politician.

Family and Education[edit]

The Pruyn family of Albany, New York was one of the oldest and most esteemed Dutch families in New York, and at the time of Robert's birth, had resided in Albany for over two centuries.[1] At an early age, Pruyn traveled with his father, Robert H. Pruyn, to Japan, where he was serving as Minister to Japan. When he returned to the United States in 1865, he entered Rutgers College and graduated in 1869.


He was also active in the state militia, rising to the rank of Colonel.[2] In 1871, Pruyn went on to become president of the Embossing Company, one of the major toy manufacturers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.[3] He was credited for five patents involving puzzles, dominoes, and building blocks.[4] When John A. Dix became Governor of New York in 1873, Pruyn became an aide on the Governor's staff, and was later appointed a member of the New York State Board of Regents.[5] Upon the appointment by President Grover Cleveland of National Commercial Bank of Albany President Daniel Manning as United States Secretary of the Treasury, Pruyn was named the bank's President. His secretaries included Charles E. Adams and Frederick Baldwin Adams. Pruyn and his staff became some of the more successful investors of the early twentieth century.[6]

He held board memberships on eight major American companies and banks, and was also a member of various civic organizations.[7] He also established the 13,000 acre (53 km²) Santanoni Preserve in the Adirondack Mountains upstate of New York, which is today a state park and National Historic Landmark.[8][9]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Anna Williams of Albany, and had three sons and one daughter, and died in 1934.[10]


  1. ^ Albany Institute - Pruyn Family Papers[dead link]
  2. ^ Morgan Dix (1883). Memoirs of John Adams Dix. Harper & Brothers. 
  3. ^ "". 1955-12-03. Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  4. ^ "''ibid.''". Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  6. ^ "Encyclopedia of Biography of New York". Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  7. ^ Cuyler Reynolds (1906). Albany Chronicles. J. B. Lyon company, printers. 
  8. ^ "Adirondack Architectural Heritage - Santanoni History". Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  9. ^ "National Historic Landmark Nomination - Santanoni Preserve" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  10. ^ "''New York Times''". New York Times. 1903-06-04. Retrieved 2014-08-18.