Anthony R. Kuser

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Anthony R. Kuser
Born Anthony Rudolph Kuser
(1862-05-12)May 12, 1862
Newark, New Jersey
Died February 8, 1929(1929-02-08) (aged 66)
West Palm Beach, Florida
Spouse(s) Susan Fairchild Dryden
Children John Dryden Kuser
Cynthia Dryden Kuser
Parent(s) Rudolph Kuser
Rosalie Prieth
Relatives John Fairfield Dryden (father-in-law)

Anthony Rudolph Kuser (May 12, 1862 – February 8, 1929) was a businessman and philanthropist who donated the land that makes up New Jersey's highest point and had the monument there built as a war memorial.

Monument on High Point, New Jersey

Early life[edit]

Anthony Rudolph Kuser was born on May 12, 1862 in Newark, New Jersey to Swiss born Rudolph Kuser (1818–1891) and Rosalie Prieth (1833–1923).[1] He moved with his family at age 5 to Trenton, New Jersey. His siblings included Frederick Kruser (1859–1937), John Louis Kuser (1862–1937), his twin and the secretary-treasurer of Mercer automobiles, Rudolph Victor Kuser (1865–1931), Louise Kuser (1867–1951), and Benedict Charles Kuser (1870–1930).[1][2]

He was educated in the parochial schools of Newark and of Hamilton township public schools where he studied engineering.[1]

Career[edit]

He organized the Trenton Hygeia Ice Company, the Trenton Brewery Company, and was instrumental in consolidating all the gas and electric companies of Trenton. Along with his twin brother, John L. Kuser, he was the leading spirit in the purchase of the Trenton Street Railway Company.[1]

He was president of the South Jersey Gas and Electric Lighting Company, and he originated the idea of manufacturing coke at Camden, and of piping the gas to Trenton. At the time, it was the longest piping line of its kind in the world.[1]

In 1889, he was appointed the personal staff of Governor Leon Abbett, where he received a nickname of "Colonel." He would serve in a similar capacity for Governors George T. Werts[3] and John W. Griggs.[4][5] He served on the board of railroad assessors and was nominated for state senator from Mercer county, but refused to accept.[1]

In 1909, he financed the Kuser-William Beebe Expedition to study birds in Ceylon, India, Burma, the Malay States, Java, Borneo, China and Japan. In 1916, he also gave $100,000 to fund a series of volumes on pheasants.[6]

In 1910, he purchased the High Point Inn from the estate of Charles St. John and proceeded to remodel it into his personal home although he rarely used it.[7]

In 1915, he lent $200,000 to William Fox to establish Fox Film Corporation, later merged into 20th Century Fox.[7] He would remain on the Fox board until his death.

Personal life[edit]

On December 1, 1896, he married Susie Fairfield Dryden (1862–1932), daughter of Senator and Prudential Insurance founder John Fairfield Dryden.[8] Together, they had two children, both of whom grew up in the family mansion in Bernardsville, New Jersey[9] which still stands:[10]

  • John Dryden Kuser (1897–1964), a New Jersey state senator who was the first husband of Brooke Astor (1902–2007)
  • Cynthia Dryden Kuser (1910–1985),[10] who was first married to Theodore Wilhelm Herbst, with whom she had a daughter (b. 1943).[11] After World War II, Cynthia served as a translator in refugee work in Europe and managed Dryden Press in New York.[10] She later married Arthur Hinkley Earle (1896–1971),[12][13] but had a relationship with Victor Kravchenko (1905–1966),[14] a Soviet defector with whom she had two sons, Anthony (b. 1947) and Andrew (b. 1950).[15][16]

In 1916, a Kuser, bought a 250 acre estate in Bernardsville, New Jersey called Blythewood from Henry Rudolph Kunhardt (1860–1923) that was designed by Henry Rutgers Marshall and thought to be worth at least $250,000. After they purchased the home, they had it renovated by Hoppin & Koen and renamed Faircourt.[10] In 1921, The Kuser's were drugged in their sleep and robbed of $20,000 in jewels.[17]

On February 8, 1929, Kuser died at his estate, Los Incas, a 12-bedroom six-acre oceanfront palazzo estate in the Venetian style in West Palm Beach.[4] His funeral was attended by many of the days most important men, including the Ambassador to Spain and Two Former Governors.[18] After buying the property from subsequent owners in 1978, Los Inca's was torn down by Robert W. Gottfried and replaced it with 10 demi-ones which sold for about $3 million each.[19]

Philanthropy[edit]

In 1922, he donated his home at High Point along with 10,500 acres (42 km2) for a state park.[20] In 1927, he selected an architect to design a war memorial on the summit to be modeled on the Bunker Hill Monument.[21] The obelisk was still under construction when he died at his estate in West Palm Beach in 1929.[4] Kuser's mansion at High Point fell into disrepair and was torn down in 1995.[22][23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Lee, Francis Bazley (1907). Genealogical and personal memorial of Mercer County, New Jersey. New York | Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. pp. 719–721. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  2. ^ Times, Special To The New York (27 May 1922). "Col. W.A. Roebling 85 Years Old.". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  3. ^ "Gov. Werts's Staff.". The New York Times. 4 January 1893. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c Reel, Special To The New York Times international News (9 February 1929). "COL. A.R. KUSER DIES; JERSEY CAPITALIST; | Donor of Huge Park and Bird Sanctuary at High Point, N.J., Succumbs in Florida. | POWER IN HOME STATE | Long a Director of Public Service Corporation--Aided Medical Centre in City. On Governor's Staff. Gave Great Game Preserve.". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  5. ^ "MAYOR REMEMBERS TAMMANY AT LAST; Whitney for Head of Correction, Ormonde, Astarita, Hennessy City Assessors.". The New York Times. 19 January 1910. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  6. ^ "BOOK ON PHEASANTS WILL COST $225,000; N.Y. Zoological Society to Issue the Finest Work on Birds Ever Published. COL. KUSER GIVES $100,000 Edition to be Limited to 500 Sets of 4 Volumes, Each Set to Sell for $250 -- Vol. I. Soon to Appear.". The New York Times. 19 January 1916. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  7. ^ a b http://www.njskylands.com/pkhighpt2.htm
  8. ^ Times, Special To Thk New York (1 April 1932). "Mrs. A. R. Kuser's Funeral Today.". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  9. ^ Adroit Thief Drugs Then Robs Kusers - Takes $20,000 in Jewels From Home of Son-in-Law of Late Senator Dryden The New York Times, 2 November 1921
  10. ^ a b c d "Blythewood / Faircourt" (PDF). turpinrealtors.com. pp. 87–91. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  11. ^ "DAUGHTER TO MRS. HERBST" (PDF). The New York Sun. July 14, 1943. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  12. ^ "Earle, Arthur Hinkley". the-afs-archive.org. The Archive. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  13. ^ Times, Special To The New York (21 June 1953). "Mrs. Cynthia D. Kuser Is Wed". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  14. ^ "The Courage of Victor Kravchenko". Free Republic. February 2, 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  15. ^ Landsberg, Mitchell (11 May 2003), "Searching for Tato", The Los Angeles Times 
  16. ^ Martin, Philip (12 February 1992). "L' AFFAIRE KRAVCHENKO". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  17. ^ Times, Special To The New York (2 November 1921). "ADROIT THIEF DRUGS THEN ROBS KUSERS; Takes $20,000 in Jewels From Home of Son-in-Law of Late Senator Dryden. 18 WERE ASLEEP IN HOUSE No Doors Unlocked, No Knowledge of How Drug Was Applied, No Noise, No Clue.". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  18. ^ Times, Special To The New York (15 February 1929). "NOTABLES AT FUNERAL OF COL. A.R. KUSER; Ambassador and Two Former Governors in Throng at Bernardsville Church.". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  19. ^ Demarest, Michael (March 1981). "Next the Stately Subdivision; In Palm Beach White Elephants Produce Million-Dollar Babies". Time Magazine. 
  20. ^ "DRYDEN ESTATE FOR PARK.; Late Senator's Daughter Turns Over 10,000 Acres to State.". The New York Times. 24 May 1923. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  21. ^ Society, Ronald J. Dupont Jr ; Ronald J. Dupont Jr Is President Of The Vernon Township Historical (5 June 1988). "NEW JERSEY OPINION; Neglect Imperils Historic Sites". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  22. ^ Granville, Kevin (16 May 2004). "HISTORY; Till the Cows Come Home". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  23. ^ Magazine, Skylands Visitor. "High Point State Park Monument". www.njskylands.com. Retrieved 31 January 2017.