John Dryden Kuser

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
John Dryden Kuser
John Dryden Kuser.jpg
Portrait from Bird Lore (1916)
Member of the
New Jersey Senate
In office
Succeeded byJames Bowers
Member of the
New Jersey General Assembly
In office
Personal details
Born(1897-09-24)September 24, 1897
Newark, New Jersey
DiedMarch 3, 1964(1964-03-03) (aged 66)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
(m. 1919; div. 1930)

Vieva Fisher Banks
(m. 1930; div. 1935)

Louise Mattei Farry
(m. 1935; div.)
Grace Egglesfield
(m. 1958; his death 1964)
ChildrenAnthony Dryden Kuser
Suzanne Dryden Kuser
ParentsAnthony R. Kuser
Susan Fairchild Dryden
RelativesJohn Fairfield Dryden (grandfather)
Alma materPrinceton University
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Branch/serviceSeal of the United States Navy Reserve.svg United States Naval Reserve
Battles/warsWorld War I

John Dryden Kuser also known as Dryden Kuser (September 24, 1897 – March 3, 1964)[1] was a New Jersey politician and a member of an influential New Jersey family. He was the son of Colonel Anthony R. Kuser and grandson of Senator and Prudential Insurance founder John Fairfield Dryden.

Early life[edit]

John Dryden Kuser was born in Newark, New Jersey on September 24, 1897 to Susan Fairchild Dryden (d. 1932)[2] and Colonel Anthony R. Kuser (1862–1929).[1] Kuser's father, the past President of the South Jersey Gas and Electric Lighting Company and one of the original investors in Fox Movie Studios, had served on the staffs of three New Jersey governors in the late 19th century, and in 1923, donated his 10,500-acre (42 km2) estate to become High Point State Park, the largest public park in New Jersey.[3]

John Dryden Kuser's grandfather, John Fairfield Dryden (1839–1911), was the founder of Prudential Insurance Company and a United States Senator from 1902 to 1907.[4] He graduated from Princeton in 1918, where he was managing editor of The Daily Princetonian. During World War I, he served in the Naval Reserve.[5]


Kuser launched his political career in 1922, at age 25, winning election as a Bernardsville, New Jersey Councilman. He was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly two years later, and won a seat in the New Jersey Senate in 1929.[5] His wife filed for divorce shortly after the Senate election.[6][7]

During his six years as State Senator, Kuser's top accomplishment was the passage of legislation that designated the eastern goldfinch as New Jersey's state bird (in 1916, he presided over the Somerset Hills Bird Club). In 1933, John Kuser was the victim of a kidnapping threat.[8] A man named George Sabol was arrested and confessed.[9]

Later career[edit]

Kuser's political career came to an end in 1935, when his wife, Brooke Russell, divorced him amid allegations of abuse and cruelty. [10] Democratic Assemblyman James Bowers captured Kuser's State Senate seat that year. Three months later, Kuser remarried again and moved to Reno, Nevada, where he became a newspaper columnist. From 1937 to 1942, he was an insurance agent and real estate broker in Somerville, New Jersey.

Kuser worked as a consultant to the New Jersey Department of Conservation and Economic Development from 1958 until his death in 1964.[11]

Personal life[edit]

In 1919, Kuser married 17-year-old Brooke Russell, later known as Brooke Astor, the daughter of General John H. Russell.[12] Together, they had one child:[13] [14]

In 1930, Brooke filed for divorce. Kuser remarried that same year, on September 3, Vieva Fisher Banks,[6] the former wife of James Lenox Banks,[12] and a descendant of Connecticut Colonial Governor Thomas Welles.[16] Before their divorce in July 1935,[17] they had one child:[18]

In 1935, he married for the third time to Louise Mattei Farry, daughter of Joseph Mattei, and former wife of Joseph Farry.[12] Louise was his former secretary.[20] Her former husband sued Kuser for $500,000 on the grounds of "alienation-of-affections" after Louise left him, and Kuser married her. They settled out of court in 1936.[17]

In 1958, he married for the fourth and final time to Grace Egglesfield Gibbons, former wife of John J. Gibbons.[21]

Kuser died in 1964, aged 66.[5]


  1. ^ a b Kestenbaum, Lawrence. "The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Kurtzenacker to Kytle". Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  2. ^ Times, Special To Thk New York (1 April 1932). "Mrs. A. R. Kuser's Funeral Today". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  3. ^ Col. A.R. Kuser Dies; Jersey Capitalist - New York Times - February 9, 1929
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ a b c "DRYDEN KUSER, 66, JERSEY AIDE, DIES". The New York Times. 6 March 1964. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  6. ^ a b New York Times article "Old Money, New Needs", op cit
  7. ^ Times, Special To The New York (16 February 1930). "MRS. KUSER FILES SUIT; GETS CUSTODY OF SON; Wife of New Jersey Senator in Reno Court Relinquishes Her Dower Rights". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  8. ^ "A year after the kidnapping of the Lindbergh Baby, on the evening of April 24, 1933, a maid in the employ of Mr. and Mrs. J. Dryden Kuser handed her mistress a letter that had just been collected at the post office by Anthony Gallo, the Kuser’s chauffeur. The letter, dated April 19, 1933 and addressed to Mrs. Kuser, demanded $12,000 be paid or else her husband would be '...kidnapped and held for five times that amount or he will be delivered.... DEAD.' The note, which was mailed in Somerville, New Jersey, on April 23, instructed her to have the money ready by Wednesday, April 26. The money, which the author of the note claimed ' a small amount for this kind of business', was to be in hundred and thousand dollar bills. Mrs. Kuser was then to wait for a Mr. Copeland to phone her on Wednesday at noon with instructions on how and when to deliver the money. The author requested in a postscript that the money be sealed in a large business envelope."
  9. ^ Times, Special To The New York (13 May 1933). "JAILED IN KUSER THREAT.; Man Attempted to Extort $12,000 From Wife of Jersey Senator". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Her name is not Virginia Littell". Observer. 2007-01-05. Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  11. ^ "Dryden Kuser, 66, Jersey Aide, Dies". The New York Times. 1964-03-06. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  12. ^ a b c Times, Special To The New York (22 October 1935). "STATE SENATOR KUSER WEDS MRS. L.M. FARRY; Ceremony for Jersey Couple Takes Place in Judge Souter's Home at Reno". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  13. ^ Times, Special To The New York (16 February 1930). "MRS. KUSER FILES SUIT; GETS CUSTODY OF SON; Wife of New Jersey Senator in Reno Court Relinquishes Her Dower Rights". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Her name is not Virginia Littell". Observer. 2007-01-05. Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  15. ^ Miller, Judith. "Old Money, New Needs", The New York Times, November 17, 1991. Accessed November 4, 2007. "Her 10-year marriage to Dryden Kuser, a wealthy Princeton graduate who fell madly in love with her at a commencement prom, was a disaster from the start. A drunk and a womanizer, Kuser occasionally beat his young bride."
  16. ^ Times, Special To The New York (7 September 1930). "J. DRYDEN KUSER WEDS MRS. BANKS; | New Jersey State Senator Marries Former Wife of James L. Banks Jr. in Virginia City, Nev. | BOTH DIVORCED IN RENO | Bridegroom Is Son of Late Colonel Anthony R. Kuser--His First Wife Was Daughter of General Russell". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  17. ^ a b "KUSER HEART BALM SUIT IS DISMISSED" (PDF). New York Post. 30 January 1936. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  18. ^ a b "DRYDEN KUSER DIVORCED.; Jersey State Senator Is Accused of Cruelty by Wife". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  19. ^ "SUZANNE D. KUSER MAKES HER DEBUT; Introduced at Supper Dance-Frances Hardin and Patricia Farrelly Also Honored". The New York Times. December 31, 1949. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  20. ^ "FORMER SENATOR WEDS SECRETARY RENO". Asbury Park Press. October 22, 1935. p. 7. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  21. ^ "Mrs. Grace Gibbons Rewed". The New York Times. January 31, 1958. Retrieved 30 January 2017.

External links[edit]