Julian Price

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Julian Price
Julian Price.jpg
Born (1867-11-25)November 25, 1867
Richmond, Virginia
Died October 25, 1946(1946-10-25) (aged 78)
North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
Occupation Insurance Executive
Spouse(s) Ethal Clay Price
Children 2

Julian Price (November 25, 1867–October 25, 1946) was an insurance executive who made his fortune in the first part of the twentieth century by developing the Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company, at the time the largest corporation in North Carolina.

Childhood to midlife[edit]

Price was born on November 25, 1867, in Richmond, Virginia. His parents were Joseph Jones Price and Margaret (Hill) Price. He was educated in the Virginia public schools. Price married Ethel Clay, the daughter of Henry De Bois Feuillet Clay, in Meehum River, Virginia on August 22, 1897. They had two children: Kathleen Marshall, who married Joseph McKinley Bryan, and Ralph Clay Price.[1]

Adult life and career[edit]

Price entered the insurance field as an insurance salesman solicitor from 1905 to 1909 in Norfolk, Virginia for the Greensboro Life Insurance Company of North Carolina. He became their secretary and later agency manager of that company from 1909 until 1912. In 1912 it merged with the Security Life & Annuity Company of Greensboro and became the Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company of Raleigh, North Carolina, named for Thomas Jefferson.[2] Price was their vice president as well as their agency manager of the new organization which moved to Greensboro, North Carolina.

In 1912 it absorbed Security Life and Annuity Company and Greensboro Life Insurance Company. Under Price's leadership its sales increased to almost $10 million by 1919, when he was then promoted, succeeding George A. Grimsley as its president.[3] The Board of Directors remarked The record is a success unparalleled in the history of southern life insurance companies and one beyond our most sanguine expectations. [4] Price continued in that position until 1946 and thereafter was chairman of the board of directors until his death.[5]

In 1923 Jefferson Standard Life Insurance built the Jefferson Standard Building, a 17 story skyscraper. This building was the tallest building in North Carolina for several years.[6] After the company moved into its new headquarters under the direction of Julian Price and his "top-notch skills" in salesmenship it increased its sales to $300 million before the Great Depression. Price became one of the most respected Chief Executive Officers in the United States during the 1930s and '40s. His company was a national leader in the insurance industry.[7]

In 1987 Pilot Life Insurance Company no longer existed when Jefferson Standard Life Insurance, who had the controlling interest in it under the directorship of Price since 1930,[8] merged that company into themselves.[9] The newly formed Fortune 500 Jefferson-Pilot Life Insurance Company was then one of the nation's largest shareholder-owned life insurance companies. In 2006 it was bought out by Lincoln National Corporation.[10][11]

In 1919 Price bought the Greensboro Daily Record newspaper.

In 1929 Price hired the New York architect Charles C. Hartmann to build Hillside in the Fisher Park neighborhood. The Fisher Park mansion would become Price's private residence.

Price's wife, Ethal, was a practicing Catholic, and when she died he paid for the construction of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in her honor.[12]

Death and after[edit]

Julian Price died in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina on October 25, 1946 in an automobile accident. His son took over leadership of Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company for the next four years as its president.[13] The insurance company that Julian Price developed ultimately became a Fortune 500 company.

The 4,200 acres (17 km2) of the Julian Price Memorial Park acquired by Price in the 1930s and '40s for his own recreational use is directly adjacent to the 3,500 acres (14 km2) of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park obtained by Moses H. Cone. Together they are now the largest developed recreational areas for public use on the Blue Ridge Parkway.[14] The man made lake within Julian Price Memorial Park is called Price Lake and they were both developed out in Price's honor for public use.

Price's grand-niece was married to Young M. Smith, Jr., an attorney from Hickory, NC who developed Figure Eight Island.

Positions and posts[edit]

Julian Price was employed by, associated with, or a member of the following:[15]


  1. ^ "PRICE, Julian," The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume XXXIV (New York: James T. White & Company, 1948) page 430
  2. ^ "International Directory of Company Histories". Thomson Gale. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  3. ^ "International Directory of Company Histories". Thomson Gale. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  4. ^ Jefferson-Pilot Corporation - Company Profile Information
  5. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, page 431
  6. ^ Architectural Descriptions of North Carolina's tallest buildings Archived 2008-11-21 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Background Information on Jefferson-Pilot Corporation
  8. ^ The Julian Price Professorship[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ News & Record article 2 July 2007[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Jefferson-Pilot now part of The Lincoln Financial Group
  11. ^ Lincoln National to Buy Jefferson-Pilot
  12. ^ http://olgchurch.org/about-us/parish-history/
  13. ^ Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. Volume 5, P-S. Edited by William S. Powell. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  14. ^ Blue Ridge National Historic area - Julian Price Memorial Park
  15. ^ "Who Was Who in America. A companion biographical reference work to Who's Who in America," Volume 2, 1943-1950 (Chicago: A.N. Marquis Co., 1963), page 443.


  • The Jefferson Standard Story, Jeffersonian, August 1982, pp. 14–17.
  • International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 29. St. James Press, 1999.
  • Weidner, David, Unchartered Waters, Greensboro News & Record, March 9, 1997, p. E1.
  • Still, John T., Jefferson-Pilot and Parsons Group Settle Litigation, PR Newswire, April 5, 1993.
  • Marshall, Kyle, JP Reaches Outside for Next CEO, News & Observer, August 12, 1992, Bus. Sec.
  • Greensboro's Home to Major Insurance Companies, Greensboro News & Record, September 16, 1990, p. 40.
  • Catanoso, Justin, Insurer Continues Toward Lofty Goal, Greensboro News & Record, February 25, 1997, p. A1.
  • Coleman, Kathleen, The Pilot at JP Communications, Business Journal-Charlotte, November 13, 1989, Sec. 1, p. 8.
  • Fox, James F., 75 Years: 1907 to 1982; Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company, Greensboro, N.C.: Jefferson-Pilot Corp.
  • Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. Volume 5, P-S. Edited by William S. Powell. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  • Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 1: January, 1946-July, 1949. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1949.
  • Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 2: August, 1949-August, 1952. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1953.

External links[edit]