Leslie Dodd Ward (1845-1910)

Dr Leslie D. Ward, of Florham, New Jersey; Co-Founder of Prudential Life Insurance

Associated Houses

Brooklake Park

Florham Park

He grew up at Afton, New Jersey, in "a wealthy and prominent family". He received a degree in medicine and practiced at Newark, becoming County Physician for Essex County. In 1874, as Medical Director, he helped John Fairfield Dryden (1839-1911) found the Prudential Life Insurance Company and became its first Vice-President from 1884. His brother, Edgar B. Ward, was second Vice-President and the company's General Counsel. Dr Ward was also a Director of the Fidelity Trust Company; the Union National Bank of Newark; the National Surety Company of New York; the Public Service Corporation of New Jersey, and the American Steel & Wire Company. He was Staff Surgeon of the Essex Troop, the Cavalry Squadron of New Jersey.

He kept a townhouse at 1058 Broad Street, Newark, and built a spectacular country home, Brooklake Park at Florham Park. He was a golfer and President of the Essex County Country Club, but his passions were for fine art and books. His knowledge of art was such that he was elected president of the commission in charge of the Essex County Court House. The decorations inside and out were made chiefly at his suggestion. He had, "valuable collections of rare pictures for his home in Newark and his country estate... and his libraries contain thousands of valuable volumes". Much of his collection can be seen today at the Frick in New York. Dr Ward married and had four sons but the youngest two (Harold and James) died in infancy and only one (Leslie) survived him. Dr Ward had been in Paris before he died at the Ritz Hotel, London. He left his estate to be divided equally between his surviving son, Leslie, and his only grandchild, Mrs Helen (Ward) Dignan.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 30/01/2020 and last updated on 27/02/2020.
Obituary of Leslie D. Ward, The New York Times