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Samuel F. Pryor Collection Edit


Finding Aid Author
Ashley Aberg
Finding Aid Date
December 6, 2023
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Finding Aid Note
Part of the Manuscript Collections, Greenwich Historical Society Contact: Christopher Shields, Curator of Library and Archives 47 Strickland Road Cos Cob, CT 06807 United Stated


  • 1864-2006 (Creation)


  • 2.5 Linear Feet (Whole)
    Two legal sized document boxes, one bankers box of oversize materials



  • Arrangement

    This collection has been arranged into three series. Series I: Pryor Family Papers Series II: Pryor Family Photographs Series III: Publications

  • Biographical / Historical

    "Born in Palmyra, Missouri, only days after the Civil War ended, Sam Sr. moved to St. Louis as an adult when he went to work for the Wabash Railroad. Marrying Ruby Permelia Jacques in 1894, Sam Sr. started his family in the outskirts of St. Louis in the suburb of Ferguson. Sam Sr.'s career took a variety of turns as he moved from chief purchasing agent of the Wabash Railroad, to vice president of Simmons Hardware Company, to president of the Southern Wheel Company, a subsidiary of the American Brake Shoe and Foundry Company.

    In 1914, he moved his family east as president of Remington Arms Company in New York at a time when war in Europe would bring large contracts to munitions manufacturers. Living for a time on Maple Avenue in Greenwich, Connecticut, the family eventually purchased twenty acres in Field Point Park on the edge of a hill that sloped down to the water's edge. Hiring the architectural firm Cross and Cross, the design of the Pryory had begun.

    Sam Jr. was born in Ferguson, Missouri, on March 1st, 1898. When his father became the general manager of Remington Arms, the family relocated to Greenwich, Connecticut. Sam Jr., 16 at the time, was sent off to the exclusive prep school, Taft School, with his brother. In 1917, Sam Jr. enrolled in Yale College, where he started relationships that lasted for the rest of his life. Many of his peers at Yale later were high ranking individuals at Pan American Airways.

    After Yale, a trip around the world, and working in the railroad business, Pryor deftly managed the 1940 nomination of presidential candidate Wendell Willkie. Joining fledgling Pan American Airways, he built a global web of airports, making international travel a reality. Always ready for more, he became a special agent of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, taking part in a raid on the group known as the French Connection. In retirement on the island of Maui, surrounded by pet apes and tropical gardens, he established a new national park.

    Whether in politics, aviation, business, crime fighting, or conservation, Sam Jr. carved his own path with outlandish enthusiasm. "Luck doesn't just happen," he told his children, "You make it happen." His lack of pretension and extraordinarily warm personality garnered him a vast array of friendships and the respect of the famous and powerful."

    Reproduced from the Pryory website,

  • Scope and Contents

    This collection primarily covers materials from the life of Samuel F. Pryor, Jr., both his time immediately after WWI and his life after. These papers reflect his engagement with local and state government, through his involvement with the town and his relationships with various Connecticut officials, including correspondence with Governors, Senators, and state commissioners. There are letters sent home to his father and mother from his trip around the world in 1921, and a small amount of information about his later life in Maui and the church he helped to restore.

    There is a small amount of material relating to Samuel F. Pryor, Sr. Mostly awards and dinners, although there are also two memorial documents. There is very little information in this collection on Samuel F. Pryor III, although he is present in the photographs on their Christmas Cards.

    There are also publications collected by the Pryor family, entirely related to the period around WWI. There may be special interest in the 1917 copy of "The Nations at War A Current History" by Willis John Abbot.

  • Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], the Samuel F. Pryor Collection, Greenwich Historical Society

  • Conditions Governing Access

    The Michelin Illustrated Guide to Verdun is in very poor condition and should not be handled.