INSURANCE: Prudential Mutual

When old Noah Blanchard was president of Prudential Insurance Co. of America, he bought 508 shares. And when his son Leon died, his handwritten will forbade his heirs ever to sell the stock for less than $500,000.

Back in 1915 Prudential set out to buy back all its 40,000 outstanding shares, so that it could become a mutual company owned by its policyholders. It offered $455 a share-and everybody accepted except the Blanchards, who are churchgoing, home-loving Newark people, and Bertram and Samuel Meyer (28 shares), who are merchants in Paterson. They...

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