Peter Arrell Brown Widener

Peter Arrell Brown Widener

Peter Arrell Brown Widener (November 13, 1834 - November 6, 1915) was an American businessman and head of the prominent Widener family of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


A merchant who supplied meat to the Union Army during the United States Civil War, Widener grew to prominence in the city and by 1873 had became Philadelphia City Treasurer. In 1883, he became very successful as a result of his investing in trolley cars and public transit systems as a founding partner of Philadelphia Traction Company, which expanded to other major cities in the United States. His business partners included William L. Elkins and Charles Tyson Yerkes, who became the streetcar czar of Chicago. Widener used the great wealth accumulated from that business to become a founding organizer of U.S. Steel and the American Tobacco Company. He is considered to have been one of the 100 wealthiest Americans, having left an enormous fortune. [ [ The Wealthy 100 ] at]

Peter A. B. Widener married Hannah Josephine Dunton (1836-1896) and they built Lynnewood Hall in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, a 110-room Georgian-style mansion designed by Horace Trumbauer. Widener was an avid art collector. His collection included more than a dozen paintings by Rembrandt as well as works by then new artists Edouard Manet and Auguste Renoir.

His son, George Dunton Widener, and grandson, Harry Elkins Widener, died when they went down with the RMS Titanic.


See also

* Charles Yerkes
* Rhône (The) v. Peter A.B. Widener (The) (a barge named after Widener was involved in a collision in Canada, which became a noted court case)
* Widener University

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