Biography and History

Peter Hood Ballantine Frelinghuysen was born in New York City on January 17, 1916. He attended St. Mark's School at Southboro, Massachusetts and entered Princeton University in 1934. While at Princeton he majored in history, was a member of Terrace Club, and graduated with High Honors in 1938. After receiving his law degree from Yale Law School in 1941, he served in the Office of Naval Intelligence. Upon leaving the Navy he worked with the law firm of Simpson, Thacher, and Bartlett in addition to directing the family banking and investment business. He served on the Hoover Commission in 1948 to study reorganization of the Executive Branch before being elected to Congress.

Frelinghuysen was elected to the House of Representatives in 1952 and represented New Jersey's 5th district until his retirement in 1975. He garnered the reputation as an "Eisenhower Republican" while advocating governmental reform and cooperation between the executive and legislative branches of government. Frelinghuysen also championed economic investment in Southeast Asia throughout the 1950s. Increasingly he voted to limit spending and tighten the budget. In 1964, he fought, to no avail, to include socially liberal planks in the Republican platform. Locally, he was interested in flood control, the consequences of rapid growth, and finding a site for a New Jersey jetport.

In 1965, House Minority Leader Gerald Ford nominated Frelinghuysen as his choice for minority whip, the second most powerful position in the Republican House leadership. He lost the confirmation vote in a secret ballot, however. His House committee assignments included tenures on the Committee on Education and Labor (1953-1964) and on the Committee on Foreign Affairs (1965-1974). He served on the United Nations General Assembly in 1965.

Frelinghuysen married Beatrice Procter in 1940. They had three sons, Peter, Rodney, and Frederick and two daughters, Beatrice and Adaline. Rodney currently represents New Jersey’s 11th district in the House of Representatives.

Source: From the finding aid for MC058

  • Peter H. B. Frelinghuysen Papers. 1952-1975 (inclusive).

    Call Number: MC058

    The Peter H.B. Frelinghuysen Papers include correspondence, speeches, copies of legislation, notes, appointment books, and audio/visual material documenting Frelinghuysen's career as the United States House representative of New Jersey's 5th district from 1952 to 1975. The papers focus on his general House activities as well as his service on the Committee of Education and Labor, Committee on Foreign Relations, and United Nations General Assembly.