Dryden is a town in Tompkins County, New York, USA. The population was 14,435 at the 2010 census. The town contains two villages: one also named Dryden and one named Freeville. The town is on the county's eastern border, east of Ithaca, in the Finger Lakes region.
The region was part of the Central New York Military Tract used to pay soldiers of the American Revolution. It is named for John Dryden (1631–1700), the English poet and translator of Virgil (note this is the name of the town adjoining Dryden to the east). Dryden was also the translator of Plutarch's Lives which was probably used as a source for many of the names in the Military Tract by Robert Harpur in 1790.
The first settler arrived around 1797. The town of Dryden was established in 1803 from part of the town of Ulysses. In 1856, some areas in the southwest part of Dryden were given to Caroline, New York due to their remoteness from the eponymous village.
In 2009, Dryden's Southworth Library sold an original manuscript of an Abraham Lincoln speech that had been delivered at the White House after his re-election. The document had been in the library's possession since 1926. It sold for $3.44 million, a record-high selling price for an American historical document at an auction.