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John Davison Rockefeller

Son and Grandsons

His son John Davison Rockefeller, Jr., 1874–1960, b. Cleveland, grad. Brown, 1897, took over active management of his father's interests in 1911 and engaged in numerous philanthropies. Riverside Church in New York City was built through his gifts. He also gave vast sums for religious projects, for scientific investigation, and for the restoration of historic monuments. Among his most notable philanthropies were the restoration of colonial Williamsburg, Va., and the donation of the site for the United Nations headquarters in New York City. He founded (1931) and helped plan Rockefeller Center in New York City, which the Rockefeller interests completed in 1939. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., had six children, and his five sons all became famous in various fields of endeavor.

His eldest son, John Davison Rockefeller 3d, 1906–78, b. New York City, grad. Princeton, 1929, was active in the management of family interests as well as art collecting and the support of numerous civic and philanthropic ventures, such as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the United Negro College Fund, and the Population Council.

His second son was Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (see Rockefeller, Nelson Aldrich).

Laurance Spellman Rockefeller, 1910–2004, b. New York City, grad. Princeton, 1932, was noted for his involvement in conservation and the protection of wildlife. He funded the expansion of Grand Teton National Park and promoted creation and expansion of numerous other national parks. An astute investor, he was the principal backer of Eddie Rickenbacker when the latter founded Eastern Airlines in the 1930s, and was subsequently an early underwriter of a number of successful companies.

Winthrop Rockefeller, 1912–73, b. New York City, attended (1931–34) Yale and then went into investment management. Interested in agriculture, he became the owner of a farm in Arkansas noted for its experiments in animal husbandry. A Republican, he served as governor of Arkansas from 1967 to 1970.

David Rockefeller, 1915–, b. New York City, grad. Harvard, 1936, Ph.D. Univ. of Chicago, 1940, joined what became the Chase Manhattan Bank in 1948 and headed it from 1969 until his retirement in 1981. He acted as spokesman for the U.S. business community on several occasions. His Memoirs were published in 2002.

Jay Rockefeller (John Davison Rockefeller 4th), 1937–, b. New York City, son of John D. Rockefeller 3d, was elected governor of West Virginia as a Democrat in 1976; reelected in 1980, he was then elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984 and reelected in 1990, 1996, 2002, and 2008. He has chaired the committees on veterans' affairs (1993–1995; 2001–3) and commerce, science, and transportation (2009–) and the select committee on intelligence (2007–9).

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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