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 John D. Rockefeller, Jr

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John D. Rockefeller, Jr

  • Birth 29 Jan 1874 Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA
  • Death 11 May 1960 Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, USA
  • Burial Sleepy Hollow, Westchester County, New York, USA
  • Memorial ID 885

Philanthropist, Social Reformer. The only son of John D. Rockefeller, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio, into one of the wealthiest American families of his time. His father had founded and was President of Standard Oil Company. His parents' strict discipline and frugal lifestyle were impressed upon him from the first day. His father's attitude could be explained with the question: "Is it right, is it duty?" From this, he admitted, he took responsibility early, and was serious, rarely treating life lightly. In 1884, the family moved to New York City, and at age 13, he suffered his first of a series of mental breakdowns that would haunt him for the rest of his life. He attended Brown University, and upon graduation in 1897, he joined his father's business. While at Brown University, he met and four years later marry Abby Aldrich, daughter of an influential United States Senator from Rhode Island. During their marriage, she brought a love of art into his life, and together they would have six children (of his children, Nelson and Winthrop would later become state governors, and Nelson would become Vice President of the United States). Finding business not to his liking, John soon turned to philanthropy and to addressing the many social issues of his day. He created the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in 1901, one of the first of its kind in the country, and which today is a part of Rockefeller University. He was responsible for the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg, and changed the layout of New York City with the construction of Rockefeller Center (1931 to 1940). He also constructed New York City's Riverside Church, in an attempt to create an interfaith Protestant movement, and built The Cloisters, fashioned from five European medieval monasteries, to house the Metropolitan Museum of Art's medieval collection. He also took an active interest in land conservation, purchasing and donating thousands of acres of land for Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, and for the Acadia National Park, Maine. In 1946, he gave $8 million dollars for the purchase of land for the United Nations Building in New York. His charitable gifts are estimated to have totaled $537 million dollars, with most going to general foundations, churches, historic preservation projects, national parks, colleges, libraries, and museums. He died at his home in Tucson, Arizona. He was once quoted "I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty."

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 885
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John D. Rockefeller, Jr (29 Jan 1874–11 May 1960), Find A Grave Memorial no. 885, citing Rockefeller Family Cemetery, Sleepy Hollow, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .