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Rockefeller Family

Rockefeller Family

Three generations of Rockefellers have had substantial impacts on international business through company management and investment. The founder of the family's fortune, John D. Rockefeller (1839–1937), presided over the development of the Standard Oil Company from its inception in 1863 until he passed control of the family's interests to John D. Rockefeller Jr. (1874–1960) during the 1890s. Thereafter, the son managed investments in Standard and in other investments, including Minnesota Iron Range properties and Colorado Iron and Fuel. His own sons ventured into other businesses. David (b. 1915) facilitated the expansion of foreign banking at Chase Manhattan. Nelson (1908–1979) moved investments into Latin America and served as governor of New York and as vice president of the United States from 1974 to 1977. Laurence (b. 1910) invested heavily in Eastern Airlines, New York Airways, and aircraft construction, developed the Rockresorts luxury hotels, and led family investments in Information Technology, Inc. (ITEK) and other high-technology companies. Winthrop (1912–1973) developed Winrock Farms in Arkansas and served as governor of that state from 1967–1971, the first Republican to serve in that capacity in nearly a century. John D. Rockefeller, III (1906–1978) was more largely involved in philanthropy and real estate, including the creation of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. William (1841–1922), John D. Rockefeller's younger brother, took the Standard Oil Company into substantial export trade until he became heavily involved in railroad and other investments during the 1890s.

SEE ALSO Cargoes, Freight; Finance, Credit and Money Lending; Petroleum.


Hidy, Ralph W., and Hidy, Muriel E. Pioneering in Big Business: History of Standard Oil Company (New Jersey), 1882–1911. New York: Harper, 1955.

Hoffman, William. David. New York: Dell, 1971.

Morris, Joe Alex. Those Rockefeller Brothers: An Informal Biography of Five Extraordinary Young Men. New York: Harper, 1953.

Moscow, Alvin. The Rockefeller Inheritance. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977.

Nevins, Allan. Study in Power: John D. Rockefeller, Industrialist and Philanthropist. 2 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1953.

Olien, Roger M., and Olien, Diana Davids. Oil and Ideology: The Cultural Construction of the American Petroleum Industry. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.

Roger M. Olien

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