Rockefeller family
Current region New York, United States
Place of origin Germany
Connected families McCormick family
Dudley–Winthrop family
Estate Kykuit

The Rockefeller family ( /ˈrɒkəfɛlər/) is an American industrial, political, and banking family that made one of the world's largest fortunes in the oil business during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with John D. Rockefeller and his brother William Rockefeller primarily through Standard Oil.[1] The family is also known for its long association with and control of Chase Manhattan Bank.[2] They are considered to be one of the most powerful families, if not the most powerful family,[3] in the history of the United States.

Family background[]

One of the founding members of the Rockefeller family was businessman William Rockefeller Sr. born in Granger, New York, to a Protestant family. He had six children with his first wife Eliza Davison, the most prominent of which were oil tycoons John Davison Rockefeller and William Rockefeller, co-founders of Standard Oil. Oil baron John D. Rockefeller was a devout Northern Baptist, and he supported many church-based institutions.[4][5][6]

Real estate and institutions[]

30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York City, NY, U.S.

One Chase Manhattan Plaza

Rockefeller Center at night, December 1934

Riverside Church

The Cloisters, Upper Manhattan

The family was heavily involved in numerous real estate construction projects in the U.S. during the 20th century.[7] Chief among them:

  • Rockefeller Center, a multi-building complex built at the start of the Depression in Midtown Manhattan, financed solely by the family
  • International House of New York, New York City, 1924 (Junior) {Involvement: John III, Abby Aldrich, David & Peggy, David Jr., Abby O'Neill}
  • Wren Building, College of William and Mary, Virginia, from 1927 (Renovation funded by Junior)
  • Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, from 1927 onwards (Junior, Abby Aldrich, John III and Winthrop), historical restoration
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York City, from 1929 (Abby Aldrich, John Jr., Blanchette, Nelson, David, David Jr., Sharon Percy Rockefeller)
  • Riverside Church, New York City, 1930 (John Jr.)
  • The Cloisters, New York City, from 1934 (John Jr.)
  • The Interchurch Center, New York City, 1948 (John Jr.)
  • Asia Society (Asia House), New York City, 1956 (John III)
  • One Chase Manhattan Plaza, New York City, 1961 (David)
  • Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York, 1962 (Nelson)
  • Lincoln Center, New York City, 1962 (John III)
  • World Trade Center Twin Towers, New York City, 1973–2001 (David and Nelson)
  • Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, 1974 (David)
  • Council of the Americas/Americas Society, New York City, 1985 (David)
  • In addition to this is Senior and Junior's involvement in seven major housing developments:
    • Forest Hill Estates, Cleveland, Ohio
    • City Housing Corporation's efforts, Sunnyside Gardens, Queens, New York City
    • Thomas Garden Apartments, The Bronx, New York City
    • Paul Laurence Dunbar Housing, Harlem, New York City
    • Lavoisier Apartments, Manhattan, New York City
    • Van Tassel Apartments, Sleepy Hollow, New York (formerly North Tarrytown)
    • A development in Radburn, New Jersey[8][9]
    • A further project involved David Rockefeller in a major middle-income housing development when he was elected in 1947 as chairman of Morningside Heights, Inc., in Manhattan by fourteen major institutions that were based in the area, including Columbia University. The result, in 1951, was the six-building apartment complex known as Morningside Gardens.[10]
  • Senior's donations led to the formation of the University of Chicago in 1889; the Central Philippine University in the Philippines (The first Baptist university and second American university in Asia); and notable for the Chicago School of Economics.[11] This was one instance of a long family and Rockefeller Foundation tradition of financially supporting Ivy League and other major colleges and universities over the generations—seventy-five in total. These include:
  • Senior (and Junior) also created
    • Rockefeller University in 1901
    • General Education Board in 1902, which later (1923) evolved into the International Education Board
    • Rockefeller Sanitary Commission in 1910
    • Bureau of Social Hygiene in 1913 (Junior)
    • International Health Division in 1913
    • China Medical Board in 1915.
    • Rockefeller Museum, Israel, 1925–30
    • In the 1920s, the International Education Board granted important fellowships to pathbreakers in modern mathematics, such as Stefan Banach, Bartel Leendert van der Waerden, and André Weil, which was a formative part of the gradual shift of world mathematics to the US over this period.
    • To help promote cooperation between physics and mathematics Rockefeller funds also supported the erection of the new Mathematical Institute at the University of Göttingen between 1926 and 1929
    • The rise of probability and mathematical statistics owes much to the creation of the Institut Henri Poincaré in Paris, partly by the Rockefellers' finances, also around this time.[13]
    • John D Jr. established International House at Berkeley.
    • Junior was responsible for the creation and endowment of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, which operates the restored historical town at Williamsburg, Virginia, one of the most extensive historic restorations ever undertaken.


Beginning with John Sr., the family has been a major force in land conservation.[14] Over the generations, it has created more than 20 national parks and open spaces, including the Cloisters, Acadia National Park, Forest Hill Park, the Nature Conservancy, the Rockefeller Forest in California's Humboldt Redwoods State Park (the largest stand of old-growth redwoods), and Grand Teton National Park, among many others. John Jr., and his son Laurance (and his son Laurance Jr. aka Larry) were particularly prominent in this area.

The family was honored for its conservation efforts in November 2005, by the National Audubon Society, one of America's largest and oldest conservation organizations, at which over 30 family members attended. At the event, the society's president, John Flicker, notably stated: "Cumulatively, no other family in America has made the contribution to conservation that the Rockefeller family has made".[14]

International politics/finance/economics[]

The logo of the Trilateral Commission, a non-partisan, non-governmental group initiating meetings across three continents.[15]

The Council on Foreign Relations

The Population Council, founded by the family in 1952.

Kykuit, the landmark family home of the Rockefeller family, located in Sleepy Hollow, New York.

Members of the Rockefeller family into the fourth generation (especially the prominent banker and philanthropist David Rockefeller, who was the family patriarch until his death in 2017) have been heavily involved in international politics. David Rockefeller never assumed an official role, nonetheless, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.[16][17] The rockefeller family patricarchs donated money to, established or been involved in the following major international institutions:

  • The Council on Foreign Relations - David, David Jr., Nelson, John D. III, John D. IV (Jay), Peggy Dulany, Rockefeller Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
  • The Trilateral Commission -David, Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
  • The Bilderberg Group - David, John D. IV.
  • The Asia Society - John D. III, John D. IV, Charles, David.
  • The Population Council - John D. III.
  • The Council of the Americas - David.
  • The Group of Thirty - The Rockefeller Foundation.
  • The World Economic Forum - David.
  • The Brookings Institution - Junior.
  • The Peterson Institute (Formerly the Institute for International Economics) - David, Monica.
  • The International Executive Service Corps - David.
  • The Institute for Pacific Relations - Junior.
  • The League of Nations - Junior.
  • The United Nations - Junior, John D. III, Nelson, David, Peggy Dulany, Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
  • The United Nations Association - David. Monica.

The family archives[]

The Rockefeller Archive Center, an independent foundation that was until 2008 a division of Rockefeller University,[18] is a three-level underground archive below the Martha Baird Rockefeller Hillcrest house on the family estate at Pocantico (see Kykuit). Along forty-foot-long walls of shelves on rails, maintained by ten full-time archivists, is the entire repository of personal and official papers and correspondence of the complete family and its members, along with historical papers of its numerous foundations, as well as other non-family philanthropic institutions. These include: the Commonwealth Fund, Charles E. Culpeper Foundation, Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust, and the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation.

In total, it holds over 70 million pages of documents and contains the collections of forty-two scientific, cultural, educational and philanthropic organizations.

Only the expurgated records of deceased family members are publicly available to scholars and researchers; all records pertaining to living members are closed to historians. However, as Nelson Rockefeller's researcher, Cary Reich, discovered, in the case of Nelson's voluminous 3,247 cubic feet (91.9 m3) of papers, only about one-third of these files had been processed and released to researchers up to 1996. He reports that it will be many years before all the papers will be open to the public, despite Nelson's having died in 1979.[19]

The Center maintains that this repository of records, covering 140-plus years of the records of the family, in addition to non-Rockefeller philanthropic collections, gives unique insights into United States and world issues and social developments in both the 19th and 20th centuries.

Records in the collection are available up until only the early 1960s, generally 1961. Major subjects in the collection include:

  • Agriculture
  • The Arts
  • African-American history
  • Education
  • International Relations
  • Economic Development
  • Labor
  • Medicine
  • Philanthropy
  • Politics
  • Population
  • Religion
  • Social Sciences
  • Social Welfare
  • Women's history[20]

Family wealth[]

The Rockefeller brothers

William Avery Rockefeller Jr.
William Avery Rockefeller Jr.

The combined wealth of the family – their total assets and investments plus the individual wealth of its members – has never been known with any precision. The records of the family archives relating to both the family and individual members' net worth are closed to researchers.[21]

From the outset, and even today, the family's wealth has been under the complete control of the male members of the dynasty, through the family office. Despite strong-willed wives who had influence over their husbands' decisions—such as the pivotal female figure Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, wife of Junior—in all cases they received allowances only and were never given even partial responsibility for the family fortune.[22]

Much of the wealth has been locked up in the notable family trust of 1934 (which holds the bulk of the fortune and matures on the death of the fourth generation), and the trust of 1952, both administered by Chase Bank, the corporate successor to Chase Manhattan Bank. These trusts have consisted of shares in the successor companies to Standard Oil and other diversified investments, as well as the family's considerable real estate holdings. They are administered by a trust committee that oversees the fortune.

Management of this fortune today also rests with professional money managers who oversee the principal holding company, Rockefeller Financial Services, which controls all the family's investments, now that Rockefeller Center is no longer owned by the family. The present chairman is David Rockefeller Jr.

In 1992, it had five main arms:

  • Rockefeller & Co. (Money management: Universities have invested some of their endowments in this company);
  • Venrock Associates (Venture Capital: an early investment in Apple Computer was one of many it made in Silicon Valley entrepreneurial start-ups);
  • Rockefeller Trust Company (Manages hundreds of family trusts);
  • Rockefeller Insurance Company (Manages liability insurance for family members);
  • Acadia Risk Management (Insurance Broker: Contracts out policies for the family's vast art collections, real estate and private planes.)[23]

In September 2014, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced it will divest its investments in fossil fuel companies.[24] In March 2015, the chair of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund stated two conclusions, one that; "it’s immoral to continue down the fossil fuel path", and secondly that it is "financially imprudent to stay invested in companies whose profits depend on defying ... the international effort to restrain climate change."[25]

Family residences[]

The Casements - the family's landmark winter residence

Over the generations the family members have resided in some notable historic homes. A total of 81 Rockefeller homes are on the National Register of Historic Places.[26] Not including all homes owned by the five brothers, some of the more prominent of these are:

  • One Beekman Place - The residence of Laurance in New York City
  • 10 West Fifty-fourth Street - A nine-story single family home, the former residence of Junior before he shifted to 740 Park Avenue, and the largest residence in New York City at the time, it was the home for the five young brothers. It was later given by Junior to the Museum of Modern Art
  • 740 Park Avenue - Junior and Abby's famed 40-room triplex apartment in the luxury New York City apartment building, which was later sold for a record price;
  • Bassett Hall - The house at Colonial Williamsburg bought by Junior in 1927 and renovated by 1936, it was the favorite residence of both Junior and Abby and is now a house museum at the family-restored Colonial Revival town
  • The Casements - A three-story house at Ormond Beach in Florida, where Senior spent his last winters, from 1919 until his death;
  • The Eyrie - A sprawling 100-room summer holiday home on Mount Desert Island in Maine, demolished by family members in 1962
  • Forest Hill - The family's country estate and summer home in Cleveland, Ohio for four decades. Built and occupied by Senior, it burned down in 1917
  • Golf House at Lakewood, New Jersey - The former three-story clubhouse for the elite Ocean County Hunt and Country Club, which Senior bought in 1902 to play golf on its golf course
  • Kykuit also known as the John D. Rockefeller Estate - The landmark six-story, 40-room home on the vast Westchester County family estate, home to four generations of the family
  • The JY Ranch - The landmark ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the holiday resort home built by Junior and later owned by Laurance, which was used by all members of the family and had many prominent visitors, including presidents, until Laurance donated it to the federal government in 2001


A trademark of the dynasty over its 140-plus years has been the remarkable unity it has maintained, despite major divisions that developed in the late 1970s, and unlike other wealthy families such as the Du Ponts and the Mellons. A primary reason has been the lifelong efforts of "Junior" to not only cleanse the name from the opprobrium stemming from the ruthless practices of Standard Oil, but his tireless efforts to forge family unity even as he allowed his five sons to operate independently. This was partly achieved by regular brothers and family meetings, but it was also because of the high value placed on family unity by first Nelson and John III, and later especially with David.[27]

Regarding achievements, in 1972, on the 100th anniversary of the founding of Andrew Carnegie's philanthropy, the Carnegie Corporation, which has had a long association with the family and its institutions, released a public statement on the influence of the family on not just philanthropy but encompassing a much wider field. Summing up a predominant view amongst the international philanthropic world, albeit one poorly grasped by the public, one sentence of this statement read: "The contributions of the Rockefeller family are staggering in their extraordinary range and in the scope of their contribution to humankind."[28]

John D. Rockefeller gave away US$540 million over his lifetime (in dollar terms of that time), and became the greatest lay benefactor of medicine in history.[29] His son, "Junior," also gave away over $537 million over his lifetime, bringing the total philanthropy of just two generations of the family to over $1 billion from 1860 to 1960.[30] Added to this, the New York Times declared in a report in November 2006 that David Rockefeller's total charitable benefactions amount to about $900 million over his lifetime.[31]

The combined personal and social connections of the various family members are vast, both in America and throughout the world, including the most powerful politicians, royalty, public figures, and chief businessmen. Notable figures through Standard Oil alone have included Henry Flagler and Henry H. Rogers. Contemporary figures include Henry Kissinger, Richard Parsons (Chairman and CEO of Time Warner), C. Fred Bergsten, Peter G. Peterson (Senior Chairman of the Blackstone Group), and Paul Volcker.

In 1991 the family was presented with the Honor Award from the National Building Museum for four generations worth of preserving and creating some of the U.S.'s most important buildings and places. David accepted the award on the family's behalf.[32] The ceremony coincided with an exhibition on the family's contributions to the built environment, including John Sr.'s preservation efforts for the Hudson River Palisades, the restoration of Williamsburg, Virginia, construction of Rockefeller Center, and Governor Nelson's efforts to construct low- and middle-income housing in New York state.[33]

The Rockefeller name is imprinted in numerous places throughout the United States, most notably in New York City, but also in Cleveland, where the family originates:

  • The Rockefeller Center - A landmark 19-building 22-acre (89,000 m2) complex in the center of Manhattan established by Junior: Older section constructed from 1930–1939; Newer section constructed during the 1960s-1970s;
  • The Rockefeller University - Renamed in 1965, this is the distinguished Nobel prize-winning graduate/postgraduate medical school (formerly the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, established by Senior in 1901);
  • The Rockefeller Foundation - Founded in 1913, this is the famous philanthropic organization set up by Senior and Junior;
  • The Rockefeller Brothers Fund - Founded in 1940 by the third-generation's five sons and one daughter of Junior;
  • The Rockefeller Family Fund - Founded in 1967 by members of the family's fourth-generation;
  • The Rockefeller Group - A private family-run real estate development company based in New York that originally owned, constructed and managed Rockefeller Center, it is now wholly owned by Mitsubishi Estate Co. Ltd;
  • The Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors - is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that advises donors in their philanthropic endeavors throughout the world;
  • The Rockefeller Research Laboratories Building - A major research center into cancer that was established in 1986 and named after Laurance, this is situated at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center;
  • The Rockefeller Center - Home of the International Student Services office and department of philosophy, politics and law at the State University of New York at Binghamton;
  • The Rockefeller Chapel - Completed in 1928, this is the tallest building on the campus of the University of Chicago, established by Senior in 1889;
  • The Rockefeller Hall - Established by Senior in 1906, this building houses the Case Western Reserve University Physics Department;
  • The Rockefeller Hall - Established by Senior and completed in 1906, this building houses the Cornell University Physics Department;[34]
  • The Rockefeller Hall - Established by Senior in 1887, who granted Vassar College a $100,000 ($2.34 million in 2006 dollars) allowance to build additional, much needed lecture space. The final cost of the facility was $99,998.75. It now houses multi-purpose classrooms and departmental offices for political science, philosophy and math;
  • The Rockefeller Hall - Established by Senior and completed in 1886, this is the oldest building on the campus of Spelman College;
  • The Rockefeller College - Named after John D. Rockefeller III, this is a residential college at Princeton University;
  • The Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center - Completed in 1969 in memory of Nelson Rockefeller's son, this is a cultural center at the State University of New York at Fredonia;
  • The Michael C. Rockefeller Collection and the Department of Primitive Art - Completed in 1982 after being initiated by Nelson, this is a wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art;
  • The David and Peggy Rockefeller Building - A tribute to David's wife, Peggy Rockefeller, this is a new (completed in 2004) six-story building housing the main collection and temporary exhibition galleries of the family's Museum of Modern Art;
  • The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden - Completed in 1949 by David, this is a major outdoor feature of the Museum of Modern Art;
  • The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum - Opened in 1957 by Junior, this is a leading folk art museum just outside the historic district of Junior's Colonial Williamsburg;
  • The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Hall - The freshman residence hall on the campus of Spelman College;
  • The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Building - Completed in 1918, it is among other things a student residence hall at Spelman College, after the wife of Senior and after whom the College was named;
  • The Rockefeller State Park Preserve - Part of the 3,400-acre (14 km2) family estate in Westchester County, this 1,233-acre (5 km2) preserve was officially handed over to New York State in 1983, although it had previously always been open to the public;
  • The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park - Established as a historical museum of conservation by Laurance during the 1990s.
  • The John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway - Established in 1972 through Congressional authorization, connecting Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks;
  • The Rockefeller Forest - Funded by Junior, this is located within Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California's largest redwood state park;
  • Either of two US congressional committees {in 1972 - John D. III and 1975 - Nelson dubbed the Rockefeller Commission}.
  • Rockefeller Park, a scenic park featuring gardens dedicated to several world nations along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. between University Circle and Lake Erie in Cleveland.
  • The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute of the University of Arkansas System was established in 2005 with a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. The educational center with conference and lodging facilities is located on Petit Jean Mountain near Morrilton, Arkansas, on the original grounds of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller’s model cattle farm.
  • The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.
  • The Rockefeller Quad at the Loomis Chaffee School
  • The Rockefeller Complex library at Nørrebro in Denmark

John Jr., through his son Nelson, purchased and then donated the land upon which sits the United Nations headquarters, in New York, in 1946. Earlier, in the 1920s, he had also donated a substantial amount towards the restoration and rehabilitation of major buildings in France after World War I, such as the Rheims Cathedral, the Fontainebleau Palace and the Palace of Versailles, for which he was later (1936) awarded France's highest decoration, the Grand Croix of the Legion d'Honneur (subsequently also awarded decades later to his son, David Rockefeller).

He also funded the notable excavations at Luxor in Egypt, as well as establishing a Classical Studies School in Athens. In addition, he provided the funding for the construction of the Palestine Archaeological Museum in East Jerusalem - the Rockefeller Museum.[35]

Generational philanthropy[]

The members of the Rockefeller family are noted for their philanthropy; a Rockefeller Archive Center study in 2004 documents an incomplete list of 72 major institutions that the family has created and/or endowed up to the present day. Historically, the major focus of their benefactions have been in the educational, health and conservation areas.

Family leaders in both philanthropy and business have included John D. Sr., John D. Jr. ("Junior"), John D. III, Laurance, and David. Several family members have held high public office, including Vice President of the United States (Nelson Rockefeller), United States Senator (Jay Rockefeller), state governor (Nelson, Jay, and Winthrop Rockefeller), and lieutenant governor (Winthrop Paul Rockefeller). Another noted family member was Michael Rockefeller, son of Nelson Rockefeller, an anthropologist who came to media attention after he was presumed killed in New Guinea in 1961.

The corporate, financial, and personal affairs of the family - numbering around 150 blood relatives of John D. Rockefeller - are run from the family office, Room 5600, known officially as "Rockefeller Family and Associates". It comprises three floors of the GE Building in Rockefeller Center; all private family legal matters are handled by the family-associated New York law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy. Room 5600 is also the base of the current family historian, Peter J. Johnson, who assisted with David Rockefeller's Memoirs, published in 2002.

To distinguish the generations and facilitate communication, the fourth generation is generically known as "The Cousins" (24 in all, with 21 still living) and the younger family members are known as the "Fifth/Sixth" generation. Many if not all of these family members are involved in institutionalised philanthropic pursuits. Family links are solidified through the practice of ritualised family meetings - which started with the regular "brothers' meetings" held in Room 5600 or in their respective private residences, beginning in 1945. Family get-togethers are held today at the "Playhouse", in the Westchester County family estate of Pocantico, in June (the "cousins weekend") and December of each year (see Kykuit).

Political offices held[]

  • Nelson Rockefeller (1908–1979)
    • 1st Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs, 1944–1945
    • 1st Under Secretary Health, Education and Welfare, 1953–1954
    • Governor of New York, 1959–1973
    • US Vice President, 1974–1977
  • Winthrop Rockefeller (1912–1973)
    • Governor of Arkansas, 1967–1971
  • Jay Rockefeller (b. 1937)
    • Member of West Virginia House of Delegates, 1966–1968
    • Secretary of State of West Virginia, 1969–1973
    • Governor of West Virginia, 1977–1985
    • US Senator for West Virginia, 1985–2015
  • Winthrop Paul Rockefeller (1948–2006)
    • Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas, 1996–2006



  • Godfrey Lewis Rockefeller (1783/1784–1857) (m. 1806) Lucy Avery (1786–1867) (ten children)
    • William Avery "Devil Bill or Big Bill" Rockefeller Sr.[36] (1810–1906) (m.1837) Eliza Davison (1813–1889) (eight children)
      • Lucy Rockefeller (1838–1878) (m. 1856) Pierson D. Briggs
      • Clorinda Rockefeller (c. 1838–?, died young) (daughter from Nancy Brown)
      • John Davison Rockefeller Sr. (1839–1937) (m. 1864) Laura Celestia "Cettie" Spelman (1839–1915)
      • Cornelia Rockefeller (c. 1840–?) (daughter from Nancy Brown)
      • William Avery Rockefeller Jr. (1841–1922) (m. 1864) Almira Geraldine Goodsell
      • Mary Ann Rockefeller (1843–1925) (m.1872) William Cullen Rudd
      • Franklin "Frank" Rockefeller (1845–1917) (m.1870) Helen Elizabeth Scofield
      • Frances Rockefeller (1845–1847)
  • William W. Rockefeller (1788–1851) (m. early 19th century) Eleanor Kisselbrack (1784–1859)

Descendants of John Davison Rockefeller Sr.[]

The total number of blood relative descendants as of 2006 was about 150.

  • Elizabeth "Bessie" Rockefeller (1866–1906) (m.1889) Charles Augustus Strong (1862–1940)
    • Margaret Rockefeller Strong (1897–1985) (m.1st.1927) George de Cuevas (1885–1961), (m. 2nd 1977) Raimundo de Larrain
  • Alice Rockefeller (1869–1870)
  • Alta Rockefeller (1871–1962) (m.1901) Ezra Parmelee Prentice (1863–1955)
    • John Rockefeller Prentice (1902–1972) (m.1941) Abra Cantrill (1912–1972)
      • Abra Prentice Wilkin (born 1942)
    • Mary Adeline Prentice Gilbert (1907–1981) (m.1937) Benjamin Davis Gilbert (1907–1992)
    • Spelman Prentice (1911–2000) (m.3rd.1972) Mimi Walters (four children)
  • Edith Rockefeller (1872–1932) (m. 1895) Harold Fowler McCormick
    • John Rockefeller McCormick (1896–1901)
    • Editha McCormick (1897–1898)
    • Harold Fowler McCormick Jr. (1898–1973) (m.1931) Anne "Fifi" Potter (1879–1969)
    • Muriel McCormick (1902–1959) (m.1931) Elisha Dyer Hubbard (1906)
    • Mathilde McCormick (1905–1947) (m.1923) Max Oser (1877–1942) (one child)
  • John Davison Rockefeller Jr. (1874–1960) (m. 1st 1901) Abigail Greene "Abby" Aldrich (1874–1948)
    • Abigail Aldrich "Babs" Rockefeller (1903–1976)
      • Abigail Rockefeller "Abby" Milton O'Neill (born 1928)
      • Marilyn Ellen Milton (1931–1980) (two children)
    • John Davison Rockefeller III (1906–1978) (m.1932) Blanchette Ferry Hooker (four children)
      • John Davison "Jay" Rockefeller IV (born 1937) (m. 1967) Sharon Percy (four children)
        • Justin Aldrich Rockefeller (born 1979) m. Indré Vengris
      • Hope Aldrich Rockefeller (born 1938) (one child)
      • Alida Ferry Rockefeller Messinger (born 1949) (m.1st 1978–1986) Mark Dayton (m.2nd) William Messinger
    • Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (1908–1979) (m.1st 1930–1962) Mary Todhunter Clark (m.2nd 1963) Margaretta Large "Happy" Fitler (1926–2015) (seven children)
      • Rodman Clark Rockefeller (1932–2000) (m.1st 1953–1979) Barbara Ann Olsen (m. 2nd 1980) Alexandra von Metzler (four children)
        • Meile Rockefeller (born 1955)
      • Steven Clark Rockefeller (born 1936)
      • Michael Clark Rockefeller (1938–1961)
      • Mark Fitler Rockefeller (born 1967)
    • Laurance Spelman Rockefeller (1910–2004) (m.1934) Mary French
      • Laura Spelman Rockefeller Chasin (1936–2015)
      • Marion French Rockefeller (born 1938)
      • Dr. Lucy Rockefeller Waletzky (born 1941)
      • Laurance Rockefeller Jr. (born 1944) (m. 1982) Wendy Gordon (two children)[37]
    • Winthrop Rockefeller (1912–1973) (m. 1st 1948, div. 1954) Jievute "Bobo" Paulekiute (1916–2008) (m. 2nd 1956, div. 1971) Jeannette Edris (1918–1997)
      • Winthrop Paul Rockefeller (1948–2006) (m. 1st 1971, div. 1979) Deborah Cluett Sage (m. 2nd 1983) Lisenne Dudderar (seven children)
    • David Rockefeller (1915–2017) (m. 1940) Margaret McGrath (1915–1996)
      • David Rockefeller Jr. (born 1941) (m. 1st divorced) Diana Newell-Rowan (m. 2nd 2008) Susan Cohn (two children)
      • Abigail Rockefeller (born 1943)
      • Neva Goodwin Rockefeller (born 1944)
      • Margaret Dulany "Peggy" Rockefeller[38] (born 1947)
      • Richard Gilder Rockefeller (1949–2014);[39][40] married to Nancy King[38] (two children, two step-children)[38][39]
      • Eileen Rockefeller[38] (born 1952) m. Paul Growald (two children)

Descendants of William Avery Rockefeller Jr.[]

An article in the New York Times in 1937 stated that William Rockefeller had, at that time, 28 great-grandchildren.

  • Lewis Edward Rockefeller (1865–1866)
  • Emma Rockefeller McAlpin (1868–1934)
  • William Goodsell Rockefeller (1870–1922) (five children)
    • William Avery Rockefeller III (1896–1973) (three children)
      • Elsie Rockefeller m. William Proxmire
    • Godfrey Stillman Rockefeller (1899–1983) (seven children)
      • Godfrey Anderson Rockefeller (1924–2010)
    • James Stillman Rockefeller (1902–2004) (four children)
  • John Davison Rockefeller II (1872–1877)
  • Percy Avery Rockefeller (1878–1934) m. Isabel Goodrich Stillman (five children)
    • Isabel Stillman Rockefeller (1902–1980) m. Frederic Walker Lincoln IV
    • Avery Rockefeller (1903–1986) m. 1923 Anna Griffith Mark (three children)
    • Faith Rockefeller Model (1909–1960)
      • Robert Model (born 1942)
  • Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge (1882–1973) m. Marcellus Hartley Dodge Sr.
    • Marcellus Hartley Dodge Jr. (1908–1930)


  • Laura Celestia "Cettie" Spelman (1839–1915) - John D. Rockefeller Sr.
  • Abby Greene Aldrich (1874–1948) - John D. Rockefeller Jr.
  • Martha Baird Allen (1895–1971) - John D. Rockefeller Jr.
  • Mary Todhunter Clark "Tod" (1907–1999) - Nelson Rockefeller
  • Margaretta "Happy" Fitler (1926–2015) - Nelson Rockefeller
    • Anne Marie Rasmussen - Steven Clark Rockefeller
  • Blanchette Ferry Hooker (1909–1992) - John D. Rockefeller III
  • Mary French (1910–1997) - Laurance Rockefeller
    • Wendy Gordon - Laurance "Larry" Rockefeller Jr.
  • Jievute "Bobo" Paulekiute (1916–2008) - Winthrop Aldrich Rockefeller
  • Jeannette Edris (1918–1997) - Winthrop Aldrich Rockefeller
    • Deborah Cluett Sage - Winthrop Paul Rockefeller
    • Lisenne Dudderar - Winthrop Paul Rockefeller
  • Margaret "Peggy" McGrath (1915–1996) - David Rockefeller
    • Diana Newell Rowan - David Rockefeller Jr.
    • Nancy King - Richard Gilder Rockefeller.
  • Sarah Elizabeth "Elsie" Stillman (1872–1935) - William Goodsell Rockefeller
  • Isabel Goodrich Stillman (1876–1935) - Percy Avery Rockefeller

Select bibliography[]

  • Abels, Jules. The Rockefeller Billions: The Story of the World's Most Stupendous Fortune. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1965.
  • Aldrich, Nelson W. Jr. Old Money: The Mythology of America's Upper Class. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988.
  • Allen, Gary. The Rockefeller File. Seal Beach, California: 1976 Press, 1976.
  • Boorstin, Daniel J. The Americans: The Democratic Experience. New York: Vintage Books, 1974.
  • Brown, E. Richard. Rockefeller Medicine Men: Medicine and Capitalism in America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979.
  • Caro, Robert A. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. New York: Vintage, 1975.
  • Chernow, Ron. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. London: Warner Books, 1998.
  • Collier, Peter, and David Horowitz. The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1976.
  • Elmer, Isabel Lincoln. Cinderella Rockefeller: A Life of Wealth Beyond All Knowing. New York: Freundlich Books, 1987.
  • Ernst, Joseph W., editor. "Dear Father"/"Dear Son:" Correspondence of John D. Rockefeller and John D. Rockefeller Jr. New York: Fordham University Press, with the Rockefeller Archive Center, 1994.
  • Flynn, John T. God's Gold: The Story of Rockefeller and His Times. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1932.
  • Fosdick, Raymond B. John D. Rockefeller Jr.: A Portrait. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1956.
  • Fosdick, Raymond B. The Story of the Rockefeller Foundation. New York: Transaction Publishers, Reprint, 1989.
  • Gates, Frederick Taylor. Chapters in My Life. New York: The Free Press, 1977.
  • Gitelman, Howard M. Legacy of the Ludlow Massacre: A Chapter in American Industrial Relations. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988.
  • Gonzales, Donald J., Chronicled by. The Rockefellers at Williamsburg: Backstage with the Founders, Restorers and World-Renowned Guests. McLean, Virginia: EPM Publications, Inc., 1991.
  • Hanson, Elizabeth. The Rockefeller University Achievements: A Century of Science for the Benefit of Humankind, 1901-2001. New York: The Rockefeller University Press, 2000.
  • Harr, John Ensor, and Peter J. Johnson. The Rockefeller Century: Three Generations of America's Greatest Family. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1988.
  • Harr, John Ensor, and Peter J. Johnson. The Rockefeller Conscience: An American Family in Public and in Private. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1991.
  • Hawke, David Freeman. John D.: The Founding Father of the Rockefellers. New York: Harper & Row, 1980.
  • Hidy, Ralph W. and Muriel E. Hidy. Pioneering in Big Business: History of Standard Oil Company (New Jersey), 1882-1911. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1955.
  • Jonas, Gerald. The Circuit Riders: Rockefeller Money and the Rise of Modern Science. New York: W.W.Norton and Co., 1989.
  • Josephson, Emanuel M. The Federal Reserve Conspiracy and the Rockefellers: Their Gold Corner. New York: Chedney Press, 1968.
  • Josephson, Matthew. The Robber Barons. London: Harcourt, 1962.
  • Kert, Bernice. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller: The Woman in the Family. New York: Random House, 2003.
  • Klein, Henry H. Dynastic America and Those Who Own It. New York: Kessinger Publishing, [1921] Reprint, 2003.
  • Kutz, Myer. Rockefeller Power: America's Chosen Family. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974.
  • Lundberg, Ferdinand. America's Sixty Families. New York: Vanguard Press, 1937.
  • Lundberg, Ferdinand. The Rich and the Super-Rich: A Study in the Power of Money Today. New York: Lyle Stuart, 1968.
  • Lundberg, Ferdinand. The Rockefeller Syndrome. Secaucus, New Jersey: Lyle Stuart, Inc., 1975.
  • Manchester, William R. A Rockefeller Family Portrait: From John D. to Nelson. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1959.
  • Moscow, Alvin. The Rockefeller Inheritance. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1977.
  • Nevins, Allan. John D. Rockefeller: The Heroic Age of American Enterprise. 2 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940.
  • Nevins, Allan. Study In Power: John D. Rockefeller, Industrialist and Philanthropist. 2 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1953.
  • Okrent, Daniel. Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center. New York: Viking Press, 2003.
  • Reich, Cary. The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer 1908-1958. New York: Doubleday, 1996.
  • Roberts, Ann Rockefeller. The Rockefeller Family Home: Kykuit. New York: Abbeville Publishing Group, 1998.
  • Rockefeller, David. Memoirs. New York: Random House, 2002.
  • Rockefeller, Henry Oscar, ed. Rockefeller Genealogy. 4 vols. 1910 - ca.1950.
  • Rockefeller, John D. Random Reminiscences of Men and Events. New York: Doubleday, 1908; London: W. Heinemann. 1909; Sleepy Hollow Press and Rockefeller Archive Center, (Reprint) 1984.
  • Roussel, Christine. The Art of Rockefeller Center. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2006.
  • Scheiffarth, Engelbert. Der New Yorker Gouverneur Nelson A. Rockefeller und die Rockenfeller im Neuwieder Raum Genealogisches Jahrbuch, Vol 9, 1969, p16-41.
  • Sealander, Judith. Private Wealth and Public Life: Foundation Philanthropy and the Reshaping of American Social Policy, from the Progressive Era to the New Deal. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.
  • Siegmund-Schultze, Reinhard. Rockefeller and the Internationalization of Mathematics Between the Two World Wars: Documents and Studies for the Social History of Mathematics in the 20th Century. Boston: Birkhauser Verlag, 2001.
  • Stasz, Clarice. The Rockefeller Women: Dynasty of Piety, Privacy, and Service. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995.
  • Tarbell, Ida M. The History of the Standard Oil Company. New York: Phillips & Company, 1904.
  • Winks, Robin W. Laurance S. Rockefeller: Catalyst for Conservation, Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1997.
  • Yergin, Daniel. The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991.
  • Young, Edgar B. Lincoln Center: The Building of an Institution. New York: New York University Press, 1980.

See also[]

  • AIG
  • Asia Society
  • Bilderberg Group
  • Brookings Institution
  • Carnegie Corporation
  • Chase Bank
  • Chevron Corporation
  • Citibank
  • Colonial Williamsburg
  • Council of the Americas
  • Council on Foreign Relations
  • ExxonMobil
  • Ford family
  • General Electric
  • General Education Board
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Institute for Pacific Relations
  • Kykuit
  • Lincoln Center
  • List of museums and cultural institutions in New York City
  • Ludlow massacre
  • MacArthur Foundation
  • McCormick family
  • Montgomery Burns
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Population Council
  • Rainbow Room
  • RCA
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Rockefeller Foundation
  • Rockefeller Republican
  • Rockefeller University
  • Rothschild family
  • Spelman College
  • Standard Oil
  • Trilateral Commission
  • United Nations Association
  • University of Chicago
  • Venrock Associates
  • Gianni Agnelli
  • William Adams Delano (Delano & Aldrich)
  • J. Richardson Dilworth
  • Allen Dulles
  • John Foster Dulles
  • Henry Morrison Flagler
  • Frederick Taylor Gates
  • Wallace Harrison
  • Richard Holbrooke
  • Henry Kissinger
  • Ivy Lee
  • William Lyon Mackenzie King
  • John J. McCloy
  • Richard Parsons
  • Charles Pratt
  • Henry H. Rogers
  • George Shultz
  • Jerry Speyer
  • Ida Tarbell
  • Paul Volcker
  • John C. Whitehead
  • James Wolfensohn
  • Owen D. Young
  • William Zeckendorf


  1. ^ World's largest private fortune - see Ron Chernow, Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller Sr., London: Warner Books, 1998. (p.370)
  2. ^ The Political Economy of Third World Intervention: Mines, Money, and U.S. Policy in the Congo Crisis, David N. Gibbs, University of Chicago Press 1991, page 113
  3. ^ The Rockefeller inheritance, Alvin Moscow, Doubleday 1977, page 418
  4. ^ Martin, Albro (1999), "John D. Rockefeller", Encyclopedia Americana, 23 
  5. ^ Chernow 1998, p. 52.
  6. ^ "The 9 most amazing facts about John D. Rockefeller". Oil Patch Asia. 
  7. ^ The Edifice Complex: The Architecture of Power, By Deyan Sudjic, Penguin, 7 Apr 2011, page 245–255
  8. ^ "Rockefeller Archive Center "Family, OMR"". Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  9. ^ "John D. Rockefeller Jr. and the Van Tassel Apartments, Rockefeller Archive Newsletter, Fall 1997" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  10. ^ The Morningside Heights housing project - see David Rockefeller, Memoirs, New York: Random House, 2002. (pp.385-87).
  11. ^ ", "News, Nobel"". Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  12. ^ Funded colleges and Ivy League universities - see Robert Shaplen, Toward the Well-Being of Mankind: Fifty Years of the Rockefeller Foundation, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1964. (passim)
  13. ^ Google Books: Rockefeller and the Internationalization of Mathematics. 2003-04-01. Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  14. ^ a b Depalma, Anthony (November 15, 2005). "They Saved Land Like Rockefellers". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  15. ^ "David Rockefeller". Trilateral Commission. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  16. ^ "The True Legacy Of David Rockefeller" (in en-US). MintPress News. 2017-03-21. 
  17. ^ Smith, Timothy R.. "David Rockefeller Sr., steward of family fortune and Chase Manhattan Bank, dies at 101" (in en-US). 
  18. ^; see also "New Governance at the Rockefeller Archive Center," Rockefeller Archive Center Newsletter, 2008, p.3
  19. ^ Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) papers on Nelson not released - see Cary Reich, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer 1908-1958, New York: Doubleday, 1996.(pp.774-5) (Note: Reich died before completing the second volume of his life.)
  20. ^ "The Rockefeller Archive Center". Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  21. ^ "Rockefeller Archive Center "Family, JDR"". Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  22. ^ Women in the family with no control over the family fortune—see Bernice Kert, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller: The Woman in the Family. New York: Random House, 1993. (p.100)
  23. ^ Managing the family wealth, 1992 New York Times article Rockefeller Family Tries to Keep A Vast Fortune From Dissipating (see External Links). (Note: The names and nature of these departments may have changed since 1992.)
  24. ^ Schwartz, John (September 21, 2014). "Rockefellers, Heirs to an Oil Fortune, Will Divest Charity of Fossil Fuels". The New York Times. Retrieved September 23, 2014. 
  25. ^ Rockefeller Wayne, Valerie (30 March 2015). "The fossil fuel path is immoral and financially imprudent". The Guardian (London). 
  26. ^ "Amazon Books: Forest Hill". Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  27. ^ Family unity maintained over the decades - see John Ensor Harr and Peter J. Johnson, The Rockefeller Century: Three Generations of America's Greatest Family, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1988. (pp.370-71, passim); David's unifying influence - see Memoirs (pp.346-7)
  28. ^ Carnegie.Org "Rockefellers" Script error: No such module "webarchive".
  29. ^ Greatest benefactor of medicine in history - see Ron Chernow, Titan: op.cit. (p.570)
  30. ^ "Rockefeller Archive Center "JDR Jr"". Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  31. ^ New York Times, November 21, 2006
  32. ^ Barbara Gamarekian (1991-03-15). "Museum Honors All Rockefellers and Gifts". Washington Post. 
  33. ^ Jene Stonesifer (1991-03-14). "Rockefellers and Design". Washington Post. 
  34. ^ Cornell.Edu "Infobase" Retrieved 2007-01-30.
  35. ^ Restorations and constructions in France, Egypt, Greece and Jerusalem - see Memoirs, (pp.44-48).
  36. ^ Chernow, R. (1998). Titan: The life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
  37. ^ Deutsch, Claudia H. (15 January 2006). "AT LUNCH WITH: WENDY GORDON; Living Green, but Allowing for Shades of Gray". 
  38. ^ a b c d Berger, Joseph, "A Rockefeller Known Not for Wealth but for His Efforts to Help", New York Times, June 23, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
  39. ^ a b Santora, Marc, "Richard Rockefeller Killed in New York Plane Crash", New York Times, June 13, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  40. ^ Fallows, James, "Richard Rockefeller, MD What would you do, if you could do anything? An inspiring answer to that question.", June 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-14.


  • Rose, Kenneth W., Select Rockefeller Philanthropies, Booklet (pdf, 23 pages) of the Rockefeller Archive Center, 2004.
  • Origin of Rockenfeld, in German
  • Descendants of Goddard Rockenfeller
  • Listing of University of Chicago Nobel Laureates, News Office, University of Chicago website, undated.
  • Depalma, Anthony, They Saved Land Like Rockefellers, The New York Times Archive, November 15, 2005.
  • Carnegie Corporation of New York, Celebrating 100 years of Andrew Carnegie's Philanthropy - awarding the inaugural Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy to David and Laurance Rockefeller, 2001.
  • The Rockefeller Archive Center, John D. Rockefeller, Junior, 1874–1960, Overview of his life and philanthropy, 1997.
  • Strom, Stephanie, Manhattan: A Rockefeller Plans a Huge Bequest, The New York Times Archive, November 21, 2006.
  • O'Connell, Dennis, Top 10 Richest Men Of All Time,, undated.

External links[]

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