JOHN DAVISON ROCKEFELLER, JR. Biography - Craftmen, artisans and people from other Occupations


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Name: John Davison Rockefeller, Jr.                                                       
Born: 29 January 1874 Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.                                               
Died: 11 May 1960 Tucson, Arizona, USA                                                   
John Davison Rockefeller, Jr. (January 29, 1874 – May 11, 1960) was a major             
philanthropist and a pivotal member of the prominent Rockefeller family. He was           
the sole son and scion of the billionaire Standard Oil industrialist, John D.             
Rockefeller and the father of the five famous Rockefeller brothers. In                   
biographies, he was invariably referred to as "Junior" to distinguish him from           
his more celebrated father, known as "Senior".                                           
Rockefeller, Jr. was the fifth and last child of John D. Rockefeller (1839–1937)       
and his wife, Laura Celestia Spelman (1839–1915). Living in his father's mansion       
at 4 West 54th Street, he attended The Browning School from 1889 to 1893, a               
tutorial establishment set up for him and other children of associates of the             
family; it was located in a brownstone owned by the Rockefellers, on West 55th           
Initially he had intended to go to Yale but was encouraged by William Rainey             
Harper, president of the University of Chicago, among others, to enter the               
Baptist oriented Brown University instead. Nicknamed Johnny Rock by his                   
roommates, he joined both the Glee and the Mandolin Clubs, taught a Bible class           
and was elected junior class president. Scrupulously careful with money, he               
stood out as different from other rich men's sons.                                       
In 1897 he graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, after taking nearly a           
dozen courses in the social sciences, including a study of Karl Marx's Das               
Kapital. He joined the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, and was elected to Phi Beta           
After graduation, Rockefeller, Jr. joined his father's business (October 1, 1897)         
and set up operations in the newly-formed family office at Standard Oil's                 
headquarters at 26 Broadway. He became a Standard Oil director; he later also             
became a director in J. P. Morgan's U.S. Steel company, which had been formed in         
1901. After a scandal involving the then head of Standard Oil, John Dustin               
Archbold (the successor to Senior), and bribes he had made to two prominent               
Congressmen, unearthed by the Hearst media empire, Junior resigned from both             
companies in 1910 in an attempt to "purify" his ongoing philanthropy from                 
commercial and financial interests.                                                       
In April, 1914, after a long period of industrial unrest the Ludlow massacre             
occurred at the coal-mining company, Colorado Fuel and Iron (CFI). Senior owned           
a majority of stock in the company and Junior sat on the board, as an absentee           
director. Twenty men, women and children died in the incident and Junior was             
subsequently called to testify in January, 1915, before the US Commission on             
Industrial Relations. He was at the time being advised by William Lyon MacKenzie         
King and the pioneer public relations expert, Ivy Lee. Junior also at this time           
met with the union organizer, Mother Jones and admitted fault in his testimony.           
MacKenzie King was later to say that this testimony was the turning point in             
Junior's life, restoring the reputation of the family name; it also heralded a           
new era of industrial relations in the country (see below).                               
During the Great Depression he developed and was the sole financier of a vast 14-building 
real estate complex in the geographical center of Manhattan, Rockefeller Center,         
and as a result became one of the largest real estate holders in New York City.           
He was influential in attracting leading blue chip corporations as tenants in             
the complex, including GE and its then affiliates RCA, NBC and RKO, as well as           
Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso), and Associated Press and Time Inc, as well as         
branches of the then Chase National Bank, now JP Morgan Chase.                           
The family office, of which he was in charge, called now formally "Rockefeller           
Family and Associates" (and informally, Room 5600), shifted from Standard Oil             
headquarters to the 56th floor of what is now the landmark GE Building, upon its         
completion in 1933.                                                                       
In 1921, he received about 10% of the shares of the Equitable Trust Company from         
his father, making him the bank's largest shareholder. Subsequently, in 1930,             
the Equitable merged with the Chase National Bank, now JP Morgan Chase, and               
became at that time the largest bank in the world. Although his stockholding was         
reduced to about 4% following this merger, he was still the largest shareholder           
in what became known as the "Rockefeller bank". As late as the 1960's his family         
still retained about 1% of the bank's shares, by which time his son David had             
become the bank's president.