The age of the six: the last great generation of Rockefellers?

I have talked about two of the most important generations of American tycoons: John D. Rockefeller and Rockefeller Jr. In this post I would like to talk about the third one: the age of the six Rockefellers that followed the decease of their father, Jr., which continued the dynasty and made the family fortune grow in admirable ways.

According to the Rockefeller Archive, John Davison Rockefeller Jr. left six successors, unlike his father. As a result of this, the six brothers were devoted to different areas and activities, diversifying the presence of the family in other fields. After the death of Rockefeller Jr., there was not a family patriarch defined as such, who distributed the inherited wealth. The family worked more as a kind of democratic alliance, in contrast to previous generations.

Abby Rockefeller (1903-1976): was the eldest and the only girl of the six. Unlike them, she kept a very low profile, avoiding public appearances and dedicated primarily to philanthropy. She inherited a property in Bermuda, the Roman Corporation in Beekman Place, and a property of the family estate in Pocantico. She got married three times: in 1925 with David M. Milton, a lawyer, in 1946 with Dr. Irving H. Pardee and in 1953 with Jean Mauzé (1903-1974).

John Davison Rockefeller III (1906-1978): was the second brother and the first son. He studied at the Browning School of the City of New York and the Institute of Loomis, Windsor, Connecticut, in 1925. He then went to Princeton University, where he earned top honors in economy and finished his studies in 1929. He worked as an entrepreneur and philanthropist, focusing more on the second.

Nelson Rockefeller (1908-1979): was the third age of six brothers, and eventually, the best known all of them. He devoted himself to politics, militating in the Republican Party. He became Governor of New York, presidential candidate twice and Vice President of the United States. His political career could only be surpassed by his personal fortune, estimated at about one billion dollars. He arranged his enormous wealth and family prestige to launch his political career. He tragically lost his son Michael Clark Rockefeller in 1961, who disappeared during an ethnographic expedition in New Guinea.

Laurance Rockefeller (1910-2004): was the fourth of six brothers and a financial highlight, investor and philanthropist. His businesses were covered mainly in the stock and financial sector, playing several positions on the New York Stock Exchange. He became a famous man in this area, and a figure of importance in the field of venture capital, who began as a partner with his four brothers and his only sister in 1946. In 1969 the firm became Venrock (contraction of Venture and Rockefeller), which facilitated significant investments initial Intel and Apple Computer.

Rockefeller Center_Rockefellers_american financial titans_patrick dwyer
Image courtesy of Andrea L. “Bowman” at

Winthrop Rockefeller (1912-1973): was the fifth of six brothers, and like his brother Nelson, was devoted to politics, becoming governor of Arkansas. He continued the family tradition of engaging in philanthropy, leaving many foundations and charities, as well as a long list of activities and actions. Among his charities, he promoted scholarships and donations through the “Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation” and the “Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust.” Patrick Dwyer has written about it in the last post of the Rockefeller series.

David Rockefeller (1915) is the sixth and last of the six siblings, and the only one of the Rockefeller brothers who is still alive. He has worked as a banker, businessman and philanthropist. After the death of his brothers, he became the patriarch of the Rockefeller family, conducting business and family projects since then. He has held many important positions, having received multiple awards. His current fortune is estimated at 3.6 billion dollars. He is a member of the famous and controversial Bilderberg Club.

In 1946, David became the first and only banker family member to join the Chase National Bank (the “Rockefeller Bank”), and one of his uncles (Winthrop Aldrich) as president. Chase National changed its name later: Chase Manhattan Bank, back in 1955, and today is known as JP Morgan Chase & Co. David have risen hierarchic rosters, although he never made loans to become president. However, he was president and chief executive of Chase Manhattan from 1969 to 1980, and chairman until 1981. He was also the only major individual shareholder of the bank, with 1.7% of its shares.

In 1960, together with other entrepreneurs, they formed the Chase International Advisory Committee (International Advisory Board), which in 2005 had 28 respected businessmen from 19 nations around the world, many of whom were friends of David himself. He was chairman of this committee until 1999, when he left office. Following the merger with J.P. Morgan, this committee took the name International Council, and some of its most outstanding members are Kissinger, Riley P. Bechtel, Andre Desmarais and George Shultz, the current president.


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