A Classification of American Wealth
History and genealogy of the wealthy families of America - Sponsors


 Part 1 : Colonial and Mercantile America  Part 2 : America in the Gilded Age
 Part 3 : America in the Twentieth Century  Encyclopedia of American Wealth

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  Chronicles of American Wealth / Nr 10 / February 28, 2002 

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Content :
1 - New lists online in the Encyclopedia of American Wealth :
2 - A profile of the Rockefeller family

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NOW ONLINE : the lists of wealthy Americans of 1900 and 1925

The much awaited extension of “Encyclopedia of American Wealth” through the Gilded Age and into the Twentieth Century has finally taken place with the fist publishing of our lists of wealthy Americans and wealthy American families in 1900 and 1925. The lists are matched by the addition of new profiles, with detailed genealogical information (family trees) and biographical sketches. Names such as Rockefeller, Guggenheim, Ford, Mellon and Du Pont are now no longer absent from our roster , which so far simply did not extend to this period.
The Industrial revolution which took place during the Gilded age produced scores of multi-millionaires and the already established families, such as the Astors, Goelets and Vanderbilts also greatly increased their wealth during this time. Few remain of the great Colonial dynasties though, except in cases where scions of such families created new enterprises, and thereby built new fortunes, such as Johnston Livingston of American Express.
As a reference, two well known historical lists (the 1889 Forum list of Thomas G. Shearman and the Forbes list of 1918) have been integrated into the data and commented respecting their relative accuracy.
Browse through the lists of 1900 and 1925 to analyze the financial tissue of America’s elite at the height and towards the end of the Gilded Age or simply know more about the people, whose names still sound familiar at “A Classification of American Wealth”.

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Profile of a wealthy American family : the Rockefellers

 The  Rockefeller  family of Cleveland, Ohio and New York City, New York

 Founder    :    William Rockefeller (1841-1922)     John Davison Rockefeller (1839-1937)    
 
 Origin       :   
Richford (New York)
 
 Activity     :   
Petroleum

 Source of wealth       :    Standard Oil

  Year 

        Fortune     

Number

 1875  

 2,500,000$      

 2

 1900  

 315,000,000$      

 2

 1925  

 1,545,000,000$      

 17

 
 Biographical  sketch  :   
 
The name of Rockefeller has long been synonymous of great wealth, philanthropic foundations and political power. The fortune was originally made by John Davison Rockefeller and his brother William in the consolidation of the early American oil industry under the mantle of their Standard Oil Company. The mastermind behind the first and mightiest of all 19th century trusts was the elder brother, John D. Rockefeller. He was also the first billionaire and the richest American of all times before he gave away his fortune, half to his family and the other half to the Rockefeller foundations. The younger brother, William Rockefeller, was the first of the Cleveland Standard Oil clique to settle in New York, where he developed a close relationship to Wall Street and more specifically to James Stillman of the National City Bank. Together with Stillman and Henry Huddleston Rogers, another Standard Oil tycoon, William Rockefeller participated in a series of large scale speculations, such as the organization of the American Smelting & Refining Company and the Amalgamated Copper trust. William Rockefeller became a large shareholder of the National City Bank and his alliance with the Stillman family was sealed by the marriage of his two sons with two Stillman daughters. The elder son William Goodsell Rockefeller hardly left his mark before he died in 1922. His brother, Percy Avery Rockefeller, showed more interest in business and seemed to have inherited the Midas touch of the Rockefellers during the expansion of the 1920’s. But he was caught in the stock market crash of 1929 and lost much of his fortune in the depression of the 1930’s. On the other hand, their cousin John Davison Rockefeller jr commanded the vast fortune he had inherited from his father in a conservative, almost negative manner. During the Depression years, he funded the building of Rockefeller Center and thereby became one of the largest real estate holders in New York. He also acquired a controlling interest in the Chase National Bank when the latter bought his Equitable Trust Company. John D. Rockefeller junior devoted much time to the philanthropies his father had established and himself gave away a large share of his wealth. His five sons, known as the Rockefeller brothers, became a close knit group of American capitalists and politicians, each of whom played a significant part in post war America. John Davison Rockefeller III was deeply involved in the Rockefeller foundations and had an interest in Asia. Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller chose a political career, starting as Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs during World War II and later became governor of New York and non-elected Vice-President of the United States, as a consequence of Richard Nixon’s resignation. Laurance Spelman Rockefeller vastly increased his inherited wealth as a successful venture investor. Winthrop Rockefeller retired on a ranch in Arkansas and became governor of this state. But doubtlessly the most active and influent of all five Rockefeller brothers was David Rockefeller, who wielded his power through the mighty Chase Manhattan Bank of which he was long time president and chairman.

    Family Tree              :
 
William Avery Rockefeller (1810-1906)

Lucy (Rockefeller) Briggs (1836-1878)
John Davison Rockefeller (1839-1937)
Elizabeth "Bessie" (Rockefeller) Strong (1866-1906)
Margaret (Strong) de Cuevas de Larrain (1897-1985)
Alice (1869-1870)
Alta (Rockefeller) Prentice (1871-1962)
John Rockefeller Prentice (1902-1972)
Mary Adeline (Prentice) Gilbert (b.1908)
Spelman Prentice (b.1911)
Edith (Rockefeller) McCormick (1872-1932)
John Rockefeller McCormick (1896-1901)
Editha McCormick (1897-1898)
Harold Fowler McCormick jr (1898-1973)
Muriel (McCormick) Hubbard (1903-1959)
Mathilde (McCormick) Oser (1906-1947)
John Davison Rockefeller jr (1874-1960)
Abby "Babs" (Rockefeller) Milton Pardee Mauzé (1903-1976)
Abby Rockefeller (Milton) O'Neill (b.1928)
Marilyn Ellen (Milton) Simpson (1931-1980)

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Read more about the Rockefeller dynasty and other wealthy American families at “A Classification of American Wealth” or browse “Encyclopedia of American Wealth” for more profiles of wealthy Americans and their families.

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