HISTORY CHANNEL: THE ROCKEFELLERS 2 OF 9

Laissez-Faire Social Club

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HISTORY CHANNEL: THE ROCKEFELLERS PART 2 OF 9

John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937) was an American industrialist and philanthropist. Rockefeller revolutionized the oil industry and defined the structure of modern philanthropy. Rockefeller had always believed since he was a child that his purpose in life was to make as much money as possible, and then use it wisely to improve the lot of mankind. In 1870, Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company and ran it until he retired in the late 1890s. He kept his stock and as gasoline grew in importance, his wealth soared and he became the world's richest man and first billionaire.

Standard Oil was convicted in Federal Court of monopolistic practices and broken up in 1911. Rockefeller spent the last forty years of his life in retirement. His fortune was used to create the modern systematic approach of targeted philanthropy with foundations that had a major impact on medicine, education, and scientific research. His foundations pioneered the development of medical research, and was instrumental in the eradication of hookworm and yellow fever. He was a devout Northern Baptist and supported many church-based institutions throughout his life.

Always avoiding the spotlight, Rockefeller was remembered for handing dimes to those he encountered in public. Married in 1864, Rockefeller outlived his wife Laura Celestia ("Cettie") Spelman. The Rockefellers had four daughters and one son (John D. Rockefeller, Jr.). "Junior" was largely entrusted with supervision of the foundations.