- NAME: Nelson Rockefeller
- OCCUPATION: Governor, U.S. Vice President
- BIRTH DATE: July 08, 1908
- DEATH DATE: January 26, 1979
- EDUCATION: Dartmouth College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Bar Harbor, Maine
- PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
- Full Name: Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller
- AKA: Nelson Rockefeller
- AKA: Nelson A. Rockefeller
- Nickname: "Rocky"
Best Known For
The son of John D. Rockefeller Jr., Nelson Rockefeller served four terms as governor of New York. He was later appointed vice president under President Gerald Ford.
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Born in Maine on July 8, 1908, Nelson Rockefeller was a grandson of John D. Rockefeller Sr., founder of Standard Oil, and the son of John D. Rockefeller Jr. After working in business and government, in 1958, Nelson Rockefeller was elected governor of New York, serving four terms. Later, in 1974,
"America is not just a power, it is a promise. It is not enough for our country to be extraordinary in might; it must be exemplary in meaning."
"The chief problem of low-income farmers is poverty."
he was appointed vice president of the United States by President Gerald Ford. An avid art collector and patron, Nelson Rockefeller died in New York City in 1979. A wing of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art is named in his honor.
Considering his pedigree, it's no surprise Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller rose to become a political powerhouse. His maternal grandfather, Nelson Aldrich, was an influential senator from Rhode Island; his paternal grandfather, John D. Rockefeller Sr., founded Standard Oil, becoming the wealthiest man in the United States during the 19th century—and continuing to hold that status for decades thereafter.
Born on July 8, 1908, in Bar Harbor, Maine, Nelson Rockefeller was the third of six children born to John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his first wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. Headstrong and full of energy, Nelson had a rocky relationship with his father, who tried to bestow on his children the values of modesty and restraint—qualities deemed to be of little use by the ambitious young Nelson. By many accounts, Nelson Rockefeller was the leader among his siblings as well as his mother's favorite. Even as a child, he spoke of becoming president one day.
Nelson Rockefeller earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics at Dartmouth College in 1930, and, upon graduation, married Mary Todhunter Clark. Following a nine-month honeymoon, he worked at the London and Paris branches of Chase National Bank—a business owned in large part by the Rockefeller family. In 1931, despite the country's entrance into the throes of Great Depression, ground had broken on Rockefeller Center, which had been initiated by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in the late 1920s and was the largest private construction project in New York City at the time. Joining the staff overseeing the Center development, Nelson quickly rose through the ranks by helping shepherd the ambitious project through a time of economic turmoil.
By 1938, at 30 years old, Nelson Rockefeller was named president of Rockefeller Center, Inc. His tenure, however, was not without controversy: In 1934, he famously ordered the demolition of a mural by Mexican artist Diego Rivera, entitled "Man at the Crossroads," which portrayed Soviet leader Vladmir Lenin. While he had commissioned Rivera to complete a mural in the RCA building, located at Rockefeller Center, Nelson (along with several others who managed to view the work before it was publicly unveiled) disliked Rivera's insertion of Lenin—an addition that was neither approved nor known about in advance.
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While the term "American dynasty" might technically be an oxymoron, it's hard not to notice the similarities between the Rockefeller family and noble lineages that have spanned the globe for centuries. Like royal families have done in other nations, the Rockefellers have had a profound and irrevocable impact on the United States—from the oil and banking industries to property development, to politics and philanthropy—which will continue to resound for generations to come. Beginning with John D. Rockefeller Sr., who founded the Standard Oil Company and became one of the world's richest men, the Rockefeller troupe also includes John D. Rockefeller III, Winthrop Rockefeller, Nelson Rockefeller, Laurance Rockefeller and David Rockefeller.
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