John D. Rockefeller
July 8, 1839, Richford, New York
Died: May 23, 1937 (age 97), The Casements, Ormond Beach,
John Davison Rockefeller was an American industrialist and
philanthropist. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry and
defined the structure of modern philanthropy.
In 1870, he founded the Standard Oil Company and ran it until he
officially retired in 1897. Standard Oil began as an Ohio partnership
formed by John D. Rockefeller, his brother William Rockefeller, Henry
Flagler, chemist Samuel Andrews, and a silent partner Stephen V.
Rockefeller kept his stock and as gasoline grew in importance, his
wealth soared and he became the world's richest man and first American
billionaire, and is often regarded as the richest person in history.
What do you know about John D. Rockefeller? Try the quick quiz.
1. In September 1855, when Rockefeller was 16 he got his first job as
an assistant bookkeeper. Working for a small produce commission firm
called "Hewitt & Tuttle", the full salary for his first
three months' work was $50. At that time he made a promise. What was the
2. In 1859, Rockefeller went into the produce commission business
with a partner, Maurice B. Clark. Their firm, Clark & Rockefeller,
built an oil refinery in 1863 in "The Flats", then Cleveland's
burgeoning industrial area. In February 1865, Rockefeller bought out the
Clark brothers and established the firm of Rockefeller & Andrews.
What did he pay the Clark brothers?
3. In January 1870, Rockefeller formed an oil company which rapidly
became the most profitable refiner in Cleveland. What company was
4. Standard Oil gradually gained almost complete control of oil
refining and marketing in the United States through horizontal
integration. At that time, many legislatures had made it difficult to
incorporate in one state and operate in another. As a result,
Rockefeller and his associates owned separate corporations across dozens
of states, making their management of the whole enterprise rather
unwieldy. In 1882, Rockefeller's lawyers created an innovative form of
corporation to centralize their holdings. It was a corporation of
corporations, and the entity's size and wealth drew much attention. What
5. In 1911, the Supreme Court of the United States found Standard Oil
Company of New Jersey in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and held
that Standard Oil, which by then still had a 64% market share,
originated in illegal monopoly practices and ordered it to be broken up.
How many companies was Standard Oil Company of New Jersey broken up
6. In 1884, he provided major funding for a college in Atlanta for
African-American women (named for Rockefeller's in-laws who were ardent
abolitionists before the Civil War). What do we know the name of the
7. Despite his personal preference for homeopathy, Rockefeller, on
Frederick T. Gate's advice, became one of the first great benefactors of
medical science. In 1901, he founded the Rockefeller Institute for
Medical Research in New York. It changed its name to Rockefeller
University in 1965, after expanding its mission to include graduate
education. True or False?
8. What was the cause of death?
9. Where is John D. Rockefeller buried?