George Rockefeller

George Rockefeller

George Rockefeller is one of the most renowned and successful men in American history, widely considered to be the world’s first billionaire. He played a significant role in founding Standard Oil with his partner Robert E. Lee.

In addition to his considerable wealth, he was an ardent philanthropist who donated his resources to numerous causes. This generosity can be seen in the many cultural institutions he helped found.

Early Life and Education

George Rockefeller’s childhood did not necessarily point him towards becoming a billionaire. His father was a peddler and his mother stayed home to raise the family.

At 16 years old, he began working at a Cleveland commission firm which bought and sold grain, coal and other commodities. Saving his earnings allowed him to launch his own produce sales business.

He became heavily invested in the rapidly developing oil industry that was taking off in America at that time. Through his business endeavors, he amassed a considerable fortune; however, his true passion lay in public service and philanthropy.

Rockefeller’s charitable contributions during his lifetime amounted to more than $500 million. He spearheaded major philanthropic endeavors such as the General Education Board (1902), which promoted education at all levels in America, and The Rockefeller Foundation (1913), which supported education, medical research and art projects.

Professional Career

George Rockefeller was one of history’s most renowned and influential individuals, having achieved success as a businessman, politician and philanthropist. He built Chase National Bank into an international financial powerhouse and traveled to more than 100 countries during his lifetime.

He was also a trusted adviser to world leaders, such as Deng Xiaoping in China, Henry Kissinger in the U.S. and the shah of Iran whom he helped convince President Jimmy Carter to admit for medical treatment.

Over his 35-year career at Chase, Rockefeller rose from senior vice-president to chairman and CEO. During this period, the bank’s foreign branches were expanded from 11 to 73.

Achievements and Honors

George Rockefeller was one of the richest men in history, yet he always sought to use his resources for good. He began giving away his money at a young age and would go on to become one of philanthropists with a legendary legacy.

He established the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, later known as Rockefeller University, and established the Rockefeller Foundation. Additionally, he donated substantial sums of money to charitable causes such as education and civil rights movements.

In 1902, Rockefeller established the General Education Board to enhance education for African Americans. Through this organization, he helped build hundreds of public high schools throughout the South and funded teacher-training programs.

Personal Life

On July 8, 1839 in Richford, New York, United States of America, William (“Big Bill”) Avery Rockefeller was born to traveling physician and snake-oil salesman Eliza Davison Rockefeller and his wife Emma. A serious and devout man, he never drank nor smoked.

He was an unstoppable entrepreneur, quickly making his mark. In 1870 he founded Standard Oil and swiftly destroyed all of his rivals to gain complete control over the oil industry.

Standard Oil was the first great business trust in America and dominated the oil industry. It also engaged in an epic battle with government over antitrust laws for years. As a result, Rockefeller amassed vast wealth. Furthermore, he became an ardent philanthropist, donating vast sums of money to various causes.

Net Worth

Rockefeller was one of the wealthiest men in his era, estimated to have a net worth in 1913 of approximately $900 million – almost 3% of US GDP that year.

The Rockefeller family is one of the last remaining Gilded Age dynasties to maintain its wealth. Their success has been achieved through hard work and devotion.

The Rockefeller family’s wealth has been passed down through seven generations and more than 70 heirs, who control most of it through trusts. Some of it is held in generation-skipping trusts that ensure its safety until the youngest grandchild passes away.

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