Author: The Film Archives
John Davison Rockefeller Sr. (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937) was an American oil industry business magnate and philanthropist. About the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1400077303/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1400077303&linkCode=as2&tag=tra0c7-20&linkId=5a127a5f5359a48133568857944ab1f3
He is widely considered the wealthiest American of all time, and the richest person in modern history.
Rockefeller was born into a large family in upstate New York and was shaped by his con man father and religious mother. His family moved several times before eventually settling in Cleveland, Ohio. Rockefeller became an assistant bookkeeper at the age of 16, and went into a business partnership with Maurice B. Clark and his brothers at 20. After buying them out, he and his brother William founded Rockefeller & Andrews with Samuel Andrews. Instead of drilling for oil, he concentrated on refining. In 1867, Henry Flagler entered the partnership. The Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler company grew by incorporating local refineries. Rockefeller formally founded his most famous company, the Standard Oil Company, Inc., in 1870 as an Ohio partnership with William, Flagler, Andrews Jabez A. Bostwick, and a silent partner, Stephen V. Harkness. He ran it until 1897.
As kerosene and gasoline grew in importance, Rockefeller’s wealth soared and he became the richest person in the country, controlling 90% of all oil in the United States at his peak.[c] Oil was used throughout the country as a light source until the introduction of electricity and as a fuel after the invention of the automobile. Furthermore, Rockefeller gained enormous influence over the railroad industry, which transported his oil around the country. Standard Oil was the first great business trust in the United States. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry, and along with other key contemporary industrialists such as steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, defined the structure of modern philanthropy.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1911 that Standard Oil must be dismantled for violation of federal anti-trust laws. It was broken up into 34 separate entities that included companies that would become ExxonMobil, Chevron and others. Some of them still having the largest revenue, as individual pieces of the company were worth more than the whole and, as shares of these doubled and tripled in value in their early years, Rockefeller became the country’s first billionaire with a fortune worth nearly 2 percent of the national economy. His peak net worth was estimated at $336 billion (in 2007 USD, inflation-adjusted) in 1913.[d] Rockefeller spent the last 40 years of his life in retirement at his estate in Westchester County, New York. His fortune was mainly used to create the modern systematic approach of targeted philanthropy through the creation of foundations that had a major effect on medicine, education and scientific research. His foundations pioneered the development of medical research and were instrumental in the near-eradication of hookworm and yellow fever. in the United States.
Rockefeller was also the founder of both the University of Chicago and Rockefeller University and funded the establishment of Central Philippine University in the Philippines. He was a devout Northern Baptist and supported many church-based institutions. Rockefeller adhered to total abstinence from alcohol and tobacco throughout his life. He was a faithful congregant of the Erie Street Baptist Mission Church, where he taught Sunday school, and served as a trustee, clerk and occasional janitor. Religion was a guiding force throughout his life and Rockefeller believed it to be the source of his success. Rockefeller was also considered a supporter of capitalism based on a perspective of social Darwinism and was quoted often as saying: “The growth of a large business is merely a survival of the fittest”.
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