Rockefeller, John D(avison)

Rockefeller, John D(avison)

biographical name

(born July 8, 1839, Richford, N.Y., U.S.—died May 23, 1937, Ormond Beach, Fla.) U.S. industrialist and philanthropist. He moved with his family to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1853, and in 1859 he established a commission business dealing in hay, grain, meats, and other goods. In 1863 he built an oil refinery that soon was the largest in the area. With a few associates he incorporated Standard Oil Co. (Ohio) in 1870. He bought out competitors to control the oil-refinery business in Cleveland (1872) and in the U.S. (1882). He placed the stock of the company and its affiliates in other states under control of a board of trustees, establishing the first major U.S. business trust company. As a result of antitrust proceedings, he later converted the trust into a holding company. In the 1890s he turned his attention to philanthropy. He founded the University of Chicago in 1892, the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (later Rockefeller University) in 1901, and the Rockefeller Foundation in 1913. He donated over $500 million in his lifetime, and his philanthropy continued through donations by his son, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874–1960), and other descendants.

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