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Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (July 8, 1908 January 26, 1979) was the 41st Vice President of the United States, the 49th governor of New Yorkmarker, a public servant, statesman, businessman, art collector, and philanthropist.

Throughout his life Rockefeller was drawn to finding innovative, inter-disciplinary solutions to public policy issues. He spent much of his career in public service and he served the Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Nixon administrations in a variety of positions. As Governor of New York from 1959 to 1973 his achievements included the expansion of the State University of New York, efforts to protect the environment, the building of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza in Albany, increased facilities and personnel for medical care, and creation of the New York State Council on the Arts. A Republican, Rockefeller used a pragmatic problem solving approach to public policy formation rather than adhering to strict ideology. He is often referred to as a moderate Republican. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1960, 1964, and 1968. As a businessman he was President and later Chairman of Rockefeller Center, Inc., and he formed the International Basic Economy Corporation in 1947. Rockefeller assembled a significant art collection and promoted public access to the arts. He served as trustee, treasurer, and president, of the Museum of Modern Artmarker, and founded the Museum of Primitive Art in 1954. In the area of philanthropy he established the American International Association for Economic and Social Development in 1946, and with his four brothers he founded the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in 1940 and helped guide it. He was appointed Vice President in 1974 by President Gerald R. Ford. He served until the end of the term in 1977, but did not join the 1976 GOP national ticket with President Ford. He retired from politics when his term as Vice President was over.

Early life

Rockefeller was born in Bar Harbor, Maine. He was the son of John Davison Rockefeller, Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. He was the grandson of Standard Oil founder and chairman John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. and United States Senator Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich, a Republican from Rhode Islandmarker. He had a sister, Abby (1903-1976), and four brothers; John D. 3rd (1906-1978), Laurance S. (1910-2004), Winthrop (1912-1973), and David (1915- ). He received his elementary and high school education at the Lincoln School, an experimental school administered by Teachers College of Columbia University. In 1930, he graduated cum laude with a B.A. in economics from Dartmouth Collegemarker, where he was a member of Casque and Gauntlet (a senior society), Phi Beta Kappa, and the Zeta chapter of the Psi Upsilon fraternity. Following his graduation he worked in a number of family related businesses including: Chase National Bank (later Chase Manhattan), 1931; Rockefeller Centermarker, Inc., joining the Board of Directors in 1931, serving as President, 1938-1945 and 1948-1951, and as Chairman, 1945-1953 and 1956-1958; and Creole Petroleum, the Venezuelan subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey, 1935-1940. From 1932 to 1979 he served as a trustee of the Museum of Modern Artmarker. He also served as Treasurer, 1935-1939, and President, 1939-1941 and 1946-1953. He and his four brothers established the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a philanthropy, in 1940. He served as trustee, 1940-1975 and 1977-1979, and as president in 1956.

Early public career

Rockefeller served as a member of the Westchester County (NY) Board of Health, 1933-1953. His service with Creole Petroleum led to his deep, life-long interest in Latin America. He became fluent in Spanish. In 1940, after expressing his concern to President Franklin D. Roosevelt over Nazi influence in Latin America, the President appointed him to the new position of Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA) in the Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA). Rockefeller was charged with overseeing a program of US cooperation with the nations of Latin America to help raise the standard of living, to achieve better relations among the nations of the western hemisphere, and to counter rising Nazi influence in the region. In 1944 President Roosevelt appointed Rockefeller Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs. As Assistant Secretary of State he initiated the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace in 1945. The conference produced the Act of Chapultepec which provided the framework for economic, social and defense cooperation among the nations of the Americas and set the principle that an attack on one of these nations would be regarded as an attack on all and jointly resisted. Rockefeller signed the Act on behalf of the United States.

Rockefeller was a member of the US delegation at the United Nations Conference on International Organization at San Francisco in 1945. At the Conference there was considerable opposition to the idea of permitting, within the UN charter, the formation of regional pacts such as the Act of Chapultepec. Rockefeller, who believed that the inclusion was essential, especially to US policy in Latin America, successfully urged the need for regional pacts within the framework of the UN. Rockefeller was also instrumental in persuading the UN to establish its headquarters in New York City.

After resigning as Assistant Secretary of State Rockefeller returned to private life in 1945. He served as Chairman of Rockefeller Center, Inc., (1945-1953 and 1956-1958) and began a program of physical expansion. He established the American International Association for Economic and Social Development (AIA), in 1946, and the International Basic Economy Corporation (IBEC), in 1947 to jointly continue the work he had begun as Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. He intermittently served as president of both through 1958. AIA was a philanthropy for the dissemination of technical and managerial expertise and equipment to underdeveloped countries to support grass roots efforts in overcoming illiteracy, disease and poverty. IBEC was a for-profit business that established companies that would stimulate underdeveloped economies of certain countries. It was hoped the success of these companies would encourage investors in those countries to set up competing or supporting businesses and further stimulate the local economy. Using AIA and IBEC Rockefeller established model farms in Venezuela, Ecuador and Brazil. He maintained a home at Monte Sacro, the farm in Venezuela. Rockefeller returned to public service in 1950 when President Harry S. Truman appointed him Chairman of the International Development Advisory Board. The Board was charged with developing a plan for implementing the President’s Point IV program of providing foreign technical assistance. In 1952 President-Elect Dwight D. Eisenhower asked Rockefeller to Chair the President’s Advisory Committee on Government Organization to recommend ways of improving efficiency and effectiveness of the executive branch of the federal government. Rockefeller recommended thirteen reorganization plans, all of which were implemented. The plans implemented organizational changes in the Department of Defense, the Department of Defense Mobilization and the Department of Agriculture. His recommendations also led to the creation of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Rockefeller was appointed Under-Secretary of this new department in 1953. Rockefeller was active in HEW’s legislative program and implemented measures that added ten million people under the Social Security program.

In 1954 he was appointed Special Assistant to the President for Foreign Affairs (sometimes referred to as Special Assistant to the President for Psychological Warfare.) He was tasked with providing the President with advice and assistance in developing programs by which the various departments of the government could counter Soviet foreign policy challenges. As part of this responsibility he was named as the President’s representative on the Operations Coordinating Board, a committee of the National Security Council. The other members were the Undersecretary of State, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the director of the Foreign Operations Administration, and the Central Intelligence Agency director. The OCB’s purpose was to oversee coordinated execution of security policy and plans, including clandestine operations.

Rockefeller broadly interpreted his directive and became an advocate for foreign economic aid as indispensible to national security. Most of Rockefeller’s initiatives were blocked by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his Under Secretary, Herbert Hoover, Jr., both traditionalists who resented what they perceived as outside interference from Rockefeller, and by Treasury Secretary George Humphrey for financial reasons. However, in June 1955 Rockefeller convened a week-long meeting of experts from various disciplines to assess the US position in the psychological aspects of the Cold War and develop proposals that could give the US the initiative at the upcoming Summit Conference in Geneva. The meeting was held at the Marine Corps school at Quantico, Virginia and became known as the Quantico Study. The Quantico panel developed a proposal called “open skies” wherein the US and the Soviet Union would exchange blueprints of military installations and agree to mutual aerial reconnaissance. Thus military buildups would be revealed and the danger of surprise attacks minimized. It was a counter proposal to the Soviet proposal of universal disarmament. The feeling was that the Soviets could not refuse the proposal if they were serious about disarmament.

In March 1955 Rockefeller proposed the creation of the Planning Coordination Group, a small high level group that would plan and develop national security operation, both overt and covert. The group consisted of the Undersecretary of State, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the director the CIA, and Special Assistant Rockefeller as chairman. The group’s purpose was to oversee CIA operation and other anti-communist actions. However, State Department officials and CIA Director Allen Dulles refused to cooperate with the group and its initiatives were stymied or ignored. In September Rockefeller recommended the abolishment of the PCG and in December he resigned as Special Assistant to the President.

In 1956, he created the Special Studies Project, a major seven-panel planning group directed by Henry Kissinger and funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, of which he was the then-president. It was an ambitious study created to define the central problems and opportunities facing the U.S. in the future, and to clarify national purposes and objectives. The reports were published individually as they were released and were republished together in 1961 as Prospect for America: The Rockefeller Panel Reports.

The Special Studies Project came into national prominence with the early release of its military subpanel's report, whose principal recommendation was a massive military buildup to counter a then-perceived military superiority threat posed by the USSRmarker. The report was released two months after the October 1957 launch of Sputnik, and its recommendations were fully endorsed by Eisenhower in his January 1958 State of the Union address. Some of the Special Studies Project’s domestic policy recommendations became part of President John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier initiative. [citation needed]

This initial contact with Kissinger was to develop into a lifelong relationship; Kissinger was later to be described as his closest intellectual associate. From this period Rockefeller employed Kissinger as a personally funded part-time consultant, principally on foreign policy issues, until the appointment to his staff became full-time in late 1968. In 1969, when Kissinger entered Richard Nixon's administration, Rockefeller paid him $50,000 as a severance payment.

Governor of New York, 1959-1973

Rockefeller meets with President Lyndon B.
Johnson in 1968
Rockefeller left federal service in 1956 to concentrate on New Yorkmarker state and national politics. From September 1956 to April 1958 he chaired the Temporary State Commission on the Constitutional Convention. That was followed by his chairmanship of the Special Legislative Committee on the Revision and Simplification of the Constitution. These two appointments served to educate him on the workings of New York state government and to make him visible in state political circles. In 1958, he was elected governor by over 600,000 votes, defeating the incumbent, multi-millionaire W. Averell Harriman, even though 1958 was a banner year for Democrats elsewhere in the nation. Rockefeller was ultimately elected to four, four-year terms as governor of New York State. Re-elected in 1962, 1966 and 1970, Rockefeller vastly increased the state's role in education, environmental protection, transportation, housing, welfare, medical aid, civil rights, and the arts. He resigned three years into his fourth term.


Rockefeller was the driving force in turning the State University of New York into the largest system of public higher education in the United States. Under his governorship it grew from 29 campuses and 38,000 full-time students to 72 campuses and 232,000 full-time students. Other accomplishments included more than quadrupling state aid to primary and secondary schools; providing the first state financial support for educational television; and requiring special education for mentally retarded children in public schools.


Consistent with his personal interest in design and planning, Rockefeller began expansion of the New York State Parks system and improvement of park facilities. He persuaded voters to approve three major bond acts to raise more than $300 million for acquisition of park and forest preserve land and he built or started 55 new state parks. Rockefeller initiated studies of environmental issues, such as loss of agricultural land through development—an issue now characterized as "sprawl". In September 1968, Rockefeller appointed the Temporary Study Commission on the Future of the Adirondacks. This led to his introduction to the Legislature in 1971 of a bill to create the controversial Adirondack Park Agency, which was designed to protect the Adirondack State Park from encroaching development. Also, he launched the Pure Waters Program, the fist state bond issue to end water pollution; created the Department of Environmental Conservation; banned DDT and other dangerous pesticides; and established the Office of Parks and Recreation.


In 1967 Rockefeller won approval of the largest state bond issue at the time ($2.5 billion) for the coordinated development of mass transportation, highways and airports. He initiated the creation and/or expansion of over 22,000 miles of highway including Long Island Expressway, the Southern Tier Expressway, the Adirondack Northway, and Interstate 81 which vastly improved road transportation in the state of New York. Rockefeller introduced the state’s first support for mass transportation. He reformed the governing of New York Citymarker's transportation system, creating the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1965. It merged the New York City subway system with the publicly owned Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, the Long Island Rail Road, the Staten Island Rapid Transit and later the Metro North Railroad, which were purchased by the state from private owners in a massive public bailout of bankrupt railroads. He also created the State Department of Transportation.

In taking over control of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, Rockefeller shifted power away from Robert Moses, who controlled several of New York state's public infrastructure authorities. Under the New York MTA, toll revenue collected from the bridges and tunnels, which had previously been used to build more bridges, tunnels, and highways, now went to support mass transportation operations, thus shifting costs from general state funds to the motorist. In one controversial move, Rockefeller abandoned one of Moses's most desired projects, a Long Island Soundmarker bridge from Ryemarker to Oyster Baymarker in 1973 due to environmental opposition.


To create more low-income housing, Rockefeller created the New York State Urban Development Corporation (UDC), with unprecedented powers to override local zoning, condemn property, and create financing schemes to carry out desired development. (UDC is now called the Empire State Development Corporation, which forms a unit, along with the formerly independent Job Development Authority, of Empire State Development Corporation.) By 1973 the Rockefeller administration had completed or started over 88,000 units of housing for limited income families and the aging.

Welfare and Medicaid

In the area of public assistance the Rockefeller administration carried out the largest state medical care program for the needy in the US under Medicaid; achieved the first major decline in New York States’s welfare rolls since WW II; required employable welfare recipients to take available jobs or job training; began the state breakfast program for children in low income areas; and established the fist state loan fund for non-profit groups to start day-care centers.

Civil Rights

Rockefeller achieved virtual total prohibition of discrimination in housing and places of public accommodation. He outlawed job discrimination based on gender or age; increased by nearly 50% the number of African Americans and Hispanics holding state jobs; appointed women to head the largest number of state agencies in state history; prohibited discrimination against women in education, employment, housing and credit applications; admitted the first women to the State Police; initiated affirmative action programs for women in state government; and backed New York’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution. He outlawed “block-busting” as a means of artificially depressing housing values and banned discrimination in the sale of all forms of insurance.

The Arts

Rockefeller created the first State Council on the Arts in the US, which became a model for the National Endowment for the Arts. He also over saw the construction of the Saratoga Performing Arts Centermarker in Saratoga Spa State Park.


During his fifteen years as governor Rockefeller doubled the size of the State Police, established the New York State Police Academy, adopted the “stop and frisk” and "no-knock” laws to strengthen police powers, and authorized 228 additional state judgeships to reduce court congestion.New York was the last state to have a mandatory death penalty for premeditated first degree murder. In 1963 Rockefeller signed legislation abandoning that and establishing a two stage trial for murder cases with punishment determined in the second stage. Rockefeller was a supporter of capital punishment and oversaw 14 executions by electrocution as Governor. The last execution, of Eddie Mays in 1963, remains to date the last execution in New York and was the last execution before Furman v. Georgia in the Northeast. However, despite his personal support for capital punishment, Rockefeller signed a bill in 1965 to abolish the death penalty except in cases involving the murder of police officers.

Rockefeller was also a supporter of the "law and order" platform.

Tough laws on drug users

What became known as the “Rockefeller drug laws” were a product of Rockefeller’s attempt to deal with the rapid increase in narcotics addiction and related crime. In 1962 he proposed a program of voluntary rehabilitation for addicted convicts rather than prison time. This was approved by the NY State legislature, but by 1966 it was evident this program was not working as most addicts chose short prison terms rather than three years of treatment. He then turned to a program of compulsory treatment, rehabilitation and aftercare for three years. While this program saw success in rehabilitating addicts, it did little to reduce the narcotics trade and associated crime. Rockefeller was also frustrated that the federal government was not doing anything significant to address the problem. Feeling that existing laws and the way they were being implemented did not solve the problem of the “drug pusher,” and pressured by voters angry about the drug problem, Rockefeller proposed a hard line approach. As approved by the NY State legislature in 1973 the new drug laws included mandatory life sentences without the possibility of plea-bargaining or parole for all drug users, dealers, and those convicted of drug-related violent crimes; a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of drug pushers; and deleting less harsh penalties for youthful offenders. Public support for the measures was mixed, as were the results. They did not lead more addicts to seek rehabilitation as hoped, and ultimately did not solve the problem of drug trafficking. These were among the toughest drug laws in the United States when they were enacted and are still on the books, albeit in moderated form. To carry out the rehabilitation program Rockefeller created the State Narcotics Addiction Control Commission (later the State Drug Abuse Control Commission.) New York also provided the financial support for research in methadone maintenance and the administration of the largest methadone maintenance program in the US.

Attica prison riots

On September 9, 1971, prisoners at the state penitentiary at Attica, NY, took control of a cell block and seized thirty-nine guards as hostages. After four days of negotiations, Department of Correctional Services Commissioner Russell Oswald agreed to 28 of the inmates’ 30 demands for various reforms. The demands that were not agreed to were complete amnesty to the rioters with passage out of the country, and removal of the prison’s superintendant. When negotiations stalled and the hostages appeared to be in imminent danger, Rockefeller ordered New York State Police troopers and National Guardsmen to restore order and take back the prison on September 13.Thirty nine people died in the assault, including ten of the hostages. All but three of the deaths were attributed to the gunfire of the National Guard and state police. The other three that had been killed were inmates killed by other inmates in the start of the riot. Critics blamed Rockefeller for these deaths in part because of his refusal to go to the prison and talk with the inmates, while his supporters, including many conservatives who had often vocally differed with him in the past, defended his actions as being necessary to the preservation of law and order. “I was trying to do the best I could to save the hostages, save the prisoners, restore order, and preserve our system without undertaking actions which could set a precedent which would go across this country like wildfire,” Rockefeller later said.

Buildings and public works programs

Rockefeller engaged in massive building projects that left a profound mark on the state of New York. (Some of his detractors claimed that he had an "Edifice Complex.") He was personally interested in planning, design, and construction of the many projects intitiated during his administration, consistent with his interest in architecture. In addition, Rockefeller's construction programs included the $2 billion South Mall in Albanymarker, later renamed the Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plazamarker by Gov. Hugh Carey in 1978. It is a 98 acre campus of skyscrapers housing state offices and public plazas punctuated by an egg-shaped arts center.

Other programs

Rockefeller worked with the legislature and unions to create generous pension programs for many public workers, such as teachers, professors, firefighters, police officers, and prison guards. He proposed the first statewide minimum wage law in the US which was increased five times during his administration. Additional accomplishments of Rockefeller’s fifteen years as Governor of New York include initiating the state lottery and off-track betting; adopting modern treatment techniques in state mental hospitals to reduce the number of mentally ill patients by over 50%; creating the State Office of the Aging and constructing nearly 12,000 units of housing for the aging; the first mandatory seatbelt law in the US; and creating the State Consumer Protection Board.

“Moderate Republican”

Reflecting his interdisciplinary approach to problem solving Rockefeller took a pragmatic approach to governing. In their book Rockefeller of New York: Executive Power in the State House, Robert Connery and Gerald Benjamin state, “Rockefeller was not committed to any ideology. Rather, he considered himself a practical problem solver, much more interested in defining problems and finding solutions around which he could unite support sufficient to ensure their enactment in legislation than in following either a strictly liberal or strictly conservative course. Rockefeller’s programs did not consistently follow either liberal or conservative ideology.” Early fiscal policies were conservative while later ones were not so. In the later years of his administration “conservative decisions on social programs were paralleled by liberal ones on environmental issues.”Rockefeller was opposed by conservatives in the GOP such as Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan who viewed him as liberal. As governor, Rockefeller spent more than his predecessors. Rockefeller expanded the state's infrastructure, increased spending on education including a massive expansion of the State University of New York, and increased the state’s involvement in environmental issues. Rockefeller had good relations with unions, especially the construction trades, which benefited from his extensive building programs.In foreign affairs, Rockefeller supported US involvement in the United Nations as well as US foreign aid. He also supported the U.S.'s fight against communism and its membership in NATOmarker. As a result of Rockefeller's policies, some conservatives sought to gain leverage by creating the Conservative Party of New York. The small party acted as a minor counter-weight to the Liberal Party of New York State. The most common criticism of Rockefeller’s governorship of New York is that he tried to do too much too fast, vastly increasing the level of state debt which later contributed to New York’s fiscal crisis in 1975. Rockefeller created some 230 public-benefit authorities like the Urban Development Corporation. They were often used to issue bonds in order to avoid the requirement of a vote of the people for the issuance of a bond; such authority-issued bonds bore higher interest than if they had been issued directly by the state. The state budget went from $2.04 billion in 1959-60 to $8.8 billion in his last year, 1973-74. “Rockefeller sought and obtained eight tax increases during his fifteen years in office.” “During his administration, the tax burden rose to a higher level than in any other state, and the incidence of taxation shifted, with a greater share being borne by the individual taxpayer.”

National politics

Rockefeller sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1960, 1964, and 1968. His bid in 1960 was ended early when then-Vice President Richard Nixon surged ahead in the polls. After quitting the campaign, Rockefeller backed Nixon, and concentrated his efforts on introducing more moderate planks into Nixon's platform.

Rockefeller, favored by moderate and liberal Republicans, was considered the front-runner for the 1964 campaign against the more conservative Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizonamarker, who led the right wing of the Republican Party. In 1963, a year after Rockefeller's divorce from his first wife, he married Margaretta "Happy" Murphy, a divorcee with four children. This turned many in the party off, especially women. Rockefeller finished third in the New Hampshire primary in February, behind write-in Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (from neighboring Massachusetts) and Goldwater. He then endured poor showings in several primaries, before winning an upset in the Oregonmarker primary in May. The birth of Rockefeller's child during the Californiamarker campaign put the divorce and remarriage issue back in the headlines. After a furious contest, Rockefeller narrowly lost the California primary in early June and dropped out of the race. However, at the Republican National Convention in San Francisco in July, Rockefeller was given five minutes to speak before the convention in defense of five amendments to the party platform put forth by the moderate wing of the Republican Party to counter the Goldwater plank condoning political extremism. Right wing delegates booed and heckled Rockefeller for 16 minutes while he stood firmly at the podium insisting on his right to speak.

Rockefeller again sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1968. His opponents were Nixon and Governor Ronald W. Reagan of California. In the contest, Rockefeller again represented the liberals in the GOP, Reagan representing the conservative Goldwater element, and Nixon representing the moderates. Rather than formally announce his candidacy and enter the state primaries, Rockefeller spent the first half of 1968 alternating between hints that he would run, and pronouncements that he would not be a candidate. Shortly before the Republican convention, Rockefeller finally let it be known that he was available to be the nominee, and he sought to round up uncommitted delegates and woo reluctant Nixon delegates to his banner, armed with public opinion polls that showed him doing better among voters than either Nixon or Reagan against Democrat Hubert Humphrey. Nixon easily defeated both Reagan and Rockefeller, however.

After Gerald Ford's elevation to the Presidency, Rockefeller was named Vice-President, and he was initially mentioned and reportedly considered running for President for a fourth time in 1976, if Ford declined to seek his own term.

Presidential Mission to Latin America

In 1969 at the request of President Nixon, Rockefeller and a team of 23 advisors visited 20 American republics to solicit opinions of US inter-American policies and to determine the needs and conditions of each country. Among the recommendations in Rockefeller’s report to the President were preferential trade agreements with Latin American countries, refinancing the region’s foreign debt, and removing bureaucratic impediments that prevented the efficient use of US aid. The Nixon administration did little to implement the report’s recommendations.

National Commission on Water Quality

In May 1973 President Nixon appointed Rockefeller chairman of the National Commission on Water Quality, charged with determining the technological, economic, social and environmental implications of meeting water quality standards mandated by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972. The Commission issued its report in March 1976 and he testified before Congress on its findings. He served until July 1976.

Commission on Critical Choices for Americans

In November 1973, Rockefeller established the Commission on Critical Choices for Americans, and served as chairman until December 1974. The Commission was a private study project on national and international policy similar to the Special Studies Project he led 15 years earlier. It was made up of a nationally representative, bipartisan group of 42 prominent Americans drawn from far-ranging fields of interest who served on a voluntary basis. Members included the majority and minority leaders of both houses of Congress. The Commission gathered information and insights to better understand the problems facing America, and to present to the American public the “critical choices” to be made in facing those problems. He resigned as Governor of New York in December 1973, devoting himself to his new commission and the possibility of another presidential run.

Vice Presidency 1974-1977

Following President Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974, President Gerald Ford nominated Rockefeller on August 20 to serve as Vice President of the United States. Rockefeller's top competitor had been George H.W. Bush.
Vice President Rockefeller bust from the Senate collection

While acknowledging that many conservatives opposed Rockefeller, Ford believed that he would bring executive expertise to the administration and would broaden the ticket’s appeal if they ran in 1976. Ford also felt he could demonstrate his own self confidence by selecting a strong personality like Rockefeller for the number two spot.Although he had said he was “just not built for standby equipment,” Rockefeller accepted the President’s request to serve as Vice President. "It was entirely a question of there being a Constitutional crisis and a crisis of confidence on the part of the American people," he said. "I felt there was a duty incumbent on any American who could do anything that would contribute to a restoration of confidence in the democratic process and in the integrity of government." Rockefeller was also persuaded by Ford’s promise to make him “a full partner” in his presidency, especially in domestic policy.

Rockefeller underwent extended hearings before Congress, which caused embarrassment when it was revealed he made massive gifts to senior aides, such as Henry Kissinger. He had paid all his taxes, no illegalities were uncovered, and he was confirmed. Although conservative Republicans were not pleased that Rockefeller was picked, most of them voted for his confirmation. However, some, including Goldwater, voted against him..

Beginning his service on December 19, 1974, Rockefeller was the second person appointed Vice President under the 25th Amendment the first being Ford himself. Rockefeller often seemed concerned that Ford gave him little or no power, and few tasks, while he was Vice President. Ford initially said he wanted Rockefeller to chair the Domestic Council. But Ford's new White House staff had no intention of sharing power with the vice president and his staff.

Rockefeller’s attempt to take charge of domestic policy was thwarted by White House Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld, who objected to policy makers reporting to the president through the vice president. When Rockefeller had one of his former aids, James Cannon, appointed executive director the Domestic Council, Rumsfeld cut its budget. Rockefeller was excluded from the decision making process on many important issues. When he learned that Ford had proposed cuts in federal taxes and spending he responded, “This is the most important move the president has made, and I wasn't even consulted." Nevertheless, Ford appointed him to the Commission on the Organization of Government for the Conduct of Foreign Policy, and appointed him Chairman of the Commission on CIA Activities within the United States, the National Commission on Productivity, the Federal Compensation Committee, and the Committee on the Right to Privacy. Ford also put Rockefeller in charge of his "Whip Inflation Now" initiative.

While Rockefeller was Vice President, the official Vice Presidential residence was established at Number One Observatory Circlemarker on the grounds of the United States Naval Observatorymarker. This residence had previously been the home of the Chief of Naval Operations; prior Vice Presidents had been responsible for maintaining their own homes at their own expense, but the necessity of massive full-time Secret Service security had made this custom impractical to continue. Rockefeller already had a well-secured Washington residence and never lived in the home as a principal residence, although he did host several official functions there. His wealth enabled him to donate millions of dollars of furnishings to the house.

Rockefeller did a unique thing by donating the salary he received as Vice President to two causes. Half was given to the creation of Federal Programs to educate inner-city, low income children and to fund youth and family centers in the urban cities. The other half was donated to the preservation and promotion of programs teaching the arts in low income public school systems. [Citation needed.]

Rockefeller was slow to embrace the use of the government aircraft that were provided for Vice Presidential transportation. Rockefeller continued to use his own private comfortably equipped Gulfstream for the first part of his time in office. It was operated under the call sign Executive Two when the Vice President was onboard. Initially Rockefeller felt he was doing the taxpayer a favor saving money by not using government funded transportation. Finally the Secret Service was able to convince him they were spending more money flying agents around to meet the needs of his protective detail and he began to fly on the DC-9 that was serving as Air Force Two at the time. His codename given by the Secret Service was "Sandstorm".

In November 1975, Rockefeller officially told Ford that he would not run for election in 1976, saying that he "didn't come down (to Washington) to get caught up in party squabbles which only make it more difficult for the President in a very difficult time..." However, Ford, a moderate, under pressure from the conservative wing of the party and in response to Ronald Reagan’s challenge for the presidential nomination, had decided to drop Rockefeller in favor of the more conservative Senator Robert Dole from Kansasmarker. Ford is the last President to do this; every President since has run for re-election with the same Vice President that he served with during his first term. Ford later acknowledged that this was one of the biggest mistakes he ever made. Ford's switch of his running mate to Dole did not help him, as the ticket lost the election to Jimmy Carter.On January 10, 1977, Ford presented Rockefeller with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Art patronage

Rockefeller served as a trustee of the Museum of Modern Art from 1932 to 1979. He also served as Treasurer, 1935-1939, and President, 1939-1941 and 1946-1953. In 1933 Rockefeller was a member of the committee selecting art for the new Rockefeller Centermarker. For the wall opposite the main entrance of 30 Rockefeller Plaza Nelson Rockefeller wanted Henri Matisse or Pablo Picasso to paint a mural because he favored their modern style, but neither was available. Diego Rivera was one of Nelson Rockefeller's mother's favorite artists and therefore was commissioned to create the huge mural. He was given a theme: New Frontiers. Rockefeller wanted the painting to make people pause and think. Rivera submitted a sketch for a mural entitled “Man at the Crossroads Looking with Hope and High Vision to the Choosing of a New and Better Future.” The sketch featured an anonymous man at the center. However, when it was painted the work caused great controversy due to the inclusion of a painting of Lenin (depicting communism) at the center. The Directors of Rockefeller Center objected and Rockefeller asked Rivera to change the face of Lenin to that of an unknown laborer's face as was originally intended, but the painter refused.

The work was paid for on May 22, 1933, and immediately draped. Rockefeller suggested that the fresco could be donated to the Museum of Modern Art, but the trustees of the Museum were not interested. People protested but it remained covered until the early weeks of 1934, when it was smashed by workers and hauled away in wheelbarrows. Rivera responded by saying that it was "cultural vandalism." At Rockefeller Center in its place is a mural by Jose Maria Sert with Abraham Lincoln as its focal point. The Rockefeller-Rivera dispute is covered in the films Cradle Will Rock and Frida.

Rockefeller was a noted collector of both modern and non-Western art. During his governorship, New York State acquired major works of art for the new Empire State Plaza in Albany. He continued his mother's work at the Museum of Modern Artmarker as president, and turned the basement of his Kykuitmarker mansion into a gallery while placing works of sculpture around the grounds (an activity he enjoyed personally supervising, frequently moving the pieces from place to place by helicopter). While he was overseeing construction of the State University of New York system, Rockefeller built, in collaboration with his lifelong friend Roy Neuberger, the Neuberger Museum on the campus of SUNY Purchase College, designed by Philip Johnson.

He commissioned Master Santiago Martínez Delgado to make a canvas mural for the Bank of New York (City Bank) in Bogotá, Colombiamarker; this ended up being the last work of the artist, as he died while finishing it.

Rockefeller's early visits to Mexicomarker kindled a collecting interest in pre-Columbian and contemporary Mexican art, to which he added works of traditional African and Pacific Island art. In 1954 he established the Museum of Primitive Art devoted to the indigenous art of the Americas, Africa, Oceania and early Asia and Europe. His personal collection formed the core of the collection. The museum opened to the public in 1957 in a townhouse on West 54th Street in New York Citymarker. In 1969 he gave the museum's collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Artmarker where it became the Michael C. Rockefeller Collection.

In 1978, Alfred A. Knopf published a book on primitive art from Rockefeller's collection. Rockefeller, impressed with the work of photographer Lee Boltin and editor/publisher Paul Anbinder on the book, co-founded Nelson Rockefeller Publications, Inc. with them, with the goal of publishing fine art books of high quality. After Rockefeller's death less than a year later, the company continued as Hudson Hills Press, Inc.

In 1977 he founded Nelson Rockefeller Collection, Inc., (NRC) an art reproduction company that produced and sold licensed reproductions of selected works from Rockefeller’s collection. In the introduction to the NRC catalog he stated he was motivated by his desire to share with others “the joy of living with these beautiful objects.”


On June 23, 1930, Rockefeller married Mary Todhunter Clark. They had five children: Rodman, Anne, Steven, and twins Mary and Michael. They were divorced in 1962. On May 4, 1963 he married Margaretta "Happy" Murphy. He and his second wife had two children together, Nelson, Jr. and Mark. They remained married until his death in 1979.


Rockefeller died on January 26, 1979, at age 70 from a heart attack. An initial report had incorrectly stated that he was at his office at Rockefeller Center working on a book about his art collection, and a security guard found him slumped over his desk. However, the report was soon corrected to state that Rockefeller actually had the fatal heart attack in another office he owned in a townhouse at 13 West 54th Street in the presence of Megan Marshack, an aide. After the heart attack, Marshack called her friend, news reporter Ponchitta Pierce, to the townhouse, and Pierce phoned an ambulance approximately an hour after the heart attack. There was some speculation in the press regarding the possibility of an intimate relationship between Rockefeller and Marshack. Rockefeller’s four oldest children issued a statement saying they had conducted their own review, they believed that their father could not have been saved, and that all those who tried to help had acted responsibly. Neither Marshack nor the family has commented since on the circumstances surrounding Rockefeller's death.

On January 29, 1979, family and close friends gathered to inter Rockefeller’s ashes in a private Rockefeller family cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New Yorkmarker. His remains had been cremated at Ferncliff Cemeterymarker in nearby Hartsdalemarker. On February 2, 2,200 people attended a memorial service at Riverside Church in New York. Attendees included President Jimmy Carter, President Gerald Ford, more than 100 members of the US Senate and House of Representatives including Senator Barry Goldwater, and official representatives from 71 foreign countries. Eulogies were delivered by two of Rockefeller’s children, his brother David and Henry Kissinger.

In popular media

Electoral history

Some Awards Presented to Nelson A. Rockefeller

  • Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1977
  • Universal Brotherhood Medal, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1961
  • Charles Evans Hughes Medal, National Conference of Christians and Jews, 1965
  • Distinguished Service to Conservation Award, National Wildlife Federation/Sears Roebuck Foundation, 1966
  • Gold Medal Award, National Institute of Social Sciences, 1967 (awarded to all five Rockefeller brothers)
  • Award of Merit, American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter, 1968
  • Distinguished Service Award, State University of New York, 1973
  • Four Freedoms Foundation Award, 1974
  • Award of Merit, Chile, 1945
  • National Order of the Southern Cross, Brazil, 1946
  • Order of the Aztec Eagle, Mexico, 1949
  • Order of Ruben Dario, Nicaragua, 1953
  • Medallion de los Andes, University of the Andes, Colombia, 1958
  • Commandeur of the Order of Arts & Letters, France, 1958
  • Grande Croix de l’Ordre de Leopold II of Belgium, 1959
  • Ramon Magsaysay Award, Philippines, 1959
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau, Netherlands, 1960
  • Prathamabhorn Knight Grand Cross of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant, Thailand, 1960
  • Legion of Honor, Commandeur, France, 1960
  • Commander of the Order of Dannebrog, 1st Class, Denmark, 1960
  • Grand Ufficials del ‘Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana, Italy, 1962
  • Order of the White Rose, Commander 1st Class, Finland, 1962
  • Agricultural Merit Award, Brazilian Rural Confederation, 1963
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Brilliant Star, Nationalist China, 1969
  • Nicholas Copericus Award, Poland, 1972

Memorials to Nelson A. Rockefeller

The following institutions and facilities have been named in honor of Nelson A. Rockefeller:
  • The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, the public policy research arm of the State University of New York
  • The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center, Dartmouth College, a social science research center
  • Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany, State University of New York
  • The Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza
  • Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, Battery City, New York

Some Awards Named for Nelson A. Rockefeller

  • Nelson A. Rockefeller Award, Purchase College School of the Arts, presented annually to five individuals who have distinguished themselves through their contributions to the arts or the environment.
  • Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Award for Excellence in Public Service, State Academy for Public Administration.
  • Nelson A. Rockefeller Distinguished Public Service Award, Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for the Social Sciences, Dartmouth College.
  • Nelson A. Rockefeller Award, American Society for Public Administration, Empire State Capital Area Chapter, presented to an individual whose governmental career in New York State demonstrates exemplary leadership, performance, and achievement in shaping public policy, developing and implementing major public programs, or resolving major public problems.
  • Nelson A. Rockefeller Award, The New York Water Environment Association, Inc., awarded to an elected official at a City (population over 250,000), State or National level who has made a substantial and meaningful contribution to advancing effective environmental programs.
  • Nelson A. Rockefeller Public Service Award, Rockefeller Institute of Government (1988-1994).


  • Bleecker, Samuel E. The Politics of Architecture: A Perspective on Nelson A. Rockefeller, Rutledge Press, 1981. Deals with the architecture of New York State buildings.
  • Cobbs, Elizabeth Anne. The Rich Neighbor Policy: Rockefeller and Kaiser in Brazil, Yale University Press, 1992.
  • Cobbs, Elizabeth A. "Entrepreneurship as Diplomacy: Nelson Rockefeller and the Development of the Brazilian Capital Market," Business History Review, 1989 63(1): 88-121. Examines NR's Fundo Crescinco, a mutual fund that he started in Brazil in the 1950s to continue FDR's Good Neighbor policy. It reflected both liberal assumptions about the importance of the middle class to economic development and the concerns of business people about placating Latin American nationalism.
  • Colby, Gerard & Charlotte Dennett. Thy Will be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil, 1995.
  • Connery, Robert H. and Gerald Benjamin. Governing New York State: The Rockefeller Years, 1974. An in-depth analysis.
  • Bernard J. Firestone and Alexej Ugrinsky, eds. Gerald R. Ford and the Politics of Post-Watergate America. Volume: 1. Greenwood Press, 1993. (pp 137–94). One chapter has analysis by scholars of the Vice-Presidency.
  • Deane, Elizabeth, (Director). The Rockefellers, A documentary film, 1999.
  • Donovan, Robert John. Confidential Secretary: Ann Whitman's Twenty Years with Eisenhower and Rockefeller, New York: Dutton, 1988.
  • Isaacson, Walter, Kissinger: A Biography, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992, (updated, 2005).
  • Kramer, Michael and Roberts, Sam. "I Never Wanted to Be Vice-President of Anything!": An Investigative Biography of Nelson Rockefeller, 1976.
  • Light, Paul. "Vice-presidential Influence under Rockefeller and Mondale." Political Science Quarterly 1983-1984 98(4): 617-640. in JSTOR
  • Perlstein, Rick. Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, 2002. On the 1964 election.
  • Persico, Joseph E. The Imperial Rockefeller: A Biography of Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York: Pocket Books, 1982 (The author was a senior aide).
  • Reich, Cary. The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer, 1908-1958, New York: Doubleday, 1996. {Volume 1 of the most comprehensive biography of Nelson ever written, the author had accessed many papers in the Rockefeller Archive Center for his research but died before writing Volume 2, covering the crucial period from 1959 to 1979.}
  • James Reichley; Conservatives in an Age of Change: The Nixon and Ford Administrations, Brookings Institution, 1981.
  • Rivas, Darlene. Missionary Capitalist: Nelson Rockefeller in Venezuela. University of North Carolina Press, 2002.
  • Straight, Michael. Nancy Hanks, an Intimate Portrait: The Creation of a National Commitment to the Arts. Duke University Press, 1988. She was a top aide (and lover).
  • Turner, Michael. The Vice President as Policy Maker: Rockefeller in the Ford White House, New York: Greenwood, 1982.
  • Underwood, James E. and Daniels, William J. Governor Rockefeller in New York: The Apex of Pragmatic Liberalism, New York: Greenwood, 1982.

See also


  1. Cramer, Gisela; Prutsch, Ursula, "Nelson A. Rockefeller's Office of Inter-American Affairs (1940-1946) and Record Group 229", Hispanic American Historical Review 2006 86(4):785-806; DOI:10.1215/00182168-2006-050.
  2. Joe Alex Morris, Nelson Rockefeller, A Biography, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960. p. 129-135.
  3. Cary Reich, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer, 1908-1958. New York: Doubleday, 1996. p. 278-304.
  4. Joe Alex Morris, Nelson Rockefeller, A Biography, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960. pp. 215-222.
  5. Cary Reich, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer, 1908-1958. New York: Doubleday, 1996. pp. 383-386.
  6. Joe Alex Morris, Nelson Rockefeller, A Biography, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960. p. 242.
  7. Joe Alex Morris, Nelson Rockefeller, A Biography, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960. pp. 251-255.
  8. Cary Reich, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer, 1908-1958. New York: Doubleday, 1996. pp. 521-527.
  9. Cary Reich, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer, 1908-1958. New York: Doubleday, 1996. p. 558.
  10. Cary Reich, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer, 1908-1958. New York: Doubleday, 1996. pp. 611-618.
  11. Cary Reich, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer, 1908-1958. New York: Doubleday, 1996. p. 575.
  12. Cary Reich, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer, 1908-1958. New York: Doubleday, 1996. pp. 577-583.
  13. Cary Reich, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer, 1908-1958. New York: Doubleday, 1996. p. 560.
  14. Cary Reich, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer, 1908-1958. New York: Doubleday, 1996. p. 617.
  15. Creation of the Special Studies Project in 1956 - see Cary Reich, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer, 1908-1958, New York: Doubleday, 1996. (pp. 650-667)
  16. Relationship with Kissinger - see Walter Isaacson, Kissinger: A Biography, New York: Simon & Schuster, Revised edition, 2005. (pp. 90-93),
  17. State of New York, Public Papers of Nelson A. Rockefeller, Fifty-third Governor of the State of New York, vol. 15, 1973 (Albany, NY: State of New York, 1973), p. 1380.
  18. "Theodore RooseveltAlfred E. Smith – Nelson Rockefeller – George Pataki." The New York State Preservationist. NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Fall/Winter 2006, p. 20
  19. State of New York, Public Papers of Nelson A. Rockefeller, Fifty-third Governor of the State of New York, vol. 15, 1973 (Albany, NY: State of New York, 1973), p. 1384.
  20. Graham, Frank, Jr. The Adirondack Park: A Political History. New York City: Knopf, 1978
  21. State of New York, Public Papers of Nelson A. Rockefeller, Fifty-third Governor of the State of New York, vol. 15, 1973 (Albany, NY: State of New York, 1973), p. 1381.
  22. State of New York, Public Papers of Nelson A. Rockefeller, Fifty-third Governor of the State of New York, vol. 15, 1973 (Albany, NY: State of New York, 1973), p. 1385.
  23. State of New York, Public Papers of Nelson A. Rockefeller, Fifty-third Governor of the State of New York, vol. 15, 1973 (Albany, NY: State of New York, 1973), p. 1382.
  24. State of New York, Public Papers of Nelson A. Rockefeller, Fifty-third Governor of the State of New York, vol. 15, 1973 (Albany, NY: State of New York, 1973), p. 1385.
  25. State of New York, Public Papers of Nelson A. Rockefeller, Fifty-third Governor of the State of New York, vol. 15, 1973 (Albany, NY: State of New York, 1973), pp. 1382, 1386.
  26. State of New York, Public Papers of Nelson A. Rockefeller, Fifty-third Governor of the State of New York, vol. 15, 1973 (Albany, NY: State of New York, 1973), p. 1379.
  27. Robert H. Connery and Gerald Benjamin, Rockefeller of New York; Executive Power in the Statehouse, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1979, p 242.
  28. List of pre-Furman executions in New York
  29. Regional Studies Northeast
  30. Craig Brandon, The Electric Chair: An Unnatural American History, 1999
  31. American Experience | The Rockefellers | People & Events
  32. Robert H. Connery and Gerald Benjamin, Rockefeller of New York; Executive Power in the Statehouse, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1979, pp. 266-274.
  33. Benjamin and Rappaport, “Attica and Prison Reform,” in Governing New York State: The Rockefeller Years, p. 206.
  34. "Is the Rock Still Solid?", TIME Magazine, October 19, 1970
  35. State of New York, Public Papers of Nelson A. Rockefeller, Fifty-third Governor of the State of New York, vol. 15, 1973 (Albany, NY: State of New York, 1973), pp. 1378, 1382, 1383, 1384.
  36. Robert H. Connery and Gerald Benjamin, Rockefeller of New York; Executive Power in the Statehouse, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1979, p. 424.
  37. Robert H. Connery and Gerald Benjamin, Rockefeller of New York; Executive Power in the Statehouse, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1979, p. 189.
  38. Robert H. Connery and Gerald Benjamin, Rockefeller of New York; Executive Power in the Statehouse, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1979, pp. 44-45.
  39. Robert H. Connery and Gerald Benjamin, Rockefeller of New York; Executive Power in the Statehouse, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1979, p. 439.
  40. Robert H. Connery and Gerald Benjamin, Rockefeller of New York; Executive Power in the Statehouse, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1979, p. 427.
  41. Robert H. Connery and Gerald Benjamin, Rockefeller of New York; Executive Power in the Statehouse, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1979, p. 428.
  42. Michael Kramer and Sam Roberts, “I Never Wanted to be Vice-President of Anything!”: An Investigative Biography of Nelson Rockefeller, New York: Basic Books, 1976, p. 283.
  43. Joseph E. Persico, The Imperial Rockefeller: A biography of Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982, pp. 65-66.
  44. Peter Collier, David Horovitz, The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976) ISBN 0-03-008371-0
  45. Joseph E. Persico, The Imperial Rockefeller: A biography of Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982, p. 106.
  46. Gerald R. Ford, A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford (New York, 1979), pp.143-144.
  47. Joseph E. Persico, The Imperial Rockefeller: A Biography of Nelson A. Rockefeller (New York, 1982), p. 245.
  48. [Robert T. Hartmann, Palace Politics: An Inside Account of the Ford Years (New York, 1980), pp. 230-236.
  49. Time Magazine article
  50. Paul C. Light, Vice-Presidential Power: Advice and influence in the White House (Baltimore, Press, 1984), pp. 180-183.
  51. Joseph E. Persico, The Imperial Rockefeller: A Biography of Nelson A. Rockefeller (New York, 1982), p. 262.
  52. "Petro, Joseph; Jeffrey Robinson (2005). Standing Next to History: An Agent's Life Inside the Secret Service. New York: Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 0-312-33221-1.
  53. Secret Service Codename
  54. "Excerpts From Rockefeller Conference Explaining His Withdrawal", The New York Times, November 7, 1975, p. 16
  55. "Mutual Decision: Vice President's Letter Gives No Reason for his Withdrawal", The New York Times, November 4, 1975, p. 73
  56. Remarks of Gerald R. Ford, Nelson A. Rockefeller Public Service Award Dinner, May 22, 1991.
  57. For further information on Rockefeller’s role as Vice President see
  58. Cary Reich, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer, 1908-1958, New York: Doubleday, 1996, p 110.
  59. See, for example, CBS News report of February 8, 1979, Roger Mudd reporting on conflicting stories about circumstances of Rockefeller's death.
  60. See, for example, this transcript of The Rockefellers (Part 2) a PBS American Experience documentary aired in 2000 about the Rockefeller family and these print media articles: Robert D. McFadden, "New Details Are Reported on How Rockefeller Died", The New York Times, January 29, 1979; Robert D. McFadden, "Call to Emergency for Stricken Rockefeller Did Not Identify Him", The New York Times, January 30, 1979; Robert D. McFadden, "Rockefeller's Attack Is Now Placed at 10:15, Hour Before Emergency Call", The New York Times, February 7, 1979; Robert D. McFadden, "Rockefeller Aide Did Not Make Call to Emergency", The New York Times, February 9, 1979; and "Marshack Friend Makes Statement on Rockefeller", The New York Times, February 11, 1979.
  61. For example, long-time Rockefeller aide Joe Persico said in the PBS documentary about the Rockefeller family (see this), "It became known that he had been alone with a young woman who worked for him, in undeniably intimate circumstances, and in the course of that evening had died from a heart attack." further fueled by reports that she was a named beneficiary in his will. This was widely reported at the time; see, for example, Peter Kihss, "Bulk of Rockefeller's Estate is Left to Wife; Museums Get Large Gifts", The New York Times, February 10, 1979; this piece that aired on NBC's Evening News on February 9, 1979; and this piece by Max Robinson that aired on ABC Evening News on February 9, 1979.
  62. Robert D. McFadden, "4 Rockefeller Children Say All At Hand Did Their Best", The New York Times, February 15, 1979: the statement released by Rockefeller's children concludes, "...we do not intend to make any further public comment."
  63. Francis X. Clines, "About Pocantico Hills: Advance Man Stays on the Job," The New York Times, January 30, 1979.
  64. Englehart, Steve and Perez, George, "Crisis on Other-Earth" Avengers #147 (May, 1976), Marvel Comics.

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