HOME  >  Browse  >  Autographs  >  Autographs & Manuscripts  >  John D. Rockefeller

signed by a titan of industry

(Rockefeller.) G. M. Edmondson. John D. Rockefeller

Cleveland: Edmondson, 1911

Gelatin silver print (6 ¾ x 4 ½ in.), original photographer’s embossed mount. Signed and dated 1911 by the photographer. Fine. Archivally framed.

Signed by John D. Rockefeller, the greatest titan of American business and industry. He sat for this portrait in 1911 when he seventy-two. George Mountain Edmondson was Cleveland’s leading portrait photographer of that time.

Rockefeller was the wealthiest man in history and the first great modern philanthropist. As a percentage of the United States economy, no other American fortune has ever come close to that of Rockefeller. Apart from the immense fortune his amassed (perhaps $1 billion at the turn of the century) and the national economy he helped fuel with Standard Oil and its descendants, Rockefeller established the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and the Rockefeller Foundation, which for almost a century have been leaders in their fields.

He built his first oil refinery in 1863, and established Standard Oil in 1870, revolutionizing the nascent petroleum industry. “The rise of the Standard Oil men to great wealth was not from poverty. It was not meteor-like, but accomplished over a quarter of a century by courageous venturing in a field so risky that most large capitalists avoided it, by arduous labors, and by more sagacious and farsighted planning than had been applied to any other American industry” (Allan Nevins).