Dear Father, Dear Son: Correspondence of John D. Rockefeller and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. – Edited

The Rabbit Hole is written by Blas Moros. To support, sign up for the newsletter, become a patron, and/or join The Latticework. Original Design by Thilo Konzok.


  1. Some personal and professional letters between father and son 

Key Takeaways

  1. Every right implies responsibility, every opportunity an obligation, every possession a duty
  2. “We receive our pay from you as we go, ten fold. Confidence is a plant of slow growth, but in your case it was a sturdy plant long years ago. We are grateful beyond measure that we can trust, and do trust you in every place without reserve,” – Sr. to Jr. 
  3. “When I try, although ever so weakly, to express my appreciation of all these things to you, I mean to include Mother as well, for are not you and Mother one? So you see, as I reflect upon my blessings on this birthday, I find, as I constantly do when I take inventory, that my cup is always more than running over and my heart goes up in a prayer of thanksgiving to the Heavenly Father for His great and wonderful goodness to me.” – Jr. to Sr. 
  4. “Remember that you have much work to do in the world and it cannot all be done in a day. Be patient and be moderate. Allow other people to bear some of their share of the burdens of life, and in the end you will accomplish more, live longer and be happier.” – Sr. to Jr.
  5. “I feel very strongly that one of the best ways in which to avoid uprisings and disturbances in this country during the next few months is to see to it that the men returning from the War are re-employed, preferably in the positions which they left, as rapidly as possible.” – sr.
  6. I need not repeat what I have so often said, that the question of health and strength and vigor has so much to do with an active, useful, religious life, that everything else must bend to securing and maintaining it. The slow eating, the discrimination in diet, the sleep, and the independent rejection of many of the numerous social demands are of supreme importance. I attribute my good condition to my almost reckless independence in determining for myself what to do and the rigid adhering to regulations which give me the maximum of rest and quiet and leisure, and I am being richly paid for it every day, and believe I have accomplished more for the benefit of others than could have been done otherwise.”
    1. Junior made some bad bets (losing hundreds of thousands of dollars early in his career to the Wolf of Wall St.)
    2. Junior shared his yearly expenditures with his father for a very long time, down to the dollar!
    3. Senior transferred over $450m to his son
    4. Senior preferred cash to a Rolls Royce so that he could donate it to others
    5. Junior helped make reality the dreams of his father through philanthropy and other ventures

What I got out of it

  1. The letters were warm and affection. It was clear they were close and that junior wanted to do the most good he could while being of service to his father