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Abby Aldrich Rockefeller: The Woman in the Family Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (October 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812970446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812970449
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,530,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Nelson's beloved mother (1874-1948) was just as fascinating as he, though considerably less driven. Abby Aldrich's relaxed, worldly attitude differed markedly from the rigid Baptist views of the Rockefellers. Yet she handled her in-laws with aplomb, and her shy, reserved husband, John D. Jr., adored her. While keeping him happy, she pursued her own interests as a pioneering champion of both modern and folk art, helping to found the Museum of Modern Art in 1929. Kert's elegant, perceptive biography does full justice to a warm-hearted, lovable woman. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The author of Hemingway's Women , which offered new insights into the sources of that famously macho writer's creativity, once again illuminates the impact of a powerful female on American culture and society. Daughter of influential U.S. Senator Nelson Aldrich and wife of industrialist John D. Rockefeller Jr., Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (1874-1948) tactfully managed to fulfill her own interests and abilities while also satisfying the demands of a difficult husband who adored her and resented anything (including their children) that diverted her attention from him. A pioneering art collector, she was the driving force behind the founding of Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art and encouraged a new appreciation of American folk art through her gifts to Colonial Williamsburg, the 18th-century Virginia town restored with her husband's money. She also nudged the notoriously conservative Rockefeller family towards broader-based philanthropy and raised her six children--Babs, John 3rd, Nelson, Laurance, Winthrop and David--with a commitment to public service that the siblings still honor. In this elegantly written, carefully researched and psychologically astute biography, Abby Rockefeller emerges as a loveable and intelligent woman who wielded her great privilege to a variety of socially beneficial ends. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Nora Dupree on November 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
An unplanned visit to Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate in Westchester County New York led me to this book. The tour guide expressed his admiration for Abby Aldrich Rockefeller as he led us through her famous home. He recommended this biography, and from the moment I picked it up, I was delighted! As we toured the house, we viewed the wonderful collection of modern art and heard the stories of how Mrs. Rockefeller founded the Museum of Modern Art, overcoming the objections of her famous and powerful husband, John D. Rockefeller Jr. This book is a history of a powerful woman's life, and a history of the life of a famous museum. A beautiful woman, a devoted wife and mother,an inspired art collector and devoted patron of modern art; the story of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller holds you in its grip from the opening paragraph. One of the best biographies I have ever read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Howard Schulman on March 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I greatly enjoyed Bernice Kert's biography of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. Admittedly, one of my interests in her life stems in part because she came from Providence, RI where I live and Warwick, RI, where I sailed past her fathers country home ("the Aldrich Mansion") many times. Additionally, her city home in Providence is the current home of the Rhode Island Historical Society, where I've attended many a lecture. Throughout her lifetime, she also maintained a fondness for Providence, where her sister and best friend Lucy continued to live.

Furthermore, I had become interested in the Guilded Age and had just read Ron Chernow's book on JDR, Sr as well as David Rockefeller's memoires. Abby married JDR, Sr's son Junior and had 5 famous sons, David, Nelson, Laurance, Winthrop, and John 3rd, and a daughter, Babs.

And again, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller was the driving force behind Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art, where I always visit when I'm in town. About a quarter to a third of the book concerns the founding of the MoMA, which Abby pulled off despite her husbands distaste for modern art and his resentment that her work at the MoMA was taking her time away from him. Lastly, having read about JDR, Sr and about the 5 Rockefeller Brothers and catching side comments about what an extraordinary woman Abby was, I just had to read about her.

I don't think there is much else focused on her besides this book. To be sure, this book is very well written and researched. It was a pleasure to read, though having just read Ron Chernow's book on JDR, Sr put her life in much better perspective. Much of the story comes from a plethora of saved letters between Abby and her family members, as well as interviews with descendants.

Enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. J. on June 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gave me an insight into the life of an exceptional woman about whom I had known nothing other than her name on a museum in Williamsburg. It also gave me a view of J. D. Rockefeller, Jr. and his family life previously unknown to me. I developed a great deal more respect for him than I had had. Kert does a skilled job at making biography seem as interesting as plot driven fiction.
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By artsy on November 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
She, like so many women today, held the family together. She was also able to meet her goals without too many problems. We should have alot of respect for her as well as her many accomplishments to make the world a better place!
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