Obituary: Blanchette Rockefeller

Click to follow
The Independent Online
BLANCHETTE Rockefeller, the American philanthropist (12 December), was the widow of John D. Rockefeller III, writes Leonard Miall. The Rockefeller family had funded, among other charitable causes, the massive restoration of colonial Williamsburg in southeastern Virginia. This project, started in 1928, involved the preservation of all 18th-century buildings in the centre of the city and the removal of those of modern construction. The restored area, completed under the supervision of the Rockefellers, constitutes a colonial museum a mile square.

After Sir Winston Churchill made his famous 1946 'Iron Curtain' speech at Fulton, Missouri, he was due to address the House of Burgesses in Richmond, Virginia. On the way he took the opportunity of paying a visit to Williamsburg, where he was to be greeted by Mr and Mrs Rockefeller. He travelled down from Washington by train, accompanied by the Washington director of the British Information Services, Charles Campbell. As they neared Williamsburg, one of General Eisenhower's aides gave them a potted biography of John D. Rockefeller III. Churchill glanced at it and observed to Campbell, 'Strange, isn't it, the way Americans number their Rockefellers - just like our Georges]'