Compared with the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers are pikers

By Laurie Bennett

July 30, 2013 at 12:41pm

An old world dynasty joined a new world dynasty in 2012 when RIT Capital Partners, a Rothschild investment trust, bought a stake in Rockefeller Financial Services.

According to its 2012 annual report, RIT Capital has an investment in Rockefeller worth $47 million.

Mayer Amschel Rothschild
Mayer Rothschild
John D. Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller

The two families further cemented the relationship last year when Rockefeller Financial CEO Reuben Jeffery III joined the board of J. Rothschild Capital Management, an RIT subsidiary.

Relations weren’t always so congenial.

In the 19th century, the two families battled for control of the oil markets - the Rockefellers through Standard Oil and the Rothschilds through the Caspian and Black Sea Petroleum Company.

As Ron Chernow noted in “Titan,” his biography of John D. Rockefeller: “For many years, the Rothschilds, the Nobels, and Standard Oil circled around each other, trying to forge links with a second party to isolate the third.”

Chernow wrote that Alphonse de Rothschild agreed to meet Rockefeller in secret, in 1892. They reached an agreement, but it was blocked by the Russians.

As our Muckety map shows, the Rothschilds can trace back their wealth over many more generations than the Rockefellers.

It all began in the 18th century, when Mayer Amschel Rothschild began dealing in rare coins.

One of the reasons for the family’s continuing prominence is no doubt the resilience of network Mayer Rothschild established centuries ago. He positioned his five sons in five European cities, where they furthered the family banking interests.

Longevity and intermarriage reinforced the network. Quite a few Rothschild sons saw their 80th birthdays, and more than one Rothschild daughter married a cousin or an uncle.

Family members have managed not only to hold onto the fortune, but to distinguish themselves beyond the financial world.

Lionel de Rothschild served in the House of Commons. His son Nathan was the the first Jewish member of the House of Lords.

Nathan’s son Walter amassed the world’s largest zoological collection, which he gave to the British Museum.

Emma Rothschild, Lionel’s great-great-granddaughter, is a Harvard professor married to Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen.

Hannah Rothschild, Lionel’s great-great-great-granddaughter, made a film about her eccentric aunt, Nica Rothschild, a patron of jazz musicians Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker.

And David de Rothschild, great-great-great-grandson of the company founder, chairs the Rothschild Group.

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  • #1.   George Hunt 07.31.2013

    lOne important item you left out was that the Rockefellers are cousins of the Rothschild family. Their actual surname is Redchild. They are not Jewish; they are Edomites descended from Esau (Redchild). It’s time you looked at their true ancestry and not accept the “Red Shield” story.

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