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Winthrop Rockefeller, Philanthropist

John L. Ward • Foreword by Winthrop Paul Rockefeller

Published Date: April 30, 2004

Available in



A Life of Change
245 Pages
29 Black and White Photographs
6" x 9"

About this book

As grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller Sr. and son of philanthropist John D. Jr., Winthrop Rockefeller was born into one of the most affluent and influential families in the world. But he was a nonconformist and often felt isolated from the rest of his family. Still, he amazed many when he left the New York elite for a farm in rural Arkansas, where he would ultimately serve two terms as governor and create a philanthropic legacy all his own.


In Winthrop Rockefeller, Philanthropist, John L. Ward draws from his years as Rockefeller’s speech writer and campaign advisor to create a remarkably readable and comprehensive narrative. Ward provides valuable insights into Rockefeller’s complicated relationships with his father and brothers and convincingly argues that Rockefeller’s extraordinarily innovative approach to philanthropy changed the way Arkansas was viewed by its citizens and by the rest of the world. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in twentieth-century philanthropy.

About the author

John L. Ward was a longtime speechwriter, advisor, and campaign official for Winthrop Rockefeller and for many years the editor of the Log Cabin Democrat. He was supported in his work by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. John Ward is currently chairman of the Winthrop Rockefeller Distinguished Lecture Series at the University of Arkansas.


“Winthrop Rockefeller was a man for the times. As governor, he bravely championed civil rights—which was almost political suicide—and ultimately changed social thought in Arkansas. His breaking of new ground in so many areas made my task as his successor much easier. His courage and integrity set a higher political tone that has continued to date and from which all Arkansans have benefited.”

—Dale Bumpers, former governor and U.S. senator from Arkansas, and author of The Best Lawyer in a One-Lawyer Town


“John Ward has examined an aspect of Winthrop Rockefeller’s life that only family and close friends have seen. We all know that he was rich and that he was generous. Just how generous is a stunning rev-elation. Ward has given us still another reason to appreciate this extraordinary man.”

—Roy Reed, former New York Times reporter and author of Faubus: The Life and Times of an American Prodigal

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