Rockefeller Family Archives


Size: 6 cu. ft.

Contents: These papers document the private life and personal activities, largely philanthropic, of Abby Rockefeller Mauzé (1903-76). The Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Papers consist of material in two record groups of the Rockefeller Family Archives: one series (2 cu. ft.) of material in Record Group 2, Office of the Messrs Rockefeller, and a group of files (4 cu. ft.) in the alphabetically arranged Record Group 3, Rockefeller Family and Associates.

Arrangement: A scope and content note describing both groups of material follows the biography of Mrs. Mauzé.

Biography: Abby Rockefeller Mauzé was born Abby Rockefeller in New York City on November 9, 1903, the first child and only daughter of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874-1960) and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (1874-1948). She soon became known as "Babs" to family and friends to differentiate her from her mother. She attended Brearley School and Miss Chapin's School, both located in New York City. Along with her five brothers -- John Davison Rockefeller 3rd (born 1906), Nelson Aldrich (1908), Laurance Spelman (1910), Winthrop (1912), and David (1915) - "Babs" helped to continue the Rockefeller family's philanthropic tradition established by her father and grandfather. In contrast to her brothers, who became public figures, she conducted her philanthropic activities quietly. She was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; an advisory member of the Board of Trustees of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (a chief benefactor of the Center along with her brother, Laurance, she received its Medal of Appreciation in 1965); and an honorary trustee of the Rockefeller Family Fund. She also was a benefactor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the YWCA, New York Hospital, the Museum of Modern of Art (of which her mother was a founder, and in whose affairs her brother Nelson played a major role), the New York Zoological Society (which was a major interest of her brother Laurance), and the Asia Society (in whose affairs John D. Rockefeller 3rd also played a major role). In 1968 Mrs. Mauzé created the Greenacre Foundation, of which she was president, in order to maintain and operate one or more parks in New York State for the benefit of the public. In 1971, she established Greenacre Park, a small vest-pocket park and waterfall on 51st Street in Manhattan, in order to provide New Yorkers "some moments of serenity in this busy world." Laurance Rockefeller, a trustee of the Foundation, also played a major role in the creation of the park. "Babs" Rockefeller was married three times. On May 14, 1925, she married David M. Milton, a lawyer and investment banker. The Miltons had two children: Abby (who became Mrs. George Dorr O'Neill) and Marilyn (who became Mrs. William Kelly Simpson). The Miltons were divorced in 1943. "Babs" was married in 1946 to Dr. Irving H. Pardee, a neurologist, who died in 1949. On April 23, 1953 she married Jean Mauzé, senior vice president of United States Trust Company. He died in 1974. Mrs. Mauzé died May 27, 1976 at her New York City apartment on Beekman Place.

Scope and Content

The Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Papers consist of material in two record groups of the Rockefeller Family Archives: one series (2 cu. ft.) of material in Record Group 2, Office of the Messrs Rockefeller, and a group of files (4 cu. ft.) in the alphabetically arranged Record Group 3, Rockefeller Family and Associates. Both groups of material are described below. A preponderance of the material in Record Group 2, Office of the Messrs Rockefeller, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Papers, dates from before 1960. This material is organized in five series:

Series I, Family
Series II, Finances
Series III, Real Estate
Series IV, Subject Files
Series V, Closed material

Series I, Family, contains documents on Abby Mauzé's husbands, David M. Milton, Dr. Irving H. Pardee, and Jean Mauzé, and is arranged alphabetically. Most of the material documents the life of David Milton (11 folders), including correspondence he had with John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1926-57) on subjects ranging from travels to Christmas and birthday wishes. Of the eleven folders on David Milton, two are devoted to the Equity Corporation, of which David Milton was president (mostly newspaper clippings and general correspondence). Two other folders contain materials on the Miltons' wedding (1925), including correspondence on wedding preparations, the invitation lists, and congratulatory letters.

Series II, Finances, includes two folders (bulk dates 1934-41): "General" and "Correspondence" on some of Abby Mauzé's personal investments. The "Contributions" folder (1936-61) from Series II is the only folder in the collection that contains material on Mrs. Mauzé's philanthropic activities. The material represented includes correspondence, memos, and lists (1941, 1959) on cash and stock contributions to East Woods School, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York Hospital, YWCA, Population Council, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, American Red Cross, Henry Street Settlement, and the purchase of copies of Raymond B. Fosdick's biography of her father to be given to libraries and newspapers. The folder also contains correspondence on donations to political organizations in support of the Republican Party (1936-40).

Series III, Real Estate, is an alphabetically arranged series of folders on the four properties that Abby Mauzé owned: a Bermuda property, Mill Neck House, property on the Pocantico Estate, and Roman Corporation - One Beekman Place. Of the thirteen folders in this series, seven are devoted to Pocantico Hills, two of which are closed. Most of the material concerning Pocantico includes property deeds, maps of the property, property assessments, and the payment of bills on work and inspections on the house.

Series IV, Subject Files, includes three folders of general correspondence (1905-69). The bulk of the material in these folders consists of personal correspondence between Abby Rockefeller and her father (1914-47) and outgoing correspondence from Robert W. Gumbel, Office Manager, who handled administrative affairs. Other materials represented in the general correspondence folders include telegrams from her parents and her brothers; a music notebook (only one page is filled); and five letters of appeal from people Mrs. Mauzé did not know. The Subject Files also document birthday and Christmas gifts from her grandfather and father (1924-56); press and biographical material that includes partial transcripts of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller's letters to her sister, Lucy T. Aldrich, about "Babs" (1919-32); newspaper clippings and press releases on Abby Rockefeller as a debutante (1922) and on her subsequent marriages; and ticket, visa, and customs matters for domestic or overseas trips (1938, 1940-43).

Additional archival material (4 cubic feet) documenting the life and philanthropic activities (1966-1976) of Abby Mauzé may be found in Rockefeller Family Archives, Record Group 3, Rockefeller Family and Associates. Material in this record group is arranged alphabetically by subject. Topics documented include her contributions in the population field; and clippings and condolences on her death. The bulk of the material in the Mauzé files in record Group 3, however, is on the Greenacre Foundation (1966-1976), of which Abby Mauzé was founder and president, and Greenacre Park (1966-1976), which she established in 1971. The foundation was created in order to maintain and operate one or more parks in New York State for the public, one of which was Greenacre Park Materials on Greenacre Foundation include copies and correspondence on the certificate of incorporation and by-laws; Ahby Mauzé's personal contributions to the Foundation; operating budget and expenses; financial statements on assets, fund, and contributions received; memoranda; minutes of meetings; and requests for funds by various organizations. Materials on Greenacre Park include correspondence on the search for suitable property for a park; three folders of letters of appreciation from visitors to the park (1969-77); awards given for the park's design and civic betterment from various groups, including the Parks Council of New York City and New York Society of Architects (1972-75); magazine and book articles (1972-75); visitor brochures; four folders of correspondence on the concession stand; six folders on the park's construction; material on the park's opening on October 14, 1971, including press releases and copies of remarks by Abby Mauzé and Laurance Rockefeller; and photographs of the park during and after construction.

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