Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge

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Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge
Geraldine Rockefeller - 1906 by Friedrich von Kaulbach - before her marriage to M. H, Dodge - now in Morris Museum collection in Morristown N.J..JPG
Portrait of Geraldine Rockefeller in 1906 by Friedrich von Kaulbach - Dodge Room in the Morris Museum
Born Ethel Geraldine Rockefeller
(1882-04-03)April 3, 1882
New York City, New York
Died August 13, 1973(1973-08-13) (aged 91)
Madison, New Jersey
Occupation Philanthropist
Spouse(s) Marcellus Hartley Dodge, Sr.
Children Marcellus Hartley Dodge, Jr.
Parents Almira Geraldine Goodsell
William Avery Rockefeller, Jr.

Ethel Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge (April 3, 1882 – August 13, 1973) was the youngest child of Almira Geraldine Goodsell and William Avery Rockefeller, Jr., the Standard Oil tycoon. Giralda Farms was the name given to her New Jersey country estate, stables, and kennels. Her residence was a revival of Medieval Spanish Gothic architecture style with appointments resembling Giralda. The vast estate was known internationally for horse and dog shows. Saint Hubert's at Giralda, founded on her estate, became her refuge for injured and lost animals. Among other patronages, Saint Hubert was the patron saint of hunters and dogs. She also was a great patron of the arts and parts of her collection became the object of a lawsuit following her death.

Life[edit]

She was born Ethel Geraldine Rockefeller, in New York City, New York on April 3, 1882 to Almira Geraldine Goodsell and William Avery Rockefeller, Jr.[1]

She married Marcellus Hartley Dodge, Sr., president of The Remington Arms Company and, she brought into the marriage an estimated personal fortune of $101 million. They were married on April 18, 1907 in Manhattan, where both resided, in a small ceremony at the residence of the bride's family, following the contemporary customs dictated by a mourning period after the death of the groom's father in February.[2] The couple had only one child, Marcellus Hartley Dodge, Jr., whom they called "Hartley". He was killed in an automobile accident on August 29, 1930 in Mogesca, France. In his memory, his mother purchased a large parcel of land for twenty thousand dollars and gave Madison, New Jersey the property and the Hartley Dodge Memorial Building which was dedicated on Memorial Day, Thursday, May 30, 1935 and used as the borough hall. The New York Times published that the building cost $800,000. Mrs. Dodge also donated the train station. These structures became the core of the Madison Civic Commercial District, which is listed on the State Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places. They made many other significant donations in his name. During the early part of their marriage they resided together at Hartley Farms. Eventually, while in New Jersey, they resided on separate, but abutting, country estates: Giralda Farms and Hartley Farms hers fronting the main route from Madison to Morristown and extending to his that faced south and fronted on Spring Valley Road in New Vernon. A long private path extended for miles from one house to the other with gates at either side of Woodland Road, which defined the southern boundary of her property.

She died in 1973,[3] and was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Dogs[edit]

Geraldine R. Dodge judged at major dog shows in every American state as well as the premier shows in Germany, Canada, Ireland, and England. She was the first woman invited to judge for the Westminster Kennel Club, where she was invited to judge the Best in Show. [1]

She was the author of two books, The English Cocker Spaniel in America, and The German Shepherd Dog in America, the latter of which was a collaboration with her curator of art, Josephine Z. Rine.

She was recognized as a philanthropist, a benefactor to communities, the arts, nonprofit and natural resource efforts, as an author, a judge of dogs, a breeder of dogs, the founder of the Morris and Essex Dog Club and its internationally recognized annual exhibition in May that was considered the most prestigious dog show held in the United States of America for decades, and the founder of a refuge for injured and lost animals.

Legacy[edit]

At her death she left $85 million to establish the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, which continues her work, including the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.[4]

Unfortunately, the historic residence of Geraldine R. Dodge was demolished by the insurance company that bought the estate following her death. The grande home was built in the style of Giralda in Seville. She had purchased it in 1923 from Charles W. Harkness, the third largest holder of stock in Standard Oil while she and her husband were assembling properties that adjoined. Mr. Dodge's property extended to the edge of the Great Swamp that is a remnant from the Glacial Lake Passaic. His property has been preserved through a conservation easement and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

They were instrumental in helping those in the Jersey Jetport Site Association, which began the campaign to save that vast swamp from development as an airport, by providing funds for the initial purchases of core properties in 1959. [2] Acquisition of a significant area of land was required for it to qualify as a large enough gift to the federal government that could be set aside, forever, as a federal park.

Her husband was one of the first trustees of the North American Wildlife Foundation that completed the acquisition. Legislation championed by then congressman Stewart L. Udall was passed on November 3, 1960 protecting the important natural resource. In 1964 the park was dedicated by Udall, who had become Secretary of the Interior to president John F. Kennedy and continued under Lyndon B. Johnson. [3] The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was dedicated in 1968 and named the M. Hartley Dodge Wildlife Refuge. [4]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge". The Miami News. August 14, 1973. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  2. ^ "Miss Rockefeller Wedded To Mr. Dodge. Ceremony at William Rockefeller's Home, with Only Near Ralatives Present". New York Times. April 19, 1907. Retrieved 2010-12-31. Marcellus Hartley Dodge, son of the late Norman Dodge, and grandson of Marcellus Hartley, was married to Miss Ethel Geraldine Rockefeller at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon at the home of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Rockefeller, 685 Fifth Avenue. The Rev. Dr. Ernest M. Stires, rector of St. Thomas's Church, officiated. 
  3. ^ "Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, Founder of Kennel Club, Dead". New York Times. August 14, 1973. Retrieved 2010-11-17. Mrs. Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, last surviving child of the financier William Rockefeller and the widow of Marcellus Hartley Dodge, chairman of the Renmington Arms Company, died today at her home, Giralda Farms. She was 91 years old. 
  4. ^ "History and Mission". Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Retrieved 2010-12-31. Through the foresight and generosity of Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge (daughter of William and Almira Rockefeller), the foundation bearing her name was created in 1974. Her will provided for the Trustees to set the policies and direction of the Foundation’s work.