Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge

Ethel Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge (April 3, 1882 – August 13, 1973) was the youngest child of William Avery Rockefeller Jr. and Almira Geraldine (Goodsell) Rockefeller. Giralda Farms was the name given to the New Jersey country estate where the family lived. She was a great patron of the arts and parts of her collection became the object of a lawsuit following her death.

Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge
Portrait of Geraldine Rockefeller in 1906 by Friedrich von Kaulbach - Dodge Room in the Morris Museum
Ethel Geraldine Rockefeller

(1882-04-03)April 3, 1882
DiedAugust 13, 1973(1973-08-13) (aged 91)
SpouseMarcellus Hartley Dodge Sr.
ChildrenMarcellus Hartley Dodge Jr.
Parent(s)William Avery Rockefeller Jr.
Almira Geraldine Goodsell

Life edit

Rockefeller was born in New York City, New York on April 3, 1882, to Almira Geraldine Goodsell and William Rockefeller[1] She grew up at Rockwood Hall, her father's estate in Mount Pleasant, New York.[2]

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.[3]

Hartley Dodge Memorial Building
Madison Train Station

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 opposite a property his family owned and extending to another of his that faced south and fronted on Spring Valley Road in New Vernon, where he preferred to reside. 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,[4] and was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Dogs and Philanthropy 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.[5]

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.

She was a significant sponsor for American sculptor Cyrus Dallin who visited Hartley Farms several times with his wife. When Mrs. Dodge's significant art collection was posthumously auctioned, it included 20 bronze Dallin sculptures including Passing of the Buffalo or The Last Arrow. In 1975 this sculpture sold for $150,000 a record for a piece of American Sculpture at the time.[6]

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.[7]

Unfortunately, the historic residence of Geraldine R. Dodge was demolished by the insurance company that bought the estate following her death. The grand home was built in the style of Giralda in Seville. She also purchased the adjoining 80-acre estate of Charles W. Harkness, the third largest holder of stock in Standard Oil while she and her husband were assembling properties that adjoined.

Great Swamp edit

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.[8] 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.[9][10] The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was dedicated in 1968 and named the M. Hartley Dodge Wildlife Refuge.[11]

References edit

  1. ^ "Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge obituary". The Miami News. August 14, 1973. Archived from the original on April 10, 2020. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
  2. ^ "Did You Know That --" (PDF). The Daily News. No. 265, 54th year. Tarrytown, NY. March 13, 1962. p. 1. ISSN 1060-457X. OCLC 889945207. Retrieved February 12, 2023.
  3. ^ "Miss Rockefeller Wedded To Mr. Dodge. Ceremony at William Rockefeller's Home, with Only Near Ralatives Present". New York Times. April 19, 1907. Retrieved December 31, 2010. 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.
  4. ^ "Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, Founder of Kennel Club, Dead". New York Times. August 14, 1973. Retrieved November 17, 2010. 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.
  5. ^ Haggerty, Arthur J. (April 21, 2004). "Morris & Essex Redux". Archived from the original on July 23, 2008. Retrieved February 12, 2023.
  6. ^ Francis, Rell G. (1976). Cyrus E. Dallin: Let Justice Be Done. Springville, Utah: Springville Museum of Art. pp. 29, 179–80. OCLC 756835891.
  7. ^ "History and Mission". Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Archived from the original on February 10, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2016. 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.
  8. ^ "Letter from Marcellus Hartley Dodge to Nicholas Murray Butler". Archived from the original on September 7, 2006. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  9. ^ "Letter from Marcellus Hartley Dodge to Nicholas Murray Butler". Archived from the original (PDF) on September 7, 2006. Retrieved May 26, 2008.
  10. ^ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (May 25, 1964). "Great Swamp in New Jersey, Donated to Government as Wildlife Area, to be Dedicated" (PDF) (Press release). Washington, DC. U.S. Department of the Interior. P.N. 46917-64. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 11, 2012.
  11. ^ "Home".

External links edit