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The Rockefellers

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Primary Sources: Rockefeller Overkill

The country's fascination with John D. Rockefeller Sr. reached a peak in the early 1900s. On top of the public's love-hate relationship with the richest man in the country, the antitrust political climate and the recent exposés of Standard Oil spawned constant Rockefeller headlines.

For some, it was too much. The letter below, from a disgruntled (and rather sarcastic) New York Times reader, could have been written much more recently about the media frenzy surrounding another well-known billionaire…

To the Editor

October 7, 1905

As a regular reader of The New York Times, I have noticed with increasing pleasure the strict impartiality with which you give publicity to both kicks and praise. I am therefore emboldened to address you on a little matter which comes within one of those descriptions. I hardly know which. Why not a Rockefeller page in The New York Times? A Rockefeller Section, or a Rockefeller Department -- anything save a Rockefeller Column, which would be altogether too insignificant for a subject, which The Times evidently regards as so urgently important. The taste for reading of Rockefeller daily constantly increases, and your daily doles seem to grow woefully insufficient. The fever for it is upon us —- give us more Rockefeller, and let us intoxicate ourselves with the quantity you will furnish. Give us a page of him every day.

Arthur A. Penn, NY

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