The Immigrants Canada Wants

Rockefeller Never Shouts

Close-up View of World's Richest Man Explains Characteristics

GEORGE D. ROGERS April 1 1922
The Immigrants Canada Wants

Rockefeller Never Shouts

Close-up View of World's Richest Man Explains Characteristics

GEORGE D. ROGERS April 1 1922

Rockefeller Never Shouts

Close-up View of World's Richest Man Explains Characteristics

GEORGE D. ROGERS

A SOMEWHAT different view of John D. Rockefeller is that which is given in the Saturday Evening Post by George D. Rogers, who joined the staff of the Standard Oil Company thirty years lago as its first stenographer, and latterly was the right-hand man and financial secretary of John D. himself.

Mr. Rogers'says that this man, who is reputed to have amassed in his lifetime the greatest number of dollars ever controlled by a single individual, is “so slow as to be exasperating” and also states positively that on only one or two'occasions has he heard Mr. Rockefeller raise his voice above a low, conversational tone.

The writer demonstrates, by an interesting example, how Mr. Rockefeller'is able to make his point just as effective by "sitting tight” and by using his ordinary conversational tone to'entrap a questioner. On one occasion Mr. Rockefeller was witness in an important law'suit in which a very large sum of'money was'involved and a principle of vital importance was at stake. Under cross-examination his manner was'quiet, his face inscrutable and expressionless, as he answered the questions put'to him by a malicious attorney, who at one juncture of the proceedings'shouted: _ “Mr. Rockefeller, I call for'the production of a letter which I wrote you on such a date.”

The letter in question was'full of inquiries relative to'Standard Oil affairs which, we are assured, the attorney had no legal right to'know. It was produced, marked as an exhibit, and then read with great gusto.

Question: “Mr. Rockefeller, you re-

ceived that letter?”

Answer: “I think I did, Judge.” Question: “Did you answer that letter?” Answer: “I think not, Judge.”

A second and a third letter of other dates were marked for exhibit with the same procedure and the same questions and answers, the latter in a soft, almost purring voice. Then followed:

Question: “You say you received all those letters, Mr. Rockefeller?”

Answer: “I think I did, Judge.” Question: “You say you did not answer any of those letters?”

Answer: “I don’t think I did, Judge.” Question: “Why didn’t you answer those letters? You knew me, didn’t you ?” Answer: “Oh, yes! I knew you!”

"The effect,” says Mr. Rogers, “was electrical as the words snapped out with smarting emphasis behind them. The attorney grew almost apoplectic with rage. The room became as still as death. Meanwhile Mr. Rockefeller had not so much as moved a muscle, and sat there as'though he did not know'what it was all about.”

Mr. Rockefeller has been represented at various times as a sort of a miser who might sit fingering over his gold or gain inexpressible joy by personally cutting his coupons. As a refutation of this, Mr. Rogers says ¡that it 'was decided at one time that the Rockefeller fortune was gaining momentum like a snow-ball and pyramiding with geometric, progression so that as a question of policy and convenience his securities were divided up and notlall kept

in one safe-deposit vault. It was also decided to make a change so that ample quarters would be provided for years to

Mr. Rogers took the matter up with the safe builders, and plans were made which finally resulted in large steel vaults built inside the regular safe-deposit vault. These inner vaults were fitted with steel shelving and small chrome-steel boxes for securities, and protected by heavy combination doors. Each vault opened out into'a clear space known as the couponroom, which was protected by heavy steel bars. This room1 was equipped with tables, stools and coupon cutters, so that from three to six men, as occasion required, could cut coupons at one time. Proud of the job, the financial secretary appealed to Rockefeller to inspect the treasure house. “It was on one of the rare occasions when he had come to the office, and we walked the few’ steps from the New Street entrance of 26 ¡Broadway to the Produce Exchange vaults. The guards recognized me and swung open the door. They did

not know that my little importance was completely overshadowed by my companion, whom they did not know. I motioned to the general manager, and as he came forward I presented Mr. Rockefeller. Mr. Rockefeller greeted him cordially, then began in his usual way to 'ask questions. How many customers have you? What is your'average rental? How many stock holders has your company? What dividends do you pay? and so on. Meanwhile w’e had advanced to the coupon-room, and I had worked the combinations on two or three of the vaults. Mr. Rockefeller stepped inside and glanced around casually at the boxes, all numbered in consecutive order. I pulled two or three open to show him how 'the bonds were kept. After a moment or two he vouchsafed speech.

“ ‘Yes, Mr. Rogers, it’s all very nice; shows a good system. I’m glad to have seen it.Let’s go.’

“In all, he was there for possibly ten minutes, and during all the years that I had charge of his securities this was the only time that he ever entered his vaults."