Alta Rockefeller Prentice


Alta Rockefeller Prentice

Alta Rockefeller Prentice (April 12, 1871–1962) was the third daughter of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller (1839–1937) and his wife Laura Celestia "Cettie" Spelman (1839–1915). Alta married Colonel Ezra Parmalee Prentice (July 29, 1863–1955), a prominent Chicago attorney, son of Sartell Prentice and wife Jemima Parmalee, in 1901. Alta and Ezra had three children: John Rockefeller Prentice (1902–1972), Mary Adeline Prentice Gilbert (born 1908), and Spelman Prentice (1911-2000).

She founded Alta House (c. 1900), a settlement house in Cleveland's Little Italy, which is named in her honor. [http://archive.rockefeller.edu/bio/laura.php?printer=1] [http://www.clevelandmemory.org/italians/partiii.html]

In 1910, Alta and Ezra bought 1,400 acres (5.7 km²) of land near Williamstown, Massachusetts. Elm Tree House, the Prentices' 72-room summer home on Mount Hope Farm, was completed in 1928. In the 1930s and 1940s, several geneticists were employed by Ezra to develop more profitable farm animals, particularly cattle and poultry. At that time, Mount Hope Farm was one of the most outstanding experimental farms in the United States.

Alta died in 1962 and her property was willed to New York's Lenox Hill Hospital. Shortly thereafter, Elm Tree House was purchased by its current owner, Williams College.

Extended links

* [http://www.williams.edu/go/elmtreehouse/history.htm The Elm Tree House at Mount Hope Farm]
* [http://archive.rockefeller.edu/bio/laura.php Her mother's biography] at the Rockefeller Archives


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