- Happy Rockefeller
Happy Rockefeller Margaretta "Happy" Rockefeller in 1973 Second Lady of the United States In office
December 19, 1974 – January 20, 1977
Preceded by Betty Ford Succeeded by Joan Mondale Personal details Born June 9, 1926 Spouse(s) Dr. James Slater Murphy (m. 1945-1963)
Nelson Rockefeller (m. 1963-1979)
Children James B. Murphy 2nd
Margretta Harrison Murphy
Carol Slater Murphy
Malinda Fitler Murphy
Nelson Rockefeller, Jr.
Margaretta Large Fitler Murphy Rockefeller (born June 9, 1926), known as Happy Rockefeller, is the widow of Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (1908–1979), who was the 41st Vice President of the United States of America and a Governor of New York. She was the Second Lady of the United States from 1974–1977.
Childhood and family
A daughter of Margaretta Large Harrison and her first husband, William Wonderly Fitler, Jr., an heir to a cordage fortune, Rockefeller is known by her nickname, "Happy", given to her for her childhood disposition. She is a great-great-granddaughter of Union general George Gordon Meade, the commander at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Her first husband, from December 11, 1945 until their divorce on April 1, 1963, was Dr. James Slater Murphy, a virologist associated with Rockefeller Institute who was a close friend of Nelson Rockefeller. They had four children: James B. Murphy 2nd, Margaretta Harrison Murphy, Carol Slater Murphy, and Malinda Fitler Murphy (1960-2005), who married Francis Menotti, the adopted son of composer Gian Carlo Menotti.
At the home of Laurance S. Rockefeller in Pocantico Hills, New York, on May 4, 1963, a month after her divorce—which was granted for reasons of what The New York Times called "grievous mental anguish" and her former husband's lawyer called "irreconcilable differences"—she married Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. She previously had worked as a member of his office staff until her resignation in 1961. He had divorced his first wife, Mary Todhunter Clark, on March 16, 1962. Happy and Nelson Rockefeller had two sons: Nelson Rockefeller, Jr. (born 1964) and Mark Rockefeller (born 1967).
Happy Murphy's involvement with Gov. Rockefeller was controversial at the time. As the British journalist Lady Jeanne Campbell wrote in the London Evening Standard, when the Murphy-Rockefeller involvement became a subject of media scrutiny after the announcement of Rockefeller's filing for divorce from his first wife and Happy Murphy's resignation from his staff, "Already people are comparing Happy Murphy to the Duchess of Windsor when she was plain Mrs. Simpson." More damaging still was the political fallout. Echoing the party-wide concerns, an official of the Michigan Republican Party told The New York Times that the couple's potential marriage likely would cost Rockefeller the 1964 presidential nomination. "The rapidity of it all—he gets a divorce, she gets a divorce—and the indication of the break-up of two homes. Our country doesn't like broken homes."
Philanthropy and political life
Happy Rockefeller served as the chairman of the board for the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in 1971. She was appointed as a public delegate to the United Nations by President George H. W. Bush in 1991.
- ^ Nan C. Robertson, "Nickname 'Happy' Well-Fitted to Cheerful Mrs. Rockefeller", The New York Times, 5 May 1963, p. 72
- ^ "Many in G.O.P. Say Marriage Will Hurt Rockefeller in 1964", The New York Times, 3 May 1963, p. 17.
- ^ "Breast Cancer: Fears and Facts", Time magazine, 4 November 1974
Honorary titles Preceded by
Vacant, eventually Mary Rockefeller
First Lady of New York
Second Lady of the United States
Second Ladies of the United StatesAbigail Adams · Ann Gerry · Hannah Minthorne Tompkins · Floride Calhoun · Letitia Christian Tyler · Sophia Dallas · Abigail Fillmore · Mary Cyrene Burch Breckinridge · Ellen Vesta Emery Hamlin · Eliza Johnson · Ellen Maria Colfax · Eliza Hendricks · Anna Morton · Letitia Stevenson · Jennie Tuttle Hobart · Edith Roosevelt · Cornelia Cole Fairbanks · Carrie Babcock Sherman · Lois Irene Marshall · Grace Coolidge · Caro Dawes · Mariette Rheiner Garner · Ilo Wallace · Bess Truman · Jane Hadley Barkley · Pat Nixon · Lady Bird Johnson · Muriel Humphrey · Judy Agnew · Betty Ford · Happy Rockefeller · Joan Mondale · Barbara Bush · Marilyn Quayle · Tipper Gore · Lynne Cheney · Jill Biden Rockefeller family AncestorsJohann Peter Rockefeller (1682–1763) (Arrived in America ca.1723) • (Grandson) William Rockefeller • Godfrey Rockefeller (1745–1818) • Godfrey Lewis Rockefeller (1784–1857) • William Avery Rockefeller William Avery Rockefeller (1810–1906) John Davison Rockefeller (1839–1937)
William Rockefeller (1841–1922)Elizabeth "Bessie" Rockefeller Strong • Alice Rockefeller • Alta Rockefeller Prentice • Edith Rockefeller McCormick (m.) Harold Fowler McCormick • John Davison Rockefeller, Jr. (m.) Abigail "Abby" Greene Aldrich
Lewis Edward Rockefeller • Emma Rockefeller McAlpin • William Goodsell Rockefeller • John Davison Rockefeller • Percy Avery Rockefeller • Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge
Elizabeth Rockefeller Strong (1866–1906)
Alta Rockefeller Prentice (1871–1962)
John Davison Rockefeller, Jr. (1874–1960)
William Goodsell Rockefeller (1870–1922)
Percy Avery Rockefeller (1878–1934)
Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge (1882–1973)Margaret Strong
John Rockefeller Prentice
Abby Rockefeller Mauzé • John D. Rockefeller III (m.) Blanchette Ferry Hooker • Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (m.1st.) Mary Todhunter Clark (m.2nd.) Margaretta Fitler Murphy • Laurance Spelman Rockefeller • Winthrop Rockefeller • David Rockefeller
Godfrey Stillman Rockefeller • James Stillman Rockefeller • John Sterling Rockefeller
Isabel Rockefeller Lincoln (m.) Frederic Walker Lincoln, Jr. • Avery Rockefeller • Winifred Rockefeller Emeny • Faith Rockefeller Model
Marcellus Hartley Dodge, Jr.
John Rockefeller Prentice (1902–1972)
John D. Rockefeller III (1906–1978)
Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (1908–1979)
Laurance Spelman Rockefeller (1910–2004)
Winthrop Rockefeller (1912–1973)
David Rockefeller (1915)
Faith Rockefeller Model (1909–1960)Abra Prentice Wilkin
John Davison ("Jay") Rockefeller IV • Hope Aldrich Rockefeller • Alida Rockefeller Messinger
Rodman Rockefeller • Steven Clark Rockefeller • Michael Rockefeller • Mark Fitler Rockefeller
Laura Spelman Rockefeller Chasin • Marion French Rockefeller
Winthrop Paul Rockefeller
David Rockefeller, Jr. • Abby Rockefeller • Neva Rockefeller Goodwin • Peggy Dulany • Eileen Rockefeller Growald
Jay Rockefeller (1937)
Rodman Rockefeller (1932–2000)
Steven Clark Rockefeller (1936)
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