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March 5, 2004

Abby and George O'Neill pledge $1.5 million gift to endow CW's John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library Leadership

Abby and George O’Neill, former trustees of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, have committed $1.5 million to endow the position of director of the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, the foundation’s research library named for Colonial Williamsburg’s original benefactor, Mrs. O’Neill’s grandfather. In honor of the O’Neill’s continued support, the position is named the Abby and George O’Neill Director of the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library.

The O’Neills were instrumental in the establishment of the Rockefeller Library and its centralized collection of information and resources concerning British America, the American Revolution and the early United States. The O’Neills helped fund the library’s construction and endowment with a $2 million gift in the 1990s. In addition, Mrs. O’Neill, as a trustee, helped guide the acquisition of land for the Bruton Heights School Education Center, which includes the Rockefeller Library and the Wallace Collections and Conservation Building, while serving as chair of the board’s architecture and design review committee.

“We are delighted to make this second gift to the Rockefeller Library,” said Mrs. O’Neill. “It is central to Colonial Williamsburg’s commitment to education and research.” Noting the library’s important collections that extend beyond the 18th century, Mrs. O’Neill said, “My grandfather wanted to base Colonial Williamsburg’s restoration on meticulous scholarship. The library has wonderful drawings and photographs, field notes, and research notes related to the Restoration.”

“We are deeply grateful to the O’Neills for their generosity,” said Colin Campbell, president and chairman of Colonial Williamsburg. “As trustees and National Council members, Abby and George O’Neill have for many years supported the notion that the foundation’s programs and preservation projects should be based on comprehensive research. Their decision to endow the position of Director of the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library reflects, once again, their strong belief in the library’s contribution to that objective.” The O’Neills serve as honorary co-chairs of the foundation’s comprehensive fund-raising campaign, The Campaign for Colonial Williamsburg.

Dr. James Horn is the current director of Colonial Williamsburg’s Rockefeller Library, a position he has held since 2002. Horn earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Sussex in England. He was formerly the Saunders Director of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello and on the faculty of the University of Brighton.
The O’Neills have a long history of generous support for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The O’Neills made a $2.7 million gift to the Campaign for Colonial Williamsburg in 2001 that funded the restoration of the Rockefeller family’s Williamsburg home, Bassett Hall, to its 1930s appearance.

Abby O’Neill is a trustee and vice president of the Greenacre Foundation, a Rockefeller family foundation established by her mother, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé, and former chairman of Rockefeller Financial Services Inc., which includes the Rockefeller and Company wealth management firm. She served on the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s board of trustees for 28 years, including a term as vice chairman. George O’Neill is chairman of Meriwether Capital Corporation, which he founded in 1976 to provide long-term capital for middle market companies. He served as a foundation trustee for 28 years during which time he was chairman of the audit committee. He also served as a director of Colonial Williamsburg Hotel Properties, now the Colonial Williamsburg Company.

For information about gift opportunities, contact Sarah Houghland, director of development services, toll-free at (888) 293-1776, via e-mail at [email protected] or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281