In government, the second lady is the wife of the vice president and holds the duties of hosting receptions, presenting over institutions, tending to official travel, and other various ceremonial duties. Second ladies have been known to capture the attention of the media and take stands on public policies. In many political issues, the vice president’s wives have not yielded much day-to-day political power, but are still considered important for campaigning purposes. So did Margaretta Large Fitler Murphy Rockefeller play an important role as Second Lady of the United States; and who exactly is she?
Once described as “tall, tawny, and glowing with good health. Her sun streaked hair looking forever windblown, and her legs evenly tanned year-round” by People Margaretta Large Fitler Murphy Rockefeller did ‘appear’ Happy (N. pag.). From her early years to her two marriages and six children anyone could assume Happy has lived a long, full life; however, it seems no matter how much Happy apposed the spotlight it always seem to she finds her way there, even when she was young.
Margaretta Large Fitler came from one of the richest families in the nation, attaining their eight million inheritance from rope-making. It was a “blue-nosed society that advised a girl to get her name in the papers only four times: when you are born, when you make your debut, when you are married, and when you die” (N. pag.). Even when Happy was taken in as blissful and was never seen without a smile on her face there always seemed to be an unspoken sadness that weighted her quiet disposition heavily. Perhaps this came from her mother and father separating when she was only ten, or it could be because her mother being the extremely self-centered woman that she had little to no time for her children (N. pag.). Not surprisingly, Happy graduated in 1944 from Shipley School as a “tomboy honors student,” who took to helping out at a hospital run by the Women’s Volunteer Service. Here the time old story of the nurse who fell for an Army Medical Corps Captain is written when Happy and Dr. James “Robin” Slater Murphy met (N. pag.).
They were soon married at Rittenhouse Square in a ceremony that turned out to be “the season’s biggest social event,” then a 28 year old Robin whisked 22 year old Happy away from her family, friends, and home to New York. In the Big Apple Dr. Murphy was employed at the renowned Rockefeller Institute as a leading scientist, a job he only got because his father was a distinguished cancer research specialist there and Robin was close friends with David Rockefeller. Robin followed his father around long enough to become a virologist and eventually develop the flu vaccine (N. pag.).
The days of Robin’s childhood were spent in Seal harbor, Maine, just across the bay from one of the Rockefeller boys’ majestic manors, where they became close companions. In fact the Murphy’s and Rockefellers were such good friends Robin and Happy received the gift of thirteen acres...