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“If we assist the highest forms of education – in whatever field – we secure the widest influence in enlarging the boundaries of human knowledge.”
—John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
Rockefeller Family Main
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Size: 580 cu. ft.

Contents: This collection contains correspondence, reports, pamphlets, memoranda, deeds, maps, contracts, reports, minutes, charters, certificates of incorporation, clippings, diaries, notebooks, calendars, and memorabilia.

The Office of the Messrs. Rockefeller (OMR) materials document the increasing role assumed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in the management of Rockefeller affairs and amply document his business and philanthropic affairs. They also chronicle the entrance of JDR Jr.'s sons, John 3rd, Nelson A., Laurance S., Winthrop, and David, into the world of business, philanthropy, civic leadership, and politics as they joined the office.

Arrangement: Portions are restricted or closed. Material related to living members of the Rockefeller family is not available for research.

There is a microfilm card index of personal and institutional names.

The record group is arranged by subject matter. Series which are wholly or partially open for research include:
  1. John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
  2. JDR, Jr. Scrapbooks
  3. Business Interests
  4. Civic Interests
  5. Cultural Interests
  6. Economic Reform Interests
  7. Educational Interests
  8. Friends and Services
  9. Homes
  10. Housing Interests
  11. Medical Interests
  12. Real Estate
  13. Maps and Memorabilia
  14. Religious Interests
  15. Rockefeller Boards
  16. Welfare - General Files
  17. World Affairs
  18. Welfare - Youth Files
  19. Documents
  20. Public Relations
  21. Public Land Law Review Commission
  22. Greenrock
  23. Properties
  24. Costume Collection
  25. Media
  26. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Personal
  27. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller
  28. Abby Rockefeller Mauze
Organizational History: The central figure in the creation and operation of the Standard Oil Company during its rise to the top of the petroleum industry, John D. Rockefeller (JDR) established for the family a leading role in business and philanthropy. From the days of his earliest employment, Rockefeller, a devout Baptist, was generous in his giving to worthy causes, especially those of a religious nature. During the 1890s he developed an orderly system of philanthropic giving through an office staff that included his close advisor, Frederick T. Gates (1853-1929) and his son, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874-1960). With the advice of these and other associates, Rockefeller established the University of Chicago, The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now The Rockefeller University ), the Rockefeller Foundation, and other philanthropic organizations working nationally and internationally in the fields of education, religion, and health. Rockefeller's total donations to philanthropic endeavors are estimated to have been $540 million.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (JDR Jr.) joined his father's office on October 1, 1897. He oversaw the expansion and diversification of the philanthropic work begun by his father. During his lifetime, the younger Rockefeller gave more than $537 million to educational, religious, cultural, medical, and other charitable projects.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr.and his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (1874-1948), passed the Rockefeller philanthropic impulse on to their children. John 3rd (1906-1978), Nelson A. (1908-1979), Laurance S. (1910-2004), Winthrop (1912-1973), and David (1915- ) further expanded and diversified Rockefeller influence and interests, establishing their own philanthropic organizations, most notably the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (1940), and becoming more active politically.

OMR Series A - John D. Rockefeller, Sr., 1918-1937

Size: 26 cu. ft.

Contents: This series, predominantly incoming personal correspondence, contains material in which the elder Rockefeller is the central figure.

Arrangement: A calendar of investments and list of correspondents are included in the finding aid.

OMR Series C - Business Interests, 1886-1961

Size: 46 cu. ft.

Contents: This series documents the Rockefeller family's investments and financial involvement in a variety of industries, companies, and geographic areas. Included is family members' correspondence with the Family Office, and with the officers and employees of the various companies. The correspondence concerns all manner of management, policy and financial decisions regarding the diverse investments. For a listing of folders in series, see the outline Survey of Sources for the History of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Arrangement: arranged in ten sections:
  1. Airlines
  2. Banks
  3. Colorado Fuel and Iron Company
  4. Companies
  5. Everett Timber & Investment Company
  6. Insurance
  7. Minnesota Iron Mines
  8. Rockefeller Center
  9. South America and Africa
  10. Standard Oil

OMR Series D - Civic Interests, 1899-1961

Size: 23.2 cu. ft.

Contents: This series documents the family's political and civic activities at various levels of government. It reflects primarily the activities of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., but also provides significant documentation of the political and civic concerns of his sons. Included are extensive files on the family's support of the Republican party at the national, state, and local level; separate files on specific candidates such as New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, New York Governor Thomas Dewey, and President Dwight Eisenhower; and substantial files on the family's support for Nelson A. Rockefeller's first gubernatorial campaign, but little information regarding his first presidential candidacy in 1960. Also well documented is Rockefeller involvement with good government campaigns and such organizations as the Bureau of Municipal Research and the National Civic Federation.

Arrangement: Arranged in fifteen sections:
  1. Association of the Bar
  2. Bureau of Municipal Research
  3. Civic Leagues
  4. Democracy
  5. Fire Companies
  6. Grand Juries
  7. League of Women Voters
  8. New York, City and State
  9. Peoples Institutes
  10. Police
  11. Political Organizations
  12. Research
  13. Tarrytown (NY) Projects
  14. United States Government
  15. Westchester County (NY) Organizations

OMR Series E - Cultural Interests, 1888-1963

Size: 65 cu. ft.

Contents: The series includes correspondence, reports, and pamphlets documenting the family's involvement with and contributions to a variety of cultural interests.

Arrangement: Arranged in seventeen sections:
  1. Chautauqua Institute
  2. Libraries
  3. Memorials
  4. Motion Pictures
  5. Museums
  6. Music
  7. Organizations and Parks
  8. Palisades Interstate Park
  9. Plant, Flower, and Fruit Guild
  10. Radio-Television
  11. Restorations
  12. Chinese Restorations
  13. French Restorations
  14. Old Ironsides
  15. Williamsburg
  16. Theatre
  17. Miscellaneous

OMR Series F - Economic Reform Interests, 1894-1961

Size: 9 cu. ft.

Contents: This series documents the family's interests (primarily those of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.) in industrial reform, industrial relations, unionization, and developments in the Third World.

Arrangement: Arranged in ten sections:
  1. American International Association for Economic and Social Development (AIA)
  2. Bonus and Profit Sharing Plans
  3. Chamber of Commerce
  4. Employment Agencies
  5. Industrial Questions
  6. Industrial Relations Counselors
  7. Unemployment and Economic Planning
  8. U.S. Industrial Commission, 1914-1915
  9. New York World's Fair, 1939
  10. National Trade Policy

OMR Series G - Educational Interests, 1896-1961

Size: 54 cu. ft.

Contents: This series documents the support of members of the Rockefeller family, primarily John D. Rockefeller, Jr., for specific educational institutions. The files include correspondence and, for institutions in which the family took an active part, reports, analyses, general correspondence, contributions, and administrative materials. Most of the material is unsolicited requests for aid. Among the institutions receiving support from the Rockefeller family were schools with special programs for the deaf, for orphans, and for evangelicals; schools and colleges for African-Americans; 75 U.S. colleges and universities, including Spelman College in Georgia, University of Chicago, Brown University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology; as well as universities in China, India, Europe, and the Near East.

Arrangement: Arranged in six sections:
  1. Associations, Boards and Councils
  2. International Houses
  3. Fringe Benefit Organizations
  4. Schools
  5. Colleges
  6. Foreign Colleges

OMR Series J - Housing Interests, 1897-1961

Size: 8 cu. ft.

Contents: The bulk of this material relates to John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s involvement with housing reform and housing projects from the 1920s into the 1940s. Significant portions of the series detail the interests of John D. Rockefeller in Cleveland and New York City, and the involvement of the Brothers' generation in this field. Seven major housing developments are highlighted: Forest Hill Estates in Cleveland, Ohio; the City Housing Corporation's efforts at Sunnyside Gardens in Queens, New York; Thomas Garden Apartments in the Bronx, New York; Paul Lawrence Dunbar Housing in Harlem, New York; Lavoisier Apartments in New York, New York; Van Tassel Apartments in Tarrytown, New York; and a development in Radburn, New Jersey. Included are memoranda, correspondence, deeds, indentures, and contracts, providing comprehensive information on the origin of each project, financing, construction, architecture, relations with government officials, taxation, and operational problems.

Arrangement: Arranged in five sections:
  1. Forest Hill (Cleveland, OH)
  2. Harlem Apartments (New York, NY)
  3. Housing
  4. Lavoisier Apartments (New York, NY)
  5. Trailer Camp Project

OMR Series K - Medical Interests, 1898-1961

Size: 14 cu. ft.

Contents: The bulk of this material is composed of routine appeals from health agencies and hospitals, and correspondence answering those appeals. It documents the Rockefeller family's support for public and private health care, medical research, family planning organizations, the social hygiene movement, minority medical training, and health care in minority and low-income communities.

Arrangement: Arranged in twelve sections:
  1. Birth Control
  2. Cancer
  3. Health Agencies
  4. Leprosy
  5. Madame Curie Radium Fund
  6. Mental Hygiene
  7. Narcotics
  8. New York Academy of Medicine
  9. Polio
  10. Social Hygiene
  11. Tuberculosis
  12. Hospitals

OMR Series N - Religious Interests, 1894-1962

Size: 35 cu. ft.

Contents: This series documents the Rockefeller family's interest in and contributions to various churches and a wide spectrum of religious organizations. It contains unsolicited appeals for donations, correspondence, and financial information and administrative materials for those institutions supported by family members.

Arrangement: Arranged in twenty sections:
  1. American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 1900-1912
  2. Baptist Organizations
  3. Bible Societies
  4. Christianity - Publications, 1920-1927
  5. Church Unity Radio Address by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1937
  6. Churches
  7. Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America
  8. Fifth Avenue Baptist Church
  9. Park Avenue Baptist Church
  10. Interdenominational Cooperative Movement
  11. Missionary and Church Groups
  12. Protestant Council of the City of New York
  13. Religious Education
  14. Religious Organizations
  15. Riverside Church
  16. Salvation Army
  17. Seamen's Church Institute, 1906-1961
  18. Billy Sunday
  19. Young Men's Bible Class
  20. Bibles

OMR Series O - Rockefeller Boards, 1899-1961

Size: 22 cu. ft.

Contents: This series includes correspondence, reports, minutes, charters, and certificates of incorporation documenting the earliest history of the philanthropic organizations established by members of the Rockefeller family. It details the participation of family members and their advisors in the founding and operation of these organizations.

Arrangement: Arranged in thirteen sections:
  1. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s Advisory Board
  2. Bureau of Social Hygiene
  3. China Medical Board, Inc.
  4. Davison Fund
  5. General Education Board
  6. International Education Board
  7. Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial
  8. Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  9. Rockefeller Foundation
  10. Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now The Rockefeller University)
  11. Rockefeller Sanitary Commission
  12. Sealantic Fund
  13. Spelman Fund of New York

OMR Series P - Welfare - General Files, 1894-1961

Size: 26.8 cu. ft.

Contents: This series documents the Rockefeller family's involvement with mainstream charitable and philanthropic organizations, especially groups working against the chronic problems of physical disability, alcoholism, juvenile delinquency, orphans, old age, and disease. Well documented in this series are such efforts as JDR's temperance work; JDR Jr.'s work for Prohibition, beginning in 1910, and for its repeal in 1933; support for African-American institutions and organizations, including the Urban League and the NAACP; JDR Jr.'s personal and financial contributions to the success of the USO during World War II, and support for urban reform, manifested by involvement with the settlement house movement in Cleveland and New York City.

Arrangement: Arranged in twelve sections:
  1. American Red Cross
  2. Aid for the Blind
  3. Charities
  4. Cleveland Projects
  5. Homes
  6. Jewish Organizations
  7. Negro Organizations
  8. Prisons and Prisoners
  9. Prohibition and Alcoholism
  10. Settlements
  11. Science and Lecture Groups
  12. United Service Organizations

OMR Series Q - World Affairs, 1896-1961 16 cu. ft.

Size: 16 cu. ft.

Contents: This series reflects the Rockefeller family's contributions toward national defense and international relations. It includes material regarding support for Admiral Richard Byrd's polar expeditions, for refugee organizations, for wartime and postwar relief resulting from both world wars, and documents the family's contributions to the English-speaking Union, the League of Nations, and the United Nations.

Arrangement: Arranged in seven sections:
  1. Foreign Policy
  2. Institute of Pacific Relations
  3. National Defense
  4. Post-War Reconstruction
  5. Peace Plans
  6. War Relief
  7. National War Fund

OMR Series R - Welfare - Youth Files, 1897-1961

Size: 22 cu. ft.

Contents: The bulk of the material in this series chronicles John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s association with the YMCA and the YWCA, a relationship that reflected both his strong religious background and his choice of these agencies as the philanthropic vehicle for a variety of activities to improve the welfare of young men and women. Also well documented is John D. Rockefeller 3rd's involvement with American Youth Hostels and the administration, finances, and programs of that organization. The series also reflects the support of other family members for a variety of organizations active in child welfare and recreation.

Arrangement: Arranged in eleven sections:
  1. Boy Scouts of America
  2. Girl Scouts of America
  3. Boy Rangers of America
  4. Camp Fire Girls
  5. Girls Service League of America
  6. Playground and Recreation Associations
  7. Child Welfare
  8. Youth Organizations
  9. Young Men's Christian Association
  10. Young Women's Christian Association
  11. Young Women's Hebrew Association.

JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER, JR. Personal Papers, 1874-1961


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