The Rockefeller Archive Center
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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 University Archives
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Size: 7,505 cubic feet

Contents: Documents in the archives include correspondence and memoranda, reports, laboratory notebooks, lectures and addresses, administrative records, and photographs and films. The material covers all periods of the University's history, and documents significantly aspects of the twentieth century history of New York City, of international currents in biomedical research, and of educational and scientific developments in the U.S. Records more than twenty-five years old are open. Certain corporate, administrative, personnel, and financial records are restricted.

University records are arranged in record groups under the following major headings:

  • 100-199 - Corporation
  • 200-299 - Administration (Operations)
  • 300-399 - Administration (Academic)
  • 400-499 - Institute/University
  • 500-599 - Press and Publications
  • 600-699 - Special Collections and Special Events
  • 700-799 - Library and Archives
  • 800-899 - Rockefeller University-related Miscellany
  • 1000 - Memorabilia
  • 1100 - Photographs (ca. 15,000 items)
Papers of the faculty (record group 450) may be restricted at the discretion of the donor.

Descriptions of selected record groups

Photograph Collection: Yes

Organizational History: The Rockefeller University, established in 1901 by John D. Rockefeller as The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, was the first institution in the United States devoted solely to biomedical research. The earliest work was carried on through grants-in-aid to researchers in various American (and a few European) laboratories, but that program was phased out after the Institute's own laboratories were opened on its New York City campus in 1906. In 1954, the Institute became part of the University of the State of New York and acquired the right to confer graduate degrees, awarding its first Ph.D. in 1959. The Institute became The Rockefeller University in 1965.

The University archives delineate the growth of research programs which from the beginning were aimed at developing fundamental knowledge of disease and physiology. Research is carried out in interdisciplinary laboratories headed by leading scientists, who were known for more than fifty years as Members of the Institute and subsequently as Professors. A hospital was opened in 1910 and has remained an integral part of the research program.

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