The Rockefeller Archive Center
“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 Archives


John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Personal Papers, 1874-1961

Size: 21.6 cu. ft.

Contents: This series includes material related to the personal life of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. While the bulk of documentation in Record Group 2 concerns the establishment and operation of his philanthropies and businesses, these papers illuminate Rockefeller's education, family relationships, travels, and his religious and public life. They also contain the voluminous research files prepared by Rockefeller's biographer and longtime adviser, Raymond B. Fosdick, which bring together otherwise widely-dispersed sources. The papers have a double provenance: JDR, Jr., (who transferred material to both Fosdick and the family archivist), and the Family Office General Files.

Arrangement: Initially arranged by the family archivist, the collection was rearranged in 1996 to allow greater intellectual access. Original folder titles have largely been retained, except where doing so would hinder access. Although originally conceived of as a separate series within Record Group 2, these records are treated as a subgroup (Subgroup Z) with constituent series.

JDR, Jr., Personal Papers is arranged in nine series:
  • I. Correspondence
  • II. Personal Papers
  • III. Benevolence Records
  • IV. Death of JDR, Jr.
  • V. Biographical Works
  • VI. Rare Books
  • VII. Restricted Files
  • VIII. Speeches
  • IX. Scrapbooks

Within series, records are typically arranged chronologically or alphabetically by subject or type of material.

Biographical Sketch of JDR, Jr.

Series I, Correspondence, 1881-1961

Size: 3.2 linear feet

Contents: This subseries contains incoming and outgoing correspondence. Significant correspondents include JDR, Sr. (1901-1936), Laura Spelman Rockefeller (1891-1915), and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (1901-1946). The correspondence between Abby and JDR, Jr. consists of carbon transcriptions of select letters; some letters were edited prior to being transcribed. It is believed that JDR, Jr. selected the letters for transcription and destroyed others. The letters reveal an intense devotion and interdependence between husband and wife.

The correspondence between JDR, Jr. and his father spans the years 1901 to 1936 and provides an unbroken record of their daily communications. The letterbooks in Subseries 3 were compiled by Fosdick during the research phase of his work on John D. Rockefeller, Jr.: A Portrait (1956). They contain selections from JDR, Jr.'s correspondence. The letterbooks are arranged by subjects which correspond to the final chapter headings.

Arrangement: Series I, Correspondence, is arranged into four subseries, arranged alphabetically by correspondent:
  • Personal Correspondence
  • Office Correspondence
  • Letterbooks (compiled by Raymond B. Fosdick)
  • Special Letter File
Within subseries, letters are arranged alphabetically by correspondent or chronologically. The Letterbooks subseries contains correspondence assembled by Raymond B. Fosdick, JDR, Jr.'s biographer, and arranged by subject.

Series I, Subseries 4, Special Letter File, is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Correspondents include:
  • Nelson W. Aldrich (1904-1910)
  • Andrew Carnegie (1903-1914)
  • Alexis Carrel (1914-1931)
  • Winston Churchill (1909-1946)
  • Henry C. Frick (1908-1919)
  • Charles Evans Hughes (1916-1920)
  • Charles A. Lindbergh (1928-1931)
  • Ignace Jan Paderewski (1916)
  • John Singer Sargent (1917)
  • Woodrow Wilson (1903-1904)
  • Wendell L. Wilkie (1940)
This file was created and maintained by JDR, Jr.'s office staff.

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Series II, Personal Papers, 1878-1960, 1974

Size: 12.8 linear feet

Contents: This subseries includes a variety of memorabilia, among them JDR, Jr.'s piece of groom cake (1901), his Tiffany leather briefcase, playing cards and calling cards, an ink wiper, and two silver hinged photograph albums containing family portraits.

The meticulous record-keeping and accounting practices characteristic of JDR Sr. were passed on to his son. Series II contains early accounts (1884-1886) kept by JDR Sr. for his children and for his wife, Laura, as well as 22 volumes of JDR, Jr.'s daily expense notebooks (1889-1900). Also present in Series II are JDR. Jr.'s surviving school papers, including essays, examinations, report cards, and lecture notes, arranged chronologically by school and thereunder alphabetically by type of material. Files document work done at the New York School of Languages, Douglas School, Cutler School, the Browning School, and Brown University.

The travel records reveal JDR, Jr.'s great curiosity about the world, his eagerness to share experience, and his desire to retain the best possible scholars and guides in the service of edification and enjoyment.

Especially well recorded is the 1929 trip to Egypt, led by James Breasted of the Oriental Institute in Chicago. Correspondence describes the trip preparations, which involved ordering the proper hats and suits, based on Breasted's recommendations. The Rockefeller family made railroad and car trips to the western United States in 1920, 1924, 1926, and 1930. These trips are thoroughly documented by correspondence, diaries, itineraries, and souvenirs. Prior to his marriage in 1901, Rockefeller traveled frequently, and diaries exist for trips to Yellowstone Park (1886) and to California and Alaska (1899). Before parenthood intervened, he and Abby traveled to the Berkshires in 1904 and 1906.

Many items are extremely fragile and should be carefully handled.

Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically by subject or type of material.

The travel records housed in Series II are organized in two sections, Foreign travel records and United States travel records. Thereunder, records are arranged chronologically by trip.

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Series III, Benevolence Records, 1925-1959

Size: 0.6 linear feet

Contents: This subseries contains memoranda and reports detailing JDR, Jr.'s charitable contributions. providing a useful overview of his charitable giving between 1910 and 1959. Located here is the important Armour report of 1937, detailing contributions made between 1917 and 1936. The memoranda on "Charitable, Educational, Religious, Scientific, and Public Contributions . . . " were first prepared in 1925 and thereafter annually through 1959. They provide retrospective summaries of giving, beginning in 1910.

Arrangement: Records are arranged alphabetically by subject or type of material and thereunder chronologically.

Box 46

434 - Alexander W. Armour Report on Contributions and Donations of Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1917-1936 (1937)
435 - Correspondence (Dana S. Creel), 1938-1960
436-437 - Memoranda on charitable giving (covering the years 1910-1929), 1925-1929
438-441 - Memoranda ("Charitable, Educational, Religious, Scientific, and Public Contributions . . ."), 1937-1947
Box 47

442-444 - Memoranda ("Charitable, Educational, Religious, Scientific, and Public Contributions . . ."), 1948-1959

Series IV, Death of JDR, Jr. 1939, 1949-1961

Size: 1.4 linear feet

Contents: This subseries contains condolences, estate and disposition records, and publicity files including condolences received by JDR, 3rd, Winthrop Rockefeller, and JDR, Jr.'s secretary, Janet Warfield. The series contains JDR, Jr.'s will and related correspondence concerning the disposition of his property and works of art.

Arrangement: Alphabetically by subject or type of material and thereunder chronologically

Box 48
445-450 - Condolences (received by JDR, 3rd), 1960, A-L
Box 49
451-456 - Condolences (received by JDR, 3rd), 1960, M-Z
457 - Condolences (received by Winthrop Rockefeller), 1960
458 - Condolences (received by Janet Warfield), 1960
Box 50
459 - Estate (settlement thereof): correspondence, 1960-1961
Memorial services
460 - Miscellaneous, 1960
461 - Pocantico Hills, 1960
462 - Riverside Church, 1960
463 - Riverside Church (recording), 1960
464 - Williamsburg, 1960
465 - Memorials: suggestions, 1960-1961
466 - Publicity, 1960
467 - Sleepy Hollow grave sites (Olmsted Bros.), 1939
468 - Tributes, 1960-1961
Box 51
469 - Will, 1958-1959
470 - Will: correspondence, 1960
471 - Will: disposition of works of art, 1949-1951

Series V, Biographical Works, 1949, 1952-1960, n.d.

Size: 3.6 linear feet

Contents: This subseries mainly documents the research and writing of Raymond B. Fosdick's biography of JDR, Jr., John D Rockefeller, Jr., A Portrait (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1956). In addition to the original typescript manuscript in six volumes, there are 31 volumes of research notebooks. These contain Fosdick's correspondence with JDR, Jr., his staff, and other associates relating to acquiring records documenting JDR, Jr.'s career. The notebooks also comment on the nature of the sources themselves. For example, Fosdick provides valuable descriptions of JDR, Jr.'s correspondence with his father and mother. Included in the notebooks are copies of the correspondence of William Lyon Mackenzie King, housed in the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa; seven volumes are entirely devoted to the topic of Industrial Relations. Other topics include Organized Religion, Negro Race, Parks, Art, Education, Medicine, Housing, and Variety and Extent of Philanthropic Contributions. Volumes 29-31 contain research reports by M. Pendo, a research assistant.

Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically by author.

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Series VI, Rare Books, 1654, 1723, 1782, 1910, n.d

Size: 7 volumes

Size: This subseries contains works presented to JDR, Jr. by his mother or by dignitaries. Of special interest is the original bound manuscript of Aspilogia, (n.d.), a work on ancient warfare, heraldry, and other subjects by Sir Henry Spelman (1564-1641), a historian, Member of Parliament, and ancestor of Laura Spelman Rockefeller. Also present is the first printed edition of that work (London, 1654), which contains copper plate engravings and the only known portrait of John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury.

Arrangement: They are arranged in two subseries, "Presentation Volumes" and "Works by or about Spelman Family."

Presentation Volumes
Box 61
521 - D'Auberteuil, M. Hilliard, Essais Historiques et Politiques sur les Anglo- Americains. Tome Premier, Premiere Partie (Brussels, 1782). Presentation copy, signed by Senator Andre Honnerat, December 25, 1936.
522 - D'Auberteuil, M. Hilliard, Essais Historiques et Politiques sur la Revolution de L'Amerique Septentrionale. Tome Second, Premiere Partie (Brussels, 1782). Presentation copy, companion volume.
Box 62
523 - Donnet, Fernand, Coup d'Oeil sur L'Histoire Financiere D'Anvers(Anvers, 1926?) Facsimile edition, number 940 of 1050. Presentation copy from Elizabeth, Queen of the Belgians, 1928.

Works by or about the Spelman Family
Box 63
524 - Barbour, Fannie Cooley Williams, Spelman Genealogy: The English Ancestry and American Descendants of Richard Spelman of Middletown, Connecticut 1700(New York, 1910).
Box 64
525 - Spelman, Sir Henry, Aspilogia, original mss., bound, n.d.
526 - Uptoni, Nicolai, De Studio Militari; Johan. De Bado Aureo, Tractatus de Armis; Spelmanni, Henrici, Aspilogia (London, 1654) First printed edition.
Box 65
527 - Spelman, Henry, The English Works of Sir Henry Spelman, Kt.(London, 1723).
Box 65A
527A - Spelman, John, Aelfredi Magni, Anglorum Regis . . . (Oxford, 1678)

Series VIII Speeches, 1891-1958

Size: 3.2 linear feet

Contents: This subseries consists of the speeches of JDR, Jr., given between 1891 and 1958, and offer a valuable resource for charting JDR, Jr.'s reactions to events and his involvement in numerous activities and causes

Arrangement: Chronological and subject listings of the speeches are found in the appendices of the finding aid.

Box 1 - Folders 1-60 - List of speeches, n.d.; Speeches, 1891-1917
Box 2 - Folders 61-111 - Speeches, 1918-1922
Box 3 - Folders 112-165 - Speeches, 1923-1937
Box 4 - Folders 166-210 - Speeches, 1938-1944
Box 5 - Folders 211-264 - Speeches, 1945-1958
Box 6 - Folders 265-272 - Duplicate copies of printed speeches, 1915-1956, n.d.
Boxes 7-8 - Multiple copies of printed speeches, unarranged

Series IX, Scrapbooks, 1895-1960

Size: 22 volumes

Contents: This subseries cotains 22 volumes of scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings for the years 1895 to 1960.

Arrangement: Arranged chronologically. Volumes contain brittle newspaper clippings. There is a subject index for each scrapbook. The scrapbooks are preserved on three reels of microfilm.

Volume 1 - February 1895 - April 1901
Volume 2 - August 1901 - January 1904
Volume 3 - January 1904 - September 1912
Volume 4 - September 1912 - June 1915
Volume 5 - January 1915 - June 1916
Volume 6 - September 1915 - December 1915
Volume 7 - March 1916 - August 1918
Volume 8 - May 1918 - December 1919
Volume 9 - December 1919 - February 1921
Volume 10 - January 1922 - June 1926
Volume 11 - June 1926 - January 1929
Volume 12 - January 1929 - December 1930
Volume 13 - January 1931 - November 1933
Volume 14 - November 1933 - July 1936
Volume 15 - August 1936 - May 1939
Volume 16 - January 1940 - October 1941
Volume 17 - October 1941- December 1947
Volume 18 - January 1948 - October 1954
Volume 19 - November 1954 - January 1964
Volumes 20-22 - May 1960

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