RECORD GROUP 4, NELSON A. ROCKEFELLER, PERSONAL PAPERS
Contents: Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (1908-1979), son of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, served as governor of the State of New York (1959-1973) and as Vice President of the United States (1974-1977). A graduate of Dartmouth (1930), he served the Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Nixon administrations in a variety of positions. As governor, his achievements included the expansion of the State University of New York; efforts to protect the environment; the building of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza in Albany; increased facilities and personnel for medical care; creation of the New York State Council on the Arts; and support of New York State agriculture. Rockefeller also held an important place in the art world as a collector, as the founder of the Museum of Primitive Art in 1954, and as trustee, treasurer, president, and chairman of the Museum of Modern Art. During the last years of his life, he concentrated on his art collection and writing books about art. He was also a prominent philanthropist, establishing the American International Association for Economic and Social Development (1946) and founding with his brothers the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (1940). He also formed the International Basic Economy Corporation (1947).
This record group consists of Rockefeller's correspondence files as maintained by his staff at the Rockefeller family offices in New York City. For the most part they document his personal activities but also include files from his work with the federal government in the 1940s and 1950s. Material pertaining to living members of the Rockefeller family is not available for research.
Arrangement: At this time the following fifteen series are available for research. Series descriptions follow the list of open series:
The series provides a partial view of Rockefeller's business, civic, governmental, philanthropic, cultural, and social activities. The series includes Rockefeller's speeches and statements, appointment books recording his daily professional activities, itineraries of his domestic and foreign travels, philanthropic and political contributions, and preparations for social events he hosted. Files on his interest in Latin America include those on the American-Colombian Corporation; Compania Anonima Hotelera Venezolana; Compania de Fomento Venezolana; Creole Petroleum; Hemisphere Films; Speeches and Statements (especially for 1940-1945); and Trips. Of particular interest are the notes, drafts and reference files assembled for his unpublished manuscript "The U.S. and the World" (1949-1950). The manuscript represents Rockefeller's summation of his role in Latin America and his ideas for future American foreign economic policy. Included are transcripts of Rockefeller's tape-recorded narration of his experiences as Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs and as president of the International Basic Economy Corporation. Other significant files include the Mayor's Business Advisory Committee (New York City); the Government Affairs Foundation; the Temporary State Commission on the Constitutional Convention (New York); the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and its Special Studies Project, directed by Henry Kissinger (1956-1967); and the Saudi Arabian-American Corporation (SARABAM, 1977).
Series B. AIA-IBEC, 1945-1971, 16 cu. ft.
The American International Association for Economic and Social Development (AIA) and the International Basic Economy Corporation (IBEC) were established by Rockefeller in 1946 and 1947, respectively, as privately financed international development agencies. AIA was a philanthropy and was most active in the field of rural rehabilitation and agricultural development. IBEC acted as a for-profit business and focused on developing the "basic economies" of underdeveloped countries and thus encouraged others in those countries to establish competitive businesses. By 1971 IBEC had established over 200 businesses in 33 countries. AIA and IBEC were most active in Brazil and Venezuela.
Series C. Art, 1930-1979, 98.5 cu. ft.
The files in this series were created in the course of acquiring, managing and disposing of pieces in Nelson A. Rockefeller's extensive art collection. For the most part these are the files of Carol Kinzel Uht who served as Rockefeller's full time curator from December 1949 until her death in 1978. Cynthia Bronson Altman joined the staff in 1971, serving as assistant curator and later as associate curator. Kendall P. Lutkins was responsible for the decorative arts portion of the art collection, including the Chinese pottery and porcelain. After Mrs. Uht's death, Mrs. Lutkins and Mrs. Altman assumed most of Mrs. Uht's responsibilities and were also responsible for the dissemination of Rockefeller's art collection in accordance with his will. The documentation begins with some of Rockefeller's earliest purchases in 1931 and ends with his death in January 1979.
In addition to the RAC policy that material pertaining to living members of the Rockefeller family is closed, any documentation regarding distribution of art within the Rockefeller family is closed, first for the lifetime of the donor, and secondly, for the lifetime of the individual involved. As a result, the files from several subseries are subject to review prior to use.
The Art series is divided into six subseries:
This subseries documents the origin of NAR's collection. It contains correspondence with art dealers regarding works of art offered for sale; correspondence regarding loans of works owned by Rockefeller to museums and galleries, and correspondence with artists.
Subseries 2: NAR Art Files, 1949-1979, 17.6 cu. ft.
Works of art documented within this series were in Rockefeller's collection at the time of his death in January 1979. Files pertaining to works of art that were no longer in the collection were transferred to the canceled art files (Subseries 6). This subseries consists of an alphabetical file and a numeric file. Both document the acquisition, provenance, condition, cataloging, placement, and conservation of works of art. The alphabetical file primarily concerns pieces of modern art with documentation for each piece filed under the artist's name. The alphabetical file also contains correspondence with dealers, conservators, galleries, museums, and other institutions regarding the acquisition, care, and loan of works of art. The numeric file is an arrangement created by Mrs. Uht to categorize non-modern art. Works of art were designated by geographic region and arranged by accession number thereunder. The index for this file is in Appendix A of the finding aid. The NAR Art files were periodically sent to the Rockefeller family archives and were maintained there for several years. During that period some documents that do not necessarily belong in these files were interfiled here. Files from this subseries are subject to review prior to use.
Subseries 3: CKU Reference Files, 1949-1979, 27.6 cu. ft.
This is an alphabetically arranged subject file maintained by Carol Kinzel Uht (CKU). It documents broad issues concerning the management of the collection which are not necessarily associated with one particular piece of art. It includes correspondence with galleries, auction houses, dealers, and museums regarding art work being lent, bought or sold. There is also internal correspondence and memoranda regarding the placement and maintenance of works of art owned by other members of the Rockefeller Family.
Included in this subseries are files on art works belonging to Rockefeller that were damaged or destroyed in the March 1961 fire at the Executive Mansion in Albany (filed under "Albany"). Rockefeller's support of museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Primitive Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are also documented here. There are also files on the exhibition of portions of his collection at MoMA in 1969. Files from this subseries are subject to review prior to use.
Subseries 4: Collection Inventories.
These photo albums were used in conjunction with the other art files to keep track of the art collection. The inventory was begun after Rockefeller left the Vice Presidency in January 1977. Most of the items documented in these inventories were from Rockefeller's primitive art collection which was used to establish the Museum of Primitive Art, and later became part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Each photo is labeled with information concerning the work, and its location. Five of the volumes (204-208) appear to be inventories of objects at Monte Sacro, Rockefeller's house in Venezuela. There are three bound volumes titled "Canceled Art," which are inventories of works which were no longer part of the collection (see Subseries 6). Also within this subseries are sixteen binders of photocopies of catalog cards on which the Museum of Primitive Art recorded information regarding individual works of art given to it by Rockefeller. These indicate the origin of the item and other pertinent information regarding the work that the museum found necessary to have. The registers were made during the late 1970s as part of a large photo inventory project of the Governor's art.
Subseries 5: Printed Material, 1935-1978, 17 cu. ft.
The exhibit catalogs are primarily from the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Primitive Art, both of which Rockefeller was closely associated with. Mrs. Uht also tried to keep a copy of everything that was published regarding works owned by Rockefeller, particularly exhibit catalogs that included items borrowed from his collection. There is also about one cubic foot of miscellaneous art books, some in languages other than English.
There are eight volumes of Library Catalogs, which primarily record the location of each of Rockefeller's many art books. The last two volumes record the location of etchings and drawings owned by Rockefeller.
Finally, there are 23 volumes of appraisals of portions of Rockefeller's collections conducted annually from 1962 to 1976. This was done by the Fine Arts Valuation Service, headed by Gustave Gilbert. The works included in each volume are arranged alphabetically by artist, and thereunder by title. A catalog number is included as well as the value of the work. Some notations were made showing that an item was going to leave the collection (pledged) or had already left the collection (canceled).
Subseries 6: Canceled Art Files, 1949-1979, 8 cu. ft.
When Rockefeller parted with a piece of art, through gift or sale, the piece was recorded as "canceled" and the records concerning it were moved to the Canceled Art File. The file usually notes the name of the individual or institution each work went to, as well as the price for those works which were sold. This subseries also includes a photo file of canceled modern and post-modern works. Files from this subseries are subject to review prior to use.
This series, arranged alphabetically by country, contains Rockefeller's general correspondence with foreign nationals. Over half is with Latin Americans, including businessmen, political leaders, diplomats, artists and associates. The series includes reports on foreign institutions and countries in which Rockefeller took an interest.
Series G. DNA, 1958-1968, 12.4 cu.ft.
This series contains the records of DNA, a research group for Nelson A. Rockefeller that drafted position papers and wrote research reports on issues important to his pursuit of the Republican presidential nomination. The group had two divisions: the Domestic Party staff, headed by Roswell B. Perkins, and the Foreign Policy staff, led by Henry Kissinger. In later years, DNA was headed by Oscar M. Ruebhausen. The acronym DNA may have stood for Definitive News Analysis, but this has not been corroborated by the written record.
The series is divided into three subseries:
This subseries consists of position papers, press releases, memoranda, and correspondence on foreign and domestic policy issues during the 1968 presidential campaign. It also contains a body of opposition research on Richard Nixon and candidate positions for the other candidates, including Hubert Humphrey, Ronald Reagan, and Robert Kennedy.
Subseries 2, Files for the 1968 Campaign, 5.6 cu. ft.
This material contains the supplementary documentation for the notebooks in Subseries 1. Also noteworthy are fact sheet files for states visited by Governor Rockefeller. The majority of the material is correspondence and chronological files created during the running of the national campaign. Also here are the organizational files for the DNA group.
Subseries 3, Files for Other Campaigns and Issues, 3.6 cu. ft.
This subseries is a conglomerate of files created during Rockefeller's other campaigns, including his run for the governorship in 1958 and the early plans for a presidential candidacy in 1960. Also included are files pertaining to New York State and city politics, including an examination of the 1961 New York City mayoral campaign.
This series contains the personal and office files of Nelson A. Rockefeller specifically related to his family members and friends, dating from Rockefeller's birth in 1908 and continuing through 1973. Material in this series pertaining to living members of the Rockefeller family is closed for research.
Usually, the files contain correspondence with or about these individuals, but also included are newspaper clippings, publications, reports, inventories, notebooks, diaries, and photographs (transferred to the photo collection). There are also a number of folders of early materials on Nelson Rockefeller himself, which were most likely kept by his mother and then passed along to him at various times. These range from height charts from his infancy, to school work and bank statements from his adolescence, to clippings on his engagement in 1929. Also among this material are numerous photographs taken by Rockefeller, who in his adolescence had a passion for photography.
The series begins with alphabetically arranged files on Nelson Rockefeller's friends (19.5 boxes). These files include a few distant family members on both the Rockefeller and Aldrich sides. The series then continues with the Rockefeller family (111.5 boxes). The family files are arranged primarily by a combination of generation, chronology, and closeness of relationship.
Numerous sections of this series contain materials of special significance for research on Nelson Rockefeller, the Rockefeller family, and others. Correspondents of note include Sherman Adams, Ralph Bunche, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Wallace K. Harrison, Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer, William and Oveta Hobby, George C. Marshall, Eleanor Roosevelt, Edward Stettinius, Henry A. Wallace, and Earl Warren. The correspondence between Nelson and his father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., is substantial (1917-1960). In contrast, the series holds only a handful of letters from John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Several female family members are well documented in this series. Foremost, Rockefeller's close relationship with his mother is evident in their letters (1917-1941). Aunts on both the Aldrich and Rockefeller sides of the family are represented here. Also, correspondence from Mary Todhunter Clark (whom Rockefeller married in 1930) begins in 1926 and, among other things, provides insight into his years at Dartmouth College.
Series I. Oral Histories, 1952-1978. 3 cu. ft.
This series consists of transcripts of three oral histories with Nelson A. Rockefeller. Two of the interviews were conducted by the Columbia University Oral History Research Office. Transcripts of these interviews are also housed at Columbia University. There are no tape recordings for any of these interviews at the Rockefeller Archive Center.
The first oral history, "The Reminiscences of Nelson Rockefeller," is a composite of several interviews conducted between September 1951 and January 1952 by Wendell Link of the Columbia University Oral History Research Office. Primary subjects covered include Rockefeller's tenure as Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, Latin America, the formation of the United Nations, and international affairs.
The second oral history was conducted on August 16, 1967, by John Luter as part of the Columbia University Oral History Research Office's Eisenhower Administration Project. Topics include Rockefeller's role as chairman of the President's Advisory Committee on Government Reorganization, as Undersecretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, and as Special Assistant to the President. Also discussed are the Four Powers Summit in Geneva in 1955, "the Compact of Fifth Avenue" and Rockefeller's relations with Richard Nixon.
The third interview was conducted privately by Irwin Gellman on August 11-12, 1976, while he was gathering material for the book Good Neighbor Diplomacy (1979). Topics include Rockefeller's work as Coordinator of the Office of Inter-American Affairs and as Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs.
Series J. Politics, 1935-1976, 90.2 cu. ft.
This series contains material pertaining to Rockefeller's long career as a politician, statesman, and public servant. Much of the material is related to his tenure as governor of New York.
This series is arranged in three subseries.
The subseries is divided into six sub-subseries:
Offers partial documentation of NAR's evolution as a political force in New York and the nation.
Sub-subseries 2, National Political Campaigns, 1956-1968, 7.6 cu. ft.
Offers limited perspective on the dynamics of NAR's three presidential campaigns (1960, 1964, and 1968) and documents his involvement in President Eisenhower's 1956 campaign.
Sub-subseries 3, New York State Gubernatorial Campaigns, 1958-1970, 17.6 cu. ft.
Partial documentation of NAR's four gubernatorial campaigns (1958, 1962, 1966, and 1970). Most of the material pertains to the 1958 campaign.
Sub-subseries 4, Polls, 1958-1970, 2.2 cu. ft.
A selection of polls and public opinion surveys conducted primarily in New York at NAR's request. Some polls are accompanied by analysis.
Sub-subseries 5, Office of the Governor, 1958-1970, 5.4 cu. ft.
Subject files primarily covering the first two administrations (1959-1966). Few files offer complete documentation of a particular issue.
Sub-subseries 6, State Issue Files, 1973-1975, 12 cu. ft.
This sub-subseries consists of topical records on state issues that document Rockefeller's speeches and public activities from early 1973 through 1975, including his support of other Republicans, particularly during the 1974 congressional campaign. The state files are arranged alphabetically and contain memoranda on issues and politics for all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Some states are more fully represented than others, particularly those which Rockefeller visited. For such states, these files contain the background binders prepared for speeches he gave on behalf of Republican congressional and state candidates. These binders include itineraries, information on the state's politics, and government structure, statewide issues and local issues for specific urban areas. There are also substantial newspaper clippings detailing political themes and events in each state.
George L. Hinman (d. 1997) served as an executive assistant to Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller. He was one of the governor's chief political advisors. A prominent attorney from Binghamton, New York, Hinman was at one time senior partner of the law firm of Hinman, Howard & Kattell, a firm he was associated with since 1930. Hinman was also Republican National Committeeman for New York State, as well as Delegate-at-large for three Republican National Conventions, 1960, 1964, and 1976.
Hinman first came to Nelson A. Rockefeller's attention in 1956, when he was named as counsel to the Temporary State Commission to Prepare for a Constitutional Convention, chaired by Rockefeller. Two years later, after Rockefeller was elected Governor, Hinman was chosen to be executive assistant. From 1960 to 1977, Hinman held the title of special counsel, Rockefeller Family and Associates.
Hinman was an important aide to Rockefeller during his four terms as Governor from 1959 to 1973, and through his tenure as Vice President under President Gerald Ford, from 1974 to 1977. Hinman also assisted Rockefeller in his unsuccessful campaigns for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1960, 1964, and 1968.
This subseries is divided into five sub-subseries:
These alphabetically arranged files contain correspondence from Hinman to individuals on political matters that concerned Republican politics, and Governor Rockefeller's role in the party. The majority of the letters are from Hinman himself, though a significant number are letters that were assigned to Hinman for acknowledgment by another member of the Governor's staff. In these cases, the correspondence includes the copy of the letter signed by Governor Rockefeller.
Many of the files include Hinman's "memorandum for files," which are his notations on individuals, telephone conversations with political operatives, or meeting notes from an encounter with the individual. Many prominent political individuals are represented here, including United States Senator and 1964 Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater; New York City Mayor John Lindsay; President Richard Nixon; Michigan Governor George Romney; and Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton.
Sub-subseries 2, State Files and Summaries, 1960-1970, 7.6 cu. ft.
The state files consist of letters from individuals arranged by state. There is some duplication of correspondence from the general correspondence between the state files and the general correspondence files in Sub-subseries 1 (above).
In addition to correspondence, the State Files also contain "trip books" which were prepared by Hinman in advance of a political visit by Governor Rockefeller. The majority of the State Files also contain copies of pages from the Congressional Quarterly that denote races in states around the country as well as political notes from that state. The notes contain frequent updates as Hinman interacted with prominent state individuals. The Summaries contain information gathered by Hinman and his staff.
Sub-subseries 3, Talent Files, 1960-1970, 0.6 cu. ft.
This small sub-subseries contains an alphabetically arranged file of individuals who were recommended to serve on Governor Rockefeller's staff. Some of the individuals sought positions by sending resumes and letters of interest to Hinman, while others were recommended by other members of Governor Rockefeller's staff or friends of Hinman.
Sub-subseries 4, Memos, 1959-1970, 1 cu. ft.
This sub-subseries contains a chronological series of memoranda sent to Governor Rockefeller by Hinman. The memos are entirely political in nature and deal with Governor Rockefeller's political status nationwide. Hinman indicated that many of the memos were "personal and confidential" and were to be viewed only by the Governor. They contain specific mentions of political rivals and strategies that could be implemented in future political campaigns.
Sub-subseries 5, Personal Correspondence, 1960-1968, 1.5 cu. ft.
This alphabetically arranged materials contains primarily political material collected by Hinman in his role as both Republican National Committeeman and chief political advisor to Governor Rockefeller.
Subseries 3, Oscar M. Ruebhausen Files, 1967-1970, 3.2 cu. ft.
This subseries contains a portion of the files of Oscar M. Ruebhausen that were created primarily during Ruebhausen's service as head of DNA, a research organization for Nelson Rockefeller that Ruebhausen led during Rockefeller's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968. Some of the materials also cover Rockefeller's gubernatorial reelection campaign in 1970. The majority of these documents may also be found in other series of Rockefeller's papers, specifically the DNA and Issue Books series.
This series is organized in four sub-subseries:
This alphabetically arranged material consists of files created by the research staff of DNA for the 1968 presidential campaign. Included are reports and position papers as well as memoranda and correspondence with people outside the campaign offering expert advice on issues.
Sub-subseries 2, NAR Political, 1968, 0.6 cu. ft.
These files date primarily from May through July 1968, when Rockefeller was actively pursuing the Republican presidential nomination. They contain a variety of political information and advice given to Ruebhausen in his role as head of DNA or offered directly to Rockefeller, either by or through Ruebhausen. Of particular interest in this subseries are memoranda on how Rockefeller might proceed to win the general election if he successfully gained the Republican nomination.
Sub-subseries 3, OMR General, 1968, 0.4 cu. ft.
This small sub-subseries contains office memoranda and correspondence concerning Ruebhausen's tenure as head of DNA in 1968.
Sub-subseries 4, Notebooks and Reports, 1967-1970, 1.2 cu. ft.
This subseries consists of materials accumulated by DNA staff and the Answer Desk, a research group headed by Graham Molitor to assist with the presidential campaign. Also included in this series are two general issues polls of New York voters undertaken prior to the 1970 gubernatorial reelection.
This general correspondence file offers further documentation of Rockefeller's vast business, civic, governmental, philanthropic, cultural, and social activities. Major files include Dartmouth College, Committee on Economic Development; Council for Inter-American Cooperation; Council on Foreign Relations; Institute for International Social Research; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Primitive Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; National Conference of Christians and Jews; Pan American Union (Organization of the American States); Rockefeller Center; United Jewish Appeal; United Nations; United States Council on International Economic Policy; United States Government; University of the Andes Foundation; Victory Clothing Drive for Overseas Relief; and Westchester County Board of Health.
Series M. Post Vice-Presidential Speeches, 1977-1979, 1.6 cu. ft.
These speech files were maintained by Hugh Morrow, a long-time associate of Governor Rockefeller, and offer an excellent record of the last two years of Rockefeller's life.
Series O. Washington D.C. Files, 1940-1958-1969-1970, 136 cu. ft.
This series documents Rockefeller's service to the federal government in ten presidential appointments. It is organized into the following subseries:
In this position Rockefeller was responsible for the strategic defense of Latin America through work in the information, economic, health, sanitation, agricultural, transportation and cultural fields. The subseries includes 61 motion pictures produced for the Coordinator's Office.
Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs, 1944-1945, 2 cu. ft.
Topics addressed in this file include the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, Mexico City, February 1945, and the United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco, April 1945.
Inter-American Development Commission and Corporation, 1940-1947, 0.8 cu. ft.
Rockefeller was chairman of this international organization established to reorganize Latin American economies following the loss of European markets with the outbreak of World War II.
International Development Advisory Board, 1950-1951, 8.4 cu. ft.
Rockefeller chaired this board, charged with developing a plan for implementing President Harry S. Truman's Point IV program.
Reorganization Advisory Committee
Special Committee on Government Organization
President's Advisory Committee on Government Organization. 1952-1958, 14.8 cu. ft.
President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Rockefeller to chair a committee to study the executive branch of the federal government and recommend improvements. The committee, whose other two members were Milton Eisenhower and Arthur Flemming, was known progressively by the three names above. It recommended thirteen major reorganization plans, ten of which were approved by Congress. One of the plans resulted in the creation of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Also included are records of Rockefeller's chairmanship of the Special Committee on the Reorganization of the Defense Department in 1953.
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1953-1954, 16.8 cu. ft.
As Under Secretary of this department, Rockefeller was especially active in the department's legislative program, recommending measures that greatly expanded the coverage of the Social Security program.
Special Assistant to the President for Foreign Affairs, 1954-1955, 14.4 cu. ft.
In this position Rockefeller played a key role in developing the "Open Skies" policy and accompanied President Eisenhower to the Four Powers Conference in Geneva in 1955.
Presidential Mission to Latin America, 1969, 39 cu. ft.
At the request of President Richard M. Nixon, Rockefeller and a team of 23 advisors visited 20 American republics to solicit opinions of U.S. inter-American policies and to determine the needs and conditions of each country.
Series P. Ann C. Whitman, Politics, 1958-1973, 10 cu. ft.
Series Q. Hugh Morrow Interviews, 1977-1980. 1.2 cubic feet
This series is arranged in two subseries:
Search All Collection Guides