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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.
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Office of the Messrs. Rockefeller records

Date: 1858-1981, Bulk: 1879-1961

Extent: 755.7 cu. ft.

Access: Open for scholarly access, with select materials restricted. Material related to living members of the Rockefeller family is not available for research, with the exception of records related to David Rockefeller.

Language of Materials: English

Arrangement: Consists of the following OPEN Series and Collections

  • Series A: John D. Rockefeller, Sr., 1819-1968, Bulk: 1910-1931, 33.5 cu. ft. (FA310)
  • Series C: Business Interests, 1886-1961, 62 cu. ft. (FA312)
  • Series D: Civic Interests, 1899-1961, 23.75 cu. ft. (FA313)
  • Series E: Cultural Interests, 1888-1963, 78 cu. ft. (FA314)
  • Series F: Economic Reform Interests, 1894-1961, 12.3 cu. ft. (FA315)
  • Series G: Educational Interests, 1896-1931, 60 cu. ft. (FA316)
  • Series H: Friends and Services, 1897-1961, 82 cu. ft. (FA317)
  • Series I: Homes, 1885-1961, 98 cu. ft. (FA318)
  • Series J: Housing Interests, 1896-1962, 11.4 cu. ft. (FA319)
  • Series K: Medical Interests, 1898-1961, 15.5 cu. ft. (FA320)
  • Series L: Real Estate, 1879-1961, Bulk: 1879-1945, 19.4 cu. ft. (FA321)
  • Series N: Religious Interests, 1894-1962, 45.75 cu. ft. (FA323)
  • Series O: Rockefeller Boards, 1899-1961, 24.6 cu. ft. (FA324)
  • Series P: Welfare Interests - General Files, 1897-1961, 22 cu. ft. (FA325)
  • Series Q: World Affairs, 1896-1961, 21 cu. ft. (FA326)
  • Series R: Welfare Interests – Youth, 1897-1961, 22 cu. ft. (FA327)
  • Series T: Public Relations, 1858-1961, Bulk: 1879-1961, estimate: 22 cu. ft. (FA329)
  • Series Z: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Personal, 1858-1961, Bulk: 1879-1961, 36.5 cu. ft. (FA335)
  • Series AA: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, 1858-1957, Bulk: 1920-1948, 18.5 cu. ft. (FA336)
  • Series AC: Abby Rockefeller Mauzé, 1905-1975, 2.5 cu. ft.(FA337)
  • Series AD: Winthrop Rockefeller, 1912-1976, 4 cu. ft. (FA403)
  • Series AE: Laurance S. Rockefeller, 1878-1972, 21 cu. ft. (FA433, now RG 2 of the LSR papers)
  • Series AF: David Rockefeller, 1918-1981, 20 cu. ft. (FA436, now RG 2 of the DR papers)
  • Maps and Flat Files (FA465)

Scope: 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 D. 3rd, Nelson A., Laurance S., Winthrop, and David, into the world of business, philanthropy, civic leadership, and politics as they joined the office.

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

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

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

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. Abby (1874-1948), John D. 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.

The Office of the Messrs. Rockefeller was the name given the Rockefeller family office in the period following the Second World War, when John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s sons returned from service to assume an increasing role in family business and philanthropic endeavors, even as they were pursuing their own careers and interests. The office provided family members with a range of services from routine office support (office space, staffing, purchasing, payroll and accounting, travel, security) to specialized investment and philanthropic advising, legal counsel, and a public relations staff.

To support their broad activity – a 1951 list of the family's associations detailed more than seventy organizations in which the five Rockefeller brothers actively participated in a business or philanthropic capacity – the family had long relied on a system of associates who worked with individual family members and provided specialized assistance and advice. The Rockefeller family office was originally located at 26 Broadway in the Standard Oil Building, but it moved to Rockefeller Center when the RCA Building opened in the fall of 1933. The family office occupied the 56th floor (and eventually the 54th and 55th floors) of the RCA Building, and was often known as Room 5600. Rockefeller philanthropies such as the American Conservation Association or the Rockefeller Brothers Fund also operated out of the family office space, and many affiliated businesses (such as Eastern Air Lines and eventually Rockresorts, Inc.) were neighboring Rockefeller Center tenants.

Series A: John D. Rockefeller, Sr., 1819-1968, Bulk: 1910-1931, 33.5 cu. ft. (FA310)

Arrangement: Alphabetical by subject.

Scope: Consists of all material relating to John D. Rockefeller that could not be placed in the John D. Rockefeller papers (FA002) due to limitations of date and type of material. Of special interest are the correspondence files, including those related to boards, the Rockefeller family, and investments; and the files on the Forest Hill, Golf House, and Pocantico Hills properties.

Series C: Business Interests, 1886-1961, 62 cu. ft. (FA312)

Arrangement: Arranged by investment area, including:

  • Platt-LePage Aircraft Company
  • Airlines
  • American Linseed Company
  • American Anglo Transvaal Company
  • Banks
  • Chase Safe Deposit Company
  • Bright Matter
  • China Industries Inc.
  • Collins Brown Press
  • Colorado Fuel & Iron Company
  • Companies
  • Everett Timber and Investment Company
  • Fairway Farms Corporation
  • Filatures et Tissages Africains
  • International Business Machines, Inc. (IBM)
  • Insurance
  • Marion Fruit Company
  • Marston and Company
  • Minnesota Iron Mines
  • New Furniture, Inc.
  • Rockefeller Brothers, Inc. (RBI)
  • Rockefeller Center, Inc. (RCI)
  • Rockefeller Plaza, Inc.
  • South America and Africa
  • Standard Oil Companies
  • Turck and Company - Special Services
  • United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel)

Scope: The Business Interest series documents the Rockefeller family's investments and financial involvement in a variety of industries, companies, and geographic areas, including banks, oil, iron mining, timber, railroads, Rockefeller Center, and South America.

The series contains correspondence between members of the Rockefeller family, Room 5600, and officers and employees of the various companies and industries. The correspondence concerns all manner of management, policy and financial decisions regarding the various investments.

The family members who figure most prominently in the papers are John D. Rockefeller, Sr., John D. Rockefeller, Jr., John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Laurance S. Rockefeller, and David Rockefeller.

Series D: Civic Interests, 1899-1961, 23.75 cu. ft. (FA313)


Arranged alphabetical according to civic area. Areas of interest include:

American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology; Association of the Bar; Bureau of Municipal Research; Citizens Union of the City of New York; Citizens Budget Commission; Civic Leagues; Civil Service Reform Association; National Civil Service League; Constitutional League of America; Democracy; Fire Companies; Grand Army of the Republic; Highways; Juries; League of Women Voters; Mayor's Committee; New York City and New York State; People's Institute; Pocantico Hills (NY) Lyceum; Hope Chapel Community House, Tarrytown (NY); Police; Political Organizations; Russell Sage Foundation; Regional Planning Association Research; Tarrytown (NY) Projects; United States Government; Westchester County (NY) Charter; Westchester County (NY) Research Bureau; Westchester County (NY) Organizations.

Scope: 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., and 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; with files on specific candidates also available 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, however, very little material exists 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.

Civic involvement of a different nature is also to be found in this series. The family's concern for an involvement with the problems and organizations of Tarrytown, Westchester County, and New York City constitute a large portion of this series. These are primarily relationships with local fire departments, grand juries, transportation departments, and police.

Finally, Nelson Rockefeller's service in the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John D. Rockefeller 3rd's participation in the Japanese Peace Treaty negotiations in 1951 are included in this series.

Series E: Cultural Interests, 1888-1963, 78 cu. ft. (FA314)

Arrangement: Primarily alphabetical according to cultural area. Areas of interest include:

  • Chautauqua Institute
  • Libraries
  • Memorials
  • Motion Pictures
  • Museums
  • Music
  • Organizations and Parks
  • Palisades Interstate Park
  • New York Plant, Flower, and Fruit Guild
  • Radio and Television
  • Restorations
  • Chinese Restorations
  • French Restorations
  • Colonial Williamsburg
  • Theatre
  • Raymond B. Fosdick
  • Miscellaneous

Scope: Documents the Rockefeller family's involvement and contributions in the areas of the arts, museums, parks, and historic restorations. The series contains correspondence between members of the Rockefeller family and the Family Office Staff on the one hand, and officials and members of the various institutions and organizations on the other. Most of the material concerns unsolicited appeals for donations. Some members of the family were also members of or were active in several of the organizations, and some of the correspondence reflects this activity.

The family members who figure most prominently in this series are John D. Rockefeller Jr., John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Laurance S. Rockefeller, and David Rockefeller. John D. Rockefeller Sr., Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Winthrop Rockefeller, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé, Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller, Mary French Rockefeller, Margaret (Peggy) McGrath Rockefeller, and Martha Baird Rockefeller also appear.

The Colonial Williamsburg section of the Cultural Interests series comprises 29 manuscript boxes of material covering the years 1926-1961. While this section does not cover all aspects of the restoration from the initiation of the idea in 1926 through John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s death in 1960, most major facets of this massive project are included. The main focus of this material is on John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s participation in the origin and development of the idea of restoring the Tidewater city to its authentic mid-eighteenth-century condition. There are folders for each of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s gifts, which totaled over $450 million by 1960. The financial history of the restoration can be traced through a series of Treasurer's reports, operating budgets, and annual reports, as well as memoranda between John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Kenneth Chorley, Carlisle Humelsine, Vernon Geddy, and John D. Rockefeller 3rd.

The quality and inclusiveness of the documentary material drops sharply after 1954, as a consequence of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s increasing age, the retirement of Kenneth Chorley, the modest financial success of the restoration, and the resignation of John D. Rockefeller 3rd from the Chairmanship. This last event provides an interesting counterpoint to the main theme of the Colonial Williamsburg files and one fully covered by the documents included here. John D. Rockefeller 3rd supported his father's efforts to complete the historical restoration, but he also hoped to use Williamsburg for broader educational and less antiquarian purposes. During the entire period of his tenure as Chairman (1939-1953), but especially during the years 1948-1952, he sought to convince his father and fellow trustees that Williamsburg could play a central role in the effort to revitalize American democracy and to remind the country of its political and economic heritage. John D. Rockefeller 3rd's resignation stemmed from John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s growing reluctance to see any resources diverted from the central objective of restoring Williamsburg.

Series F: Economic Reform Interests, 1894-1961, 12.3 cu. ft. (FA315)

Arrangement: Arranged in 10 primary areas as follows: American International Association for Economic and Social Development (AIA); Bonus and Profit Sharing Plans; Chamber of Commerce; Employment Agencies; Industrial Questions; Industrial Relations Counselors; Unemployment and Economic Planning; U.S. Industrial Commission, 1914-1915; New York World's Fair, 1939; and National Trade Policy.

Scope: Documents the Rockefeller family's interest (primarily that of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.) with the topics of industrial reform, unionization and development in the non-industrialized world.

Series G: Educational Interests, 1896-1931, 60 cu. ft. (FA316)

Arrangement: Arranged by area of interest as follows:

Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences; Carnegie Boards; Chinese Mass Education Movement; Educational Organizations; George Junior Republic; Scholarships for Foreign Post-Graduate Students; International House; National Kindergarten Association; Fringe Benefits Organizations; Schools; Colleges; Foreign Colleges; John D. Rockefeller 3rd - Population Council; Rockefeller Public Service Awards; and Donald McLean's File - India International House.

Scope: 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.

Activities of other family members documented here include: John D. Rockefeller, Sr., John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Laurance S. Rockefeller, and Winthrop Rockefeller.

Series H: Friends and Services, 1897-1961, 82 cu. ft. (FA317)

Arrangement: Arranged in 20 areas of interest as follows: Biography; Cemeteries; Chandler and Rudd; Clubs; Dancing; Detectives; Doctors; Donations; Friends and Relations; Horses, Stables, and Garages; Office; Portraits; Publicity; Taxes; Requests for Photos of Art Objects; Washington, D.C. Appeals; Form Letters; Foreign Mail; Family of Alta Rockefeller Prentice; Miscellaneous File.

Access: The Doctors portion of this series contains personally confidential information and is restricted from scholarly access.

Scope: The Friends and Services series is primarily John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s personal correspondence with his friends and relations. Other files document a variety of support, service, and administrative activities such as the operation of the Family office (Room 5600), family membership in social clubs, family doctors, management of family garages and stables, and arrangement for the biographies of John D. Rockefeller and John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

The series contains correspondence between members of the Rockefeller family and the Family Office and friends, relatives, employees, and associates. The correspondence deals with a wide variety of topics. The family members who figure most prominently are John D. Rockefeller, Jr., John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Laurance S. Rockefeller, Winthrop Rockefeller, David Rockefeller, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Martha Baird Rockefeller, Edith Rockefeller McCormick and members of her family, and Alta Rockefeller Prentice and members of her family.

Series I: Homes, 1885-1961, 98 cu. ft. (FA318)

Arrangement: Primarily arranged by property as follows:

Transfer of Property; Florida Property; Lakewood Property, NJ; 740 Park Avenue Apartment, NYC; Richford Property, NY; Pocantico Hills, NY; Seal Harbor, ME; 10 West 54th Street, NYC; 4 West 54th Street, NYC; 12 West 54th Street, NYC; One Beekman Place, NYC; Hills Realty Company, Inc.; and House Books. Some oversized material has been separated and placed at the end of the collection.

Scope: Documents the management of four of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.'s and John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s estates and their New York City homes. The estates are Ormond Beach, Florida; Lakewood, New Jersey; Pocantico Hills, New York; and Seal Harbor, Maine. The New York City homes are 4, 10, and 12 West 54th Street and the apartment at 740 Park Avenue. There is also information regarding John D. Rockefeller 3rd's apartment at One Beekman Place. Most of the material deals with property purchases, employees, the construction of homes, out buildings, and private roads, relations with neighbors and local communities, the contents of the houses (particularly art collections), and the general maintenance and operation of the various homes. The correspondence is between members of the Rockefeller family, Room 5600, and estate managers, employees, contractors, real estate agents, neighbors, members of the various communities, and art dealers on the other.

Apart from documentation of the the specific properties, the Richford section contains information on the purchase of the site of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.'s birthplace and surrounding property in the 1920s to prevent its commercial exploitation. The Transfer of Property section concerns the transfer of ownership of the various estates from John D. Rockefeller, Sr. to his son John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and the distribution of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.'s personal effects after his death. The House Books are listings and descriptions of the contents of the various houses. These lists also include the contents of Bassett Hall at Williamsburg, Virginia, and John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s office at Room 5600. Also included in these books are distributions of the personal effects of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and Martha Baird Rockefeller after their respective deaths.

Aside from offering an insight into the management of the family estates and homes, this series also illustrates John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s personal interests in the conservation of land and wildlife and in collecting Chinese porcelains and other art objects. The series also gives many examples of the attention he gave to the details in every affair he handled.

Rockefeller family members who figure prominently are John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and John D. Rockefeller 3rd. John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Winthrop Rockefeller, Laurance S. Rockefeller, and David Rockefeller also appear. Of the Rockefeller family advisors who appear, Robert W. Gumbel and Charles O. Heydt are the most prominent.

Series J: Housing Interests, 1896-1962, 11.4 cu. ft. (FA319)

Arrangement: By Property.

Scope: The bulk of the material relates to John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s activities in the housing field during the 1920s and 1930s. Significant portions of the material detail the interests of Mr. Rockefeller, Sr. in Cleveland and New York City, and David Rockefeller in the Morningside Heights project.

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.

Series K: Medical Interests, 1898-1961, 15.5 cu. ft. (FA320)

Arrangement: Arranged in 12 medical areas of interest as follows:

Birth Control; Cancer; Health Agencies; Mental Hygiene; Narcotics; New York Academy of Medicine; Polio; Social Hygiene; Tuberculosis; Hospitals; Social Medicine; and Health Insurance Plan.

Scope: 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.

Series L: Real Estate, 1879-1961, Bulk: 1879-1945, 19.4 cu. ft. (FA321)

Scope: The Real Estate Interests series primarily documents the activities of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in New York City and Cleveland.

The material includes routine papers and correspondence for the purchase, maintenance, and sale of property. Purchases of land for gifts to the Rockefeller Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and parks, including Fort Tryon, are documented here.

The series includes correspondence of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Charles O. Heydt, and Thomas M. Debevoise. There is a small amount of material concerning John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Nelson A. Rockefeller, Laurance S. Rockefeller, John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Winthrop Rockefeller, and David Rockefeller.

Series N: Religious Interests, 1894-1962, 45.75 cu. ft. (FA323)

Arrangement: The series is divided into twenty sections, 11 of which are for specific churches, organizations, or movements, with separated legal size material placed at the end of the series. The sections are as follows:

  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

Scope: 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.

Series O: Rockefeller Boards, 1899-1961, 24.6 cu. ft. (FA324)

Arrangement: Arranged by Board, as follows:

  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. International Health Commission
  8. Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  9. Rockefeller Foundation
  10. Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now The Rockefeller University)
  11. Rockefeller Sanitary Commission
  12. Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial
  13. Spelman Fund of New York
  14. Sealantic Fund

Scope: 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.

Series P: Welfare Interests - General Files, 1894-1961, Bulk: 1920-1939, 25 cu. ft. (FA325)

Arrangement: Arranged in the following welfare areas:

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

Scope: 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.

Series Q: World Affairs, 1896-1961, 21 cu. ft. (FA326)

Arrangement: Arranged in the following subjects: Foreign Policy; Institute of Pacific Relations; National Defense; Post-War Reconstruction; Peace Plans; War Relief; and National War Fund.

Scope: 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 (including John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s gift of the site for the United Nations headquarters).

Series R: Welfare Interests – Youth, 1897-1961, 22 cu. ft. (FA327)

Arrangement: Arranged in the following subjects:

Boy Scouts of America; Girls Scouts of America; Boy Rangers of America; Camp Fire Girls; Girls' Service League of America; Women's Hotel Company; Playground and Recreation Associations; Child Welfare Youth Organizations; Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA); Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA); and Young Women's Hebrew Association.

Scope: 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.

Series T: Public Relations, 1858-1961, Bulk: 1879-1961, estimate 22 cu. ft. (FA329)

Arrangement: Primarily arranged as received.

Scope: Contains press releases, news summaries, periodicals, magazine articles and other published materials.

Series Z: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Personal, 1858-1961, 36.5 cu. ft. (FA335)

This series includes material related to the personal life of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. While the bulk of the Office of Messrs. Rockefeller records concern the establishment and operation of JDR Jr.'s 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: JDR, Jr., Personal Papers is arranged in nine subseries:

  1. Correspondence
  2. Personal Papers
  3. Benevolence Records
  4. Death of JDR, Jr.
  5. Biographical Works
  6. Rare Books
  7. Financial records (Restricted from scholarly access)
  8. Speeches
  9. Scrapbooks
  10. Trusts (Restricted from scholarly access)
  11. Audiovisual materials

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

The JDR Jr personal papers also include memorabilia.

Biographical Sketch of JDR, Jr.

Subseries 1, Correspondence, 1881-1961, 4.5 cu. ft.

Scope: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:Arranged in four subseries, each further arranged alphabetically by correspondent or chronologically:

  • Personal Correspondence
  • Office Correspondence
  • Letterbooks (compiled by Raymond B. Fosdick and arranged by subject)
  • Special Letter File

The Special Letter File was created and maintained by JDR Jr's office staff, and 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)

Subseries 2, Personal Papers, 1878-1960, 1974, 15.5 cu. ft.

Access: Many items are fragile and may be closed to research at the discretion of RAC.

Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically by subject or type of material.

Generally organized in two sections, foreign travel records and United States travel records. Thereunder, records are arranged chronologically by trip.

Scope: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. Subseries 2 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 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.

Subseries 3, Benevolence Records, 1925-1959, 1 cu. ft.

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

Scope:Contains memoranda and reports detailing JDR, Jr.'s charitable contributions. It serves as a useful overview of his charitable giving between 1910 and 1959. Located here is the 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.

Subseries 4, Death of JDR, Jr. 1939, 1949-1961, 1.76 cu. ft.

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

Scope:Contains condolences, estate and disposition records, and publicity files including condolences received by JDR, 3rd, Winthrop Rockefeller, and JDR, Jr.'s secretary, Janet Warfield. Also contained are JDR, Jr.'s will and related correspondence concerning the disposition of his property and works of art.

Subseries 5, Biographical Works, 1949, 1952-1960, undated, 4 cu. ft.

Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically by author.

Scope: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.

Subseries 6, Rare Books, 1654, 1723, 1782, 1910, undated, 8 volumes, 3 cu. ft.

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

Scope:This subseries contains works presented to JDR, Jr. by his mother or by dignitaries. Of special interest is the original bound manuscript of Aspilogia, (undated), 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.

Subseries 8, Speeches, 1891-1958, 3.5 cu. ft.

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

Each speech is assigned to one of the following 10 subject areas: Brotherhood, Education, Fund, Labor, Personal, Religion, Restoration, Social Welfare, Stewardship, Tribute.

Subject areas were assigned by the General Files staff and the processing archivist.

Other information in each entry includes: Title (assigned by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.), Institution (or group to whom the speech was given), Occasion (reason for the speech), Place (geographic location), Format (includes handwritten outline, typed, magazine article, printed pamphlet).

Scope: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. became well known for his Bible class lessons. Speeches demonstrate his theological classes first took place (1894) at the YMCA when JDR Jr. was a student at Brown University. After graduation from Brown, JDR Jr. became affiliated with his father at 26 Broadway, New York City. He participated actively as a member of the Fifth Avenue Baptist Church, and there, for a period of 10 years, conducted a Young Man's Bible Class. A number of these Bible class lessons are included in the speech file. A majority of the speeches he delivered throughout his life echo the religious themes he developed during his years as a Bible class teacher.

JDR Jr. gradually eased out of much of the family business and turned his attention and dedication to philanthropic endeavors. The speech file richly reveals the causes JDR Jr. espoused. His keen interest in the arts prompted such undertakings as the erection of The Cloisters and Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller contributions, under the direction of JDR Jr., formed the basis for the restoration projects of Williamsburg, Virginia, and several historic properties in Westchester County, New York. JDR Jr.'s interest in historical preservation extended beyond the United States. He became deeply involved in the restoration projects of the Palace of Versailles, Fontainebleau, and the cathedral of Rheims.

JDR Jr. was a key supporter, during both world wars, of service organizations that would benefit and build morale among the United States servicemen. A number of speeches reflect this interest.

As chairman of the General Education Board and the International Education Board, education was a prime source of interest to JDR Jr. He sought the betterment of men and women through education both in the United States and abroad. Most prominent in the speech subseries is JDR Jr.'s work on behalf of the United Negro College Fund Campaign and the establishment of the Peking Union Medical College.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. firmly believed in promoting greater understanding between labor and capital. He, with the able guidance of Mackenzie King, sought to establish workable partnerships between labor and capital. The speech file contains many of the speeches he delivered on this subject.

Subseries 9, Scrapbooks, 1895-1960, 22 volumes.

Access: Scholarly access is provided to the microfilm. The original scrapbooks are restricted due to preservation concerns.

Scope: Contain newspaper clippings for the years 1895 to 1960.

Arrangement:Arranged chronologically. There is a subject index for each scrapbook.

Subseries 11, Audiovisual Materials, approximately 4.5 cu. ft.

Access: All inquiries to view films require advanced notice of at least 24 hours, and may necessitate notice of up to one week. Individual items, including those not available in modern formats, may be restricted from scholarly access at the discretion of RAC.

Arrangement: Alphabetical.


Series 3: John D. Rockefeller, Jr (Object 2001-2140) (FA437)

Scope: Contents include medals, certificates, awards, artwork, textiles, plaques, photographs and assorted realia, including campaign materials. Individual memorabilia items have each been assigned a unique object number. The JDR Jr. items span objects 2001-2140.

Access: All inquiries to view memorabilia items require permission from RAC, and advanced notice of up to one week. Individual items may be restricted from scholarly access at the discretion of RAC.

Series AA: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, 1858-1957, Bulk: 1920-1948, 18.5 cu. ft. (FA336)

Arrangement: Arranged in eight subseries (detailed below):

  1. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller correspondence
  2. Personal papers
  3. Art collections
  4. Philanthropy files
  5. Aldrich/Greene family papers
  6. Death of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller
  7. Chase Biography files
  8. Family correspondence

Biographical Sketch:

Abby Greene Aldrich Rockefeller was born in Providence, Rhode Island on October 26, 1874, the fourth child of Abby Pearce Chapman (1845-1917) and Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich (1841-1915). Nelson Aldrich rose from the position of bookkeeper in a wholesale grocery firm to become a member of the State House of Representatives; he was Speaker of the House from 1876 to 1877. From 1881 to 1911, he served as United States Senator from Rhode Island. In 1899, he was elevated to the chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee, an appointment he held until his retirement in 1911. The family maintained homes in Providence, Warwick Neck, and Washington.

Abby Rockefeller received her early education from Quaker governesses. At seventeen, she began attending Miss Abbott's School for Young Ladies in Providence, where her courses included English composition and literature, French, German, art history and ancient history, gymnastics, and dancing. She graduated in 1893 and made her debut the following November. On June 30, 1894, she sailed for Liverpool, inaugurating a lifetime of European travel. The aesthetic education she received abroad, fostered initially by her father, helped to form her judgment as an art collector. Her first four-month sojourn included stays in England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and France.

In the fall of 1894 at the Providence home of a classmate, Abby met John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874-1960), son of the founder of Standard Oil Company, who was then a sophomore at Brown University. After a lengthy courtship, they married on October 9, 1901. They had six children: Abby (1903-1976), John Davison, 3rd (1906-1978), Nelson Aldrich (1908-1979), Laurance Spelman (1910-2004), Winthrop (1912-1973), and David (1915- ). The Rockefellers lived at No. 10 W. 54th Street from 1901 to 1938, when they moved to an apartment at 740 Park Avenue. They had homes at Pocantico Hills, New York; Seal Harbor, Maine; and Williamsburg, Virginia, and were active members of these communities.

When the United States entered World War I, Mrs. Rockefeller's charitable and philanthropic activities began in earnest. From 1917 to 1919, Mrs. Rockefeller served as Chairman of Auxiliary 336 of the American Red Cross, completely financing its work. Quarters at No. 4 W. 54th Street were dedicated to preparing thousands of "comfort bags" for shipment through the YWCA-YMCA Navy League and Army and Navy Debarkation hospitals to the fighting fronts in Russia, Italy, and France.

In 1917, Mrs. Rockefeller became chairman of the newly created Housing Committee of the War Work Council of the National Board of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). Her report, "Suggestions for Housing Women War Workers" (1918), prompted the federal government to enact building standards for the housing of women at industrial sites, based on the experience of 200 YWCA boarding houses. Mrs. Rockefeller's interest in securing quality housing for working people led her in 1917 to chair the Grace Dodge Hotel Committee of the YWCA. Overcrowded housing conditions in Washington, D.C., resulting from the influx of women war workers, had necessitated immediate relief. The Grace Dodge Hotel for women opened in 1921. Mrs. Rockefeller closely monitored the hotel's design and operation until 1937. She was one of the earliest champions of hotels for women.

In 1919, Mrs. Rockefeller became interested in the living conditions of the employees of the Bayway Refinery of Standard Oil, located in the Bayway section of Elizabeth, New Jersey. John D. Rockefeller purchased six lots of land and deeded them to Mrs. Rockefeller for the construction of Bayway Cottage, a model workers' home. In 1928, the cottage was expanded and renamed Bayway Community House; the House was incorporated in 1937 as the Bayway Community Center. By 1943, some 4,000 families were using the Center and its clinics, gyms, nursery schools, bowling alleys, and meeting rooms. Over a twenty-year period, Mrs. Rockefeller's contributions amounted to $200,000.

With the founding of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in May 1929, the scope of Abby Rockefeller's philanthropy widened dramatically. Her aesthetic insight and administrative and personal skills now found their fullest application, and she gained a permanent home for her personal collection of modern art.

Although the idea of establishing a museum dedicated to fostering modern art had been floating about since the celebrated Armory Show of 1913, it was not until Abby Rockefeller began to solicit the advice of her own friends during the winter of 1928-1929 that the idea moved towards realization. Conversations with Lillie P. Bliss, patroness of the painter Arthur B. Davies, and Mary Quinn Sullivan, a collector, led to a meeting in May 1929 at which the three women invited A. Conger Goodyear to chair a museum organizing committee. In July, the young Alfred H. Barr, Jr. was appointed director. A seven-member Board of Trustees was elected in October 1929 and included Abby Rockefeller, Lillie Bliss, Mary Quinn Sullivan, A. Conger Goodyear, Frank Crowninshield (editor of Vanity Fair magazine), Mrs. W. Murray Crane (a supporter of the experimental Dalton School), and Paul J. Sachs (Professor of Fine Arts at Harvard).

Mrs. Rockefeller held several positions at the Museum from 1929 to 1945. From 1929 to 1934, she served as museum Treasurer. From 1934 to 1936, and again from January to May 1939, she held the post of First Vice President. During the war years, from December 1941 until November 1945, she served as First Vice Chairman. Mrs. Rockefeller was a member of several committees of the Board of Trustees. She served on the Executive Committee (1930-1945), chairing that committee in 1936. She was a member of the Fine Art Committee from 1930 to 1934 and of the Exhibitions Committee from 1930 to 1939. She promoted the establishment in 1935 of a Film Library. With Stephen C. Clark and Kenneth Chorley, she organized the War Veterans' Art Center in 1944, which offered art classes to disabled veterans until 1948.

Mrs. Rockefeller's first gift to the new museum was an oil by Bernard Karfiol. Her largest gift, and the largest since the 1934 Bliss bequest, came in 1935 with her presentation of 181 paintings and drawings. This represented practically her entire collection of modern art, gathered over the preceding ten years, and comprised the work of seventy-one American and foreign artists. In 1936, Mrs. Rockefeller gave the museum its first formal purchase funds; these were augmented in 1938 by another gift and increased by half by Nelson A. Rockefeller in his mother's name. The 1938 fund, named the Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr. Purchase Fund, was unrestricted. In 1949, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Print Room opened at MoMA, housing Abby's gift of sixteen hundred prints, which had been given nine years earlier.

In addition to her gifts to the Museum of Modern Art, Abby Rockefeller gave substantially to other museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Cloisters, which received much of her collection of sculpture and decorative arts; the Rhode Island School of Design, which received her collection of Japanese prints; and the Ludwell-Paradise House at Colonial Williamsburg, which in 1939 received her entire collection of American folk art, collected since 1931.

Mrs. Rockefeller's numerous church activities included service as Vice President of the Women's Bible Class at the 5th Avenue Baptist Church and Honorary Vice President of the Women's Society of Riverside Church. She was a member of the Building Committee of International House, Chairman of the Decorating Committee and one of its trustees. She was a charter member of the Cosmopolitan Club and a member of the Colony Club, the Women's City Club, the National Society of Colonial Dames, the Women's National Republican Club, the Faculty Club of Harvard University, the Mayflower Descendants, and the Garden Club of America, among others.

Abby Rockefeller died April 5, 1948 at her New York apartment.


Subseries 1: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller correspondence, 1882-1957, Bulk: 1920-1948, 4 cu. ft.

Contains the bulk of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller's personal and professional correspondence. Letters have been filed alphabetically by correspondent. Major correspondents include Abby's sister, Lucy Truman Aldrich, with whom Abby corresponded at length for thirty years; siblings Nelson, Edward, Stuart, William, Richard, Winthrop, and Elsie; and her six children: Abby (Babs), John Davison 3rd, Nelson, Laurance, Winthrop, and David. For what survives of Abby's letters to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., consult the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Papers (Series Z of the Office of the Messrs. Rockefeller records).

Abby's correspondence with her brothers (Elsie Aldrich is not a primary correspondent) fills six folders. Letters reveal the friendly rapport and mutual respect that obtained between the Aldrich siblings. They also provide information on Abby's occasional anonymous donations to projects in Boston and Providence for which her brothers sought her support. William, who was an architect in Boston, shared Abby's aesthetic interests and often recommended to her the purchase of paintings and furniture.

Among her children, Abby wrote most frequently to Winthrop Rockefeller, especially during the years of his army service (1941-1945) in World War II. Letters (1916-1948) from Babs to her mother include passionate appeals to return home from summer camp and accounts of sightseeing in Europe in 1920-1921 with her aunt, Lucy Truman Aldrich.

There are thirteen letters (1887-1909, undated) to Abby from her mother, Abby Pearce Chapman Aldrich. In a letter dated 8 March 1897, Mrs. Aldrich advises against a visit to New York, in case "Mamma Rockaffller...think you are chasing her son." Abby's letters to her mother are located in Series V. There are thirteen letters (1887-1914, undated) to Abby from her father, Nelson W. Aldrich. Some are brief notes enclosed with checks; others display a rare sensitivity. Writing in the 1890s to his now teen-age daughter, the Senator acknowledges impending changes: "Your letter reminds me that very soon I shall not be able to deal with you as a little girl to be disposed of without consultation but that you will have to be treated with as a young lady, with wants and demands."

Other correspondents include Italian Bernard Berenson, writing in 1927 from I Tatti; archaeologist James Henry Breasted, describing the recently unearthed tomb of King Tutankhamen; landscape architect Beatrice Farrand, and painters Henri Matisse (two letters, 1932, 1933), Georgia O'Keefe, Walter Pach, and Peter Blume. Letters (1929-1937) from Eustache de Lorey of the Institut Francais D'Archeologie et d'Art Musulmans discuss recent exhibitions, various pieces of Persian and Indian art, and modern pictures de Lorey envisioned for the Museum of Modern Art.

Also housed here are twenty-four folders of Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) correspondence (1929-1945, 1947). This is largely Abby's incoming correspondence from museum staff relating to exhibitions and loans, personnel and financial matters, the War Veterans' Art Center, and the modern movement in art. Major correspondents include Abby's financial adviser Arthur W. Packard, MoMA Director Alfred Barr, A. Conger Goodyear (President of MoMA), Monroe Wheeler (Director of Exhibitions and Publications), Stephen C. Clark (Chairman of the Board), Frances Hawkins (Secretary), James Thrall Soby (Director of Paintings and Sculpture), and John E. Abbott (Executive Vice President).

The General Office File (1909-1955), a correspondence file maintained by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s office staff, also contains information on Mrs. Rockefeller's charitable activities.

Subseries 2, Personal papers, 1883-1887, 1891-1950, 1954, 2.2 cu. ft., brings together an assortment of personal effects which were previously dispersed throughout the collection. Files are alphabetically arranged by type of material. There are two volumes of diaries kept by Abby as a young student and debutante in Providence (1892, 1893-1894); seven thick tablets recording social engagements for the years 1894-1898, 1900, and 1901; itineraries, passports, and passenger lists for European trips; invitations; wedding books; and clippings relating to Abby's marriage in 1901, the activities of her six children, and her anti-war and prohibition work.

Subseries 3, Art Collections, 1931-1956, 3.5 cu. ft., contains photograph inventories of the works of art donated, loaned, or sold by Abby Rockefeller from 1931 to 1956. Files are alphabetically arranged by subject or name of institution. Information pertaining to the original purchase or acquisition of Abby Rockefeller's paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, Japanese and Chinese prints, and American folk art is available in these albums, including provenance, dealer name, purchase price, and date of sale or gift. The verso often holds commentary by the dealer. Major gifts represented include those to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Rhode Island School of Design, Colonial Williamsburg, and other major museums such as the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Subseries 4, Philanthropy files, 1917-1953, 1957, 1.75 cu. ft., contains correspondence documenting Abby's philanthropies, especially her World War I relief work, the Y.M.C.A. Housing Committee work, the Grace Dodge Hotel, and the Bayway Community Center is housed in Subseries 4, Philanthropy Files, together with annual benevolence reports (1917-1924, 1935-1943) prepared by Arthur W. Packard. As used in this subseries, the term "contribution" generally refers to a monetary gift made to an institution or organization; the term "donation" typically refers to a monetary gift made to an individual.

Subseries 5, Aldrich and Greene Family papers, 1858-1949, .44 cu. ft. Records are alphabetically arranged by type of material. The series consists largely of the correspondence (1860-1913, and undated) received by Abby's mother, Abby Pearce Chapman Aldrich, who, though born in Preston, Connecticut, was raised by the Duty Greene family of Providence. Most of the correspondence is from the Greene and Pierce families, Providence friends, and four of her children, Lucy (1885, 1887-1902), Stuart (1885, 1887), William (1885, 1887, 1900), and Abby (1885-1913). There is one folder of correspondence from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1901- 1907, 1907-1911) and two letters from Laura Spelman Rockefeller (1901, 1903).

Subseries 6, Death of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, 1948, 1950, 1953, 1956, 3 cu. ft. Contains clippings, condolences, and publicity occasioned by Abby's death in 1948. Files are alphabetically arranged by type of material.

Subseries 7, Chase Biography files, 1948-1956, 1959, undated, 1.75 cu. ft., includes John D. Rockefeller's correspondence with Mary Ellen Chase, Abby's biographer, and with his office staff concerning arrangements for the publication and distribution of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (1950). Also present are Chase's research materials, consisting of typed excerpts of Abby's correspondence, together with the original annotated typescript.Stephen Clark's moving tribute to Abby's moral leadership of the museum during the war years is in folder 339.

Subseries 8, Family correspondence, 1915-1948, 1.75 cu. ft. The correspondence is arranged in three sections as follows: Outgoing correspondence, Incoming correspondence, and Children's Nurses correspondence.

Series AC: Abby Rockefeller Mauzé, 1905-1975, 2.5 cu. ft. (FA337)

Arrangement: Arranged in 7 subseries (detailed below):

  1. Family.
  2. Finances.
  3. Real Estate.
  4. Subject Files.
  5. Children and Grandchildren
  6. Personal Diaries.
  7. Audiovisual materials.

Biographical Sketch:

Abby Rockefeller Mauzé was born Abby Rockefeller in New York City on November 9, 1903, the first child and only daughter of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874-1960) and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (1874-1948). She soon became known as "Babs" to family and friends to differentiate her from her mother. Abby Mauzé had five brothers: John Davison Rockefeller 3rd (born 1906), Nelson Aldrich (1908), Laurance Spelman (1910), Winthrop (1912) and David (1915). She attended Brearley School and Miss Chapin's School, both located in New York City.

Along with her brothers, Mrs. Mauzé helped to carry the Rockefeller family's philanthropic tradition established by her father and grandfather. In contrast to her brothers, who became public figures, she conducted her philanthropic activities quietly.

Mrs. Mauzé was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; an advisory member of the Board of Trustees of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (a chief benefactor of the Center along with her brother, Laurance, she received its Medal of Appreciation in 1965); an honorary trustee of the Rockefeller Family Fund; and a benefactor of the Museum of Modern Art (of which her mother was a founder, and in whose affairs her brother Nelson played a major role), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Y.W.C.A., New York Hospital, the New York Zoological Society (a major interest of Laurance Rockefeller), and the Asia Society (in whose affairs John D. Rockefeller 3rd also played a major role).

In 1968 Mrs. Mauzé created the Greenacre Foundation, of which she was president, in order to maintain and operate one or more parks in New York State for the benefit of the public. In 1971, she established Greenacre Park, a small vest-pocket park and waterfall on 51st Street in Manhattan, in order to provide New Yorkers "some moments of serenity in this busy world." Laurance S. Rockefeller, a trustee of the Foundation, also played a major role in the creation of the park.

On May 14, 1925, Abby Rockefeller married David M. Milton, a lawyer and investment banker. The Miltons had two children: Mrs. George Dorr O'Neill (née Abby Milton) and Mrs. William Kelly Simpson (née Marilyn Milton). The Miltons were divorced in 1943.

Abby Rockefeller was married in 1946 to Dr. Irving H. Pardee, a neurologist, who died in 1949. On April 23, 1953 she married Jean Mauzé, senior vice president of United States Trust Company. He died in 1974.

Mrs. Mauzé died May 27, 1976, at her New York City apartment on Beekman Place.


Subseries 1, Family, contains documents on Abby Mauzé's husbands, David M. Milton, Dr. Irving H. Pardee, and Jean Mauzé, and is arranged alphabetically. Most of the material documents the life of David Milton (11 folders), including correspondence he had with John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1926-57) on subjects ranging from travels to Christmas and birthday wishes. Of the eleven folders on David Milton, two are devoted to the Equity Corporation, of which David Milton was president (mostly newspaper clippings and general correspondence). Two other folders contain materials on the Miltons' wedding (1925), including correspondence on wedding preparations, the invitation lists, and congratulatory letters.

Subseries 2, Finances, includes two folders (bulk dates 1934-1941): "General" and "Correspondence" on some of Abby Mauzé's personal investments. The "Contributions" file (1936-61) from this subseries is the only file in the collection that contains material on Mrs. Mauzé's philanthropic activities. The material represented includes correspondence, memos, and lists (1941, 1959) on cash and stock contributions to East Woods School, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York Hospital, YWCA, Population Council, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, American Red Cross, Henry Street Settlement, and the purchase of copies of Raymond B. Fosdick's biography of her father to be given to libraries and newspapers. The folder also contains correspondence on donations to political organizations in support of the Republican Party (1936-1940).

Subseries 3, Real Estate, is an alphabetically arranged series of files on the four properties that Abby Mauzé owned: a Bermuda property, Mill Neck House, property on the Pocantico Estate, and Roman Corporation - One Beekman Place. Of the thirteen folders in this series, seven are devoted to Pocantico Hills, two of which are closed. Most of the material concerning Pocantico includes property deeds, maps of the property, property assessments, and the payment of bills on work and inspections on the house.

Subseries 4, Subject Files, includes three folders of general correspondence (1905-1969). The bulk of the material in these folders consists of personal correspondence between Abby Rockefeller and her father (1914-1947) and outgoing correspondence from Robert W. Gumbel, Office Manager, who handled administrative affairs. Other materials represented in the general correspondence folders include telegrams from her parents and her brothers; a music notebook (only one page is filled); and five letters of appeal from people Mrs. Mauzé did not know. The Subject Files also document birthday and Christmas gifts from her grandfather and father (1924-1956); press and biographical material that includes partial transcripts of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller's letters to her sister, Lucy T. Aldrich, about "Babs" (1919-1932); newspaper clippings and press releases on Abby Rockefeller as a debutante (1922) and on her subsequent marriages; and ticket, visa, and customs matters for domestic or overseas trips (1938, 1940-1943).

Subseries 5, Children and Grandchildren, 1931-1961, 17 folders.

Access: The large majority of Subseries 5 is restricted from scholarly access.

Subseries 6, Personal Diaries, 1930-1975, 11 bound volumes.

Series AD: Winthrop Rockefeller papers, 1912-1976, 4 cu. ft. (FA403)

Arrangement: Arranged in the following subjects: Family and Personal; Winrock Farms; Speeches, Publications, and Publicity Materials; and Audiovisual materials

Scope: Contains a limited selection of Winthrop Rockefeller's family and personal correspondence maintained by the Rockefeller family office (Room 5600) and a variety of documents related to Winrock Farm, primarily comprised of publicity material on the annual cattle production sales. Winthrop's political career is represented by a selection of speeches he made from 1937 through 1967, as well as publications by or about Winthrop Rockefeller. The majority of these materials were generated during Winthrop's campaigns for Arkansas governor or during his governorships.

Series AE: Laurance S. Rockefeller, 1878-1972, 21 cu. ft. (FA433)

Upon its opening for research in 2013, this material was re-designated as Record Group 2 of the Laurance S. Rockefeller papers. For further details please see (FA433)

Series AF: David Rockefeller, 1918-1981, 20 cu. ft. (FA436)

Upon its opening for research in 2015, this material was re-designated as Record Group 2 of the David Rockefeller papers. For further details please see (FA436)

Maps and Flat Files (FA465)

Access: Retrieval times for maps and flat files may exceed 24 hours. Individual items may be restricted from scholarly access at the discretion of RAC.

Scope: Office of the Messrs. Rockefeller maps and flat files are available from a variety of the series including: Homes, Real Estate, Religious Interests, Rockefeller Boards, Welfare Interests – General, and the Abby Rockefeller Mauze papers.

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