The Rockefeller Archive Center
“If we assist the highest forms of education – in whatever field – we secure the widest influence in enlarging the boundaries of human knowledge.”
—John D. Rockefeller, Sr.



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Size: 107 cu. ft.

Contents: The collection includes grant files, correspondence, reports, minutes, financial material, and annual reports. This collection of the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation records is not a complete documentation of the Foundation's work. Due to routine file purges, this collection includes only the records of the final personal beneficiaries, Markle Scholars, and the communications program from 1969 to 1979, along with assorted administrative files. Documentation of grants other than these exist in the minutes, progress reports, and collected reprints. Important topics within the Programs-Communications series include: cable television; children's television; innovative uses for television; mass media; telecommunications policy; television criticism; and television audiences.

When John Markle moved the base of his business operations from Hazelton, Pennsylvania to New York City in 1902, he periodically returned to Hazelton and destroyed his records. Records remaining in Pennsylvania at the time of his death in 1933 were shipped to his executors in New York City. The executors (and the Foundation) retained only those records directly affecting the finances of Markle's estate.

Arrangement: The records of the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation were given by the Foundation to the Rockefeller Archive Center in two accessions, the first in 1993 (arranged as Record Group 1, 2 and 3) and another (designated as Record Groups 1.2 and 2.2) in 1995.

Record Group 1: Markle Foundation Programs, 37.5 cubic ft.

Series 1: Beneficiaries, 1935-1972, 2.5 cubic ft., boxes 1-5 This series is divided into two sub-series: files concerning the administration of the program (1935-1950), and files on individual beneficiaries (1929-1972)
Series 2: Markle Scholars, 1937-1971, 8 cubic, ft., boxes 1-20. Scholar files are arranged alphabetically by institution. If the scholar changed institutions during his time as a Markle Scholar, the material was filed by the new institution. An appendix to the register lists the scholars alphabetically.

Scholar file correspondence is more personal and administrative than scientific in nature.

Series 3: Communications, 1969-1984, 27 cubic ft., boxes 1-68 This series consists of files as created by the Markle Foundation. The names of individuals on the folders refer to the Foundation contact person within the institution, and this individual may change over the period of the grant. Grant numbers have been added to the folder listing by the archivists when available. Subject headings have also been added to each folder.

Two appendices to this register concern the communications grant files. One lists the program grants ('G' grants), the other lists the President's discretionary grants ('D' grants). Both are chronological lists.

Record Group 1.2, Markle Foundation Programs

Series 1. Grants in Communication, (1979-1984), 1975-1994, boxes 1-11, 11 cu. ft.
Series 2. Grants in Communication, (1984-1989), 19981-1994, boxes 1-9. 9 cu. ft.

Record Group 2: Markle Foundation Administration, 8 cubic ft.

Series 1: Board of Directors, 1927-1980, 5.5 cubic ft., boxes 1 -11 This series is divided into 4 sub-series: Minutes (1927-1979); Meeting agendas (1946-1980); Progress reports (1936-1943, 13 bound volumes); and Collected reprints (1937-194 1, 11 bound volumes).

Series 2: Financial Material, 1933-1976, 15 cubic ft., boxes 1-4 This series is organized into 3 sub-series by activity: Financial reports (1933-1976); Balance sheet (1962-1976); and Investment reviews (1965-1976).

Series 3: Publications, 1946-1989, 0.5 cubic ft., boxes 1-2 This series is divided into 4 sub-series by type of publication: Annual reports 1946-(1967-1989); President's essays (Lloyd Morrisett, 1969-1989); The Markle Scholars (1976); and brochures (1948-1983).

Series 4: Presidents' Papers, 1946-1989, 3 folders, box 1 This series is organized by President and includes material documenting interests parallel to their work at the Foundation and non-program correspondence.

Series 5: Studies, Surveys, and Miscellaneous, 1952-1972, 4 folders, box 1 This series consists of the records of program explorations.

Record Group 2.2, Markle Foundation Administration

Series 1. President Lloyd N. Morrisett's Papers, 1927-(1965-1992), boxes 1-20, 19.5 cu. ft.
Series 2. General Office Files, 1968-1992, boxes 1-13, 12.5 cu. ft.
Series 3. Board of Directors, 1979-1989, box 1, 1 cu. ft.

Record Group 3: John Markle, Personal Material, 2 cubic ft.

Series 1: Personal material, (1902-1937)-1979, 0.5 cubic ft., boxes 1-2
Series 2: John and Mary R. Markle Foundation, 1927-1937, .5 cubic ft., box 2
Series 3: John Markle, Estate, (1922-1939)-1972, 0.5 cubic ft., boxes 3-4
Series 4: John Markle, Business, 1925-1930, 2 folders, box 4
Series 5: Markle Handicraft School, 1929-1949, 2 folders, box 4

Photograph Collection: Yes

Organizational History: The John and Mary R. Markle Foundation was established in 1927 by John Markle (1858-1933), a mining engineer and a successful businessman who became known nationally as the builder of the Jeddo drainage tunnel, which reclaimed Pennsylvania mines inundated by floods in 1886. Markle and his wife, Mary Estelle Robinson (1863-1927), had no children, and he established the foundation soon after he retired from business in 1926. Until his death in July 1933, Markle was president and treasurer of the Foundation, and over time he endowed it with $15 million.

The Foundation was chartered "to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge among the people of the United States and to promote the general good of mankind." Grants, averaging a total of $400,000 annually, went primarily to charities which the Markles had previously supported. In addition, the foundation gave money to individuals, including relatives and needy strangers who came to John Markle's attention and in whom he took a personal interest.

After John Markle's death, the foundation trustees sought direction from Frederick Keppel, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and changed the foundation from a private organization to a focused public foundation. There were no new individual beneficiaries after 1934, and the trustees began to formulate a plan of action. From 1936 to 1945, the Markle Foundation primarily supported medical research, making 627 grants to 336 projects, and supporting work that resulted in the publication of 1,400 scientific papers.

In 1946 John Russell, formerly with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, became the executive director of the Foundation and instituted an ambitious program -- the Markle Scholar Program, which was the principal program of the Markle Foundation from 1947 to 1969. Approximately 25 Markle Scholars were chosen each year, and for the next five years they received financial assistance so that they might continue in academic medicine or research rather than enter more lucrative private practice. Over the course of the program, a total of 506 Markle Scholars were chosen from 90 medical schools in the U.S. and Canada.

In 1969 John Russell retired, and Lloyd Morrisett, also formerly with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, became president of the Foundation. He led the foundation in another new direction: the field of mass communications, which had not been a traditional focus of philanthropy. Beginning in 1969, the Markle Foundation's program aimed to strengthen the performance of the media and to understand the potential of communications technology. Disbursements in this field averaged $2 million annually.

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