Rockefeller Archive Center

Rockefeller Archive Center Research Reports are created by recipients of research travel stipends and by many others who have conducted research at the RAC. The reports demonstrate the breadth of the RAC's archival holdings, particularly in the study of philanthropy and its effects. Read more about the history of philanthropy at Also, see the RAC Bibliography of Scholarship, a comprehensive online database of publications citing RAC archival collections.
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The wide adaptation of wheat: Expanding the Rockefeller Foundation's international agricultural research program

January 1, 2014

In my dissertation research, I study the history of studies on wheat adaptation to climate, beginning in the 1950s and through the 1970s. In the 1960s, Norman Borlaug, while working for the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) in Mexico, popularized the concept of wide adaptation -- meaning a crop that gives high yields and is stable across different environments. Before Borlaug popularized wide adaptation, most scientists believed the crops were best suited to the location and conditions that they were developed in. Borlaug and the RF's international wheat program challenged this conventional wisdom while expanding their wheat program in Latin and South America, South Asia, and the Middle East. Because the history of wheat improvement is closely tied to other RF programs in maize and rice, my research also examines these crop research programs.

Agrarian and Rural; Agriculture; Rockefeller Foundation

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