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 resource.rockarch.org. Also, see the RAC Bibliography of Scholarship, a comprehensive online database of publications citing RAC archival collections.
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John R. Mott and John D. Rockefeller, Jr.: Dimensions of an Unlikely Friendship

April 17, 2019

This research report is based on research performed at the Rockefeller Archive Center during January 2019.  The report explores several dimensions to the friendship and professional relationship of Dr. John R. Mott and John D. Rockefeller, Jr.  John R. Mott was a Nobel Peace Prize laureate of 1946 and was one of the most important ecumenical and Christian mission leaders in the first half of the twentieth century.  Mott traveled the world to establish student Christian associations in many different countries, and also served in diplomatic missions for the Wilson administration.  He refused Woodrow Wilson's offer to be the U.S. ambassador to China.  Rockefeller was a financial supporter of Mott and of Mott's projects for over four decades.  Projects discussed in this paper include aid to soldiers during World War I, the funding of a large survey research project about Christian mission around the world, and support of a Russian Orthodox seminary in Paris after the Bolshevik Revolution.  Similarities with regard to theological views of Mott and Rockefeller are also briefly discussed in this report.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Papers; Office of the Messrs. Rockefeller RG 2; Rockefeller Family

Egyptological Conversations about Race and Science

February 15, 2018

In 1908, when James Henry Breasted published ancient copies of some Biblical texts, he hoped that one interested reader would be Booker T. Washington. Breasted wrote to Washington to bring the matter to his attention, providing him with a copy of the article and explaining its general content. At that time, Washington was preoccupied with the aftermath of an injustice done to black soldiers stationed in Brownsville, Texas, and the subsequent refusal of Theodore Roosevelt, whom Washington had formerly advised, to undo the damage to the men's reputations, careers, and futures. Nonetheless, Washington replied to Breasted the following week, expressing his polite interest in the matter and noting that although he had not had the time to acquaint himself with the ancient history of Ethiopia, he noted that many West African traditions traced their cultural heritage to "a distant place in the direction of ancient Ethiopia." Washington wondered if that "distant place" and the subject matter of Breasted's article could be one and the same. "Could it be possible that these civilizing influences had their sources in this ancient Ethiopian kingdom to which your article refers?" If Washington saw ancient "Ethiopia," that is, the southern Nile River Valley, also known as the Upper Nile, Nubia, and in contemporary political designation the Sudan, as the source of other African people's culture, Breasted would have concurred.

Archaeology; General Education Board; John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Papers; Office of the Messrs. Rockefeller RG 2; Rockefeller Family

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