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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“Among a people such like their own”: Thai Nursing Students in the Philippines, 1920-1931

January 5, 2024

In the early twentieth century, the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) worked to expand the nursing profession in the Philippines and in Thailand. Using the close geographic proximity and the well-established circulation of health professionals between the two countries, the RF helped sponsor six Thai nursing students to study abroad in Manila. Due to the status of the Philippines as a colony of the US, while Thailand was not within the US's official purview, the encounter between the colonized nursing instructors and the Thai nursing students learning within a colonial system created contradictory positions of power. Depending on who perceived this crossing, it could reflect the expanding influence for different parties invested in nursing education, either the Foundation, Filipino medical workers, Thai elites, or both Thai and Filipino women. This report examines these crossings and the approximate relationships of domination that supported and confounded the US empire. For example, rather than American colonizers' relationships with Filipinos, I examine the roles of Filipino women, Filipino men, and Thai women who participated in uneasy and shifting tensions of domination. These relationships of power were contested and circulated in complicated forms, not just unilaterally, but within expansive spheres attached to US ambitions within Asia, as well as the Philippines and Thailand's own ambitions for sovereignty and modernity. Lastly, this report examines Filipino women's fraught relationship to power vis-a-vis science and medicine, which also represented (even if incompletely, temporarily, and immemorably) both the domination and the collaboration of Thai women.

Medicine and Healthcare; Nursing; Rockefeller Foundation

The China Medical Board’s Fellowship Programs and Its Shifting Focus to Taiwan during the Postwar Era, 1951–1973

March 6, 2023

In this report, I investigate the institutionalization of the China Medical Board's (CMB) exchange fellowship programs and its shifting focus from Mainland China to a broader East Asia region from 1951 to 1973. In particular, this report looks at the CMB fellowship programs in Taiwan, which facilitated a gigantic wave of young health professionals moving from Taiwan to the United States during the postwar era. I begin by analyzing the major historical events that ultimately shifted CMB's direction from Mainland China to other parts of Asia, and the ways in which Taiwan became a critical focus for CMB after its retreat from Mainland China. The report's second half lies in the anatomy of the CMB fellowship program's operation in the two elite medical schools in Taiwan—the Medical College at the National Taiwan University (NTU) and the National Defense Medical Center (NDMC). I examine the demographical trends from the CMB fellowship allocation files and the key components that emerged from the CMB fellowship program. 

China Medical Board, Inc.; Medicine and Healthcare; Nursing; Rockefeller Foundation

Nurses in the History of Psychiatry: The Role of the Rockefeller Foundation

October 14, 2020

I made multiple trips to the Rockefeller Archive Center throughout 2014 and 2015 for research on the history of psychiatry, especially in relation to nursing. I found extensive records on the Rockefeller Foundation's activities in this area. Its Medical Sciences Division had a major interest in the ways that psychiatry and psychiatric education could be used to solve social problems during and after WWII and into the Cold War period

Medicine and Healthcare; Mental Health; Nursing; Psychiatry; Rockefeller Foundation

A Tale of Two (Nursing) Schools: Sofia and Zagreb through the Rockefeller Foundation’s Lens

January 28, 2020

This paper addresses the following set of questions: What constituted the "nursing question" in Bulgaria and the "nursing situation" in interwar Yugoslavia? What comparisons could be made about those two cases? What were the other international organizations involved in nursing education and how did they compete/collaborate with the RF? How did the development of nursing training in Europe, sponsored by the RF, intertwine with various administrative reorganizations within the RF?

Medicine and Healthcare; Nursing; Rockefeller Foundation

The Initiation and Development of Public Health Nursing in China: Transnational Flow of Nurses, Knowledge, and Culture

November 19, 2019

The initiation of public health nursing in China in 1920s was a result of the transnational flow of people, knowledge and culture. Transnational educational institutions and non-governmental organizations, represented by Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) and the Rockefeller Foundation, as well as by individuals, played a dominant role in shaping the initiation and development of public health in China in the 1920s to 1930s. PUMC was the hub to disseminate its founder's vision and model in public health in China through integration of education with empirical initiatives in public health. Nursing education programs of the School of Nursing at PUMC provided expertise, human resources, and leadership in public health in China from the 1920s until the beginning of the 1950s. Throughout this time, as a profession predominated by women, public health nursing served as a good example to demonstrate women's role in the transnational flow of people, knowledge, and culture.

China Medical Board, Inc.; Nursing; Women

Visiting Nurses and the Rockefeller Foundation in Colombia, 1929-1932

January 17, 2019

Colombia and the United States strengthened their trade, scientific and cultural exchanges during the 1920s. In regards to health and medicine issues, the Rockefeller Foundation played a pivotal role between 1919 and 1945, when it conducted scientific research and financed the battle against infectious diseases, above all yellow fever and hookworm. It also encouraged the development of a public health system in Colombia by creating American-inspired institutions and training health professionals.

Medicine and Healthcare; Nursing; Rockefeller Foundation; Women

Worlds of Nursing: The Rockefeller Moment

January 1, 2008

Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) sources about the history of nursing have been familiar to scholars for quite a while. Since the publication of Ellen Condliffe Lagemann's Nursing History: New Perspectives, New Possibilities in 1983, many others have used the collections in Sleepy Hollow. Scholars have studied public health nursing in particular countries, most notably Latin American (Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Luiz Castro Santos) or European ones (Erik Ingebritsen). Browsing the Nursing History Review brings out many articles that make it clear that scholars of bedside and public health nursing in national frameworks have found grain to grind in Pocantico Hills, thanks to sources that document the presence of the Rockefeller Foundation and associated boards in the field of nursing education beginning in the 1910s. The nursing program also caught the attention of those who have tried to reconstruct the history of a specific Rockefeller Board, as John Farley did for the International Health Board. The existence of a Survey of Sources at the Rockefeller Archive Center for the History of Nursing (1990 by Emily Oakhill) bears witness to this long-lasting interest.

Nursing; Rockefeller Foundation

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