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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The Rockefeller Foundation, the League of Nations’ Intellectual Cooperation Project, and the Idea of “Internationalism” during the Second World War

March 23, 2022

In this report, I focus on documents that highlight the relationship among the Rockefeller Foundation, the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation (IIIC), linked to the League of Nations, and the refugee scholar Henri Bonnet, the French intellectual and director of the IIIC, in the early 1940s. After the Nazi invasion of Paris in the Second World War, the formulation of a temporary center of intellectual cooperation in the Americas was placed on the agenda. Brazilian physiologist Miguel Ozório de Almeida had been well acquainted with Henri Bonnet and he took part in the Committee for the study of the establishment of this center. The main objective of this research report is to take a fresh look at these debates.

Global; Rockefeller Foundation; World War II

“The Gentleman We’re All Talking About”: William Beveridge and the Idea of Postwar Social Planning in the United States during World War II

November 23, 2021

This report traces a 1943 trip to the United States by British economist William Beveridge, whose 1943 "Beveridge Plan" laid the foundation for the postwar British welfare state. Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the trip coincided with a period of intense debate in the United States over the future of the New Deal state and the role of social security and social welfarism in postwar planning. Drawing on previously untapped records at the Rockefeller Archive Center, I use Beveridge's trip, and the reception that he received in the United States, to explore transnational ideas about social security and social and economic rights and how they were contested and debated in the United States. Beveridge's trip to the United States sheds light on how domestic ideas about postwar planning shifted during the war against the backdrop of race relations, the wartime defense economy, and the evolving relationship between business, labor, and the state.

African American Studies; Rockefeller Foundation; World War II

Envisioning the Future of the Rockefeller Foundation in Wartime and Post-War China, 1943-1946

August 18, 2020

In April 1946, Walter W. Stewart, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation (RF), appointed a three-man commission to investigate the social and political situations of China in the immediate aftermath of the SinoJapanese War (1937-1945). The commission was asked to make recommendations for RF's policy (and for the policy of the China Medical Board) regarding post-war China. After a three-month visit to major cities along the Chinese coast and in interior China, the Rockefeller commission drew a conclusion that the support of the RF should be restricted to a single project of reestablishing the Peking Union Medical College. This marked a deviation from the Rockefeller Foundation's pre-war China policy. This research report asks about the factors that caused this dramatic change. It traces back to the unhappy wartime experience of RF-sponsored projects both in and out of China, and the increasingly active role of the Chinese state in relief efforts. Contrasting with the rapidly expanding historical literature of humanitarianism, post-war China has received limited scholarly attention. Much of the current research has still focused on the Chinese Civil War (1946-1950) and on China's foreign relations. This research report, consisting of part of my PhD research on post-war relief and rehabilitation in China from 1943-1948, underscores the process through which the Sino-Japanese War and its immediate aftermath transformed the landscape of non-state agencies in China.

Rockefeller Foundation; World War II

Colonial Williamsburg from World Peace to World War

January 17, 2020

Opening its first building to the public in 1932, Colonial Williamsburg was a monumental immersive environment that restored the small town of Williamsburg, Virginia to its appearance during the eighteenth century. The project was spearheaded by William A. R. Goodwin, an Episcopalian minister in Williamsburg, and funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who eventually spent over $60 million on the restoration. Goodwin recruited Rockefeller to fund the project by pointing out the unique opportunity that Williamsburg provided to restore an entire colonial town of historical importance. Williamsburg was the home of one of the country's oldest universities, the College of William and Mary, was frequented by such Virginians as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry, and had served as the capital of the Virginia colony from 1699 to 1780. But after this period, the town experienced relative isolation and a lack of economic development that left many of its colonial buildings extant, while all of its central properties could be acquired for comparatively little expense.

Interwar Years; John Marshall Papers; Leisure and Tourism; Office of the Messrs. Rockefeller RG 2; Rockefeller Family; World War II

Preliminary Research on the North China Council for Rural Reconstruction

July 16, 2019

In the early twentieth century, approximately eighty-five percent of the Chinese population relied on agriculture for its livelihood. Aiming to improve the well-being of China's vast rural population, the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) streamed philanthropic efforts and resources to rural China. The North China Council for Rural Reconstruction (NCCRR), an RF-funded rural philanthropic program composed of six Chinese institutions, was established in Peiping (Beijing) on April 2, 1936. As a nontraditional and experimental program, the NCCRR brought together the leading professors from various disciplines at different universities into intimate contact with philanthropic and educational activities in rural China. Although the program perhaps pointed to the modest ways in which institutions conducted rural philanthropy, the task of reviving China's countryside was ultimately too heavy for the RF as a foreign private foundation. Due to complicated geopolitical circumstances far beyond its control, the RF had to terminate its rural reconstruction work in China in 1944.

Agrarian and Rural; Rockefeller Foundation; World War II

The Cultural Project of the Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA) in Latin America, 1940-1950

June 6, 2018

In August 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, concerned with the defense of the Western Hemisphere and, with Nazi infiltration in the Americas, created the Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA) and appointed Nelson Rockefeller as coordinator. Rockefeller´s particular interest in other American republics "arose from visits and through the activities of enterprises in which he was concerned" particularly in Venezuela (1935), around his interest in modern art, and his familiarity with the health work conducted by the International Division of the Rockefeller Foundation in Latin America. Also, in 1937, he traveled to ten countries to attend to matters connected with the affairs of the Standard Oil Company. After those trips, he became "further impressed with the social and economic problems of the area."

International Relations; Mass Communications; Nelson A. Rockefeller Papers; Rockefeller Family; World War II

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