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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American Philanthropy and Post-1956 Hungarian Refugee Aid

August 6, 2021

My research at the Rockefeller Archive Center focused on the records of the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council. Some materials from the Nelson A. Rockefeller papers and the Rockefeller University archives were also consulted. The primary goal of my research was to identify the role of the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations in supporting collaboration across the Iron Curtain in the humanities.Upon arriving at the Archive Center and gaining an initial insight and a better overview of the potentially relevant materials, I complemented my original research agenda with an additional aspect. I realized that among the records of both the Rockefeller and the Ford Foundations, a large number of collections deal with humanitarian actions that benefited Hungarian refugees leaving their country in 1956 and 1957, after Soviet military forces defeated the Hungarian revolution and before the borders were closed and strictly controlled. While it was known that American philanthropic foundations were involved in humanitarian aid, existing scholarship in the field has not reported on the extent of their involvement. The Rockefeller and Ford Foundations gained passing mentions at best, or not at all. Considering the potential benefits for the international research community, I decided to cover these numerous records during my stay. The number of documents on Hungarian refugee aid far exceeded the amount of materials on soft cultural diplomacy in Hungary. Considering that previous researchers have already reported on Ford Foundation's Eastern European Fund, probably, the most important cultural diplomatic effort targeting the region during the early Cold War (that I covered myself to gain firsthand knowledge on the program), I will rather focus in this report on what other researchers did not.

Cold War; Ford Foundation; Refugee Scholars

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?

The Ford Foundation's East European Fellowship Program, ca. 1950-1970

May 15, 2018

From the mid-1950s onwards, the Ford Foundation (FF) awarded research fellowships to hundreds of social scientists, humanities scholars and artists from Communist-ruled East European countries, which was probably the earliest and largest effort to establish academic exchange across the Iron Curtain in the social and human sciences. The program was driven by the idea that allowing extended research stays for East European intellectuals in the West would reduce their isolation and increase their anti-Soviet and anti-Communist tendencies that were observed in the course of the crises in Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia and elsewhere in the bloc in the 1950s. In 1968, the program was merged with similar programs into a new organization called the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX). The documents at the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) contain rich materials on the Ford Foundation's own views of the program, on its network of academics that helped to run it and on the conduct of the program including travel notes, etc. It proved very difficult, however, to find detailed information on the individual fellows and their doings during their research stays in Western countries. More research will be necessary to assess the impact of the program.

Planning and Ideology: American-Yugoslav Project

December 11, 2017

In 1968 the Ford Foundation (FF) approved a grant of $180,000 to Wayne State University (WSU) over a two-year period to support the American-Yugoslav Project (AYP). The grant proposal was made by Jack C. Fischer, Vladimir Mušič and Lojze Rojec to Stanley T. Gordon of the FF in order to assist the American-Yugoslav Project for Regional and Urban Planning Studies and thus to complete experimental plans for the city and region of Ljubljana. At the same time the FF grant would also continue to support interdisciplinary training in urban-regional planning methods for Yugoslav specialists.

U.S. Foundations, Urban Design, and International Development since 1945

September 21, 2017

This report focuses on research I conducted at the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) in March 2017 in support of my current book project, The Urban International: Design and Development from the Marshall Plan to Microfinance. The Urban International is a political, cultural, and intellectual history of the global dissemination of urban design and international development concepts since 1945, with a focus on the role of philanthropic foundations, universities, and international organizations. After World War II, cities around the world were physically transformed by economic concepts and design principles pioneered in the United States and Western Europe. Brasília, Brazil's modernist capital, and Chandigarh, India's first post-independence planned city, are well-known examples of European design concepts transferred to the global South by a transnational class of architects and planners. Most such undertakings, however, were of a more modest scale and often financed by philanthropic and international organizations. By investigating a range of programs sponsored by organizations including the UN, UNESCO, the World Bank, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation, The Urban International reconstructs how ideas about the design and management of North Atlantic cities influenced, and were influenced by, development projects in the global South. The study asks how urban planners, architects, consultants, academics, public officials, and grassroots activists circulated ideas about how cities should look, who counted as urban citizens, and who should have access to public space and public resources. Those guiding questions are situated in an examination of the shift from modernization projects to neoliberal development in cities around the world between 1945 and the present. The same people and organizations directed and funded development projects in the global South and urban revitalization projects in North Atlantic cities, and this project aims to demonstrate that their work was one conduit through which neoliberal ideas moved between cities around the world.

Man of an Impossible Mission: Andrija Štampar's Separation of Politics and Healthcare in Yugoslavia and the World Health Organization

January 1, 2013

Andrija Štampar was a remarkably headstrong man who spoke his truth without expecting contradiction. Few could claim to have held their course under the rule of as many authoritarian regimes. His colleagues recorded their frequent acquiescence to his demands with some exasperation and government leaders found themselves pawns in tampar's visions. Nevertheless, they congregated around him -- his fellow physicians, international technocrats, and even Yugoslavia's communist leader -- all drawn to an enthusiasm so contagious that immediate concerns, or politics, took second place to the great project of public health. After spending the Second World War in imprisonment rather than accept fascist overtures, he emerged in spring 1945 to travel within weeks to Zagreb, Belgrade, and London, single-mindedly rebuilding the health services of Croatia, Yugoslavia, and the United Nations; health services he had helped build over the previous twenty-five years. Tenaciously he retraced his steps, but it was a new world after the war and this obstinate planner had to face the evolution of his own ideas.

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