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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Jackson Hole Wildlife Park: An Experiment to Bridge Tourism and Conservation

January 24, 2019

My paper documents the history of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Park, created on Rockefeller-owned lands in northwestern Wyoming shortly after WWII. A collaboration between Laurance Rockefeller, president of Jackson Hole Preserve, Inc., the New York Zoological Society and the State of Wyoming, the park sought to educate the public about the need for conservation by creating a living exhibit of the West's major wild animals - primarily elk, bison, moose, antelope, and a variety of deer species. It was thought that if people could see these majestic animals in their natural environment versus the typical urban/suburban zoo, they would be more apt to become involved in the effort to save them and the habitats necessary for their survival. Almost simultaneously, the founders established a scientific research facility to enable studies of the area's animals, plants, watershed, and other features impacting the landscape. 

Cultural Resources in a "Natural" Park: Early Preservation Efforts at Menor's Ferry in Grand Teton National Park

January 1, 2013

Grand Teton National Park has long been celebrated for the grandeur of the Teton Mountains, and the Rockefellers, particularly John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and his son, Laurance S. Rockefeller, have long been recognized for their role in conserving that natural setting.

Colter Bay Village: Understanding the Historic Significance of the Recent Past in Grand Teton National Park

January 1, 2010

My research at the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) was conducted to inform a National Register of Historic Places nomination for Colter Bay Village in Grand Teton National Park. Dedicated in 1957, Colter Bay Village centralized visitor services in the park, offering rustic log cabin accommodations, one of the first trailer camps in a national park, an innovative "tent village," a cafeteria and general store, the first Laundromat in a national park, a shower building, a marina and boat ramp, a picnic area, an amphitheater, two service stations, and a visitor center and museum, all in one fully planned and carefully designed site. Jointly funded by the National Park Service and the Grand Teton Lodge Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of the John D. Rockefeller founded and Laurance S. Rockefeller led non-profit Jackson Hole Preserve, Inc., Colter Bay Village was immediately praised as "the first [effort] toward a completely rounded and integrated series of facilities" in the national park system, and a pilot project in the nationwide Mission 66 program.1 What I hoped to understand through research at the RAC was whether Colter Bay Village was historically significant and eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Intersections and Detours: Tracing Standard Oil's Trails through Grand Teton National Park

January 1, 2008

Beginning in 1927, John D. Rockefeller Jr. (JDR Jr.) initiated a captivating conservation and tourist management project in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. His venture involved purchasing private lands and changing them into Grand Teton National Park (GTNP). Since becoming a National Park in 1950, Jackson Hole has been pictured everywhere from the walls of New York City's enormous Grand Central Station, to endless truck commercials on television, as the global icon of rugged Western American mountain "wilderness."

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