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’s International Health Board and the Attempt to Eradicate Yellow Fever

October 24, 2023

Beginning in 1914, the Rockefeller Foundation's International Health Commission (which became the International Health Board in 1916 and the International Health Division in 1927) committed itself to the project of eradicating yellow fever. Its efforts were modeled on the sanitary techniques deployed by US sanitarians in Havana in 1901 and, more importantly, during the construction of the Panama Canal between 1904 and 1914, with mosquito control preeminent among them. William C. Gorgas, who led these campaigns and then came to work for the Rockefeller Foundation, argued for a key center approach to yellow fever eradication that targeted the remaining urban endemic foci of infection, with the assumption that once these seed beds of the disease were eliminated, yellow fever would fade from the planet. But as the IHB conducted campaigns in South America, Central America, and West Africa during the late 1910s and 1920s, they discovered that yellow fever's ecology and epidemiology were more complicated than they had assumed, and that a "key center" approach would not work to eradicate the disease. By the 1930s, and particularly with Fred Soper's discovery of sylvan or jungle yellow fever, the Rockefeller Foundation gave up on their eradicationist dream.

Biology and Medical Research; Public Health; Rockefeller Foundation

The AIA and Public-Private Collaborations in Response to the 1950 Cusco Earthquake

March 27, 2023

This report provides an overview of my research at the Rockefeller Archive Center on the role of the American International Association for Economic and Social Development (AIA) in the aftermath of the 1950 earthquake in Cusco, Peru. More specifically, the United Nations contracted AIA director Robert "Pete" Hudgens to lead a mission to evaluate Cusco and make recommendations about its reconstruction and long-term development. The report was extensive and included detailed recommendations about the broader rural area, in addition to the city of Cusco. I hoped to learn more about that collaboration and how it fit into the AIA's mission. Archival materials from Nelson A. Rockefeller's personal papers and the Rockefeller Family Public Relations Department papers revealed a complex web of public-private negotiations over who would fund and administer Cusco's development plan. And yet, many of the plans never came to fruition, raising questions about the extent to which these collaborations benefited most Peruvians.

AIA-IBEC; Humanitarian and Disaster Relief; Nelson A. Rockefeller Papers; Rockefeller Family; Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation and Agriculture in Peru

January 1, 2002

In January 2002 I visited the Rockefeller Archive Center for the second time. Two years previously, I conducted doctoral research there having spent eighteen months doing anthropological research on agricultural development and indigenous knowledge in the Southern Peruvian highlands. The latest trip was intended to gather more data for a book on Peruvian rural development, highland culture, and power. Rockefeller Foundation (RF) involvement in Latin America comprises part of the historical section for this work, which is mainly concerned with the contemporary plethora of agricultural development non-governmental organizations in the Andean region, and their, impacts upon indigenous populations. The development models deployed by these NGOs are generally derivatives of the "green revolution" which can be traced further back to U.S. philanthropy in Latin America. Mine was a successful visit, finding much information that had been missed the first time. I would like to extend my gratitude to the Center in general for its generous support, and to all the staff there who helped me out. This report is a story of the RF's agricultural and scientific undertakings in Latin America, particularly Peru, in the postwar period.

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