Rockefeller Archive Center

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The Rockefeller Archive Center was established in 1974 to preserve, maintain, and encourage research in the archives of the Rockefeller family, The Rockefeller University, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, as well as in the records of associated organizations and individuals. The center has a staff of 30 professional and support personnel.


Address and Contact Info

Address: Rockefeller Archive Center, 15 Dayton Avenue, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

Phone: (914) 631-4505

Fax: (914) 631-6017


Web page:

President: Jack Meyers

Vice President and Director, Research and Education Department: James Allen Smith

Online Finding Aid: A searchable database that lists open, processed material is accessible from the Search Our Collections feature on the Archive Center website

Archivists (principal contacts for advice on the collection): Refer to the list of staff members on the website

Hours and usage restrictions

The Reading Room is open from 9:00 AM until 5:15 PM on weekdays, and on a more limited schedule one Saturday each month. See the website for the schedule and for holiday closings. NOTE: The Reading Room is small, with seats for only seven researchers at a time, so RESERVATIONS are required to conduct research. Researchers should contact the Archive Center to schedule an appointment before making travel arrangements.

The use of digital cameras is not permitted in the Reading Room, nor is there self-service photocopying. A researcher can request photocopies (maximim of 2,000 copies per year), but RAC staff will make the copies and mail them to the researcher after the visit. Copies are $0.40 per page for the first 1,000 copies, $0.55 per page for copies 1,001 to 2,000.

Collection Summary

Established in 1974 and opened in 1975, the Archive Center brought together under one roof the existing archives of its founders: the Rockefeller family, the Rockefeller University, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The addition of the records of other institutions, such as the Social Science Research Council, the Commonwealth Fund, and the Russell Sage Foundation, and the papers of individuals associated with Rockefeller-funded endeavors, has since expanded the scope of the center’s holdings, which now total 70 million pages of documents, 500,000 photographic images, and 4,000 films. A description of the center’s holdings and programs is available through its web site.

The Rockefeller family archives includes the correspondence and personal financial records of John D. Rockefeller (1839–1937); correspondence and project files of John D. Rockefeller, John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his sons and associates in the Office of the Messrs. Rockefeller (1890–1961); the correspondence and diaries of John D. Rockefeller 3rd (1906–78); a microfilm collection of the political files of Winthrop Rockefeller (1912–73); and the correspondence, diaries, and financial records of William Rockefeller (1841–1922). The papers of Laurance S. Rockefeller (1910-2004) and the papers of Nelson A. Rockefeller (1908-1979) are now being processed. More than 2,300 cubic feet of Nelson A. Rockefeller's papers are now available for research, along with more than 135,000 photographs. The material documents major portions of his public service career; his philanthropic, business, and civic activities; and his collection of art.

The Rockefeller Foundation, established in 1913, has conducted worldwide programs in agricultural development, the arts, education, humanities, medicine, natural science, public health, and the social sciences, and public health. Its archives include grant files, program and policy files, officers' diaries, general correspondence, and financial records. Files older than 20 years are open for use.

The Rockefeller University, organized in 1901 as the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, was the first American institution devoted solely to medical research. Its archives include reports to the Board of Scientific Directors, administrative correspondence, business manager’s files, and photographs. The Archive Center also holds the personal papers of former faculty members and administrators.

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, organized in 1940, has been interested in cultural advancement, education, health, religion, welfare, international relations, conservation, population control, and racial equality. Its archives include correspondence, reports, grant files, and Special Studies Project files.

The Archive Center also holds the records of numerous other Rockefeller-funded philanthropies, such as the General Education Board, 1902–60; the China Medical Board of New York, 1914–73; the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial, 1918–41; the International Basic Economy Corporation, 1945–77; and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. It also contains the records of the Commonwealth Fund, 1918–2000; the Russell Sage Foundation, 1888–1982; the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation, 1935–79; the Charles E. Culpeper Foundation, 1886–1991; the Social Science Research Council, 1924–90; the Foundation for Child Development, 1899–1990; the Foundation Center; the Trilateral Commission (North America), and the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association. The Archive Center also recently acquired the records of the Near East Foundation.

Usage Discussion

Suggestions for approaching the material:

Access to most of the Center's collections is most often through the names of institutions or individuals who received support from or had contact with a collection's creators. A searchable database is available online at the website, but it includes only processed, open collections, and provides references only to names that appear in folder titles or available folder descriptions. In addition to using this database, researchers also should submit queries to the Archive Center staff at; staff also have access to more detailed card indexes that are not available online. See also the subject surveys that are available online under Publications.

Housing and getting by for less in the area:

See the Information for Researchers feature of the RAC website for a list of local accommodations and information about the RAC's limited shuttle service between the RAC and the Metro North train station in Tarrytown.

The Archive Center also has a competitive research Grant-in-Aid program that provides support for transportation and lodging costs associated with research visits. Details and application materials are available from the RAC website.

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