Rockefeller Archive Center to House Ford Foundation Archive

Ford Foundation Awards Rockefeller $3.2 Million to Preserve and Store Foundation’s Records and Maintain Access to its Public Collections

TARRYTOWN, N.Y.--()--The Rockefeller Archive Center, repository for the records of the Rockefeller family, Rockefeller philanthropies, and other nonprofit organizations, announced today that it will house the archive of the Ford Foundation, the nation’s second-largest philanthropy.

The Rockefeller Archive Center, which was created in 1975 in a Rockefeller family property called Hillcrest, is headquartered in Pocantico Hills in Westchester County. The Center already houses the archives of a broad range of nonprofit organizations, including the Social Science Research Council, the Asia Society and the Foundation Center.

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization, with more than $10.5 billion in assets and $500 million in annual giving. It works with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Jack Meyers, president of the Rockefeller Archive Center, said, “Adding the historical records of the Ford Foundation to the numerous foundation records already held by the Archive Center will enable researchers from around the world to have an unprecedented look, under one roof, at the origins and ongoing achievements of many of the most important nonprofit institutions in the twentieth century.”

Luis Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation, said, “Our partnership with the Rockefeller Archive Center ensures that the foundation’s records enjoy the highest quality organization and preservation while continuing to make our public collections accessible to a broad international community of scholars, students and professionals studying philanthropy and social change.”

The Ford Foundation Archive documents the Foundation’s extensive international leadership in economic development, human rights and microfinance, as well as major U.S. movements, including the environment, civil rights, legal aid, and women’s rights, and such domestic challenges as urban development and reproductive health.

The records of the Ford Foundation join a collection in which scholars can currently research the origins of such hallmark organizations as the University of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Colonial Williamsburg, Spelman College, the Asia Society and Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital. In addition, the Rockefeller Archive Center houses the records of the building of Rockefeller Center, Riverside Church and the Cloisters; the creation of National Parks such as Acadia, Jackson Hole, Grand Teton, Great Smokey Mountains, and Virgin Islands and the early history of organizations as diverse as the League of Nations, the London School of Economics, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and the Mount Palomar Observatory. In addition to transferring the archive, the Ford Foundation has awarded the Rockefeller Archive Center a grant of $3.2 million to store and care for the collection and to maintain its accessibility to a broad international community of researchers.

The Ford Foundation Archive is the most recent non-Rockefeller family addition to the Rockefeller Archive Center, which has become the premier center in the U.S. for documentary research on foundations and philanthropy. The Rockefeller Archive Center originally brought together the records of the Rockefeller family and major Rockefeller philanthropies, including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Rockefeller University. In 1985, the Archive Center board decided to accept the records of non-Rockefeller philanthropic and non-profit organizations.

The records of the Commonwealth Fund and the Russell Sage Foundation were the first non-Rockefeller records to be added to the collection, and in subsequent years, they were joined by the records of the Social Science Research Council, the John and Mary Markle Foundation, the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust, the Charles A. Culpeper Foundation, the Foundation for Child Development, the Near East Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation, the Asian Cultural Council, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, the Population Council, the Trilateral Commission, the Asia Society, the Foundation Center and many other non-profit organizations.

Over the past 35 years, some 6,000 researchers have visited the Rockefeller Archive Center. In recent years, about 300 researchers have visited each year, while the staff has responded annually to an additional 800 to 900 inquiries from offsite researchers. Researchers working in the archives are senior scholars and graduate students, journalists and documentary film-makers, local historians, genealogists and members of the general public. Many have come from Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Their work in the archives has yielded some 700 books, more than 900 articles, and hundreds of dissertations. An Archive Center survey in 2001 concluded that articles drawing on its materials had been published in no fewer than 238 journals around the world, testimony to the Center’s global scholarly reach.


Emerald Partners
Fraser P. Seitel, 201-784-8880

Release Summary

Merger of Rockefeller Archives with Ford Foundation archives


Emerald Partners
Fraser P. Seitel, 201-784-8880