Collection ID: FA316

Collection context


Scope and Content:

The Office of the Messrs. Rockefeller (OMR) materials document the increasing role assumed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in the management of Rockefeller affairs and amply document his business and philanthropic affairs. They also chronicle the entrance of JDR Jr.'s sons, John D. 3rd, Nelson A., Laurance S., Winthrop, and David, into the world of business, philanthropy, civic leadership, and politics as they joined the office.

This material contains correspondence, reports, pamphlets, memoranda, deeds, maps, contracts, reports, minutes, charters, certificates of incorporation, clippings, diaries, notebooks, calendars, and memorabilia.

There is a microfilm card index of personal and institutional names.

The files found in this series include correspondence by members of the Rockefeller family and their representatives and the officials of various institutions. Most of the material is unsolicited requests for aid. The material on institutions in which the family took an active interest, such as the International Houses, includes analysis, reports, general correspondence, contributions, and administration.

The Schools section and the Colleges section both include information on the schools attended by the Rockefeller brothers and cousins. There is a significant amount of information about the University of Chicago. The Foreign Colleges section includes a substantial amount of information on the University of Paris.

The family member who appears most prominently in this series is John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Other family members are John D. Rockefeller, Sr., John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Laurance S. Rockefeller, and Winthrop Rockefeller.

Biographical / Historical:

The central figure in the creation and operation of the Standard Oil Company during its rise to the top of the petroleum industry, John D. Rockefeller (JDR) established for the family a leading role in business and philanthropy. From the days of his earliest employment, Rockefeller, a devout Baptist, was generous in his giving to worthy causes, especially those of a religious nature. During the 1890s he developed an orderly system of philanthropic giving through an office staff that included his close advisor, Frederick T. Gates (1853-1929) and his son, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874-1960). With the advise of these and other associates, Rockefeller established the University of Chicago, The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now The Rockefeller University), the Rockefeller Foundation, and other philanthropic organizations working nationally and internationally in the fields of education, religion, and health. Rockefeller's total donations to philanthropic endeavors are estimated to have been $540 million.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (JDR Jr.) joined his father's office on October 1, 1897. He oversaw the expansion and diversification of the philanthropic work begun by his father. During his lifetime, the younger Rockefeller gave more than $537 million to educational, religious, cultural, medical, and other charitable projects.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (1874-1948), passed the Rockefeller philanthropic impulse on to their children. Abby (1903-1976), John D. 3rd (1906-1978), Nelson A. (1908-1979), Laurance S. (1910-2004), Winthrop (1912-1973), and David (1915-2017) further expanded and diversified Rockefeller influence and interests, establishing their own philanthropic organizations, most notably the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (1940), and becoming more active politically.


The Office of the Messrs. Rockefeller records are arranged by subject matter in 27 series. Most of these series are wholly or partially open for research. The series are:

A John D. Rockefeller, Sr.; C Business Interests; D Civic Interests; E Cultural Interests; F Economic Reform Interests; G Educational Interests; H Friends and Services; I Homes; J Housing Interests; K Medical Interests; L Real Estate; M Maps and Memorabilia; N Religious Interests; O Rockefeller Boards; P Welfare - General Files; Q World Affairs; R Welfare - Youth Files; S Documents; T Public Relations; U Public Land Law Review Commission; V Greenrock; W Properties; X Costume Collection; Y Media; Z John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Personal; AA Abby Aldrich Rockefeller; AC Abby Rockefeller Mauzé

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard



Open for research with select materials restricted as noted. Brittle or damaged items are available at the discretion of RAC. Material in the Rockefeller family collections that provides the names, correspondence, or activities of living members of the Rockefeller family, and/or documents the net wealth of any Rockefeller family members, is restricted. Researchers interested in accessing digital media (floppy disks, CDs, DVDs, etc.) or audiovisual material (audio cassettes, VHS, etc.) in this collection must use an access surrogate. The original items may not be accessed because of preservation concerns. To request an access surrogate be made, or if you are unsure if there is an access surrogate, please contact an archivist.


Reproduction/duplication of archival items is routinely provided in accordance with "fair use." If the RAC does not hold copyright for an archival collection, or items within a collection, it is the user's responsibility to contact the copyright holder, or make a fair effort to do so, prior to publication.

15 Dayton Avenue
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591, United States