Welcome to RE:source, the Rockefeller Archive Center‘s storytelling platform. We are a team of historians, archivists, and educators working from the idea that philanthropy has impact on everyday life, sometimes in ways that many of us don’t realize. Our stories and images mine the archival record to bring to light events, people, innovations, and turning points from the past that have relevance for understanding the present. Subscribe to receive newly released stories in your inbox.

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Medicine & Public Health

Funding a Sexual Revolution: The Kinsey Reports

What exists today as the well-known Kinsey scale was at mid-century a revolution in scientific understanding of human sexuality — and source of heated controversy ever since…

Recently Published

Issues in Philanthropy

From Populist Crusade to Comprehensive Regulation: the Tax Reform Act of 1969

Fifty years ago, Congress identified abuses of private wealth and power and demanded accountability from private foundations. Public eyes were also on the prominent individuals who testified…

Race & Social Justice

An Unlikely Partnership: Ted Watkins and the Rockefeller Foundation

Urban unrest erupted across the United States in the late 1960s. Race and unequal opportunity became national concerns. In response, the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) partnered with a charismatic activist from the Watts district in Los Angeles, one of America’s poorest neighborhoods, a man whose background and political agenda would challenge the Foundation’s civil rights strategy…


Photo Essay: Mexico and the Launch of the Green Revolution

The scientific, intensive agriculture that the Rockefeller Foundation pioneered on a large international scale (eventually in partnership with the Ford Foundation) was touted as a “Green Revolution” in a 1968 speech. The name stuck. How the Mexican Agriculture Program created a method for intensifying agriculture on a global level…


John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Creates a National Park

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. created the Snake River Land Company in 1927 to purchase 35,000 acres of land in Jackson Hole, a valley adjacent to Wyoming’s Grand Teton mountain range. He planned to donate the land to the National Park Service. Local ranchers supported the idea, eager to protect the area from commercialization and retain its “Old West” character. But when word got out that Rockefeller was behind the purchases, a fierce backlash ensued…

Philanthropy's Long Legacy in Health

Medicine & Public Health

The Commonwealth Fund Brings Hospice Care to America

Hospice, or non-cure-oriented care at the end of life, was a European concept. But the Commonwealth Fund boosted the US hospice movement by supporting its beginnings. The first modern American hospice opened in Branford, Connecticut in 1980, supported by Commonwealth and other foundations…

Medicine & Public Health

The Long Road to the Yellow Fever Vaccine

Rockefeller Foundation scientists, led by future Nobel Prize winner Max Theiler, developed a yellow fever vaccine in the 1930s that was later given to thousands of American and British soldiers during World War II. The serum drastically reduced the worldwide occurrence of yellow fever. Today it remains the only vaccine in use for the deadly virus. However, the road to creating the vaccine was long and bumpy…

Medicine & Public Health

Photo Essay: The Rockefeller Sanitary Commission and the South

Hookworm disease, sometimes called the “germ of laziness” for its symptoms, was widespread in the US South at the turn of the last century. Yet the science of treatment was simple. The Rockefeller Sanitary Commission battled the disease and in the process developed a new model for public health work…

Medicine & Public Health

The “Insulin Gift”

In 1923, a large donation of funds by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., helped ensure the wide distribution of the newly mass-produced treatment for diabetes, insulin. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.’s gift, known as the “Insulin Gift,” also provided funds to train patients, nurses, physicians, and families to administer this new wonder treatment…

Grantee Spotlight

Arts & Culture

Timeline: Foundations and the Walker Art Center

The story of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, provides one example of how foundation involvement from mid-century to the present has enabled American cultural organizations to grow, thrive, and innovate. Investment from multiple foundations has enabled such non-profit institutions to break ground in the cultural sector…

Philanthropy and Business

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