IRF Collection at the Rockefeller Archive Center

In 2016, at the invitation of the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) in Sleepy Hollow, New York, Island Resources Foundation donated and transferred all of its files and records to the Rockefeller Center, which would henceforth be the official repository of the IRF archives.

In acknowledging the donation, Dr. Lee R. Hiltzik, Assistant Director of the Rockefeller Archive Center, wrote:

Your decision to entrust us with your records is an important statement about the stewardship of the trustees and officers and their vision to preserve the legacy of the Foundation’s programs. By taking ownership of these records, the Rockefeller Archive Center has now committed, as part of our mission, to preserve and make available to scholarship the story of the work of the IRF and its impact on the Caribbean region.

At the time of the IRF donation, there were approximately 43 organizational collections at the Archive Center, both Rockefeller-related and non-Rockefeller. Also included were  papers of various members of the Rockefeller Family, the records of Rockefeller University and its faculty, and manuscript collections of key individuals who have worked with the Rockefeller family and/or various Rockefeller-related institutions. Of the approximate 43 collections, at least 15 are not Rockefeller-related, including the archives of the Ford Foundation, the National Committee on US-China Relations, the Social Science Research Council, and the John A. Hartford Foundation.

The IRF archival collection joined this distinguished grouping at a time when the Rockefeller Center was expanding its holdings to include organizations engaged in international philanthropy. The IRF collection is the first from an organization whose philanthropic activities were based in the Caribbean region. Laurance S. Rockefeller, grandson of the Rockefeller family founder, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., was during his lifetime engaged in both business and philanthropic activities in the Wider Caribbean and was an early and consistent supporter of Island Resources Foundation.

When the IRF archives were received by the RAC in the fall of 2016, they were first accessioned, a process that recorded the collection within the RAC’s archival management system and enabled initial physical and intellectual control. The IRF archives were then housed in secure, climate- and humidity-controlled vaults, and, over time, will be archivally processed to rehouse and stabilize the records for long-term preservation. The processing archivist will create a finding aid (an archival catalogue) of the collection, and that finding aid will be placed online by the RAC to enable researchers from around the world to have access to it.

The Rockefeller Archive Center anticipates great scholarly interest in the IRF archives. The subject matter of the collection overlaps with many other archival collections housed at the RAC, such as those involved with environmental issues, the development of the Caribbean and its people, and Rockefeller philanthropic involvement with Island Resources Foundation.