John D. Rockefeller: Anointed with Oil

By Grant Segall | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 6
SHALL WE GO ON,
GENTLEMEN?

Rockefeller's first independent charity was the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York City, now Rockefeller University. He planned it for several years, but opened it in 1901, soon after his first grandson's fatal illness. He gradually gave it $61 million. It was the nation's first organization purely for medical research. It grew cautiously and stayed within its budgets, unlike the University of Chicago. It drew criticisms for animal experiments but plaudits for many breakthroughs. It discovered blood-typing and isolated antibiotics. It proved that DNA transmits hereditary traits and that viruses can cause cancer. It trained or employed doctors who won 19 Nobel Prizes.

The Reverend Gates and Rockefeller Junior sat on the boards of the institute and of future Rockefeller charities as well. Rockefeller gave the pair nearly free rein and visited the institute just once. Still, he read about its cures with care. Wrote Gates, [I have seen the tears of joy course down his cheeks as he contemplated the past achievement and future possibilities.]

Rockefeller next began to form [benevolent trusts,] as he would call them in his memoirs. [If a combination to do

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