Knight records open for research at Rockefeller Archive Center – Knight Foundation
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Knight records open for research at Rockefeller Archive Center

Historical board materials, correspondence, grant files and photos from 1950 to 2012 provide insights into the foundation’s impact on Knight communities.

In April 2021, the records of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation were moved from Miami to the Rockefeller Archive Center in Sleepy Hollow, New York. As of today, archival processing has been completed and the majority of the more than 300 cubic feet of Knight records are now open to researchers.

“Opening our archive to researchers is another way we are demonstrating our belief that an informed citizenry is essential in a representative democracy,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of the Knight Foundation. “Foundations like Knight play an important role in shaping civic life and citizens deserve transparency from us about how we spend our tax-exempt endowment.”

The Rockefeller Archive Center is a research center devoted to the study of philanthropy and its impact around the world. It is home to the records of other major foundations, including the Ford, Rockefeller, Hewlett and Luce Foundations, as well as the records of many individuals and nonprofit organizations that work in related fields.

Knight’s archival records include board and committee minutes, correspondence files from past presidents, program records, oral history interviews, and audiovisual materials such as photos and videos. Grant files make up the largest record group in the collection and show the evolution of the foundation’s funding priorities. They provide insights into key initiatives such as establishing the Knight Chairs in Journalism that brought practicing journalists to 23 universities and the Magic of Music initiative of the 1990s that worked to build connections between orchestras and their audiences in several Knight communities.

While records in the collection date from 1950 to 2019, records are restricted for ten years from their creation date. Initially, access will be granted to records created between 1950 and 2012. Each year, more material will be opened to researchers. To search the Knight Foundation collection at the Rockefeller Archive Center, visit DIMES, their online catalog.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation: As social investors, Knight Foundation supports democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once published newspapers. 

About the Rockefeller Archive Center: The Rockefeller Archive Center is a repository of historical materials and a research center dedicated to the study of philanthropy and the many domains touched by American foundations, individual donors, and the civil society organizations they support.