University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Frederick Taylor Gates Papers 1888-1906

© 2006 University of Chicago Library


Descriptive Summary


Gates, Frederick Taylor. Papers




0.5 linear feet (1 box)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Baptist minister, businessman. Corresponding secretary, American Baptist Education Society, 1888-1902. Philanthropic adviser to John D. Rockefeller; president, General Education Board. Trustee, University of Chicago, 1896-1910. Summary: Correspondence to and from Gates relating to the American Baptist Education Society and founding of the University of Chicago (1888-1892). Major correspondents include Thomas Wakefield Goodspeed, William Rainey Harper, Henry L. Morehouse, and Augustus Hopkins Strong. Carbon copies of letters primarily to Gates from William Rainey Harper (1893-1906) concerning affairs relating to the university.

Information on Use


No restrictions.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Gates, Frederick Taylor. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Frederick Taylor Gates (1853-1929) was a Baptist minister, businessman, and chief architect of John D. Rockefeller's great philanthropic enterprises. He worked his way through the University of Rochester -- receiving his degree in 1877-- and the Rochester Theological Seminary (1880). Superintendent of missions for the American Home Missionary Society in Kansas, in 1888 he became secretary of the newly organized American Baptist Education Society; from that time on he was associated with the founding and development of the University of Chicago. Contact with John D. Rockefeller, founder of the University, led to Gates' employment by Rockefeller in 1892, first as principal philanthropic adviser, later as President of the General Education Board (first of the unrestricted Rockefeller foundations). He was also the founder of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. F.T. Gates was for many years also a trustee of the University of Chicago.

Scope Note

The correspondence covers the period from 1888-1906. The correspondence section contain letters written to and by Gates in his capacity as corresponding secretary of the American Baptist Education Society. This correspondence is, thus, of direct bearing on the history of that body. Among the correspondents are W.R. Harper, T.W. Goodspeed, Augustus Strong, and Henry L. Morehouse, corresponding secretary of the American Home Missionary Society. The letters are almost entirely concerned with the founding, support, and development of the "institution for higher learning in the west" which became the University of Chicago. This portion of the collection is composed entirely of carbon copies of letters written from the time of the founding of the University until the death of President Harper.

Related Resources

Browse finding aids by topic.

William Rainey Harper. Papers

Thomas W. Goodspeed. Papers

Presidents' Papers 1889-1925

American Baptist Education Society. Records

Rockefeller, John D., Correspondence of the Founder and His Associates

Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1

Correspondence, January-July, 1888

Box 1   Folder 2

Correspondence, August - October, 1888

Box 1   Folder 3

Correspondence, November -December, 1888

Box 1   Folder 4

Correspondence, January-March, 1889

Box 1   Folder 5

Correspondence, April-December, 1889

Box 1   Folder 6

Correspondence, January - July, 1890

Box 1   Folder 7

Correspondence, August-December, 1890

Box 1   Folder 8

Correspondence, January-April, 1891

Box 1   Folder 9

Correspondence, May-December, 1891

Box 1   Folder 10

Correspondence, January-May, 1892

Box 1   Folder 11

Correspondence, June-December, 1892

Box 1   Folder 12

Correspondence, June, 1893 -December, 1896

Box 1   Folder 13

Correspondence, February, 1897- November, 1898

Box 1   Folder 14

Correspondence, February, December, 1899

Box 1   Folder 15

Correspondence, 1900

Box 1   Folder 16

Correspondence, 1901

Box 1   Folder 17

Correspondence, 1902

Box 1   Folder 18

Correspondence, 1903

Box 1   Folder 19

Correspondence, 1904

Box 1   Folder 20

Correspondence, January, 1905-May, 1906

Box 1   Folder 21

Frederick T. Gates, "The Truth About Mr. Rockefeller and the Merritts," pamphlet, n.d.

  • University of Chicago Library. Special Collections Research Center. 3
  • Frederick Taylor Gates Correspondence
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