In honor and memory of a most distinguished alumnus, the University of Rochester inaugurated the Frederick Taylor Gates Lectureship in 1974. These lectures will continue to be given from time to time on subjects relating to philanthropy and the University, for the benefit of the faculty, the students, guests of the University, and the citizens of the community.
Frederick Taylor Gates (1853 — 1929) graduated from the University of Rochester in 1877 and from the Rochester Theological Seminary in 1880. He was for a generation the confidential advisor to John D. Rockefeller, Sr. His initial encounter with Rockefeller led not only to the creation of the University of Chicago, but also to a close relationship between the two men. Gates largely conceived, planned, and organized the General Education Board, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. There is no parallel in modern times to Gates’s contributions to the character of philanthropy and its remarkable influence on American education and science.
Just after Robert S. Morison delivered the first Gates Lectures, which appear at the end of this volume, members of the Gates family presented the manuscript of the autobiography to the University and granted their permission to publish it. Although excerpts appeared in American Heritage, Volume VI, No. 3 (April 1955), under the editorship of Allan Nevins, it appears here uncut and (except for necessary minor alterations) unedited—just as the author wrote it in 1928 for his family and descendants.
The University of Rochester acknowledges with thanks the assistance given to it by Mrs. Percival Taylor Gates of Suffield, Connecticut; Mrs. Lawrence Bothell of Maine, New York; and Mr. J. William Hess, archivist of the Rockefeller Foundation.
John Romano, M.D.
Distinguished University Professor of Psychiatry University of Rochester
Part One: The Early Years, My Birth and Infancy