Friday, November 27, 2009

Alberto Ruz, Palenque and Nelson Rockefeller

In at least two of the INAH Anales reports regarding Palenque, Alberto Ruz thanked Nelson Rockefeller for the funding he contributed to the excavation projects at the site. When I read this statement, it sparked my curiosity, so I contacted the Rockefeller Foundation archives to see what I could discover about it. They sent me copies of several pieces of correspondence (1947- 1958) between Ruz, Rockefeller and the members of the Institute of Andean Research. This institute was the organization through which Rockefeller funneled the money - apparently for political reasons. Above is a picture of Rockefeller on the cover of Life magazine when Life did a story on the Museum of Primitive Art.

Above is a picture of Alberto Ruz. One of the stipulations regarding the receipt of the Rockefeller funds was that they were to go hand-in-hand with the money that the Mexican government was putting into the project. In 1955, Rockefeller requested a summary of all the funds contributed by INAH as compared to his. According to Ruz' accounting, between 1947 and 1955, Rockefeller had contributed 40% of the entire budget for the project, with INAH putting in 60%. From the tone of the correspondence between these two great men, it is possible to see that they were very warm friends. Time and time again, Ruz invited the Rockefellers to Palenque and finally they did make one visit. Ruz wrote in 1956 "My wife and I have the fondest remembrances of yours and Mrs. Rockefeller's brief stay among us." He was referencing Rockefeller's first wife, Mary Todhunter Clark, who also would eventually contribute money to the project.

Nelson Rockefeller and Mary Todhunter Clark Rockefeller