Gregg writes to Kinsey, expressing concern about using the Rockefeller Foundation's name in advertising.
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1947-12-19 (December 19, 1947)
Kinsey, Alfred C.
Original Repository: Rockefeller Archive Center. Rockefeller Foundation Archives
Reproduced with permission of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Postwar Work and Retirement, 1945-1956
December 19, 1947
Dear Dr. Kinsey:
Thank you for your letter of December 11. I was sorry that I missed the chance of talking with you. I did not get back from
a southern trip until yesterday.
I think that, I can help make the question of using the Foundation's name in advertising somewhat clearer in this way:
We have as a long established and pretty firm tradition here avoided calling at attention to our grants for any purpose. This
attitude takes occasional concrete form in the fact that we ask the authors of scientific papers to feel free to omit reference
to the Foundation as having provided support for the investigation being reported. We have specifically discouraged the use
of The Rockefeller Foundation's name in various laboratories or buildings which we have supplied money to build.
I remember once that a Rumanian came into the Paris Office in an extremely apologetic frame of mind because he had seen that
a professor in Vienna had put up a plaque on the door of a laboratory which indicated that the laboratory was the Rockefeller
Foundation Laboratory and the poor Rumanian professor proffered his apologies for not similarly marking a laboratory that
the Foundation had given him. Well, we just don't want that kind of publicity.
When we make a grant we don't give any press releases. The question of the announcement of the grant is left to the recipient
except for the belated record of that action which appears about a year to eighteen months later in our annual report.
Then there is another aspect to consider. I don't think that the support of the Foundation is the major news about any
scientific paper or book - It is the quality of work that is behind the publication that is important. The use of the Foundation's
name in advertising is consequently something that disturbs our Trustees who would much prefer to have the simplest and briefest
mention possible of the fact that the Foundation had given support to any given enterprise, and not open the way to charges
of being passive collaborators to publicity efforts. Stated a little differently, we are perfectly willing to accept responsibility
for having backed an enterprise but we are not willing to have the fact of our support used in advertising or publicity.
I am, I think, realist enough to understand that there are occasions in which an enterprise needs some measure of sponsorship,
but it would seem to me that the magazine articles and the book itself have utilized that possible advantage enough so that
further advertising campaigns do not need to refer to the Foundation in order to be successful. Indeed I think the objectivity
of the whole study would be substantially enhanced id there were no further advertising involving more than the subject of
the book, its authors and the publisher's name. The book itself is so well done that its position in its field will be
secure, and its importance in the fields of medicine, education, penology, and family relations will be undisputed.
The perennial interest of the human race in sex has been so frequently exploited for commercial gain that I think you and
your publishers would gain more than you lose if you take measures to prevent any suspicion whatever of motivations that I
know you do not have.
I am trying to steer a course that will preserve the whole undertaking from extremes, and I can only hope that you will not
doubt my desire to be as wisely helpful as I know how.