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Wallace Buttrick

The Reverend Dr. Wallace Buttrick played diverse roles within the Rockefeller philanthropic world. Born in Potsdam, New York on October 23, 1853, Buttrick worked as a railway mail clerk earning money to attend the Rochester Theological Seminary from which he graduated in 1883. He then served as a minister at the First Baptist Church in New Haven, Connecticut, later moving on to posts in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Albany, New York. 

Buttrick’s association with Rockefeller philanthropy began in 1903, when he was chosen to be the first Secretary and Executive Officer of the General Education Board (GEB), becoming president in 1917. In this position Buttrick led the GEB in a variety of successful campaigns, including the improvement of African-American education and the development of secondary schools in the Southern states. Buttrick also played a pivotal role in the campaign against hookworm in the American South and in agricultural reform. Buttrick spent 23 years with the GEB; his tenure saw substantial growth for the organization and new efforts to provide funding for colleges and universities throughout the United States.

In addition to his roles with the GEB, Buttrick became the first director of the newly formed China Medical Board (CMB) in 1914, an organization devoted to modernizing the Chinese medical system. He also served as a Trustee of the RF and was a member of the International Education Board (IEB), created in 1923. Wallace Buttrick died of a stroke at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in 1926, at the age of 72.

The papers of Wallace Buttrick were donated to the Rockefeller Foundation Archives in 1967, and they may be consulted by researchers at the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC).