Sept 11, 1967

The Difficult Art of Giving: The Epic of Alan Gregg

Author Affiliations



by Wilder Penfield, 414 pp, with photographs, $7.95, Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Co., 1967.

JAMA. 1967;201(11):898. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130110124061

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John D. Rockefeller assembled his monumental fortune with canny skill and worked just as hard to give it away. In both tasks the Rockefeller touch—which turned oil to gold and then the gold to good— hung on the same idea: find the best men to do the job, and then let them alone. One of the independent, spirited men who helped, in Mr. Rockefeller's phrase, in "the difficult art of giving," was Alan Gregg, MD. Wilder Penfield's biography presents to us the Rockefeller Foundation officer, from Colorado boyhood, to Harvard, to public health work in Brazil, to world-wide giving to medical education and research out of the Rockefeller coffers. The book describes a man dedicated to a task of great social potential, who, in giving, sought a lever to nudge the world of medicine toward a path of continuing improvement.

The Rockefeller largess is now dwarfed by the flow of