This record group, consisting of three subgroups, documents the activities and efforts of Oberlin citizens to improve the town and to preserve its history. The first two subgroups represent the records of the predecessor organizations which merged to form O.H.I.O. in 1964.
Subgroup I contains the records of the Oberlin Village Improvement Society which was extant from 1903 to 1964. Dating from 1909 to 1964, important record series are: constitution and by-laws, 1911-1943; minutes, 1903-1964 (not complete); correspondence, 1909-1956; treasurer's records, 1903-1964, and records of the Oberlin Park Board, 1911-1942. These files document Adelia Field Johnston's role and the Society's early plans for town improvement. The records of the three organizations which merged with the Society in 1915: Oberlin Christian Union, Mutual Benefit Association, and Associated Charities of Oberlin, are maintained as independent collections in Record Group 31.
Included in subgroup II, Oberlin Historical Society are documents centered around the historical properties the Society sought to preserve. Records date from the inception of the organization in 1958 to its subsequent merger as part of O.H.I.O. in 1964. Among the important series are constitution and by-laws, 1958-1960; minutes, 1960-1964; correspondence, 1960-1963; and files relating to the historical properties (the Little Red Schoolhouse and James Monroe House). The correspondence is mostly that of Mary Rudd Cochran (1881-1982) and Donald M. Love (1894-1974), which contains reminiscences about Cochran's great-aunt Julie Finney Monroe (1837-1930).
By far the richest segment of records exist for subgroup III, Oberlin Historical and Improvement Organization (O.H.I.O.), formed in 1964. Documentation exists on the 1964 merger with the Oberlin Historical Society, and the Oberlin Village Improvement Society. The series generally reflect the administrative arrangement of O.H.I.O., including records of the activities of the president, treasurer and secretary. Key series include constitution and by-laws, 1964-1979; chartering and incorporating documents, 1958-1987; and minutes of board of trustees' meetings, 1964-1989. The presidential series includes correspondence and reports from 1964 to 1984. Important subseries under the secretary's office include correspondence, 1964-1990; chronological files, 1965-1989; and historical files, 1961-1985. The treasurer's series includes correspondence, 1964-1987; annual reports, 1964-1985; building and property records of assets managed by O.H.I.O., 1965-1988; and accounts receivable and payable, 1961-1988. To be found under special projects are files on the Charles Martin Hall Memorial Center, 1960-1970; publication projects, 1961-1984; and records of the Oberlin Area United Appeal, Inc., 1962-1983. The final two series contain printed material, including brochures and clippings, and photographs and artifacts related to O.H.I.O.
Subgroup I. Oberlin Village and Improvement Society, 1903-1964 (0.8 lin. ft.)
Contains the records of the volunteer-run Oberlin Village and Improvement Society, a predecessor organization of O.H.I.O. Records are divided into six series: 1. Constitution and By-laws; 2. Minutes; 3. Correspondence; 4. Financial Records; 5. Oberlin Park Board; 6. Printed Material.
Copies of the constitution and by-laws noting subsequent changes in organizational structure. The dates for the documents are 1911, 1915, 1928, 1942 and 1943.
Series 2. Minutes, 1903-1964 (0.2 lin. ft.)
An incomplete run of minutes that document the meetings of the governing body. Recorded activities include outing plans, financial reports, membership notes and acquisitions. Minutes date 1903-10, 1912, 1914-23 and 1932-64.
Series 3. Correspondence, 1909-1956 (0.1 lin. ft.)
Correspondents include Augusta Squire, Irving W. Metcalf, Keyes Dewitt Metcalf, William Frederick Bohn, Homer H. Johnson and Frederick Grover. Topics include landscaping, dandelion control, financial transactions and meeting notices.
Series 4. Treasurer's Records, 1903-1964 (0.2 lin. ft)
Records of treasurer include correspondence from 1942 to 1964, mostly regarding financial investments; balance sheets, bank statements and receipts spanning 1903-1964.
Series 5. Oberlin Park Board, 1911-1942 (0.1 lin. ft.)
Primarily correspondence related to Oberlin park improvements. Specific properties are targeted for development and use. Other items include plat maps noting location of parks and properties.
Series 6. Oberlin Federation, 1913-18 (0.1 lin. ft.)
One minute/record book, including minutes, clippings, and printed programs, 1913-18 which document this organization that was also known as the Oberlin Federation for Village Improvement and Social Betterment.
Series 7. Printed Material, 1908-1958 (0.1 lin. ft.)
Contains articles and clippings related to the Society. The date range is non-inclusive.
Includes the records of the Oberlin Historical Society, the second predecessor organization of O.H.I.O. Officially chartered in 1960, organizational planning began in 1958. The Society was incorporated as part of O.H.I.O. in 1964. Records are divided into six series: 1. Constitution and By-laws; 2. Minutes; 3. Correspondence; 4. Historical Properties; 5. Treasurer's Records; 6. Printed Materials.
Included are copies of the constitution and by-laws from the inception in 1958, with subsequent revisions through 1960. It outlines the objectives and organization of the Society.
Series 2. Minutes, 1960-1964 (0.1 lin. ft.)
Minutes of the board of trustees of the Oberlin Historical Society represent a partial record documenting the activities of the Society. The minutes appear incomplete and exist in both manuscript and typescript form. Income and expense statements are included with the minutes.
Series 3. Correspondence, 1960-1963 (0.1 lin. ft.)
Primarily the correspondence carried out between Donald Love and Mary Rudd Cochran between 1960 and 1963. The letters are predominately reminiscences about Julie Finney Monroe, Cochran's great-aunt, who lived in the Monroe House. The correspondence was generated during the Society's efforts to preserve the Monroe House.
Series 4. Historical Properties, 1958-1963 (0.1 lin. ft.)
Records of the historical properties administered by the Oberlin Historical Society include files on the Little Red School House and the Monroe House. A roster of acquisitions notes many artifacts related to the properties.
Series 5. Treasurer's Records, 1958-1965 (0.1 lin. ft.)
Consists of financial records of the Society held by the treasurer. Includes canceled checks, bank statements, balance sheets, pledge cards and gift receipts.
Series 6. Printed Material, 1958-1964 (0.1 lin. ft.)
Contains clippings describing the origins of the Society and the 1964 merger with the Oberlin Village and Improvement Society.
The result of a merger between the Oberlin Village and Improvement Society and the Oberlin Historical Society in 1964, O.H.I.O. documents the merger and incorporation of the two predecessor organizations. Records illustrate the administration of O.H.I.O. and its various historical and improvement projects. Records are divided into seven series: 1. Constitution and By-laws; 2. Chartering and Incorporation; 3. Minutes; 4. President's Records; 5. Secretary's records; 6. Treasurer's Records; 7. Special Projects; 8. Printed Material and Photographs; and 9. Artifacts.
Contains copies of the constitution and by-laws of O.H.I.O. and its predecessor organizations. Updates and revisions of amended articles are included.
Series 2. Chartering and Incorporation, 1958-1987 (0.1 lin. ft.)
Corporate registration documents and certificates of continued existence are part of this series relating to the constitution and by-laws. Items include copies of the predecessor organizations charters as well as charter amendments for O.H.I.O.
Series 3. Minutes, 1964-1989 (0.2 lin. ft.)
A relatively complete set of the minutes from the board of trustees' meetings is contained in this series. A less complete record of minutes from other special meetings is also housed in this series. Minutes document membership, organizational activities, special projects and the administration of historical properties.
Series 4. President's Records, 1964-1987 (0.2 lin. ft.)
Records of the president of O.H.I.O. primarily consist of correspondence (incoming and outgoing). Included are letters of resignation from earlier presidents. (For related material see the chronological file in the secretary's series.)
Series 5. Secretary's Records, 1961-1989 (0.7 lin. ft.)
Consists of records of the secretary which illustrate the functions and duties of the office. The records are divided into four subseries: 1. Correspondence; 2. Chronological File; 3. Membership Rosters; 4. Historical File.
The bulk of the correspondence is that of the first secretary, Donald M. Love. Love's correspondence begins with the merger, and continues until his death in 1974. Other correspondents include Nancy Close and Philip Tear.
Subseries 2. Chronological File, 1965-1989 (0.4 lin. ft.)
The most pristine records in the collection, the chronological file contains a relatively complete record of the yearly activities of O.H.I.O. Items include meeting announcements, membership rosters, clippings, and correspondence. The bulk of the correspondence is that of the president.
Subseries 3. Membership Rosters, 1967-1988 (0.1 lin. ft.)
Membership rosters maintained by the secretary, duplicate some sections of the chronological file. Rosters include lists of members and officers of O.H.I.O.
Subseries 4. Historical File, 1961-1985 (0.1 lin. ft.)
A miscellaneous file of items of general historical significance to O.H.I.O. Items include notes on the organization's history, as well as rosters of historical acquisitions. Specific files on the Finney Sofa and the Astor Piano are part of the subseries.
The largest segment of records quantity-wise, the treasurer's records document the various fiscal responsibilities of O.H.I.O. The records are divided into four subseries: 1. Correspondence; 2. Annual Reports; 3. Building and Property Records; 4. Accounts Receivable and Payable.
Consists of correspondence carried on by the treasurer regarding investments, assets and disbursements.
Subseries 2. Annual Reports, 1964-1985 (0.2 lin. ft.)
Contains annual reporting of financial condition noting income and expenditures. The reports are largely complete for the year noted.
Subseries 3. Building and Property Records, 1964-1988 (1.3 lin. ft.)
Topical files maintained by the treasurer on the historical properties and buildings administered by O.H.I.O. File topics include the Ferguson House, Jewett House, Monroe House, and Little Red School House.
Subseries 4. Accounts receivable and Payable, 1961-1989 (1.0 lin. ft.)
General financial records and receipts of O.H.I.O. Includes insurance policies, I.R.S. forms and schedules, bank statements, utility bills and real estate tax receipts.
Topical files maintained on the various special projects associated with O.H.I.O. Includes a proposal for an historical pageant in Oberlin, Charles Martin Hall Memorial Center, Oberlin Area United Appeal and publication projects.
Series 8. Printed Material and Photographs, 1964-1983 (0.2 l.f.)
Brochures sponsored by O.H.I.O., clippings, and a copy of the 1968 O.H.I.O. sponsored book, The Music of Oberlin and Some Who Made It, by Ernest Barrett Chamberlain. Includes a folder of photographs of the historical properties around 1964, and pictures of Oberlin Historical Society members.
Series 9. Artifacts, n.d. (0.4 lin. ft.)
The artifacts consist of hinges from the Charles Grandison Finney House which was unable to be preserved.
For records associated with O.H.I.O. and its predecessor organizations, the researcher is advised to consult the following collections: Office of the Secretary (5); Adelia Field Johnston Papers (31/19); William B. Gerrish Papers (30/109); and Donald Love Papers (30/91).
The early records of O.H.I.O. came into the archives as part of the records of Donald M. Love, received in 1975. More recent records came to the archives in several accessions under William E. Bigglestone. Three large accessions were added in 1989 and 1990. The historical records of the Oberlin Village and Improvement Society were transferred from record group 31/2. Three minute books of the Oberlin Village Improvement Society, 1903-23 and one minute book of the Oberlin Federation, 1913-18 were added under accession 1993/92.
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