Oberlin College Archives


RECORDS, 1887-1920, 1952(1966-80)-1980


The records (1887-1980) of the Schauffler College of Religious and Social Work (1886-1957) consist of annual reports of missionaries, correspondence, photographs, and printed materials relating to Henry A. Schauffler's missionary work among Slavic populations in Cleveland which led to the formation in 1886 of the Slavic Bible Readers' Home (School), subsequently named the Schauffler Missionary Training School and later Schauffler College. The collection is divided into three series: I. Cleveland Missionary Activity of Henry A. Schauffler; II. Schauffler College Administrative Records; and III. Historical Accounts of Schauffler College.

In spite of its title, this collection does not contain substantive administrative records for the period 1920 to 1950. Lacking are budgetary records, institutional annual reports, and administrative correspondence from the school's founder, its deans, or other administrators. Some of these materials may be held by Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio. Series II, Schauffler College Administrative Records, contains a variety of printed leaflets of a religious, commemorative or official nature which collectively summarize Schauffler's evolving mission from its inception to its transfer to Oberlin College in 1954. More recent correspondence from Gertrude Jacob (1908-89) to Schauffler alumnae relates to the school's transfer in 1967 to Defiance College. Other administrative materials include library accession books, clippings, student data cards, and photographs.

Of particular interest to the student of the history of Christian missions to the immigrant Slovak, Czech, Polish, and Hungarian populations of the Northeast and northern Midwest are two complete series of annual reports from missionaries(1888-1903) housed in Series I, Cleveland Missionary Activity of Henry A. Schauffler. The unsigned annual reports of the Cleveland Slavic Mission were most likely prepared by its Superintendent, Henry A. Schauffler, for the Congregational Home Missionary Society. These reports discuss mission work in Cleveland at the turn of the century; activities at Bethlehem Congregational Church (the center of missionary activity among Bohemian immigrants); and the training of Slavic missionaries by Oberlin Theological Seminary's Slavic Department and the Bible Reader's School in Cleveland. A second series of annual reports, those of the Slavic Department of the Congregational Home Missionary Society, were prepared by field missionaries working among immigrant communities in Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Their accounts describe the level of learning and spiritual sophistication among their congregations, church attendance, and various religious programs initiated by the missionaries.

Also housed in Series I are conversion stories (1894-ca. 1890) of students in the Slavic Department at Oberlin Theological Seminary recruited as missionaries by Henry A. Schauffler. Some of Schauffler's own writings, recounting the history of his work in Cleveland, are contained in three issues of The Home Missionary. The two monographs in Series III, Fields of the Lord (1957) and The Schauffler Missionary Training School (1915) offer complete historical accounts of the Schauffler School.


Series I. Cleveland Missionary Activity of Henry A. Schauffler, 1887-1906, 1918, 1920, n.d. 2 l.f.

The series includes two sets of annual reports chronologically arranged: the Annual Reports (1888/89-1902/03) of the Cleveland Slavic Mission and the Annual Reports (1888/89-1902/03) of the Slavic Department of the Congregational Home Missionary Society. Also filed here are Bethlehem Congregational Church photographs and publications, correspondence of H.A. Schauffler relating to building plans for the Bible Reader's School (1887-90) and ms. conversion accounts. Files are arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Series II. Schauffler College Administrative Records, 1906-80 1.3 l.f.

Records include two alphabetical series of 3x5 data cards for Schauffler students compiled by the Oberlin College Office of Alumni Records (ca. 1955-60); accession books used by the Schauffler library; and official publications. Correspondence of Gertrude Jacob (1908-89), Executive Secretary of the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology, and supplementary printed material relate to Schauffler alumnae activities and to the transfer of the school to Defiance College in 1967. Files are arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Series III. Historical Accounts of Schauffler College, 1915, 1957 .1 l.f.

Contains the 1915 history, The Schauffler Missionary Training School, 1886-1914, 1914-19 by the Rev. Henry Martyn Tenney, D.D. (1841-1932), Dean of the Schauffler Missionary Training School 1911-13 and Member of the Board of Trustees of Oberlin College (1885-1930). Also contains the 1957 publication by Grace L. Schauffler (A.B. 1916), Fields of the Lord, which chronicles the history of Schauffler College to 1957.


For information relating to the Slavic Department of the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology and to the Schauffler Division of Religious and Social Work, consult the records of the Graduate School of Theology, record group 11, and the Office of the Secretary, record group 5. The letters of Henry A. Schauffler which accompanied donations to the Oberlin Slavic Department are housed in Box 35 of the Records of the Treasurer's Office, 7/1/5. The Papers of Margaret Schauffler (30/204) include a 1986 pamphlet on the history of her father's and mother's missionary training school. The papers of Gertrude Jacob (30/24) include further information relating to the transfer of Schauffler to Defiance College. Other historical collections relating to missionary work among Slavic immigrants in Cleveland are held by the Western Reserve Historical Society and Cleveland Public Library.


The records of the Schauffler College of Religious and Social Work were received by the Oberlin College archives in March 1969 in two separate accessions.

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Last updated: 18 March 1996