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1940 Oberlin College Mock Convention

During commencement week 2006 (May 22-May 29) the Oberlin College Archives displayed an exhibit of materials relating to the 1940 Oberlin College Mock Convention, May 10-11, 1940. The exhibit, along with a formal presentation on Saturday, May 27, coincided with the reunion of the classes of 1940, 1941, and 1942. Links to the exhibit items including photographs, documents and objects (with captions) are below.

Included below are excerpts from the article "Oberlin's 1940 Mock Republican Convention" from the May 1940 issue of the Oberlin Alumni Magazine.


“Sophomore Dick McDermott devoted his life to getting an elephant for the parade; he scoured the highlands and lowlands of Ohio in search of the prize…Several barns were offered for [the elephant's] comfort, but she was staked out near the big convention tent.  Said McDermott: ‘I’ll sleep with the elephant in the big tent.  If she steps on me it’s all right.  I’ll know where she is.’” (pg 12)

“A man not seriously considered elsewhere as a contender for the nomination was presented to the convention by Delegate Norman Lyle of Nebraska on a prohibition platform.  The Nebraskan’s nominee reached his maximum strength on the third ballot when he received 164 votes, putting him in second place.  This remarkable showing was attributed by Mr. Lyle to the authoritative knowledge of intoxicating liquor possessed by his candidate—Mr. W.C. Fields, comedian of vaudeville and screen.” (pg. 13)

“On Friday evening, at the opening session of the convention, Congressman Dudley A. White, candidate for Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate, sounded off with a keynote speech in the accepted Republican tradition.” (pg. 13)

“But it was [Dudley A. White’s] rival for the senatorial nomination, Mayor Harold H. Burton of Cleveland, permanent chairman of the Mock Convention, who obviously won the hearts of the delegates by his capable discharge of his duties in presiding over the Saturday night session of the convention, and by his good sportsmanship, shown when he rode “Frieda” from Oberlin’s public square to President Wilkins’ home, where the latter was confined by a slight illness.” (pg. 13)

“Another [proposal] demanded that Congressman White’s keynote speech be expunged from the record as inconsistent with the platform drawn up by the convention.” (pg. 24)

From Oberlin Alumni Magazine for May 1940 Volume 36, No. 7  Editor Carroll K. Shaw, 28

See also the 1924 Mock Convention feature.




Convention Candidates

Campus Personalities

Elephants On Parade

Organization And Publicity

Parade And Gatherings

Official Forms

News Articles

Speeches And Communication


The photographs provided here by the Oberlin College Archives for the College Library server may be downloaded for one-time personal or classroom use, so long as it is not for financial gain. For all other users of Archives' photographs--including reproduction in a brochure, scholarly article or book, or other publication purchase (digital or otherwise)--users must seek permission from the Oberlin College Archives, 420 Mudd Center, Oberlin, Ohio 44074 (telephone 440-775-8014). Archives URL: http://www.oberlin.edu/archive/. Images from the Oberlin College Archives are protected by U.S. Copyright law.

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