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RG 11 - Graduate School of Theology (1833-1966)
Scope and Content

The records of the Graduate School of Theology span the years 1841 to 1967, with the bulk of the items concentrated in the period from 1903 to 1966. For documentation of the seminary's first seventy years (1833-1903), when Oberlin's presidents controlled seminary operation, researchers will wish to consult the presidential papers of Charles Grandison Finney (2/2), James Harris Fairchild (2/3), and Henry Churchill King (2/4). In the records here described, documentation of this period is limited to items of minimal research value, such as commencement memorabilia, banquet menus, and minutes of various student societies. Significant administrative records date from 1903, when President King named Edward Increase Bosworth to the newly created post of seminary dean. Researchers will find a substantive record of Bosworth's contributions to the spiritual and intellectual life of the seminary, preserved here in his personal and professional correspondence, writings, and teaching materials. Unfortunately, Bosworth's successors retained for their personal use the bulk of their professional papers. As a result, little documentation exists of the administrations of deans Graham (1927-46), Stidley (1948-58), Michaelides (1958-60), and Hazelton (1961-66). To fill this informational gap, consult the papers of the presidents under whom these deans served: Ernest Hatch Wilkins (2/7), William Edwards Stevenson (2/8), and Robert Kenneth Carr (2/9).

The collection has been divided into the following subgroups: 1, Administrative Files; II, Theological Instruction and Special Programs Files; III, Faculty Writings and Teaching Materials; IV, Student Life Records; and V. Reel-to-Reel Recordings. Within subgroups, records are further subdivided into series and subseries; thereunder, materials are typically arranged chronologically or alphabetically by topic or type of material.

The annual reports (1923-33, 1947-66) of Deans Bosworth, Graham, Stidley, Michaelides, and Hazelton to the presidents of Oberlin College (King, Wilkins, Stevenson, and Carr), housed in Subgroup I, Series 1, chronicle many aspects of seminary operation from 1923 to 1966. Subjects treated include budgetary matters, personnel and curriculum changes, the deans' speaking engagements, writing projects, and their professional aspirations and disappointments. For Bosworth's earlier reports to President King (1903-23), and the reports (1934-46) of Dean Graham missing from this series, consult the records of the Office of the Secretary (5). Note that the budgetary records in Subgroup I, Series 6 are lacking in comprehensive coverage, with gaps existing for the years 1905-37 and 1949-62.

The administrative work of seminary faculty in general is documented in the minutes of general seminary faculty meetings (1884-1966), Faculty Council meetings (1955-65), and faculty committee records (1925-65), housed in Subgroup I, Series 3. Faculty committees documented include those on admissions, chapel service, curriculum, religious interests, and student aid and loans. Admissions committee records include rosters of black and foreign students admitted between 1950 and 1962.

Of particular significance for understanding seminary administration during the presidency of Henry Churchill King (1902-27), is the correspondence (1896-1926) of Edward Increase Bosworth. The correspondence, housed in Series 4 and 5 of Subgroup I, includes letters from friends, former students, ministers, publishers, and representatives of the Vancouver-based Red Fir Lumber Company, in which Bosworth held investments. Series 4, "Correspondence With Applicants," contains letters from prospective students to Bosworth, Fairchild, and other professors, regarding admission to the English Bible Course which Bosworth taught, together with letters of reference and completed applications. Bosworth corresponded with several missionary organizations, including the Congregational Home Missionary Society, the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Key correspondents represented in Series 5 include O.D. Foster, Chairman of the Y.M.C.A. of Chicago who served with President King in Paris during the First World War; and the Rev. Frederick L. Fagley of the Commission on Evangelism and Devotional Life of the National Council of Congregational Churches. Additional correspondence of Bosworth is housed in Subgroup II, Series 2 and is more fully described below, as it relates to the Kyrias School for Girls in Kortcha, Albania.

The correspondence of Bosworth's successors is overall very thin. Correspondence (1913-45) of Dean Thomas Wesley Graham mainly concerns the funding, construction, and dedication of new seminary buildings. The tenures of Dean Leonard A. Stidley (1948-58) and his replacement, George P. Michaelides (1958-60), are documented by correspondence pertaining to the various special programs Stidley initiated, especially the Summer School and Rural Ministers Programs. This correspondence is housed in Subgroup II, Theological Instruction and Special Programs. There is no correspondence in this record group for Dean Roger Hazelton; however, his memoranda and reports relating to the closing of the Graduate School of Theology are to be found in Subgroup I, Series 2, Board of Trustees Records. The deans' correspondence (1937-65) with the seminary's accrediting body, the American Association of Theological Schools, is housed in Series IX, Affiliate Bodies and Organizations.

The work of academic departments and special programs is unevenly documented in Subgroup II, Theological Instruction and Special Programs (1841-1967). Included are correspondence and printed materials relating to the English and Slavic courses (1886-1921), which were among the earliest academic programs offered to meet the needs of special students. Files also document programs initiated after World War II to accommodate older students with active parish ministries. These include the Summer School of Religious Education (1945-ca. 1963) and the Rural Ministers Program (1950). The records of the Schauffler Division of Christian Education are housed in Record Group 34. Also present in this series are the correspondence files (1913-21) of Dean Bosworth relating to the governance and support of the Kyrias Girls School in Albania, a school founded by an Oberlin-trained Albanian and run by an American Board of Trustees. Correspondents include Christo Dako (B.D. 1913), Miss S.D. Kyrias, James L. Barton of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and Cornelia and Charles Crane of New York, the school's benefactors. Tape recordings (1959-66) of lectures and vespers addresses given by seminary and visiting faculty are housed in Subgroup V. Visiting lecturers include ministers and theologians Otto Betz, Kenneth A. Cragg, Walter J. Harrelson, Leander C. Keck, Martin Luther King, Stephen Neill, Helmut Thielicke, Paul Tournier, and Daniel Day Williams.

Faculty teaching materials and writings are housed in Subgroup III. The bulk of this subgroup consists of the writings (1892-1931) of Edward Bosworth, whose special research interests were New Testament studies, the life of Jesus, and the human personality in light of the Gospel message. As a group, they go far to explain Bosworth's immense popularity as a teacher and spiritual guide at Oberlin for forty years. Included are published and unpublished articles, research notes, and ms. drafts and notes for sermons and talks. His teaching materials include subject bibliographies, book orders, classbooks, and twenty-one volumes of lecture notes for various classes. The writings of faculty members Graham and Hazelton include their lecture notes, talks, sermons, and articles. Also present is Hazelton's 1937 unpublished dissertation. Additional teaching materials are filed in Series VII of Subgroup I with the personnel records of individual faculty. For additional teaching materials, consult the personal papers collections of seminary faculty members Charles Grandison Finney (2/2), Henry Cowles (30/27), James Harris Fairchild (2/3), Kemper Fullerton (30/38), Thomas Wesley Graham (30/86), Henry Churchill King (2/4), Walter Marshall Horton (30/4), Herbert G. May (30/46), and George Frederick Wright (30/21).

Series Descriptions

Subgroup I. Administrative Files, 1857-1984, n.d. 12.80 l.f.

Organized into ten series: 1. Annual Reports of the Deans; 2. Board of Trustees Records; 3. Faculty Files; 4. Correspondence With Applicants; 5. Correspondence of the Deans; 6. Miscellaneous Budgetary Records; 7. Personnel Records; 8. Official Publications; 9. Affiliate Bodies and Organizations; and X. Buildings and Grounds Files.

    Series 1. Annual Reports of the Deans, 1923-33, 1947-66 .2 l.f.

    Annual reports (file copies) submitted to the President by the seminary deans. Arranged chronologically.

    Series 2. Board of Trustees Records, 1924, 1939-66 .2 l.f.

    Memoranda, committee minutes, and attachments relating primarily to the trustees' Committee on the Graduate School of Theology. Arranged alphabetically by type of material and thereunder chronologically.

    Series 3. Faculty Files, 1884-1966, n.d. 1.8 l.f.

    Organized into two subseries: 1. Minutes of Faculty Meetings; and 2. Faculty Committee Files. Within Subseries 1, minutes are chronologically arranged; within Subseries 2, files are arranged alphabetically by committee name.

    Series 4. Correspondence With Applicants (Incoming), 1887-97 1.6 l.f.

    Incoming correspondence from prospective students, chronologically arranged.

    Series 5. Correspondence of the Deans, 1896-1945, 1960-62, n.d. 2.0 l.f.

    Organized into two subseries: 1. Correspondence of Dean Edward I. Bosworth; and 2. Correspondence of Dean Thomas W. Graham. The correspondence of Dean Bosworth is arranged into incoming correspondence and miscellaneous correspondence; incoming correspondence includes two runs: a run alphabetically arranged and a run chronologically arranged. The correspondence of Dean Graham is arranged chronologically under the headings "miscellaneous" and "seminary building program."

    Series 6. Miscellaneous Budgetary Records, 1895-1904, 1938-48, 1963-66 .20 l.f.

    Three financial ledgers, chronologically arranged.

    Series 7. Personnel Records, 1916-67 2.8 l.f.

    Correspondence, letters of reference, memoranda, and transactional documents relating to personnel searches and individual faculty and staff members. Faculty files are retained as they were received, many containing teaching materials such as reading lists and syllabi. Search Files are arranged alphabetically by position title; personnel files are arranged alphabetically by faculty or staff name.

    Series 8. Official Publications, 1870-1974 2.2 l.f.

    Printed annual catalogs and miscellaneous publications, reporting on academic offerings, degree requirements, and student regulations. Arranged alphabetically by type of material and thereunder chronologically.

    Series 9. Affiliate Bodies and Organizations, 1857-1984 2.6 l.f.

    Organized into three subseries: 1. Alumni Association of the Graduate School of Theology; 2. External Organizations' Files; and 3. Funds, Grants, and Foundation Files. Within subseries 1, files are chronologically arranged by creating body; within subseries 2 and 3, files are alphabetically arranged by organization name.

    Series 10. Buildings and Grounds Files, 1871-74, 1904-63 .4 l.f.

    Correspondence, memoranda, architectural drawings, a scrapbook of news clippings, and other printed materials, arranged alphabetically by type of material and thereunder by building name.

    Series 11. Student Records, 1935-1963 1.2 l.f. - Restricted

    Consisting of correspondence, applications, and associated materials for the students in the Graduate School of Theology. Primarily students enrolled in summer sessions or special courses offered by the Graduate School of Theology.

Subgroup II. Theological Instruction and Special Programs, 1879-1967 3.0 l.f.

Arranged into three series: 1. Academic Departments and Divisions; 2. Special Programs; and 3. Lecture Series and Conferences.

    Series 1. Academic Departments and Divisions, 1887-89, 1906-20, 1954-67 .2 l.f.

    Memoranda and printed materials, arranged with department files preceding division files.

    Series 2. Special Programs, 1906-62 1.6 l.f.

    Correspondence, memoranda, and printed materials, arranged alphabetically by program name.

    Series 3. Lecture Series and Conferences, 1879-1966 1.2 l.f.

    Correspondence, programs, and printed materials, arranged alphabetically by title.

Subgroup III. Faculty Writings and Teaching Materials, 1892-1965, n.d. 8.20 l.f.

Organized into three series by creator: 1. Writings and Teaching Materials of Edward I. Bosworth; 2. Writings of Thomas W. Graham; and 3. Writings of Roger Hazelton.

    Series 1. Writings and Teaching Materials of Edward I. Bosworth, 1892-1931, n.d. 6.95 l.f.

    Organized into two subseries: 1. Writings of Edward I. Bosworth; and 2. Teaching Materials of Edward I. Bosworth. In Subseries 1, writings are arranged alphabetically by genre and thereunder chronologically. In Subseries 2, teaching materials are arranged alphabetically by type of material.

    Series 2. Writings of Thomas Wesley Graham, 1920-48 .60 l.f.

    Research notes and ms. drafts of talks and sermons, arranged alphabetically by type of material and thereunder chronologically. See also Thomas Wesley Graham's personal papers, Record Group 30/86.

    Series 3. Writings of Roger Hazelton, 1935-65 .65 l.f.

    Ms. drafts of articles, published articles, galley proofs of the monograph, The Root and Flower of Prayer (1943); unpublished dissertation manuscript, research notes, and six office appointment books. Arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Subgroup IV. Student Life Records, 1841-1967, n.d. 1.65 l.f.

Arranged into three series: 1. Commencement Files; 2. Student Organizations; 3. Student Publications.

    Series 1. Commencement Files, 1841-1967 .85 l.f.

    Commencement programs and brochures, menus, and service booklets, arranged chronologically.

    Series 2. Student Organizations, 1844-1966, n.d. .40 l.f.

    Minutes and related documentation, arranged alphabetically by organization name.

    Series 3. Student Publications, 1937-62 .40 l.f.

    Printed publications in incomplete runs. Arranged alphabetically by title and thereunder chronologically.

Subgroup V. Reel-to-Reel Recordings, 1959-66 2.6 l.f.

Reel-to-reel recordings of lectures given by faculty and visiting lecturers. Arranged in two subseries. Subseries 1 contains the reel to reel recordings. Subseries 2 consists of cassette tape copies of select titles from Subseries 1. Arranged chronologically and accompanied by a name index.

Subgroup VI. Photographs, 1897-1966, n.d. 0.4 l.f.

Photographs of various topics including student housing, Theological Quadrangle, faculty/ staff, and commencement. Folders are arranged alphabetically within the box.

Subgroup VII. Moving Images, 1938 0.6 l.f.

One 16mm black and white, silent film of GST faculty and students, 1938 by E. John Hamlin (OC 1936, AB, MA), former Shansi representative. [Accession 2008/039]



The records of the Graduate School of Theology were transferred to the College Archives in nine separate accessions from 1966 to 1984, with the bulk of the records arriving in March and September 1967. These "general files" had been kept by the Registrar and Executive Secretary of the School, Gertrude Jacob (1908-89), prior to their accessioning by the Archives. The files of E.I. Bosworth arrived in 1968 and 1980.Additional material was recieved from the Oberlin College Library, Department of Special Collections, in 2001 and 2002.

In 2005/06 the College Archives recieved student records from the Office of Stewardship (Development). The files contain application materials for summer sessions and special courses in the Graduate School of Theology.

In 2008 former Shansi Representative John Hamlin donated a 1938 film of GST faculty and students.

Related Materials

The records of the Oberlin College Board of Trustees (1) contain valuable information relating to the founding of the seminary, its funding, operation, and closing. For early subscription books used to raise money for the fledgling seminary, consult the records of the Office of the Treasurer, Series 7/1/2, Subseries 7. For papers relating to the Library of the Graduate School of Theology, consult the records of Oberlin College Library, 16. For the records of the Schauffler College of Religious and Social Work, and for information relating to the recruitment of home missionaries among the Slavic populations in Cleveland, consult record group 34. Information about the Oberlin Missionary Home Association is contained in Record Group 38/1, Miscellaneous Missionary Papers.

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