Subgroup I. Administrative File, 1839-1991
This subgroup, containing the legal documents of the Alumni Association, is arranged in four series: Constitution and By-Laws, Minutes, Budgets, and Historical Files.
Series 1. Constitution and By-Laws, 1920-1988
The Alumni Association has operated under five constitutions. The first one, in 1839, established the Association of the Oberlin College "Collegiate Institute" and remained in effect until 1919 when a new constitution was ratified. This constitution created the Alumni Association and made possible the employment of a paid executive. In 1945, the "Regulations of the Alumni Association of Oberlin College" were approved which resulted in an Alumni Board to replace the Alumni Council. In 1970, a new constitution led to the elimination of all offices except that of the president. The most recent constitution abolished the Alumni Board replacing it with a voluntary Alumni Council. Three of the four constitutions are located in this series. The 1839 document is found in the Minute Book (series 2). There is no copy of the 1984 constitution in this group.
Series 2. Minutes, 1839-1952, 1957-79
This series contains the minutes kept under all four of the Association's constitutions. It also records the first constitution. Minutes for the Executive Committee, the Alumni Council, and the Association's Annual Meetings are all interfiled in chronological order. The original Minute Book (1839-1920) can be found here, but only a photocopy is available to researchers due to the fragile nature of the original. Note the gap in the record for the years 1953 to 1956. These records have not been located.
Series 3. Budgets, 1958-1991
These records document the budgets of the Alumni Association. Included are preliminary, proposed and actual budget reports as well as correspondence relating to the allocation process.
Series 4. Historical File, 1945-80, 1988
Included in this series are various documents compiled over the years that record many phases of the Alumni Association's history.
Series 5. Insurance Files, 1968
Though this is a meager series, it nevertheless contains important information regarding the insurance policies held by the Alumni Association.
Series 6. Awards/Certificates, 1973, 1982-83, 1986, 1990 (oversize)
This series contains awards and certificates presented to the Alumni Association or members of the staff.
Subgroup II. Alumni Board, 1890-
This subgroup documents the activities of the governing body of the Alumni Association. It is arranged into seven series: Organization Files, Annual Meetings, Correspondence Files, Executive Committee Files, Committee Files, Mailings, and Handbooks. Note that the bulk of the material here is for the period 1920-1962.
Series 1. Organization,1945-59, 1968-75, 1983, 1986-91
This series contains general information regarding the structures of the Alumni Association. Committee listings, information sheets, interpretations of the by-laws, and correspondence make up the series.
Series 2. Annual Meetings, 1893-1991
Twice a year the Alumni Board meets to conduct its business. This series consists of working files used in preparation for and conducting of annual meetings, 1920-1989. Records include correspondence, invitations, lodging information, committee reports, and minutes of meetings. Programs filed here include those for Alumni Day, the predecessor to the Annual Meeting, held regularly during commencement. Material is arranged chronologically.
Series 3. Correspondence, 1955-89
General correspondence relating to Board matters. (includes 1999/132)
Series 4. Executive Committee, 1955-95
This series documents the responsibilities of the Executive Committee--that group responsible for overseeing the activities of the Board. Included are agendas, correspondence, reports, and meeting minutes.
Series 5. Committee Files, 1890-1999
This series documents the functional groups of the Alumni Board. The constitution provides for standing committees: a number of short term committees also have been formed throughout the Association's history. Among the long term committees of note are: the Nominating Committee responsible for choosing candidates for Alumni Board positions and for the Alumni Trustee to the Oberlin College Board of Trustees; Scholarships and Admissions Committee concerned with raising and disbursing scholarship monies; the Publications Committee which oversees the Alumni Magazine; and the Alumni Award Committee responsible for choosing the recipient of the annual Alumni Medal. Records include correspondence and reports. Material is arranged alphabetically by committee and then chronologically.
Series 6. Mailings, 1961-78
Various reports, announcements, schedules, and other types of information sent to Board members.
Series 7. Handbooks, 1969-89, 1995-97
Located here are handbooks devised to assist alumni board members in carrying out their duties.
Series 8. Self Defined Groups, 1987- (1.2 l.f.)
Documents report on the work of several special interest alumni groups. Annual reports from the Asian Pacific American Alumni/ae Association, the Bowlers Association, the John Heisman Club, and the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Alumni Association detail the history, membership, mission, yearly activities and future plans for these alumni groups. The 1994 annual report for the John Heisman Club contains a discussion of the institution’s declining support for the College’s athletic program. Filed here also is the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Alumni Association’s reaction to the 1993 Maguire Consultant’s report which argued that the open presence of lesbian, gay, and bisexual students at Oberlin had a negative impact on the number of prospective student applications. Included in this series are pamphlets, correspondence and planning materials for activities and scholarships relating to the Black Alumni Committee/Association. The final report of the Black Alumni Conference (25-27 May 1987) is also included. In order to increase the participation of black alumni in service and support to Oberlin College, a Black Alumni Committee was convened in 1987. This group was to assist in addressing the issues of minority recruitment, retention, and graduation. It also established a community network for black alumni. Although defined as a committee, the Archives staff assigned it to this series because it serves a defined group with a far reaching mission.
This series is divided into three subseries:1. miscellaneous, 2. Oberlin Lambda Alumni, and 3. Black Alumni Committee/Association.
Subgroup III. President's File, 1941-51, 1969, 1971-75, 1993-95, 1998-2000
This subgroup documents the role of the Alumni Association president. It is not a very complete file.
Series 1. Correspondence, 1941-51, 1971-75, 1993-95, 1998-2000
This series, consisting of correspondence of the Alumni Association president, concerns the incumbent's term in office. Major correspondents include Alumni Secretary, alumni, and college officials.
Series 2. Activity Reports, 1969, 2002
Alfred Van Horne III devised these reports to keep members of the Alumni Board apprised of his activities. Also includes a copy of a report given by Clyde Owen at a Trustees meeting, March 2002.
Subgroup IV. Class and Club President's Council, 1945-89
These reports document the organizational changes occurring in the Alumni Association. Efforts to increase Alumni involvement and streamline the Association's hierarchy resulted in separate Class and Club Councils from 1945-52, which were succeeded by a joint Class and Club Council in 1953. However, the Class and Club Councils held joint meetings long before the by-laws were changed to incorporate the joint council. By the 1970s, although still officially a joint council, the two groups again went their separate ways, meeting independently with altogether different agendas.
Series 1. Club President's Council, 1945-52
Constituted of presidents of the local alumni associations throughout the country, this group concerned itself with how to improve membership and develop programs. Records consist of invitations, correspondence, agendas, and reports for the annual meetings, as well as a few club officers bulletins. Material is arranged chronologically.
Series 2. Class President's Council, 1945-52
This council consists of class presidents from each of Oberlin College's graduating classes. Council concerns include alumni fundraising efforts, admissions and scholarship, and communication between the classes and the College. Records include correspondence, invitations, agendas, minutes, and reports. The material is arranged chronologically.
Series 3. Class and Club President's Council, 1950-1982
Following the merger of the Class and Club Councils the concerns of the new group reflected the varied interests of both the classes and the clubs: fund-raising, regional group functions, alumni involvement. The material, in later years, reflects the growing bifurcation of the Council as the classes and clubs began to separate again. Included are correspondence, agendas, speeches, reports, and minutes. Much more material on club activities is located in Subgroup VIII. Clubs.
Series 4. Junior Class Council, 1934-43, 1949-52, 1987-89
A short lived organization, the Junior Class Council consisted of alumni from the fifteen most recent graduating classes. Its purpose was to allow these younger alumni a chance to participate actively in the Association. Included are correspondence and reports.
Subgroup V. Executive Director, 1921-89, 1994-95, 1999
This subgroup documents the activities of the administrative office of the Alumni Association. This office is located on the Oberlin Campus and is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the Association. The first paid employee of the Association was hired in 1920 as the Executive Secretary. In 1935, that title was changed to Resident Alumni Secretary, in 1938 it became General Alumni Secretary, and in 1957 the title Executive Director came into use. In 1962, the Executive Director received the added title of Special Assistant to the President of Oberlin College for Alumni Affairs (a short-lived addition). The title Executive Director is currently in use.
Series 1. Administrative File, 1921-89, 1994
This series, documenting the Executive Director's responsibilities in running the Alumni Association office in Oberlin, includes material concerning the various College committees the director serves on, his reports to the president of the college, and personnel matters of the office.
Series 2. Correspondence, 1936-71, 1994-95, 1999
This series, documenting the Executive Director's role in running the Alumni Association, consists of correspondence with two different sets of people: Alumni Association officers and Oberlin College officials such as Secretary and various deans. There is also a general file and a file for President Nancy Dye. Material is arranged by class year.
Series 3. Class Files, 1922-44, 1946-57, 1959-89
This series is divided into three subseries: General Files, Class Letters, and Directories. One of the Executive Director's main tasks is the maintenance of class files. As part of this, the director corresponds with class officers and alumni, conducts class elections, and prepares class directories. A large part of the class files series is the class letters, which are written by class presidents and/or class agents and then photo duplicated and mailed by the alumni office. These letters are arranged in two different manners. The first two segments are arranged chronological by class and then by year sent out (previous filing system). The third segment is arranged chronological by class year only (current filing system). The few gaps which do exist are for the Class of 1945 and the Class of 1958. Class officer correspondence and that with alumni are arranged by correspondent (Note the absence of alumni files I-Z). Class directories are arranged by class year.
Series 4. External File, 1954-70
This series documents the Executive Director's relationship with organizations not part of either Oberlin College or the Alumni Association. These include memberships in the American Alumni Council and the Independent Colleges Alumni Associates. Material is arranged by organization.
Series 5. Miscellaneous File, 1948-89
This series contains a variety of items documenting the Executive Director's activities: correspondence, audits, memos, and the like.
Subgroup VI. Alumni Magazine, 1905-90, 1994
When it began in 1905, the Alumni Magazine was published by the Alumni Magazine Publishing Company, a corporation separate from Oberlin College. This arrangement continued until 1921 when the Alumni Association took over publication of the Magazine. In 1985, the Office of Communications, a unit in the Office of the Secretary, assumed responsibility for the publication. This subgroup documents the efforts of the Publishing Company and the Association to publish the Magazine. There are two series reflecting these institutional changes in the Magazine's history. For information on the oversight committee for the magazine see: Subgroup II. Alumni Board, Series 5. Committees.
Series 1. Alumni Magazine Publishing Company, 1905-22
This series documents the brief period when the Alumni Magazine was published privately. Included in this series are the articles of incorporation, stock certificates and proxies, correspondence, and business records. Material is arranged by type of record.
Series 2. Administrative File, 1926-90, 1994
This series documents efforts of the Alumni Association to publish the Alumni Magazine. Included are Editor's reports, budgetary material, reports to the president and office files of Philip Tear (editor, 1966-84), correspondence, and business records such as bids, advertising material, and circulation figures. Glaringly absent from this series are letters to the editor, discussions of layout and content of the magazine, and other records of the daily operation of the office. Material is arranged by type of record. For correspondence concerning letters to the editor [1997/003] cross reference with RG 26.
Subgroup VII. Programs, c.1871-1995
This subgroup contains material documenting the activities sponsored in whole, or in part, by the Alumni Association. It represents the on-going, daily planning for events such as commencement, reunions, and homecoming. Material in this subgroup is arranged into series by program.
Series 1. Alumni Admissions, 1881, 1977-82
This series documents the Association's efforts to recruit students across the country. Each regional club generally had Admissions Representatives who helped promote Oberlin College in their area and encourage prospective students to attend. Also included are two newsletters sent to the Admissions Representatives to keep them informed of current activities. Also filed here is an 1881 circular asking for former students to encourage young people to consider attending Oberlin College.
Series 2. Alumni Day, 1958-59
This series contains materials relating to the Alumni Day speakers and dinner. A famous Oberlin alumnus would speak to the senior class about the importance of the alumni and alumni association to Oberlin College. The class would be organized into smaller discussions at alumni homes where a dinner was served. It should be noted that "Alumni Day" was also the name given to the annual event held during commencement up until 1921 when it was changed to The Annual Meeting. These programs may be found in Subgroup II, Series 2. Material is arranged chronologically.
Series 3. Alumni Fund, 1871, 1890's, 1935-59, n.d.
This series documents the Association's systematic efforts to raise funds for Oberlin College. Included are correspondence, solicitation letters, planning reports, brochures, cards, etc. used to solicit funds, and scrapbooks detailing methods used. Material is arranged chronologically. See also 7/1/2, Office of the Treasurer.
Series 4. Alumni Luncheon, 1896-1988
These records document arrangements made for the annual luncheon held by the association to welcome the graduating class in the alumni ranks. Included are correspondence, seating arrangements, programs, and financial records. Material is arranged chronologically.
Series 5. Alumni Parents, 1956, 1975-86, 1993
This series documents special activities for Alumni who are parents of current Oberlin College students.
Series 6. Anniversaries, 1908, 1933, 1958, 1983
This series records the ways various significant events in the history of Oberlin College are commemorated. Material is arranged according to the event documented. Included are reports, planning documents, invitations, memoranda, brochures, and programs.
Series 7. Career Counseling Conference, 1978-87
This series contains materials concerning alumni career counseling. Each year a conference is held to allow current students to meet with successful alumni and discuss their future and ways they could prepare themselves for the working world. This material is arranged chronologically.
Series 8. Commencement, 1895, 1923, 1950-85
The annual Commencement weekend is the time of three major Association functions. The Alumni office is responsible for planning the annual meeting, the Half-Century Club and alumni luncheons, and class reunions. This series contains a variety of documents: correspondence, invitations, programs, reports, speeches, and budgets. The material is arranged chronologically.
Series 9. Half Century Club, 1958-64, 1975-88
Begun in 1962, this club consists of members of those classes which have had their golden anniversary of graduating from Oberlin College. Its purpose is to honor those older class members and bring them closer to the college. The Half-Century Club is the successor to the less organized Half-Century Council. Records in this series include correspondence, programs, memoranda, invitations, guest lists and table arrangements. Material is arranged chronologically.
Series 10. Homecoming, 1925-82
"The BIg Weekend" at Oberlin College, Homecoming is held every fall (Two exceptions to this are the years 1925-31 when a mid-winter event was held and 1942-44 when no event was held due to World War II). Alumni Association activities include meetings of class and club councils, lectures, a tea or reception after the football game, and panel discussions. Records include planning documents, programs, invitations, correspondence, and guest lists. Material is arranged chronologically.
Series 11. Movies of Oberlin College, 1930-41
This series documents Association efforts to create promotional films about the college for use in attracting students and promote interest in the school.
Series 12. Reunions, 1856-60, 1894-1909, 1958-62, 1982-89, 1994-2001
These events, usually held in conjunction with Commencement Weekend, initially were for the various anniversary classes of the college. In an effort to increase alumni ties to the college, "special reunions" were begun in the 1980s for special affinity groups. Records are diverse and include planning documents, correspondence, invitations, programs, and handbooks. Of special interest is the Class Banner book which contains sketches of the class banners from 1879-1964 as well as the color schemes devised for each year.
Additional information on reunions can be found in Subgroup V. Executive Director, Series 3 and in Subgroup II. Series 8, Subseries 3 - Black Alumni Association. Material is arranged chronologically.
Series 13. Student Elections, 1977-87
The Alumni Office conducts the elections in the Junior Class for Senior Class officers and in the Senior Class for their first set of alumni officers to serve five years. Included in this series are correspondence, memoranda and ballots. The materials are arranged chronologically.
Series 14. Shansi Sponsored Tours, 1986-87
This series documents a trip to China which alumni could attend. Included are itineraries describing what sites were visited and what was learned on this tour. Also a trip to India, 12/1993-1/94.
Series 15. Special Programs, 1929-1948, 1963-1988
This series contains materials documenting the special activities and programs which were sponsored by the Alumni Association. It is arranged alphabetically into eight subseries: Choir Concert Tour, Bill Cosby, Gilbert and Sullivan Program, Majors Dinner, Moving Company Tour, Music from Oberlin Tour, NEOTA, and Oberlin in Uniform.
Subseries I. Choir Concert Tour, 1963-67, 1980, 1988
On a semi-regular basis Oberlin choirs tour the country; the Alumni Association encourages its regional clubs to sponsor these trips. Included are correspondence, programs, and itineraries.
Subseries II. Bill Cosby, 1985
This series documents the "Cosby for Oberlin" program in which Bill Cosby performed. Benefit concerts were held in Cleveland to aid in the fundraising efforts for the Bill and Camille Cosby Family Scholarship Fund for Minority Students.
Subseries III. Majors Dinner, 1981-82
A program established by the Alumni Association in which relatively small dinners were held during which majors could talk and listen to alumni coming from the same major discipline, but in a wide range of careers. Includes memos and correspondence.
Subseries IV. Gilbert and Sullivan Program, 1966-67
During Commencement week, performances of Gilbert and Sullivan works were performed. The planning materials for this program are included in this series.
Subseries V. Moving Company Tour, n.d.
This series documents the productions put on by students from the Oberlin College Theater and Dance Program. Several programs are contained in this file as well as a letter sent to all the locations in which the company performed.
Subseries VI. Music from Oberlin Tour, 1980-82
This series documents the tour of the Oberlin Chamber Ensemble. Included are itineraries, correspondence and programs.
Subseries VII. NEOTA (North Eastern Ohio Teachers Association) Luncheon, 1929-48
For nearly twenty years the Alumni Association held a luncheon for Alumni in conjunction with the NEOTA annual meeting in Cleveland. It drew both alumni involved in teaching throughout the region and Cleveland area alumni. Records include invitations, correspondence, and guest lists. Material is arranged chronologically.
Subseries VIII. Oberlin in Uniform, 1941-45
In an effort to keep track of those alumni sent off to military service and to provide them with moral support, the Association made the Alumni Magazine available to them free of charge. It also provided information to Oberlin alumni living near military bases and asked them to keep in touch with military personnel nearby.
Series 16. Parents Weekend, 1986-90
This series documents the annual Parent's Weekend, which provided parents with the opportunity to visit campus, meet faculty, and attend workshops and lectures. These files contain schedules, programs, correspondence, guest lists, and program evaluations. Arranged chronologically.
Series 17. Alumni Convention, 1887
This series contains circulars and correspondance concerned with the planning of the Alumni Convention held in Chicago July 6-8, 1887. The purpose of this conference was to enable the alumni to "contribute to the prosperity of the Alma Mater, and help to broaden and deepen her influence, and establish her rank among the colleges of America." The Convention Minutes may be found in the correspondance of Norman P. WIllard, Secretary of The Alumni Association of Illinois, in Subgroup VIII, Series 1.
Subgroup VIII. Clubs, 1887-1990
Series 1. Early Years, 1887-1949
During this period, the clubs were mostly unofficially attached to the College. They used the name, but had no real connection to the school until the 1940s. Records consist of programs, notices, placards, and club listings. Material is arranged by club.
Series 2. Regional, 1950-90, n.d.
During most of this period, the clubs held programs of interest to their membership and were fairly independent of the Association office for their activities. This changed in 1976 when the Alumni Association took over much of the responsibility for club programs; many "canned' programs were sent around the country to various groups. This series consists of the records of some 58 clubs; included are correspondence, planning material, and guest lists. Of special interest is the Oberlin Cleveland Women's Club material. This extensive series documents both the activities of the group and its merger with the pilot club for the Association, serving as a model for new programs. Club material in this series is arranged alphabetically by organization.
Series 3. Club Handbooks and Mailings, 1973-89
Records in this series consist of material generated in the Oberlin office. The bulk of it is mailings sent out for the clubs by the association. By this point, the Association ceased to keep close records arranged by club and turned to a chronological filing system. Thus, this series is arranged in that manner.
Series 4. Files Relating to the ACTION Coordinator, 1981-86
In 1981, Liz Culbertson was appointed the coordinator of ACTION (Alumni Campaign to Involve Oberlinians Now), a new alumni group at Oberlin College whose goal was to increase public awareness of Oberlin College, increase applications and enrollment, support career development and counseling activities, and to increase alumni participation in meeting the financial needs of the college by working closely with the already existing regional clubs. Included in this series are correspondence, planning materials,memoranda, newsletters and sign-up sheets created, received, and maintained by the ACTION coordinator. Many of the files relating to this organization can also be found intermixed with the club files in Series 2.
Subgroup IX. Questionnaires and Surveys, 1934-87
Over the years a number of surveys have been sent, by or with the cooperation of the Alumni Association, to the graduates of the College. This sub-group documents some of these questionnaires. There are two series: Internal and External.
Series 1. Internal, 1934-35, 1980
This series consists of surveys devised by Oberlin College to determine attitudes of alumni--usually about the college. Included are survey forms, reports, and correspondence.
Series 2. External, 1945-53, 1972, 1987
This series documents those surveys of alumni that were not generated by the Alumni Association, but with which the Association cooperated. Included are survey forms, reports, and correspondence.
Subgroup X. Publications, 1922-1989
This subgroup contains printed material generated by the Alumni Association.
Series 1. Oberlin Alumni Reporter, 1938-40
A quarterly, the Reporter was disseminated through the club subscription plan. Its purpose was to supplement the Alumni Magazine. Vol. 1 no. 1-Vol. 2 no. 3 are present.
Series 2. The Oberlin Letter, 1956-57
A quarterly publication, The Oberlin Letter was intended as a "letter" from President William Stevenson to "Oberlin alumni and friends." It briefly discussed events on campus, conferences, alumni gatherings, and other news. Vol. 2 no. 4-Vol. 3 no. 4 are present.
Series 3. Miscellaneous Newsletters, 1985-89, 1996-
Various newsletters and pamphlets distributed by the Alumni Association to keep their volunteers informed about current activities. Includes The Drum (Black Alumni Newsletter).
Series 4. Miscellaneous Brochures, 1920-23, 1942, 1964, 1971-78, n.d.
Various program flyers and other printed materials are to be found in this series. The material is arranged chronologically.
Series 5. Miscellaneous Articles, 1970-87
Articles (mostly published in the Alumni Magazine) detail Oberlin College’s relationship with its alumni, he work of the Alumni Association, and educational planning. Authors include Carl R. Gerber (c.1958), Virginia Cole Little (c.1941), Donald R. Reick, and Duna Baldinger Ward (c.1934). Arrangement is chronological.
Subgroup XI. Non-Print Materials
This subgroup contains photographs, class distinctions, and videotapes documenting Alumni Association activities.
Series 1. Photographs, 1951, 1963-71, 1985, 1988, ca. 1990s-2003, n.d.
This series consists of photographs covering people and events connected with the Alumni Association. The photos are arranged according to the subgroup of the Alumni Association Records they relate to. Reunion class pictures can be found in RG 32/3.
Series 2. Class Distinctions, 1963, 1979, 1981-82, 1987, n.d.
This series consists of buttons, beribboned name tags, and other forms of identification used during class reunions. Items are arranged by class year and date.
Series 3. Slides, n.d.
This series contains slides used in various talks and presentations given by the Alumni Association.
Series 4. Videotapes, 1978, 1989
This series contains videotapes of various events on the Oberlin campus. The tapes have been transferred to RG 37/3.
Series 5. Audio Tapes, 1985
This series contains oral history accounts regarding the early years of WOBC radio given by former student employees who got together in Oberlin for an alumni reunion in 1985. The tapes have been removed to a separate RG 43, but a copy of the transcripts of the conversations can be found here.