Miscellaneous Missionary Records is a small, artificially assembled record group; however, these records provide valuable evidence of Oberlins support for foreign missionaries during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Files reflect the involvement of both Oberlin College and the Oberlin community in promoting the mission work of the Congregational Church. Due to their miscellaneous character, these records may best be utilized in conjunction with the personal papers of individual missionaries and related institutional holdings of the College Archives.
The group is arranged into three records series: Series I. Miscellaneous Files of Oberlin Missionaries and Organizations; II. Miscellaneous Files Relating to National Missionary Organizations; and III. Miscellaneous Missionary Publications. Within Series I and II, files are further divided into subseries. Thereunder, materials are arranged either chronologically or alphabetically by subject or type of material.
These records offer a modest profile of Oberlin Colleges role in training its students for mission work. The files of Series I include a set of appointment forms for students from the classes of 1844 to 1910 who became missionaries. These forms supply student name, birth date, degrees taken, date of appointment, sponsoring organization, and mission station. Among those students represented in these files are the following China missionaries: Chauncey M. Cady (1854-1925), the Rev. Martin Luther Stimson (1856-1935), Francis W. Davis (1857-1900), and George (1858-1900) and Alice Moon Williams (1860-1952). Designated mission fields include Africa, India, Japan, China, Turkey, Brazil, Hawaii, Thailand, Syria, Jamaica, and Bulgaria.
Materials pertaining to the Oberlin Missionary Home Association more fully document Oberlin Colleges enthusiastic support of foreign missionaries. Files record the founding of the Association and the funding and maintenance of the Tank Home, a boarding house for the children of foreign missionaries run by the Association. Included are early financial appeals (1894, 1909, 1922) from the Rev. Henry M. Tenney, D.D. (1841-1932), President of the Oberlin Missionary Home Association and member of the Oberlin College Board of Trustees (1885-1930); correspondence (1922-1923) of the Rev. Irving W. Metcalf (1855-1938; A.B. Oberlin 1878; B.D. 1881) regarding maintenance, repairs, and inspection of the Tank Home; and pamphlets (1890-1954) describing the history and activities of the Association. A 1949 memo from Oberlin College Treasurer William Potter Davis (1893-1975) to the College Board of Trustees relates to the transfer of the Homes financial and real estate assets to Oberlin College.
The relationship between Oberlin College and the American missionary movement is illuminated by the miscellaneous records of three national missionary organizations: the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (A.B.C.F.M.), the American Missionary Association (A.M.A.), and the Womans Board of Missions of the Interior (W.B.M.I.). Meetings held in Oberlin by two of these organizations are documented by four folders in Series II: the 93rd Annual Meeting of the A.B.C.F.M. (October 14-17, 1902), and the 60th Annual Meeting of the A.M.A. (October 23-25, 1906). Files include a small amount of correspondence (1902, 1906) concerning local arrangements, accommodations, and turn-out; delegate rosters; and printed souvenir booklets of the meeting programs. Various publications of the American Board and the American Missionary Association, housed with these files, relate to missionary activities around the world. Of special interest is the 1907 report issued by the American Boards Deputation to China describing conditions at mission stations recently reopened following the 1900 Boxer Rebellion. Additional printed materials (1886-1922, 1937-1967), published by various missionary organizations and Congregational publishing houses, are located in Series III.
Records of the Womans Board of Missions of the Interior, Ohio Branch, document the financial contribution of Ohio Congregational churches to the national organization. The nine ledgers (1888-1918) kept by the Treasurer of the W.B.M.I.s Ohio Branch show annual subscriptions pledged over a forty-year period by churches throughout the state, including the First and Second Congregational churches in Oberlin. Filed with the records of the W.B.M.I. are seven pamphlets (1906-1922) published by the Womans Board describing the work of its missionaries.