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Celebrating the 175th Anniversary of the Founding of Oberlin College:

The Presidents of Oberlin College, 1835-2007


Asa Mahan (1799-1889), scholar, theologian, and college trustee,  served as president of the Oberlin Collegiate Institute from 1835 to 1850. 

Strangely overlooked about Mahan was his role as a reformer. According to Edward H. Madden, Oberlin's first president held "enthusiasm for the truth" and "introduced the practice ... of hearing all sides of every case." Oberlinians are indebted to Mahan for seeing to it that this attribute would become a "permanent characteristic of the college." (Civil Disobedience and Moral Law, p.71)

The late Professor Geoffrey Blodgett (d. 2001) recalled... "Time and again he [Mahan] was out in front" on issues concerning abolitionism, coeducation, and student discipline." (OAM, Spring 1984, p.26)





Asa Mahan, First President of the Oberlin Collegiate Institute

For more information concerning the life and career of Asa Mahan, and his affiliation with the Lane Seminary (Cincinnati, Ohio), see the finding guide for the Presidential Records of Asa Mahan (2/1). See also the Barbara Zikmund Papers.

For addtional information on the portrait of Asa Mahan see the Select Historic Portraits Collection.


Beginning in January 2008, the Oberlin College Archives website will feature each month one the fourteen presidents of Oberlin College (The Oberlin Collegiate Institute from 1833-1850).  For the complete listing of the presidents and the finding guides to their presidential records, see the following link: www.oberlin.edu/archive/holdings/finding/index.html  


Announcements and Other Information


New online exhibit featured: Gilford Scientific Instruments, assembled by KSU graduate intern Erica Noble.

OC Archives is in the news! See article, "Oberlin History Goes Digital."

New website featured: The Oberlin College Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) Community History Project


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