|Records of College General (Group 0)
| Annual Reports, 1834-1994,
Since the founding of Oberlin College (Collegiate Institute
before 1850), it was customary for the president to report annually
to the board of trustees. Less clear-cut, however, is the reports
publication venue, its relationship to annual financial reports,
and its title. Regularity began only after 1878. Until that date,
presidents issued their annual report in the College Catalogs (RG
0) or, in the case of James H. Fairchild, in the Oberlin Weekly
News. The Oberlin College Archives also holds some manuscript
copies of Fairchilds reports in a collection of his personal
papers. During the first 125 years, financial summaries were subsumed
under these presidential reports rather than being treated separately.
From 1878 to 1957, the presidents and financial annual reports
appeared together under the title Annual Report of the President
and the Treasurer of Oberlin College. After 1957-1958, the
treasurers reports were no longer credited to the treasurers
office; instead, they were the creation of the new Office of the
Controller. The reporting document was then titled Annual
Reports of the President and the Financial Report of Oberlin College.
The narrative reports prepared since 1970 are of a more uneven character.
Scope and Content
Annual reports of the president and the treasurer/controller contain
excellent summary information about the development, proprietorship,
and appearance of Oberlin. From the second annual report made by
President Asa Mahan in 1835, presidents reported on current facilities
and plans for buildings and grounds. When the Oberlin Collegiate
Institute was in its infancy, Mahan appealed for funds to
permit new construction in language that made the institutions
physical accommodations inseparable from fulfillment of its moral,
social, and religious missions. Researchers should comb the annual
reports of the first forty years to find sections with headings
like State of the Buildings, Boarding Hall,
Purchase of Lots, Buildings and Grounds,
and New Buildings.
In more recent decades, the architectural historian will find
information about Oberlins built environment in the Presidents
Report in the introduction, in a section called The Plant,
and under Trustee Actions (sometimes appearing in the appendix).
The 1959-1960 annual report follows this format. In his introduction,
President Robert K. Carr mentions his newcomers reaction
to the Oberlin campus and physical plant, and the administrations
success in developing it with distinction and personality.
[p.6] The section on The Plant outlines new building
projects, parking areas, sidewalk repairs, trees threatened by Dutch
Elm disease, and essential improvements to academic buildings and
dormitories. [p. 27] The Summary of Trustee Actions also has a brief
segment called The Plant, which discusses the awarding
of contracts, authorization of construction, fundraising, and the
acquisition of properties from the town of Oberlin during that year.
The annual financial report, issued by the treasurer and later by
the controller, contains a portion called Plant Funds.
| Records of the Oberlin Alumni
Bulletin, Oberlin Alumni Magazine, and Oberlin Today,
1943-1964, 0.75 l.f.
This tabloid size newspaper, an outgrowth of a special March,
1943, newspaper edition of the Oberlin Alumni Magazine, was
sent without charge to every Oberlin College graduate and former
student. It appeared quarterly from September, 1943, through the
fourth quarter of 1952. (Vol. I, No. 1 to Vol. 10, No. 4. Apparently
there were no Nos. 2-4 in Vol. 8.) A new form was adopted for the
third and fourth quarters of 1952, the last two issues to carry
the name Alumni Bulletin. In November, 1952, the title was
changed to Oberlin Today and the newspaper was published
eight times per year. The publication reappeared as a quarterly
from 1955 until 1964. The Magazine and the Bulletin
editions from 1943 through 1952 are reproduced on microfilm.
The Bulletins purpose, as stated in the first issue, was
to supply all former Oberlin students regularly with a newsy report
of the latest, most important events on the campus, and to discuss
all phases of the Colleges plans and policy which may be of interest
to the alumni body as a whole.
Scope and Content
The alumni serial publications, the Oberlin Alumni Bulletin
and Oberlin Today, 1943-1964, reported ceremonies laying
cornerstones, progress on construction, and building dedications.
The post-war housing crisis, anticipated as early as December of
1943, induced the construction of several new buildings. President
Ernest H. Wilkins editorialized about the Extensive Building Program
Planned in March of 1944. Sketches and photographs often accompany
articles about new dormitories, such as Burton Hall (third quarter,
1946; third quarter, 1947), Fairchild Hall (third quarter, 1948),
and Harkness Hall (second quarter, 1948). Other major building projects
from this decade include the Field House (fourth quarter, 1947;
second quarter, 1948; fourth quarter, 1948; first quarter, 1949)
and a new heating plant (fourth quarter, 1948). The old heating
plant, built in 1913, was designed by the Albert M. Allen Company
of Cleveland. President William E. Stevenson addressed the building
boom on campus in the second quarter of 1949, and a summary of
campus housing conditions appeared in the first quarter of 1951.
Issues from the early 1950s contain photographs, drawings, and
articles about the Sophronia Brooks Hall Auditorium designed by
Wallace K. Harrison (of architectural firm Harrison & Abromovitz)
and dedicated in 1953. Other pieces discuss the development plans
set by the board of trustees (February, 1953), Targets for Tomorrow
on the building program and budget (March, 1953), expansion of the
Graduate School of Theology facility (June, 1954), and the Oberlin
Inn. Beginning in 1955, single-topic issues dominated the publications.
Of note are the Report on 1954 (February, 1955), the Carnegie Library
(March, 1955), and the Oberlin Building Program (fourth quarter,
1961). The covers generally feature photographs of buildings and
other campus scenes.
Articles relating to Oberlins built environment or structures
appearing in the Oberlin Alumni Magazine, 1904 to present,
are too numerous to list here. The pieces cover a wide range of
projects from the construction of Carnegie Library in 1908 to the
restoration of the Albert H. Johnson House in 1981 to the effort
to save Peters Hall, the oldest building on campus, in the 1990s.
An index (paper copy) for the Alumni Magazine exists, and
it is maintained on 3" x 5" catalog cards by the Librarys
Department of Special Collections. Beginning with academic year
1992-1993, the index is only in electronic form to be found on the
| Oberlin College Observer,
September, 1979-May, 1995, 1 l.f.
As its masthead declares, the Oberlin College Observer
is The Oberlin College Faculty and Staff Newspaper.
Issued 18 timesor every other Thursdayduring the academic
year, the newspaper is published by the Office of Communications,
and indexed by a student assistant. Begun in 1979 and with a new
volume commencing each fall term, the serial is in its seventeenth
volume in 1995-1996.
Scope and Content
The Oberlin College Observer index provides references
for authors and for subjects. In studying the colleges built
environment, the researcher will want to search this index for secondary
source material. Some significant headings are Architecture,
Oberlin, Blodgett, Geoffrey, and Buildings.
Twenty-nine stories about Geoffrey Blodgett alone relate to Oberlins
built environment, reporting on books and speeches by him, comments
on various buildings, and his selection for the Bandstand Design
Competition Committee. Five articles written by Blodgett discuss
the history of Oberlins campus plans, the architect Cass Gilbert
and President Henry Churchill King, and Finney Chapel. Of special
importance is his The Grand March of Oberlin Campus Plans
(May 11, 1995). Under the heading Buildings is a list of
50 stories on maintenance, renovations, openings, expansion, dedications,
and sales. In a see also reference, the index suggests searching
under the individual names of buildings, such as Carnegie and Peters.
| Records of Buildings and Dedications,
1834-1993, 1.25 l.f.
This artificial archives group largely consists of printed materials
relating to general activities and events of Oberlin College from
the period of its founding in 1834 to the present. It was designed
in the late 1960s by William E. Bigglestone, Oberlins first archivist,
to control a variety of college publications and printed matter
generated by campus-wide offices. The record group contains more
than 20 record series. The Buildings and Dedications series is of
Scope and Content:
The Buildings and Dedications record group is a ready-made vertical
file which integrates rudimentary architectural records and more
general historical materials relative to Oberlin College structures,
past and present. Initially a file created and maintained by the
staff of the Oberlin College Office of the Secretary, the Buildings
and Dedications series consists of 52 folders organized around 46
Oberlin College buildings or structures. Individual folders contain
dedicatory programs, both printed and manuscript material, documenting
dedications of new buildings, formal openings of additions, laying
of cornerstones, and similar events. In most folders materials also
include an array of architectural drawings, such as site plans,
floor plans, elevation views, seating plans, electrical and ventilation
plans, and rudimentary real estate appraisal drawings. Additionally,
information relative to a structures social and architectural history
is found here. Included are drafts of prepared remarks for dedications
and dedication programs; newspaper clippings and articles from magazines
and scholarly journals relative to an individual structure; photographs
and/or artistic renderings; and limited information about a structures
architect. The Buildings File developed by the Oberlin College Office
of the Secretary, also held at the Oberlin College Archives, is
of great value in providing an overview of planning, construction,
and dedication of respective campus buildings.
Folders are arranged chronologically by date of dedication.