|Papers of Other Individuals (Group 30)
| Papers of Paul B. Arnold,
1985-1987, 0.1 l.f.
Emeritus professor of art and artist Paul B. Arnold (b. 1918,
A.B. 1940, M.A. 1941) was born and raised in China. He received
a second advanced degree, an M.F.A., from the University of Minnesota
in 1955. At Oberlin, Arnold was a Fine Arts instructor and professor
between 1941 and 1985; he served as acting chairman of the Department
of Art, 1967-1968, and as chairman, 1970-1979. His years of teaching
were interrupted by service in the U.S. Army between 1942 and 1946.
Although his specialty is in the art of Japanese woodcut printing,
Arnolds artistic and civic work have contributed to the built environment
of the City of Oberlin. He received two public commissions, and
he executed two mural designs in Oberlin. These projects include
the design and execution of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Monument,
Martin Luther King, Jr., Park in 1987; the design and supervision
of the Wellington Rescue Monument, Martin Luther King, Jr., Park
in 1990; and murals in the Administration Building, Gilford Instrument
Laboratories in 1971, and the Student Union in 1973. More recently,
Arnold designed the John Frederick Oberlin Monument, installed southeast
of Wilder Hall in May of 1995. The Oberlin monument stands over
seven feet, and is made of burgundy granite with a 14-inch-square
adaptation of an illusory design, used by Oberlin for counseling
purposes, engraved on black African marble. President S. Frederick
Starrs Architectural Review Committee, of which Arnold was a member,
met several times to discuss the design and location of the monument.
Arnolds service extended to the City of Oberlin Zoning Board of
Appeals, 1955-1957; City of Oberlin Planning Commission, 1955-1963,
Vice Chairman, 1959, 1968, and Chairman, 1960-1961, 1963-1965; and
the Oberlin City Council, 1968-1969.
Scope and Content
The Paul B. Arnold papers contain several files concerning the
Martin Luther King, Jr., monument and park. Correspondence, memoranda,
and Oberlin City Council meeting minutes recommend plans to improve
the East Vine Street Park and rename it the Martin Luther King,
Jr., Park. These improvements ultimately entailed removing a deteriorated
spiral-shaped sculpture and re-erecting it on a new site, erecting
the brick memorial designed by Arnold, constructing the Memorial
Terrace, constructing the interior walk, and planting trees and
plants. Color photographs within the Arnold papers document the
construction of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Monument. Development
plans, drawings, and cost estimates appear in these files.
While the records associated with the Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Park are more exhaustive, the Oberlin College Archives holds other
items documenting Paul Arnolds designs. Arnolds drawing
of the 1937 Coeducation Centennial Memorial Gateway commemorating
the entrance of women into college education graces the cover of
the repositorys Womens History Guide. A
sketch and photographs of the Wellington Rescue monument appear
in RG 32 Photographs. The archives also holds a triangular-shaped
model of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial (measuring 17"
by 6" x 5" x 5").
| Papers of Frederick B. Artz,
1894-1983, 2.4 l.f.
Frederick Binkerd Artz (1894-1983, A.B. 1916) was an Oberlin College
professor of history. After joining the U.S. Army Ambulance Camp
in 1917, he served in France until the end of World War I. Thereafter,
he enrolled at the University of Toulouse where he studied until
1919. Returning to the United States, Artz earned his graduate degrees
in history at Harvard University (M.A. 1920, Ph.D. 1924). He taught
courses in European intellectual history at Oberlin College for
37 years, from 1924 to 1961. In 1936, Artz was named full professor,
and he served as chairman of the Department of History from 1949
During his years at Oberlin, Artz is believed to have taught over
7,500 Oberlin students, approximately 85 of whom went on to earn
graduate degrees in history. His impressive collection of 10,000
rare books, maps, and manuscripts, donated to the Allen Memorial
Art Museum and Oberlin College libraries on his death, was gathered
largely during his travels abroad. Artzs donation of over 140 highly
illustrated volumes on architecture and landscape gardening dating
from the 16th through the 19th centuries is currently housed in
the Special Collections of the Art and Main Libraries. Throughout
his distinguished career, Artz was active in the historical profession
as a member of several professional societies, and he authored 11
books and numerous articles.
Scope and Content
In 1940, Frederick B. Artz designed a spacious home at 157 N.
Professor St. in which to display his library, antiques, and objets
dart. Photographs of this house are filed in series V of the Frederick
B. Artz papers. These images are in both black and white and in
color. Some photographs document the construction of the house,
others show details of interiors. They are numerous, and date from
1940, 1960, 1963, and 1971.
| Papers of Werner Hermann
Bromund, 1875-1978, 0.4 l.f.
Werner H. Bromund (b. 1909; S.B., University of Chicago, 1932;
A.M., Oberlin College, 1935; Ph.D., New York University, 1942) taught
in the Chemistry Department at Oberlin College from 1937 to 1975.
During his long career in a distinguished academic department, Bromund
contributed to institutional teaching, research, and service. His
interest in the history of Oberlins Chemistry Department led him
to become a collector of publications and other memorabilia from
several of his predecessors in the department.
Scope and Content
A single item in the collection of Bromund papers relates to the
architecture of Oberlin, Ohio. George Feick & Co. submitted
a bid to Frank F. Jewett for the Severance Chemical Laboratory.
The original bid, dated July 19, 1899, is included in this collection.
| Papers of William Hoskins
Brown, 1932-1940, 0.2 l.f.
William Hoskins Brown (1910-1976) attended Oberlin College from
1927 to 1929. He received the B. Arch. in 1933 and the M. Arch.
in 1942 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). From
1933 to 1940, he was an instructor in fine arts at Oberlin, specializing
in watercolors and pencil sketches. In 1937, Bill, as he was known
to Oberlin students, married Josephine Liffring Peirce (d. 1975,
While a student at Oberlin, Brown developed his taste and skills
for architecture. He collaborated with Professor Clarence Ward,
serving as the designer and as the draftsman for the preliminary
drawings for the new Womens Gymnasium (Hales Memorial Gymnasium
for Women). While working for consulting architect Richard Kimball,
he participated in the preliminary architectural, structural, and
mechanical drawings for the physical education unit for women.
In 1937, Brown brought the Modern style of functional residential
architecture to Oberlin. His style fostered internal convenience
of family traffic patterns, airy ventilation, natural lighting,
and domestic privacy over external show. Brown was the architect
for the residences of Professor Frederick B. Artz 16 on 157 N.
Professor St., Professor Raymond Cerf on 373 Edgemeer, William Seaman
24 on 158 S. Cedar St., Lysle K. Butler 25 on 322 Morgan St.,
and Dr. Frank Vincent on 290 Morgan St. He also designed the memorial
wall to veterans of the Civil and First World wars that is located
in Wright Park at the corner of S. Main and Vine. He and his students
painted murals in the old Varsity Restaurant, in the Rec Hall,
and in the Art Building.
After Brown became a registered architect in 1938, he left Oberlin
for MIT, where he taught from 1941 to 1976. A record of his architectural
work in the Greater Boston Area is located at the Institute Archives
Brown was a well-respected practicing and teaching architect.
He was the recipient of the A.I.A. Award of Merit for the 100
Memorial Drive Apartments in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was the
author of numerous articles in professional journals and books in
the U.S. and abroad. Of special interest is the conference he conducted
on planning a modern residence, which was nationally broadcast
and originated in the studios of WCLE in Cleveland. [Oberlin College
Broadcast, Feb. 4, 1939, 5 pg.]
Scope and Content
Consisting of nine folders, the records mainly represent Browns
working files for his practice in Ohio, 1938-1940. Included are
project files for the residences of Frederick B. Artz in Oberlin,
Clayton S. Ellsworth in Wooster, the First Congregational Church
in Medina, and the Trinity Evangelical & Reformed Church in
Wadsworth, Ohio. Files typically contain agreements, contracts,
correspondence, instructions to bidders, invoices, proposals, and
specification documents relating to architectural services rendered.
Of some significance are Browns oversized drawings for Oberlin
residences, plus his plot plan for the northwest corner of S. Prospect
and Morgan Sts. Two files are labeled Miscellany, 1939 and n.d.,
and Teaching Materials, 1939-1940 and n.d. Negative files of approximately
30 images exist for the Oberlin residences and Dairy Service Company,
and the Wooster residence. Photographic prints of all sizes also
exist for the above, plus the Allen Art Building (1937 addition),
Gymnasium for Women, and other structures. Except for the Allen
Art Building (1937 addition) photographs, no textual records exist
for Browns possible participation in the 1937 renovation. Several
photos are of an art class taught by Instructor Brown, and others
are not identified. These records were separated in 1982 from the
Institute Archives of MIT.
| Papers of Lysle K. Butler,
1903-1973, 0.75 l.f.
Lysle K. Butler (1903-1973, A.B. 1925) received advanced degrees
at Columbia University (A.M. 1928) and at The Ohio State University
(Ph.D. 1947). He served on the physical education faculty at Oberlin
College from 1930 to 1970. During those years, Butler was the football
coach between 1930 and 1957, basketball coach for 11 years, tennis
coach for 20 years, and the chairman of mens physical education
between 1955 and 1969.
Scope and Content
The Lysle K. Butler collection contains an accordion file marked
Gym Construction. The five folders within concern the construction
of Philips Gymnasium, built in 1971. Relevant papers include essays
on physical education at Oberlin; planning documents listing the
goals, procedures, philosophies and principles, size and other requirements
for indoor activity areas; enrollment figures for the college between
1960 and 1967; semester physical education schedules for students
who had a two year requirement to receive an A.B. degree; floor
plans of the building designed by Hugh Stubbins & Associates
of Boston; correspondence with Jesse Philips (d. 1995, A.B. 1937),
the one million dollar donor for whom the building was named; and
news bulletins in Oberlin College publications like the Oberlin
Alumni Magazine, April, 1970, which reported on the planned
construction of the new building. These papers date from preplanning
and planning activities in the 1960s to building construction in
| Papers of Jeptha J. Carrell,
1963-1994 (bulk 1983-1994), 4.5 l.f.
Jeptha J. Carrell (b. 1923) is a resident of Oberlin, Ohio, who
has both worked and volunteered for several non-profit organizations.
As president of the Kendal at Oberlin Community Board, he contributed
to planning the Society of Friends continuing care retirement center
from its inception in 1987 through its opening in 1993. Carrell
was executive director of Nordson Foundation, a local philanthropic
foundation, from 1979 until his retirement in 1989. He was also
a member of the Oberlin Community Improvement Corporation (O.C.I.C.),
a not-for-profit agency for the citys industrial, commercial, distribution,
and research development established in 1977.
Scope and Content
The papers of Jeptha J. Carrell are divided into four subgroups;
the first two, the Oberlin Retirement Community (Kendal at Oberlin)
and the O.C.I.C., are relevant to the City of Oberlins built environment.
Included in the former are meeting agenda and minutes, press releases,
planning documents, budgets, the charter of incorporation, application
information, correspondence, and floor and site plans. Information
about the retirement communitys location, financing, planning,
policy, architect William Dorsky Associates of Cleveland, and project
development exists in these papers, dating from 1987 to 1994. Its
values statement includes a section on physical design, but the
bulk of documents are in a single folder on designing the facility
and choosing the architect.
O.C.I.C. minutes, annual reports, budgets, and correspondence
discuss several issues impacting Oberlins built environment. The
O.C.I.C. is involved in planning the citys utilities, land use,
zoning, industry, and housing, and in promoting community businesses.
In the early 1990s, it developed an Industrial Park Master Plan,
a land sale agreement with Oberlin College, and a Facade Loan Program.
In 1991, Schultz Furniture on E. College St., Oberlin Apothecary,
Inc. on W. College St., and John Cole Accounting on S. Main St.
took advantage of these low-interest loans to improve both facades
| Papers of Ernest B. Chamberlain,
1904-1969, 0.75 l.f.
Ernest B. Chamberlain (d. 1972, A.B. 1904, M.A. 1906, B.D. 1910)
served as the president of the Class of 1904. As such, he was involved
with the development office in raising funds for Oberlin College.
The Class of 1904 donated both the John H. Barrows portrait, 1958,
and the Science Library in Kettering Hall, 1961, to its alma mater.
Scope and Content
The Ernest B. Chamberlain papers contain the files created when
Chamberlain was the president of the Class of 1904. Alphabetic correspondence
files include letters written for fund-raising activities for the
Class of 1904 Science Library. Together with classmates George Reuben
Brown and Frank Van Cleef (also a trustee of Oberlin College), Chamberlain
spearheaded his class donation of this departmental library, housed
in the east wing of the Kettering Hall of Science. The library was
dedicated on October 21, 1961, immediately following the buildings
dedication. At this ceremony, Chamberlain made a speech that summarized
the history of the site since 1904. Articles and photographs from
Ketterings dedication were published in Oberlin Tomorrow, vol.
2, no. 2, 1961.
The 1904 Class Files contain transcripts of speeches made by Chamberlain,
Van Cleef, Brown, and College Librarian Eileen Thornton. These speeches
describe the building, a memorial plaque designed by Charles W.
Grimm naming all living members of the Class of 1904, and the librarys
interior. The researcher will find more records about the Class
of 1904 Science Library in RG 16 Library, Series II Library Departments
| Papers of Robert S. Fletcher,
1831-1958, 8.1 l.f.
Robert S. Fletcher (1900-1959, A.B. 1920) was a history professor
at Oberlin College. He received his graduate education at Harvard
University (A.M. 1923, Ph.D. 1938). Between his graduation from
Oberlin College and his return to that institution as an assistant
professor of history in 1927, Fletcher worked as an assistant in
history at Harvard, 1923-1924; as an instructor in history at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology; as an associate economist
for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1925-1926; and as an assistant
professor of history at Tufts University, 1926-1927.
During his first 15 years at Oberlin, Fletchers main focus was
to compile, write, and edit his monumental history of Oberlin College,
which began as his doctoral dissertation at Harvard University.
In 1943, Fletchers two-volume A History of Oberlin College,
From its Foundation Through the Civil War was published. Fletcher
also published numerous articles about Oberlins early history and
related topics, especially western history, in professional journals.
Fletcher was also a frequent and willing speaker, giving assembly
talks and addresses on early Oberlin before Alumni groups, learned
societies, and civic and community groups. During his lifetime Fletcher
was a trustee of the Ohioana Library Association, second vice-president
of the Lorain County Historical Society, and a member of numerous
state and national historical associations.
Scope and Content
In this collection comprised mostly of copies of original documents,
references to the built environment of Oberlin, Ohio, are few and
far between. A file on Tappan Square in series II discusses its
name, which is an unofficial designation probably resulting from
the construction of Tappan Hall on the site in 1835-1836. A letter
dated August 11, 1837 from Trustee Nathan P. Fletcher (d. 1855)
in series III reveals concern for the disrepair of the boarding
house and of Tappan Halls cupola and roof, especially in light
of upcoming commencement and anniversary celebrations.
A typescript copy of the history of LaGrange County, Indiana,
in series III describes the Congregational Church at Ontario, built
in 1854, from the interior pulpit, choir loft, chandeliers, lamps,
doors, and seating capacity to its exterior design. Its facade,
columns, white wood boards, and belfry were patterned from old New
England churches. This church was associated with the Oberlin Collegiate
Institute of Ohio, since the founder of Ontario and the LaGrange
Collegiate Institute, Nathan Jenks, was a convert of revivalist
Charles G. Finney, Oberlins second president.
Series IV Nontextual Records of the Robert S. Fletcher
papers contains lantern slides and photographs used in the authors
history of Oberlin College; these boxes also contain some images
that were not used in the 1943 publication. For more discussion
of the architecture of Oberlin by Fletcher, researchers are likely
to find in the various manuscript sources third-party references
to buildings constructed during the first three decades of the existence
of Oberlin College (Collegiate Institute before 1850)
in his two-volume history.
| Papers of Karl W. Gehrkens,
1900-1975, 0.5 l.f.
Karl Wilson Gehrkens (1882-1975, A.B. 1905, A.M. 1912) was an
author and a music teacher at the Oberlin College Conservatory of
Music. As an undergraduate, he took classes in education and psychology
in the College of Arts and Sciences, and in organ and theory in
the Conservatory of Music. He taught music in the public schools
of the Village of Oberlin until 1907, when he was recruited by the
Conservatory of Music as Teacher of Public School Music. During
his 35 years of service, Gehrkens pioneered public school music
education at the Conservatory and set national standards for training
music teachers. Gehrkens wrote and edited several books in the fields
of music and music education, retiring from teaching in 1942 at
Scope and Content
Series IV Photographs of the Karl W. Gehrkens Papers contains
four folders of images Gehrkens took as a student at Oberlin College
between 1900 and 1905. All black-and-white photographs are mounted
on a matte frame, and some have inscriptions handwritten on the
back. Four photographs are exterior views and eight are interior
views of Shurtleff Cottage, 159 S. Professor St., where Gehrkens
lived for almost five years. The photographs series also includes
an exterior view of Stewart Hall, where Gehrkens wife, Ruth Grey
| Papers of Karl F. Geiser,
1906-1951, 1.5 l.f.
Karl F. Geiser (1869-1951), who received his Ph.D. in 1900 from
Yale University and did post-doctoral work at the University of
Berlin in 1905-1906, was head of the Political Science Department
at Oberlin College from 1903 to 1934. He was recruited to form a
Political Science Department, and was its sole member until 1925.
In addition to teaching, Geiser served as a consultant to governments,
including Berlin, Germany. Geiser was forced into retirement in
1934, supposedly for holding pro-German views. Four years later,
in 1938, he was awarded the Order of Merit of the German Eagle,
first class, by Adolf Hitler. For more biographical detail, see
Geoffrey Blodgett, Professor Geiser: Politically Correct, Oberlin
College Observer 15 (April 11, 1991).
Scope and Content
The Karl F. Geiser negatives collection includes images of the
Geiser family and friends. The negatives also record both exterior
and interior views of the Geiser homes at 140 Morgan St., 1908;
83 S. Cedar St., 1911; 83 Elmwood St., 1912; and then 337 Reamer
Pl. The negatives recording the Reamer Pl. home, which he and his
wife Florence built around 1920, are extensive. The images show
construction, gardens, and interior furnishings.
The collection also provides a visual documentation of Oberlin
College. There are photographs dated 1909 of Finney Chapel, Carnegie
Library, Peters Hall, and Baldwin Cottage soon after construction.
Scenes of Oberlin, such as the Arboretum and the Golf Course taken
in 1909 and in 1911, are also included.
Boxes 1 and 2 contain the glass negatives. Box 3 contains the
film negatives, prints, and an undated letter to John Hartman identifying
ten photographs Geiser used in an article on municipal government
| Papers of the Gerrish Family,
1786-1940, 6.75 l.f.
The Gerrish Family papers contain information about three generations
of an Oberlin family. The greatest concentration of documentation
falls between the years of 1880 to 1938 and is concerned primarily
with William Blanchard Gerrish (1863-1939, B.A. 1886). He was the
village civil engineer from 1888 to 1908. Under his directorship,
Oberlin installed the first municipal lime-soda water softening
plant in the United States, as well as a municipal sewer system.
Scope and Content
W.B. Gerrishs collected papers include extensive information
on the water works, sewage system, city streets, and electric light
company in Oberlin. A book of clippings, 1888-1895, deals exclusively
with these subjects. Three volumes of letter-press copy books, 1889-1903,
contain correspondence on these same subjects, as well as on surveys
of the Village of Oberlin, 1891. There are also sketches of plots
of land and mechanical drawings, 1891-1894, and notes to the architect
J.L. Silsbee in reference to the Memorial Arch, 1902-1903. A correspondence
file contains 59 letters and 6 sketches from Silsbee and stone contractor
E. Heldmaier, 1902-1903, directed to Gerrish. This correspondence
discusses drainage, masonry, and billing questions surrounding the
arch. A memorandum outlining specifications for the masonry and
foundations is also included.
| Papers of Cass Gilbert, 1908-1931,
Cass Gilbert (1859-1934) was Oberlin Colleges general architect
from 1912 until his death. Born in Zanesville, Ohio, Gilbert grew
up in Minneapolis, where he worked as a carpenters helper and a
draftsman. Following one year of study at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, 1878-1879, and a year in Europe, 1880, Gilbert worked
as a draftsman in the New York City architectural firm of McKim,
Mead, and White. He started his own independent practice in St.
Paul, Minnesota, in late 1882. His style, employing classical, Romanesque,
Gothic, and eclectic designs and embellishments, is best represented
by the Woolworth Building in New York City (a 66-story skyscraper
built in 1911-1913 that remained the tallest building in the world
until 1930), and by the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington,
Commissioned by Oberlin as early as 1903 to design Finney Chapel,
Gilbert was appointed general architect for the College in 1912
by President Henry Churchill King (an influential Gilbert supporter)
and the board of trustees. Gilberts vision for Oberlin College
reflected decorous poise. . . drawn from inspirations in the European
past. Alumnus Charles Martin Hall required that the College clear
Tappan Square of all buildings, and maintain this open space, in
order to receive his substantial 1914 bequest. Incorporating this
stipulation into his plan, Gilbert proposed what Geoffrey Blodgett
calls a highly rectilinear plan, with long sight lines across the
empty square and through Memorial Arch, enclosed on the block west
of the square by a dense cluster of buildings connected by curving
arcades. Gilbert designed the following Oberlin structures: Allen
Memorial Art Museum (AMAM), 1917; Allen Memorial Hospital, 1925;
Bosworth Hall and the Graduate School of Theology, also known as
the Quadrangle, 1931; the Cox Administration Building, 1915; and
Finney Chapel, 1908. Gilbert also executed numerous studies for
campus building plans.
At least five institutions of higher education honored Cass Gilbert
with honorary degrees. Among them was Oberlin College, which awarded
Gilbert an LL.D. degree in 1917, the year the AMAM was dedicated.
Scope and Content
The Cass Gilbert papers include architectural plansfloor plans,
site plans, renderings, elevations, and shop drawingsfor most
of his projects. Also held are specification indices for the Allen
Memorial Art Museum, 1915; correspondence concerning numerous proposals
and pending projects at Oberlin College, 1903-1934; newspaper articles
and academic studies about Gilbert, 1904, 1968, 1977, 1980, and
1982; and reference notes to Gilbert holdings at other repositories.
Gilbert-related material is found in the maps and drawings cases,
as well as in other collections noted below. A separate inventory
of Gilberts oversized materials is available. More extensive records
with Gilbert correspondence are located in the records of Oberlin
College Presidents and with records of Assistants to the Presidents.
Copies of articles and obituaries on Gilbert, portrait photographs,
and a letter explaining his choice as a recipient of an honorary
LL.D. degree from Oberlin College are included in the group of Alumni
| Papers of Alfred A. Hahn,
1932-1934, 0.8 l.f.
Alfred A. Hahn (1890-1964) was a Toledo, Ohio, architect and a
founder of the Hahn and Hayes architectural firm. He designed the
United States Post Office at Oberlin, which opened for public use
on S. Main St. on May 1, 1934. The contract for the erection of
a new post office stood at a cost of $85,000. Hahns son, Alfred
A. Hahn, Jr., a Toledo architect who became a partner in the firm
in 1940, deposited this collection of drawings of the post office
with the Oberlin College Archives.
Scope and Content
The Hahn papers, mainly consisting of drawings, 1933-1934, include
the following architectural materials relative to the Oberlin Post
Office: originals and photostats of floor plans, a dedication plaque,
and a site plan. Also located here is a bound set of drawings on
tracing paper, including one of the dedication plaque, a site plan,
a basement plan, a first floor plan, a front elevation plan, the
right side elevation plan, and a longitudinal section plan. On unbound
tracing paper are two drawings of dedication plaques. Also included
are a detail of a splash course lintel, a section drawing of the
front stair, and a blueprint of a section detail of the location
of support beams.
For a history of the Oberlin post offices, readers should consult
the note on page 64 in Wilbur A. Phillips, Oberlin Colony: The
Story of a Century (Oberlin, 1993).
| Papers of Charles Martin
Hall, 1882-1985, 10 l.f.
Charles Martin Hall (1863-1914, A.B. 1885) was a chemist, manufacturer,
and Oberlin College benefactor, famed for inventing the electrolytic
process of manufacturing aluminum. Oberlin College awarded him the
honorary A.M. in 1893, and an honorary LL.D. in 1910. In 1911, he
was awarded the prestigious Perkins Medal for outstanding achievement
in applied chemistry. He was a member of the Oberlin College Board
of Trustees from 1905 to 1914.
In his Oberlin, Ohio, woodshed on February 23, 1886, Hall invented
The Process of Reducing Aluminum by Electrolysis, according to
his patent application. In 1888, Hall, with the assistance of noted
metallurgist Captain Alfred E. Hunt (1855-1899) and Arthur Vining
Davis (1867-1962), formed the Pittsburgh Reduction Company. Within
months, the pilot plant in Pittsburgh produced pure aluminum. New
plants were established, and the companys name became the Aluminum
Company of America in 1907, later shortened to ALCOA. The success
of ALCOA permitted Hall to pursue his interests in music and art.
Before Halls death, the sum total of his gifts to his alma mater
approached $200,000. Halls generosity was superseded by a $10 million
bequest to Oberlin College given in his will, dated November 1,
1914. Terms of his will had a great impact on the built environment
of town and campus. In addition to rugs, porcelains, and paintings,
Hall left all his land in townabout 130 acres purchased over several
decades with Irving W. Metcalf acting as Halls agentto the College.
Land south and west of S. Professor and Morgan Sts. (the old Rebecca
A. Johnson, Alfred B. Evans, Flora Maria Reed, and Clarissa C. Maltby
properties), 50 acres on E. Lorain St., and lots on Plum Creek comprised
the 130 acre total. Hall intended these lands to be used for an
arboretum, and to remain undeveloped for public enjoyment. To assist
the conversion of the Plum Creek lots into a public parkway, Hall
bequeathed $5,000 to the Village Improvement Society of Oberlin.
For more on the land bequests, see the 1987 paper A Social History:
College and Community Use of the Oberlin Arboretum by students
Jeanne M. Ponzetti and Jeffrey Pence.
Hall also bequeathed a $200,000 endowment to care for the campus,
and $600,000 to construct and endow the Sophronia Brooks Hall Auditorium
as a memorial to his mother. His stipulation that one-third of his
residuary estate be given to Oberlin College only under certain
conditions was perhaps most influential, however. He required that
the land known then as the College campus (Tappan Square today)
be free of buildings or structures, for college or other use, except
such as may be purely ornamental
Oberlin College removed
all structures from this land and has since maintained it as an
Scope and Content
While the bulk of the Charles Martin Hall papers relates to the
company and legal battles of ALCOA, a biographical series and some
photographs document aspects of the towns built environment. Memorial
tributes in the Oberlin Alumni Magazine, February, 1915,
discuss the implications of Halls bequest on campus development,
and new lands near the Arboretum, around Plum Creek, and on E. Lorain
St. Halls papers also include information about his will and the
will itself. A list of all of Halls gifts to Oberlin College since
1900 documents his donations to the endowment, and the nearly $25,000
given for campus improvements, 1912-1914. Also, accompanying the
will is a speech made by F.O. Grover at the Annual Alumni Meeting,
June, 1915. Entitled Mr. Halls Gift and the Oberlin Beautiful,
the talk outlines the legacies of Arthur Tappan and of Professor
Adelia A.F. Johnston on the towns built environment, and the more
recent contribution by Hall.
Series VII Photographs contains several images of the Hall House,
the woodshed where Hall made his discovery, and the bronze plaque
erected in 1930 in his honor.
| Papers of Frances J. Hosford,
1925-1935, 1 l.f.
Frances J. Hosford (1853-1937, A.B. 1891, A.M. 1896) was a professor,
administrator, and Oberlin historian. At Oberlin, she became a tutor,
an instructor, and then an associate professor of Latin, first in
the Oberlin Academy and then in the College. Hosford also served
as the dean of academy women and as assistant dean of college women,
1911-1920. She published Father Shipherds Magna Carta, A Century
of Coeducation in Oberlin College in 1937, and wrote numerous
articles on institutional and local history for the Oberlin Alumni
Scope and Content
Hosfords records consist mainly of correspondence and research
materials for articles on Oberlin history for the Oberlin Alumni
Magazine, 1927-1933. Significant correspondence details historic
structures around Oberlins campus and in the village proper, including
Baldwin Cottage, Old Dascomb Hall, the old Fairchild House, First
Church, and early Oberlin homes. Notable correspondents include
Trustees William B. Gerrish, 1930-1932, and Edward Steele.
| Papers of Ellen H. Johnson,
1933-1994, 4.5 l.f.
Ellen Hulda Elizabeth Johnson (1910-1992, A.B. 1935, M.A. 1935)
was the Oberlin College Art Librarian, 1939-1948, and a member of
the Fine Arts Department faculty, 1948-1977. Johnson taught introductory
art history courses that became so popularsometimes attracting
over 400 studentsthat class was held in Hall Auditorium rather
than the Art Building. In addition to her teaching, Johnson was
an active writer, curator, and collector of art. She authored nearly
100 articles and essays, and three books. She had many requests
from around the world to curate shows, and she helped organize numerous
shows at the Allen Memorial Art Museum (AMAM) at Oberlin College.
So valued was her contribution in forming the post-war collection,
serving on its Purchase Committee, and assisting in exhibitions
and fundraising, that she was named honorary curator of modern art
Johnsons personal art collection contained more than 14,000 objects,
some 300 of which she bequeathed to the AMAM. Many of the works
were gifts from artists with whom she had developed a friendship
through her writing and teaching. The works were displayed in the
Frank Lloyd Wright house, built in 1950, which she purchased in
1968 and lovingly restored. She arranged for the house to become
the guest quarters of the College upon her death.
Her retirement from Oberlin in June, 1977, was celebrated with
the announcement of a multi-million dollar expansion of the AMAM
for the Ellen H. Johnson Gallery of Modern Art. This addition was
designed by architect Robert Venturi.
Scope and Content
The Ellen H. Johnson papers are organized in seven series, two
of which contain architectural information about the Frank Lloyd
Wright house (now called the Weltzheimer-Johnson Frank Lloyd Wright
house) and the AMAM addition. Series I Biographical Files includes
an estate folder with Johnsons agreement with Oberlin College concerning
the Wright house. Outlined are stipulations for the maintenance,
preservation, restoration, rent, budget and costs, use, and changes
of structure or furnishing. This August 9, 1980, agreement also
designated Athena Tacha, professor of art, as the houses consultant-curator,
and Chloe Hamilton Young (1927-1985, A.B. 1948, M.A. 1950) as her
deputy. For more information relative to the house, researchers
should see the papers of Athena Tacha.
Information about the AMAM addition is found in series I and in
Series V Miscellaneous Files. Included are folders on the Ellen
H. Johnson Gallery of Modern Art with the 1969 document, The Revised
Program for Additions and Remodeling of Art Building and Allen Memorial
Art Museum, and publicity announcements, fundraising items, and
a 1977 dedication program.
| Papers of Adelia A.F. Johnston,
1863-1974, 0.3 l.f.
Adelia A. Field Johnston (1837-1910), an important figure of late
19th-century Oberlin, received the literary degree from Oberlin
in 1856. She married James M. Johnston in 1859, but became a widow
in 1862. Following teaching appointments in Tennessee and Ohio,
she returned to Oberlin in 1870 to become principal of the Womens
Department, on the condition she be allowed to teach. Johnston was
the first ladies principaland indeed the first woman at Oberlinto
insist on and to receive membership on the faculty. She served the
College as ladies principal/dean of women until 1900, and as professor
of medieval history until 1907. Her courses in art history and in
architecture were very popular. One of her major contributions to
the town of Oberlin was the organization of the Oberlin Village
Improvement Society, which built parks and campaigned to keep the
town clean. Barbara Christen, in City Beautiful in a Small Town:
The Early History of the Village Improvement Society in Oberlin
(Lorain County Historical Society, 1994), reports on Johnstons
achievements in this area.
Scope and Content
The documentation on Johnstons efforts to establish parks in
Oberlin is uneven. Included in this manuscript group are an undated
note marking Johnstons intention to donate the old Gas Works property
on Vine St., a 1909 letter from Augusta B. Squire concerning use
of properties on Vine St. and billboards on Lorain and Main Sts.,
and a 1909 letter from Frank B. Carpenter expressing lukewarm interest
in donating land for a park. Still another undated letter from W.L.
Saxton concerns his willingness to donate land near Plum Creek for
a public park.
A printed pamphlet Extracts from Life of Adelia A.F. Johnston
by Harriet L. Keller includes the story of how, in 1889, Mrs. Lord
gave Johnston a $10,000 check to build Lord Cottage. Built in 1892,
Lord Cottage was the last of the Great Building Period begun with
Sturges Hall in 1883.
Travel accounts, 1888 and ca. 1906, of Johnstons trips to Spain,
Norway, London, Algeria, and Ceylon highlight some international
architecture. An eight-page typed transcript of a lecture on Art
and Civilization highlights distinct architectural styles of classic
civilizations from ancient and modern world history.
| Papers of Fred H. Tip Maddock,
1839-1950, 0.7 l.f.
Fred H. Tip Maddock (1874-1951) was born in Lake Breeze (now
Sheffield), Ohio. An amateur historian, Maddock ran a news agency
and was a local agent for the Cleveland-Berea-Elyria and Oberlin
traction line (the Cleveland Southwestern Interurban Railroad).
During his lifetime, Maddock gathered information on the citizens
and businesses relating to the town of Oberlin.
Scope and Content
The Maddock papers are a rich resource for information about the
early business sector of downtown Oberlin. Lists, notes, and short
essays give information on the history of the building, businesses,
and business owners along Oberlins main streets. Included in the
discussion of Oberlins early urban life are details on roads, utilities,
and natural disasters. The complete history of the old Centennial
Hall (built in 1876 at 235 S. Main St.) is given special attention.
Additionally, essays exist on several of the earliest college buildings
including: old Chemistry Laboratory (Cabinet Hall), Cincinnati Hall
(or Slab Hall", First Ladies Hall, French Hall, Oberlin Hall, the
old Chapel, Second Ladies Hall, Society Hall, and Tappan Hall.
| Papers of James C. McCullough,
1911-1948, 1.25 l.f.
James Caldwell McCullough (1884-1963) taught chemistry at Oberlin
for 42 years, and served on college committees including the Building
Committee. Born in Mansfield, Ohio, McCullough received his B.S.
from Case Institute of Applied Science in 1906; he later received
an M.S. from that institution and did further graduate work at the
University of Chicago. After a year with the Dow Chemical Company,
McCullough came to Oberlin in 1907 as an instructor of chemistry.
By 1926, he was a full professor, specializing in physical chemistry
and laboratory experimentation. McCullough also was active in the
Oberlin community, working with the Oberlin Relief Program during
the Great Depression; serving on the Oberlin Village Council for
12 years, acting as both vice-chairman and chairman; and serving
a short stint as a police judge. McCullough retired in 1949.
Scope and Content
The papers of Professor James C. McCullough hold modest historical
value for the architectural researcher. Although his projects did
not see immediate fruition, the papers are informative as examples
of planning documents utilized in the program phase of design conception.
Records mainly consist of meeting note transcripts from an ad hoc
College Building Committee, for which McCullough served as an acoustical
and equipment consultant. Covering the period 1929-1930, documents
include an eight-page textual description of building use and funding
for the proposed Oberlin College Auditorium, constructed in 1953
as Hall Auditorium; two architectural drawing photostats of the
Eastman School of Music Auditorium in Rochester, NY; meeting notes;
and four floor plan photostats and planning documents detailing
proposed renovation projects for the Mens Building (Wilder Hall).
Miscellaneous architectural drawings exist within this group for
the following structures: the James Brand House ca. 1928, the Mens
Building in 1930, the Graduate School of Theology, Bosworth Quadrangle,
and proposed freshman dormitories. Also found here are large photostats
of Cass Gilberts ca. 1931 plans for the proposed Oberlin College
| Papers of Irving W. Metcalf,
1877-1937, 2.5 l.f.
Irving Wight Metcalf (1855-1938, A.B. 1878, B.D. 1881) was born
in Bangor, Maine. As a minister, Metcalf served Congregational churches
in Columbus and Cleveland, and was superintendent of the Congregational
City Mission from 1894 to 1897. He resigned his pastorate in 1897,
and after a brief period of business activity in Kansas, returned
to Ohio as a bank director and estate executor in 1899. Metcalf
acted as the intermediary for the Charles Martin Hall property purchases,
many of which became the basis for Halls bequest to Oberlin College
following Halls death in 1914. An active temperance crusader, Metcalf
also served on the Oberlin College Board of Trustees.
Scope and Content
Organized into six series, records of architectural interest are
held mainly in Series 1 Correspondence, and Series 2 Charles
Martin Hall Property Records. Notable items in series 1 include
1900 correspondence with President John Henry Barrows regarding
building fund endowments, and a 1905 letter defending the integrity
of large building fund donations to Oberlin from industrialist John
D. Rockefeller. Series 2 also holds significant correspondence,
1901-1917, discussing the Charles Martin Hall properties and their
ultimate bequest to Oberlin College.
| Papers of Azariah Smith Root,
1881-1930, 7.1 l.f.
Born in Middlefield, Massachusetts, Azariah Smith Root (1862-1927,
A.B. 1884, M.A. 1887) was Oberlin Colleges first professional librarian,
a position he held from 1887 until his death. After his Oberlin
education, he studied law at Boston University. He returned to Oberlin
in 1885 to work as a cataloger in the College Library, leaving the
next year for study at Harvard University Law School, and returning
to Oberlin in 1887. In 1890, at the young age of 25, he was made
professor of bibliography, specializing in the history of printing
At the time of Roots appointment, Oberlins library held 14,274
volumes; at his death, the librarys holdings numbered over 500,000,
with yearly purchases nearly equaling the number of books in the
original library. He assisted in the design of Carnegie Library
(completed in 1908), and he made it more accessible to the citizens
of Oberlin by including a childrens room and a high school reading
Root was involved in numerous organizations and committees. He
was a member of the Prudential and Investment committees of the
Board of Trustees of Oberlin College, and was a member of the Executive
Committee in charge of the presidents duties. He was a board member
of the Oberlin School District, a trustee of First Congregational
Church in Oberlin, director of the Telephone Company, and president
of the Oberlin Village Improvement Society.
Scope and Content
The papers of Azariah Smith Root largely focus on his personal
and professional life. Of architectural interest is information
pertaining to Carnegie Library found in his files relating to faculty
and community service. Over 300 documents make up the body of information
on the planning and construction of Oberlins second library facility.
Roots correspondence with the architects Patton and Miller, engineer
Richard Kimball, and builder George Feick are contained in this
group. Letters, questionnaires, contracts, and estimates discuss
nearly every aspect of the building process from site planning and
interior decoration to the proper storage of books and the need
for adequate lighting. Also contained in this group are references
to Cass Gilberts Finney Chapel.
Another important body of documentation, in files relating to
faculty and community service, deals with the construction of Keep
Cottage. Extensive correspondence again details most aspects of
the building and design process. Other building files in the series
contain information on the Cox Administration Building, First Church
in Oberlin, Talcott Hall, and Wilder Hall.
| Papers of Thomas F. Root,
1955-1994, 0.2 l.f.
Thomas F. Root (b. 1923) of Plymouth, Ohio, was a ceramics engineer,
salesman, and pilot and aerial photographer. He learned to fly an
airplane at the Mansfield Airport in 1939, and subsequently owned
a series of small planes. From 1966 until his retirement in 1994,
Root ran his own business, Tom Root Air Photos, Inc. His principal
clients included the American Shipbuilding Company, Denison and
Oberlin colleges, General Electric, Timken, Ford, General Motors,
and many field tilling contractors. Roots concentration is on single
photo verticals for field tilling operations, zoning, and single
views of entire towns. Many of his aerial pictures documented newsworthy
events; some were distributed to the national media.
Scope and Content
The papers of Thomas F. Root include both biographical information
and aerial photographs and negatives of Oberlin College taken between
1955 and 1994. Images are both black and white and in color. They
show the campus in its entirety, but also include details of the
football field and stadium, downtown Oberlin, Hall Auditorium and
the Oberlin Inn, and the Parsons Road reservoir.
| Papers of Giles W. and Mary
Burton Shurtleff, 1846-1930, 2.7 l.f.
Giles Waldo Shurtleff (1831-1904, A.B. 1859) married Mary E. Burton
(1836-1924), formerly a student at Mount Holyoke Seminary in 1858-1859
and a graduate from the Lake Erie Female Seminary in 1860. During
the Civil War, Shurtleff served as captain of Company C of the 7th
Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry; he was taken prisoner for a year
between August of 1861 and August of 1862, and then served under
General O.B. Wilcox of the 9th Army Corps at Fredericksburg. His
final Civil War service was as a lieutenant colonel of black troops
recruited in Ohio and designated the 5th U.S. Colored Troops.
After the Civil War, Shurtleff returned to Oberlin to become a
professor of Latin and Greek, 1866-1887, and he also held the College
positions of financial secretary, 1873-1874; secretary and treasurer,
1887-1893; and member of the board of trustees, 1894-1904. He served
the community as its mayor (1868), on the village council, on the
executive committee of the Temperance Alliance, and as president
of the Board of Commerce and of the Village Improvement Society.
He is known to have built a number of houses in the village.
Scope and Content
The Giles W. and Mary Burton Shurtleff papers contain correspondence,
memoranda, and essays pertinent to the architecture and landscape
of Oberlin, Ohio. In series I, a letter from Shurtleff to his wife,
dated July 2, 1880, discusses Hatchs proposal for additions to
the Ladies Hall for a gymnasium, music rooms, rooms for domestics,
and more rooms for young ladies. Addressing the Oberlin College
Trustees in an 1877 memorandum, Shurtleff reports having raised
$1,430 for Finney Memorial Chapel, thus making total building pledges
stand at $4,625. In a similar document, dated January 26, 1886,
Shurtleff mentions the spring term fund raising activities for College
Series VII, Subseries 1 Writings of Giles Shurtleff, contains
a more complete narrative of Giles Shurtleffs concern for the visual
appearance of Oberlin. In one ca. 1899 document, he reports the
years activities of the Oberlin Board of Commerce, specifically
discussing the Orphans Home on E. College St., new brick pavement
and roads, and beautification of streets, parks, and lawns under
the supervision of a competent landscape architect. An essay on
trees and shrubs provides Shurtleff with a forum to air his opinions
on improving the Oberlin landscape.
While these items of concern to the study of the Oberlin built
environment within the Shurtleff collection are neither fully developed
nor numerous, they do contain references that contribute to a larger
understanding of the towns development.
| Papers of A. Clair Siddall,
1928-1988, 1 l.f.
Alcines Clair Siddall (1897-1980) received his A.B. from Otterbein
College, Westerville, Ohio, in 1919 and his M.D. from Western Reserve
Medical School, Cleveland, Ohio, in 1922. After serving as a medical
missionary in China for nine years, 1923-1932, Siddall moved to
Oberlin, Ohio, to practice medicine. He was in private practice
until 1962, when he and six other doctors founded the Oberlin Clinic.
Upon his retirement from the clinic in 1972, the A.C. Siddall Educational
Fund was established in conjunction with the general endowment fund
of the Allen Memorial Hospital. Siddall is known for his many publications,
his research on the history of medical practices in Oberlin, and
his leadership in the 1957 Lorain County program for the early detection
of cancer in women.
Scope and Content
Series IV Photographs contains 1907 images of Oberlins first
hospital, which was established by the Oberlin Hospital Association
at 21 S. Cedar St. One is an interior of an operating room, the
second shows the buildings exterior. As of 1976, the structure
stood as a private home. This collection also houses photographs
of Allen Memorial Hospital, both before and after its renovation,
and one of James Dascombs residence at 227 S. Professor St. All
photographs in this collection are black and white.
| Papers of Athena Tacha, 1995,
Athena Tacha (b. 1936) is a professor of art at Oberlin College,
and was the curator of modern art for the Allen Memorial Art Museum
between 1963 and 1973. She received M.A. degrees from both the National
Academy of Fine Arts, Athens, Greece (1959), and from Oberlin College
(1961), then she earned her Ph.D. at the Sorbonne, University of
Paris, France (1963). As an artist and art historian, Tachas work
has been exhibited around the United States in both individual and
group shows, and is in the permanent collections of museums from
the Allen Memorial Art Museum to the National Collection of Fine
Arts in Washington, D.C. She has been most active in public art
since the mid-1970s, and has executed 30 public commissions won
in competitions throughout the United States. In 1980, fellow art
professor Ellen H. Johnson designated Tacha as the consultant-curator
of the Weltzheimer-Johnson Frank Lloyd Wright house, Oberlin, Ohio.
Scope and Content
The Oberlin College Archives holds a manuscript of Athena Tachas
article Frank Lloyd Wright at Oberlin: The Story of the Weltzheimer/
Johnson House. This article was published in the Allen Memorial
Art Museum Bulletin. [vol. XLIX, no. 1, 1995] It provides
a thorough history of the house, from Wrights philosophical goals
to restoration work performed by Ellen H. Johnson. Its eight chapters
include A Model Usonian and the Role of a Taliesin Fellow, The
Weltzheimers Commission, Construction under FLLW Apprentice Ted
Bower, Furnishings and Landscaping, Living in the House, Ellen
H. Johnsons Ownership and Restoration, Re-landscaping, and Visiting
the House. Several primary documents, such as letters from Frank
Lloyd Wright and written commentaries by the houses residents,
are central to the text. For more information relative to the house,
researchers should see the papers of Ellen H. Johnson and of Frank
| Papers of Lloyd W. and Esther
Bliss Taylor, 1905-1980, 8.3 l.f.
Lloyd W. Taylor (1893-1948) was a professor of physics and head
of Oberlins Physics Department from 1924 until his death in 1948.
Born in Pittsfield, Maine, he received his B.S. from Grinnell College
in 1914, served in the U.S. Army in Panama from 1917 to 1919, and
earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1922. He came
to Oberlin in 1924 to head the Physics Department as a full professor.
He authored many books, and his academic efforts helped to establish
Oberlin as a premier undergraduate program in physics. He was instrumental
in the planning and construction of the $400,000 Orville and Wilbur
Wright Physics Building and Laboratory, completed in 1943.
Scope and Content
The papers of Lloyd W. and Esther B. Taylor are organized into
two subgroups and hold limited architectural records. Located in
Subgroup I Lloyd W. Taylor, Series I Correspondence, are letters
relating to his position as professor and head of the Physics Department.
This correspondence includes numerous references to the new Physics
Building. Documents of particular interest include a pamphlet on
the Physics Building, October, 1941; interior photos of the new
building; and a February, 1944, letter describing it. Taylors correspondence
files, 1931-1948, include letters from Carl Kinsley and Vern O.
Knudsen discussing the building design and the construction process;
and the correspondence with L.B. Waltonheld in the Beatty B. Williams
folderdetails the early planning proposals for the Physics Building.
Taylors correspondence also includes 1944 inter-office memoranda
from Oberlin College Buildings and Grounds Director Lester Ries.
Physics Building floor plans are held in the buildings and grounds
files. Drawings consist of a ground floor plan, a first floor plan,
a second floor plan, as well as a listing of rooms in the structure
and their dimensions. Included among these items are a range of
photographs of the buildings various stages of construction. A
January, 1943, Oberlin Review article describes the Physics
Building in detail.
| Papers of Clarence Ward,
1917-1969, 0.3 l.f.
Clarence Ward (1884-1973) was a professor of the history and appreciation
of art for Oberlin College and the director of the Allen Memorial
Art Museum (AMAM) from 1917 until 1948. Educated at Princeton University
(A.B. 1905, M.A. 1906, Ph.D. 1914), he taught at Rutgers University
before coming to Oberlin. He was interested in the study of architecture,
particularly that of French cathedrals and New England churches.
He helped establish and design the building of the East Oberlin
Community Church, and served as that congregations pastor. Ward
was the architect for the Presidents House and the interior decorator
for Noah Hall, and contributed to the designs of Hales Gymnasium
(see entry for the Physical Education Department), and the 1937
addition to the AMAM. The Clarence Ward Art Library, part of the
1977 AMAM addition, is named in his honor.
Scope and Content
Clarence Wards personal papers contain much information about
churches around the Midwest and New England, for which he was an
architectural consultant. Of special interest are two letters from
Oberlin College President Ernest Hatch Wilkins congratulating Ward
on the interior of Noah Hall. Two letters from the architect Charles
Frederick Cellarius comment on Wards proposals for a new art building.
Files relating to the work of Clarence Ward are also found in
the files of the AMAM, subgroup IV, series 1-3. They consist of
correspondence, 1923-1941 and 1971-1985; materials regarding the
East Oberlin Community Church, 1930-1943; transparencies of the
Ward Library, n.d.; an audio record of a 1959 Ward interview discussing
the erection of the museum in 1916-1917; biographical items; and
two drafts of Wards 240-page manuscript on Gothic architecture.
| Papers of Frank Lloyd Wright,
1947-1985, 0.25 l.f.
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), internationally acclaimed architect
famous for his use of organic and prairie style architectural design,
was commissioned by Margaret and Charles Weltzheimer in 1947 to
build a Usonian house on their three acre Morgan St. lot in Oberlin.
Wright never came to Oberlin, sending an apprenticeTed Bower from
his Arizona firm Taliesin Westto oversee construction, which began
in 1948. Due to financial difficulties, the house was not completed
In 1956 the structure was sold to Wayne Lint, who sold it to William
Gaeuman the following year. Gaeuman proceeded to make changes to
the house, many unalterable, in an attempt to modernize it. When
Oberlin art professor Ellen H. Johnson bought the house in 1968,
she researched its initial construction, restoring it to its original
state while she continued to live there. Johnson willed the house
to Oberlin College, which it acquired in 1993. A restoration trust
was given by Ruth Roush. Under a 1994 $108,000 grant from the GAR
Foundation of Akron, a restoration of the Weltzheimer-Johnson Frank
Lloyd Wright house began in 1995.
Scope and Content
Three folders and a set of blueprints make up the architectural
materials for the Frank Lloyd Wright file. These folders consist
of documents dating between 1947 and 1985. Correspondence from the
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to the Weltzheimers, 1947-1953, is
included in one folder. The letters are predominately brief responses
made by either Wright or his secretary, Eugene Messalink, to questions
that were posed by the Weltzheimers. An array of articles written
about the Morgan St. property are held in the other two folders.
A 1972 article by Acting Chairman of the Department of Art Kenneth
W. Severens (b. 1936) provides a comprehensive and descriptive study
of the house. Recollections by Kristen Weltzheimer of living in
the Frank Lloyd Wright house are also held in this file.
Architectural drawings consist of six 24" x 42" blue
prints, showing floor plans, elevations, section details, and HVAC
specifications, as well as finishing instructions and furniture
schedules. Landscape plans also exist. There are two sheets of furniture
plans, one 21 ½" x 16" and the other 28" x 27 ½".
Copies of the roof framing plan, millwork detail, and two sheets
of the furniture plans are on polyester medium; the Frank Lloyd
Wright Foundation possesses the preliminary house plans. Professor
of Art Athena Tacha has an initial set of blue prints, and the Allen
Memorial Art Museum has a revised set of ammonia prints that vary
slightly from the revised blue prints held in the College Archives.
A set of the houses blueprints is also found on one roll of
microfilm at the archives.
A December, 1993, oral history interview of architect Gunnar Birkerts,
conducted on behalf of the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives at Taliesin
West in Arizona, is held in the record group of motion picture and
tape recordings. The interview makes references to Wrights, as
well as to Birkerts, architectural careers. Usage restrictions