The duties and responsibilities of the Offices of the Bursar,
the Controller, and the Treasurer have an intermingled past at Oberlin
College. The Office of the Controller was created in 1958, causing
some confusion as to the distinction between the assigned functions
of the controller and the treasurer. In a September 2, 1958 memorandum,
President William E. Stevenson clarified the matter by making the
controller responsible for general accounting procedures, including
paying bills, reviewing proposed budgetary changes and transfers,
preparing and distributing periodic departmental operating statements,
and reconciling accounts with departmental records. The controllers
office was first filled by Arthur L. Cotton from 1958 to 1975. Richard
B. Comstock served between 1975 and 1993, and Ronald Watts succeeded
him in 1994. Since the offices inception, the controller reported
to the president, vice-president for business and finance, the provost
(1988-1995), and the vice-president of finance (1995- ) since the
The bursars office was created in 1984, when Treasurer Roger
S. Cooper left his position. Rather than filling the treasurers
position immediately, Assistant Treasurer Barbara Pitts was appointed
bursar. Pitts held that post until retiring in 1991. The responsibilities
of the bursars office were assumed by a Student Accounts unit.
Scope and Content
The third series of the controllers office records contains hundreds
of folders relating to the built environment of Oberlin, Ohio. This
series, Bursar/ Treasurers Files, is arranged in five subseries:
1. Subject Files, 2. Remittance Information Forms, 3. Capital Venture
Properties, 4. Retained Income and Prospective Gifts, and 5. Properties.
Except for the second subseries, all relate to Oberlins built environment.
Applicable records address architecture largely from a financial
standpoint and not from an aesthetic one.
There are more than 150 folders in Subseries 1 Subject Files
that are pertinent to Oberlins built environment. The series is
arranged alphabetically by folder title, including specific properties
acquired by Oberlin College through either donation, bequest, or
purchase. Occasionally, the folder title is named for the person
from whom the property was acquired. Documents in the folders include
deeds, leases, mortgages, and titles.
The 25 folders in Subseries 3 Capital Venture Properties, are
filled with memoranda marking the donation of property to Oberlin
College. The original promissory notes are occasionally attached
to the memoranda, sent by the controllers office to the bursar
While most files in Subseries 4 Retained Income and Prospective
Gifts concern monetary donations placed in trust, some are building
trust funds. Allen Memorial Hospital, Barnard Hall, and Hall Auditorium
are three campus buildings whose trust fund records appear in this
Property files created and maintained by the treasurers office
are to be found in Subseries 5 Properties. Included are purchase
invoices, correspondence and memoranda, land deeds and titles, and
leases. These documents are useful in identifying title, property
values, and the amounts for which they were sold or rented. Land
deeds and titles give a description outlining the boundaries of
the said property. Like the records in subseries 1, these files
document the acquisition and handling of the properties by Oberlin
College. Oberlin College acquired properties largely located on
the citys core streets: Cedar, College Park Lots, College, College
Pl., Elm, Elmwood, Forest, Lorain, Main, Morgan, Pleasant, Professor,
Willard Court, and Woodland.
Some records will require the permission of the archivist, or
of the controller, to be used.