|Records of Student Life (Group 19)
| Records of the Oberlin Band
of Student Volunteers for Foreign Missions, c. 1886-1927, 2 in.
The Oberlin Band of Student Volunteers was one of several Oberlin
student organizations that supported Protestant missionary endeavors
at home and abroad. T his coed organization, sponsored by the YMCA
and YWCA, prepared its members for missionary work and spread the
missionary zeal among others for over three decades. At meetings,
members listened to missionaries tell of their efforts and of the
lands where they labored, heard missionaries letters read, discussed
the work of the various missions, and gave support by donating money.
Young women who became Oberlin missionaries included Rowena Bird
(d. 1900, Lit. 1890, A.B. 1895), Tinnie DEtta Hewett (Thompson,
d. 1899, A.B. 1888), Alice Moon Williams, Lydia Lord Davis, and
Alice Cowles Little.
Scope and Content
The collection, consisting of three volumes and two folders, includes
minutes and deputation committee records, plus personal information
that student members supplied about their own backgrounds. These
completed questionnaires also report on parents names and addresses.
Membership lists contain not only the name of each member, but also
his or her mission location and date of withdrawal from the organization.
A scrapbook from the 1920s contains photographs and clippings from
Oberlin and abroad.
| Records of the Young Womens
Missionary Society, 1879-1894, 2 in.
Organized in 1879 as the Young Ladies Missionary Society, the
Young Womens Missionary Society was one of several Oberlin student
organizations that supported Protestant missionary endeavors at
home and abroad. Its activities included educating members, financing
designated missions, and sending missionaries and helpers into the
field. This group supported mission work among the Slavic immigrants
of Cleveland. After finishing college, quite a number of the societys
members became missionaries.
Scope and Content
The collection, consisting of four volumes and one folder, includes
minutes (two volumes) and financial and membership information (two
volumes). The groups focus on women missionaries is illustrated
by the secretarys report on letters from, information about, and
talks by female missionaries. A folder holds documents from several
women missionaries: a letter dated l888 from Luella Miner (A.B.
1884), who was working in China, and two letters (c. 1890) regarding
Josephine Barnabys work with American Indians in North Dakota.
| Records of the Ladies Literary
Society, 1850 (1904-52)-1952, 1 ft. 2 in.
In 1835 nine women founded the Young Ladies Association of the
Oberlin Collegiate Institute. The first literary society for women
in the United States, its purpose was to improve the intellectual
and moral character of its members through the promotion of Literature
and Religion. At meetings women practiced public speaking and mastered
parliamentary procedures. Membership in the association especially
benefited several early members who later achieved public prominence,
including Lucy Stone (1818-1893), Antoinette Brown Blackwell (1825-1921),
Josephine Penfield Bateham (1829-1901), and Mary Sheldon (1825-1887).
Soon after Stones graduation in 1847, the association went into
decline. Lucy Stanton (1831-1910) responded by reorganizing the
association, renaming it the Young Ladies Literary Society, and
giving it a new objective. By focusing on Writing, Speaking, and
Discussion, the association once again attracted young women.
Although the name of the literary organization changed throughout
the second half of the 19th century, the content of meetings remained
the same. By 1852 the size of the organization promoted differences
among the women. The more progressive women withdrew that year and
formed the Young Ladies Lyceum (later called the Aelioian). In keeping
with their liberal views, they made the oration a regular part of
their program. The conservative Young Ladies Literary Society
maintained the more feminine essays. In 1867 the original organization
once again changed its name to the Ladies Literary Society (LLS).
By 1878 LLS members considered the name too old fashioned, and LLS
came to mean Litterae laborum solanem. Women still presented papers
and debated topics that reflected their interests. In the early
years essays and debates focused on religion and womens role
in the religious sphere. The antislavery movement was another popular
topic before the Civil War. Throughout the groups history,
lighter debates were also conducted (e.g., Resolved: that
two little trunks are preferable to one large one). In the
late 19th century, the LLS theme was Victorian authors. The study
of contemporary authors continued into the 20th century until topics
of national and international scope became popular.
The LLS alumnae in New York formed a permanent organization in
1903 to renew old ties, (and) to become acquainted with the younger
graduates. Additional alumnae groups were formed in other cities,
resulting in the establishment of a national LLS Alumnae Association.
The LLS and the Aelioian continued to be integral parts of the
Oberlin community until World War I. At that time, when so many
male students were committed to the war effort, women faced new
responsibilities and opportunities and were unable to devote time
to literary societies. After the war LLS once again attracted womens
interest. By 1948, with membership declining, the Aelioian and the
LLS were forced to merge. In the following year the alumnae organizations
of these groups also united. This new union lasted only four years.
In 1952, at separate meetings, the student and alumnae organizations
of the LLS-Aelioian dissolved, declaring that the purposes for
which the literary societies were created have been fulfilled; their
work is done.
Scope and Content
This collection contains records of the activities of the LLS.
Most materials prior to 1850 were lost in a fire. Included are minutes
of student meetings, 1904-1948, and alumnae meetings, 1907-1952.
Three volumes contain the recording secretarys book, 1846-1948;
corresponding secretarys book, 1875-1905; and a list of members.
Reports were written by the president, 1935 and 1937; the secretary,
1908 and 1909; and treasurer, 1874-l910. The directors book summarizes
events for the years 1911 to 1934. The alumnae correspondence, 1919-1949,
covers sexual discrimination, the Equal Rights Amendment, research
in China, and reminiscences of a meeting with Antoinette Brown Blackwell.
There are completed questionnaires concerning the activities of
the alumnae fellows during and after their studies. Lists of student
and alumnae members, 1907-1941, also exist. Among the printed materials
are programs of events for the years 1850 to 1935 and various constitutions
and bylaws, 1874 and 1940. The photograph series contains organization
pictures, 1893-1936, and photographs of individuals, including Adelia
A. Field Johnston.
The Aelioian collection contains the constitutions, bylaws, and
lists of members, 1883; 1886; and 1890. There are programs for the
inclusive years of 1856-1907.
| Records of the Womens Center,
1971-1987, 10 in.
The Student Senate chartered the Womens Center in February 1971
to act as a liaison between the different groups and committees
on campus concerned with women. The center, which is governed by
volunteer officers, is open to all women. Students activity fees
support the center. On April 26, 1989, the Student Life Committee
changed the name from the Womens Center to the Womens Information
and Resource Center.
The center presently operates as a clearinghouse of information
on womens concerns on the campus, in the community, and at the
national level. The center maintains its own library; it subscribes
to various womens magazines and newspapers, purchases books, and
In its capacity as liaison, the center handles publicity for womens
events and provides a meeting place. It also sponsors and cosponsors
workshops, conferences, seminars, lectures, and a film series on
Scope and Content
This collection, consisting of eight record series, documents
the role of the Womens Center as a liaison and library for the
Oberlin College campus. Included are a charter and a statement of
purpose, 1971 and 1988; minutes, 1982-1984; correspondence, 1974-1987
inclusively; financial records, 1974-75, 1978-79, and logbooks or
notebooks, 1976-1983; information on campus events, 1973, 1975,
1981, n.d.; surveys and questionnaires, 1976, 1985, which cover
the results of the survey on rape and sexual harassment; and a general
file which contains information on a variety of activities on campus,
locally and nationally.
| Records of the Oberlin Association
of Women Students, 1958-1966, 2 in.
The Oberlin Association of Women Students (OAWS), a governing
body for women, emerged in 1958 after a review by the Womens Self-Government
League the previous year. The OAWS remained the primary womens
governing body until 1965, when the Student Life Committee reorganized
In forming the OAWS it was assumed that women students were mature
enough to make and to abide by their own rules. The membership of
the OAWS, which included all women students of Oberlin College,
elected 12 representatives to the legislature. Beside serving in
one of the other branches (executive or judicial), the representatives
also served on various subcommittees, including the Nominations
Committee and Standing Committee. Three OAWS members served on the
The campus wide governance of women was handled by the legislature
of the OAWS, while dormitory governance was under the control of
individual house councils. Passing legislation was a two-step process;
both the student representatives and the faculty Womens Board had
to approve all legislation. During the tenure of the OAWS, representatives
and house council officers addressed issues concerning social changes.
The most popular topic was visitation privileges.
Scope and Content
This collection documents the governance of women at Oberlin College
from the late 1950s through the mid-1960s. The constitution file
contains the constitutions of the Womens Self-Government League
and the OAWS. The minutes of the Womens Board, the OAWS legislature,
the Judicial Board, and the subcommittees of the OAWS are incomplete
for the years 1958-1965. Among the reports is one by the OAWS chairman
for 1961 and reports of various subcommittees and the ad hoc Student
Council Committee. The correspondence deals mainly with the structure
of the OAWS, 1961, and State Day, which Oberlin hosted in 1961.
The financial reports consist of fiscal records of the subcommittees,
the Womens Self-Government League, and the OAWS; the dates are
inclusive, 1958-1965. The questionnaire of 1958, the bulk of the
series, addressed concerns such as noise, late minutes, and participation
in house councils. The proposals primarily address womens concerns
with visiting hours. The compiled lists document the members of
the womens government for various years between 1958 and 1965.
| Records of the Oberlin Peace
Society, 1930-1940, 8 in.
The students, faculty, and administration organized the Oberlin
Peace Society in the fall of 1930. Membership was open to all members
of the Oberlin community who agreed with the aims of the society.
The goals of the society were fourfold: to encourage members to
take a public stand for peace; to demonstrate on behalf of peace;
to participate in a scientific investigation concerning the real
causes of war and the means for its removal; and to use Oberlin
opinion as an agent to promote public goodwill.
The organization sponsored activities related to the peace movement.
In addition to lectures and study groups, the organization sent
delegates to conventions and conducted its own peace assemblies.
The society corresponded with politicians and with representatives
from other peace organizations. By the end of the first year, 750
people (including such women as Barbara Wells, Kay Hunt, and Joy
Coombs) had joined the society and participated in its activities.
President Ernest H. Wilkins, who was active in the international
peace community, was among the societys members and regular speakers.
Finally, in cooperation with other campus groups, the society published
the Peace Society Bulletin.
The society merged in the spring of 1940 with the Public Affairs
Society to form the Peace and Public Affairs Forum. The purpose
of the forum, which was established to eliminate the conflict and
inefficiency which resulted from the separation of the two organizations,
was to provide Oberlin students the opportunity to discuss current
national and international affairs.
Scope and Content
The records of the Oberlin Peace Society document the groups
efforts to achieve peace in the world. The minutes of the executive
board were recorded between October 1935 and March 1940. The secretarys
recording notebook includes newspaper clippings concerning the society.
Correspondence with congressmen and other officers of peace organizations
covers various peace-related topics. Manuscripts of society speeches
cover such topics as Students against War and The U.S. Senates
Reservations to the World Court Protocol. Membership lists are
arranged alphabetically within class year. Printed materials include
bibliographies complied by the Oberlin Peace Society and articles
about the society, 1931-1937. Programs document the various events
in which the society participated, 1931-1940.
| Scrapbooks and DiariesPapers,
1864-1936, 9 ft. 2 in.
The Oberlin College Archives has acquired scrapbooks and diaries
from students since 1966.
Scope and Content
This collection, consisting of 56 diaries and scrapbooks, captures
student life at Oberlin from 1853 to 1937. Some students created
class scrapbooks with different memorabilia, photographs, and printed
material from their senior year. Both daughters of Henry Schauffler
(1837-1905)Grace (1894-1982) and Margaret (b. 1896)wrote memory
books for their classes, 1915 and 1918, respectively. Individuals
also kept records of their own activities. Elizabeth Patchin Moyer
(b. 1895?) kept an excellent memory book (1914-15) about her activities
as a freshman woman. The scrapbook includes numerous pictures of
friends and activities. Programs documenting campus eventsincluding
recitals, dances, football games, and afternoon socialsare also
in the files. Maida J. Buckley Franke (b. 1898) compiled a memory
book (1916-1918) with Conservatory programs and comments upon the
recitals. Others memory books worth noting include Ruth Bullock
Boynton, Class of 1908; Martha A. Ely Doolittle, 1905-1907; and
Martha Jeannette Nichols Phillips, for 1875.
| Student NotesPapers, 1860-1907,
2 ft. 6 in.
Scope and Content
Oberlin students notes cover various topics, from science
courses to art courses. In the files are 30 sets of notes taken
by Charlotte Allen Jeffers (1843-1908), Class of 1865, on Dr. James
Dascombs chemistry lectures. Other records include notes taken
in 1905 by Elizabeth Rodhouse Creglow (1882-1970) on Dr. Charles
H.A. Wagers course, Quotes on the Theory of Poetry by
Dr. Wager; and notes taken during the 1870s and 1880s by Grace
(1857-1893) and James T. Fairchild (1862-1947), including notes
from classes in art and chemistry. Students notes from lectures
on the history of painting given by Adelia A. Field Johnston (1837-1910)
| Records of the Mock Conventions,
1936-1968, 10 ft.
The purpose of the Oberlin mock convention was to educate students
on the intricacies of political life and campaigns. Students prepared
themselves to make informed and intelligent decisions on the platform
and about the candidates every four years by participating in various
activities for the convention.
The first mock convention was held in 1860. The conventions were
managed by the mens literary societies from 1860 through 1908.
After 1916 the convention was supervised by the Mens Senate and
the Student Council. The traditional parade was started in 1904
and became an important part of the planned events. The mock convention
did not support womens suffrage until 1908.
Women students were not allowed to participate until 1872, when
the Ladies Board finally agreed to allow women to sit modestly
in the gallery. In 1916 women held their own convention, at which
they advocated a liberal platform, including womens suffrage and
minimum-wage laws for women. In the 1920 convention 75 women participated
as delegates. By the 1928 convention, over half the delegates were
women. Over the years the women and men shared similar views on
the platform and candidates.
Scope and Content
These records consist of files created by students as part of
the mock convention activities. The great bulk of the files date
from 1948. Included are the records of convention committees and
state delegations; platform planks; correspondence with political
figures; fund-raising records; and photographs. The records also
document actions of subcommittees and their results through minutes,
reports, correspondence, platform decisions, and transcripts of
speeches. For example, records include executive committee minutes
and progress reports of the different subcommittees, including public
relations. The final reports of the various subcommittees document
their responsibilities and actions. The convention organizers corresponded
with various politicians and dignitaries, including U.S. Senator
Wayne L. Morse of Oregon (1900-1974) , U.S. Senator Irving M. Ives
of New York (1896-1964), and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harold H.
Burton (1888-1964). Among the speakers and permanent chairmen were
James Roosevelt (b. 1907), and former President Gerald Ford (b.
1913). Many of the speeches given during the conventions were transcribed.