|Records of the Presidents (Group 2)
| Papers of Charles G. Finney,
1817-1875, 4 ft. 6 in.
Charles G. Finney (1792-1875), a key figure in the Second Great
Awakening, and his wives, Lydia R. Andrews (1804-1847, m.1824),
Elizabeth Ford Atkinson (1801-1863, m. 1848) and Rebecca A. Rayl
(1824-1907, m. 1865), helped to expand the religious role of women
during the 19th century. After his emotional conversion, Finney
abandoned a career in law and committed his life to awakening others
spiritually through his revivals, teachings, and writings on Oberlin
Finneys evangelical methods inadvertently led to women taking
a leadership role in religious life. During his popular revivals
he encouraged women to pray and exhort while in the company of men.
Womens groups, organized by Finneys wives, often sustained these
successful but controversial revivals. Finney not only employed
these methods during the 1820s in his major revivals throughout
the New England and middle Atlantic states, but he also continued
to support the role of women after assuming the pastoral responsibilities
of the Chatham Street Chapel (1832-1835) in New York City.
After his health failed, and with the urging of Arthur Tappan
(1786-1865) and Lewis Tappan (1788-1873), Finney took up residency
in Oberlin, first as pastor of the Congregational Church in Oberlin
(1835-1872) and professor of theology (1835-1851), and later as
the second president of Oberlin College (1851-1866) and member of
the Oberlin board of trustees (1846-1866). Many students came to
Oberlin to study under Finney, but they were disappointed‹he was
away from Oberlin for long periods of time because of his revivals,
held in both the United States and England. However, he was present
while Antoinette Brown Blackwell (1825-1921) attended classes at
the Oberlin Theology Department and, unlike many of his colleagues,
allowed her to recite and to share her religious experiences in
his classes. Such practices made Finney a controversial figure.
All three of Finneys wives were active in various womens
organizations in Oberlin. Lydia, and after Lydias death, Elizabeth,
reported on the religious state of communities through their correspondence.
All three led the Maternal Association, the Infant School, and the
Oberlin Female Moral Reform Society. Lydia was involved in the formation
of five organizations, including the Ohio Ladies Anti-Slavery Society.
Even before her marriage to Finney, Rebecca contributed to the education
of female students, serving as assistant principal of the Ladies
Department at Oberlin between 1856 and 1865. Rebecca aided Finney
with his writings, especially on the subject of antimasonry. Among
Finneys publications are Lectures on Systematlc Theology (1846);
Memoirs of Rev. Charles G. Finney, Written byHimself (1876); and
The Character, Claims, and Practical Working of Freemasonry (1869):
along with many pubished sermons on various topics such as prayer
meetings and views of sanctification.
Scope and Content
Divided into two main groupspersonal papers and family business
papersthe Finney collection spans six decades of the familys
activities. It contains no institutional records. This collection
is calendared in two volumes and an index. The personal papers (1817-1875)
contain correspondence and manuscripts. The correspondence, arranged
in chronological order, is mainly addressed to Charles G. Finney
or his wives, although Elizabeth and Lydia are also correspondents.
Female writers discussed revival activities, child rearing, antimasonry,
and the state of their own spiritual lives, and they engaged Finney
in religious debates. Included among the familys correspondents
are Catherine Beecher (1800-1878); Mr. and Mrs. Edwin damson; Alice
and James Barlow; and Theodore Weld (1803-1895). In addition to
the correspondence, the personal papers contain manuscripts of Finneys
memoirs and articles, as well as the outlines of numerous sermons.
Finneys family and business papers (1833-1875) consist of
receipts (1840-1875), an expense account book (1844-1847); deeds
of land, copyright agreements, and a record of money owed (1833-1871);
and marriage licenses, Lorain County (1839-1875).
| Papers of James Harris Fairchild,
1835-1903, 12 ft. 3 in.
James Harris Fairchild (1817-1902) received the A.B. degree in
1838 and the B.D. degree in 1841 from Oberlin College. In 1841 he
married Mary Fletcher Kellogg (1819-1890), one of the first four
women to enter the College Course at Oberlin College. They lived
in Oberlin where Fairchild was a College professor from 1842 to
1858. During Charles Finneys tenure as president (1851-1866),
Fairchild assumed most of the administrative duties of the presidency.
Upon Finneys resignation in 1866 Fairchild was elected the
third president of Oberlin College, serving until 1889. After his
retirement, Fairchild remained involved with the College. He was
acting president and a member of the board of trustees.
Throughout his career, Fairchild was a national leader in the
coeducation movement, and he directly influenced a number of colleges
and universities in their decision to become coeducational Although
an abolitionist, Fairchild was very much opposed to womens
suffrage. He was one of Oberlins earliest historians, writing
Oberlin: The Colony and College in 1883. Other publications
in the files include pamphlets titled Coeducation of the Sexes
(1868) and Womens Right to the Ballots (1870),
along with two lectures, Womans Rights and Duties
(1849) and Joint Education of the Sexes (1852).
Scope and Content
The collection includes annual reports, writings, trip diaries
(1870-71, 1884), and correspondence (1852-1903 and undated). The
calendared correspondence (mostly incoming) is arranged chronologically.
Correspondents frequently focused on issues of coeducation including
the physical condition of college women, the status of women in
a coeducational school, the interaction between the sexes, the necessity
of special courses or cultural events for women, the effect of coeducation
on students scholarship, the composition of literary societies
(single sex or combined), and the rules governing students. Fairchilds
opinion on coeducation was sought by many institutions of higher
education. Editors of publications, including The Advance,
requested Fairchild to write articles on coeducation and suffrage.
His correspondents included Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) and Lucy
Stone (1818-1893). The most extensive correspondence (1838-1841),
however, is between Mary Kellogg and James Fairchild. (Typescript
is available.) Subjects covered are social life at Oberlin, Mary
Hosford, and Charles G. Finney. Among Fairchilds manuscripts
are Oberlin College and Colony, College Governance,
Relations of the Pastor to the Women of his Church and Congregation,
The Disturbing Forces of Home Life, and Our College
| Papers of Henry Churchill King,
1897-1934, 58 ft. 2 in.
Henry Churchill King (1858-1934) received his undergraduate education
at Oberlin College (A.B. 1879, B.D. 1882). Except for the time he
studied at Harvard University (A.M. 1883) and in Berlin (1893-94),
King taught mathematics, philosophy, or theology at Oberlin from
1879 until 1902. King was a nationally known educator when he was
appointed president of Oberlin College in 1902; he held that position
until 1927. While president, Kings idealistic moral philosophy
contributed to his role as an international academic statesman.
His most notable contribution came at the end of World War 1, when
he served on the Inter-Allied or King-Crane Commission in Europe
and the Near East (1919). This commission studied the question of
what to do with the people of Syria and Turkey and the lands of
the former Ottoman Empire, and it made recommendations to the Peace
Conference. One of the many organizations chaired by King was the
American Missionary Association. In recognition of his career as
an educator, theologian, and administrator; King received nine honorary
Scope and Content
The collection is arranged in four categories: calendared correspondence
(1897-1927); topical (1903-1934), filed alphabetically by name of
organization or subject; uncalendared correspondence (1902-1927);
and transcripts, notes, and manuscripts of Kings travels,
lectures, class notes, and writings. The correspondence covers various
topics: sororities, temperance, tobacco, womens suffrage,
student living conditions, and Oberlins participation in the
war effort. Among those who corresponded with King were Katharine
Wright Haskell (1874-1929), Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954), Kathryn
Newell Adams (1876- 1966), and Frances T. Densmore (1867-1957).
Although there are letters from such notable educators as Jane Addams(1860-1935),
Ellen Pendleton (1864-1936), Mary Woolley (]863-1947), M.L. Burton
(1874-1925), and Charles Beard (1874-1948), the correspondence mainly
concerns arranging visits and speeches of dignitaries, as well as
conferring honorary degrees. The topical file covers a wide range
of subjects from departmental budget requests (1927-28) to Oberlins
tobacco legislation (1918-1923). Kings manuscripts and notes
relating to women are The College and the Thoughtful Man
(an address King gave at the inauguration of Ellen Pendleton as
president of Wellesley College in 1911); Womanhood (1914);
The Opportunity and Obligations of Friendship (1915);
and Mothers and Sons (1915).
| Papers of Ernest Hatch Wilkins,
1927(1927-46) -1953, 70ft. 4in.
Ernest Hatch Wilkins (1880-1966) was educated at Amherst College
(B.A.1900, M.A.1903) and Harvard University (Ph.D. 1910). While
establishing himself as an authority on the works of Dante and Petrarch,
he became professor of romance languages at the University of Chicago
(1912-1927). He was president of Oberlin College from 1927 to 1946,
one of Oberlins greatest periods of development, and he steered
the College through the Depression and recruited foreign students.
After retiring from Oberlin, Wilkens, the consummate academician,
returned to teaching and writing with an appointment as a visiting
lecturer at Harvard University (1947-1950).
Scope and Content
This collection is arranged in three categories: a general file
(1927-1946) with subseries; a faculty file (1927-1953); and a war
service correspondence (1941-1946). The general file is organized
around the following nine series: 1) alphabetical correspondence;
2) special matters, Oberlin, 1928-1941, and elsewhere, 1928-1945;
3) miscellaneous, 1936-1946; 4) Peace Institute, 1936-1937; 5) Commission
on the Coordination of Efforts for Peace, 1928-1933; 6) appointment
books; 7) talks and writings; 8) old buildings files, 1926- 1943;
9) building files; and Peace Organizations, printed materials 1914-1947.
Included in the 85 boxes of incoming and outgoing correspondence
are letters from and about the following individuals and organizations:
Kathryn Newell Adams (1876-1966), Florence Snell (1861-1949), Mildred
McAfee (b. 1900), the American Association of University Women,
and American Social Hygiene Association. Among the topics covered
are scholarships, questionnaires, organizational reports, coeducation,
and smoking. Institutional papers include memoranda concerning the
building of the womens gymnasium (Hales); the General Facultys
revision of rules for women; confidential reports to Wilkins from
various members of the College community, and curriculum reviews.
The War Service Correspondence contains incoming and outgoing letters
between Wilkins and men and women in the armed services; this correspondence
discusses education, peace, and other world events.
| Papers of William E. Stevenson,
1926 (1946-59) -1960, 48 ft. 3 in.
William E. Stevenson (1900-1985)Olympic gold medalist, lawyer,
public servant, diplomat, and educatorwas the eighth president
of Oberlin College. A Rhodes Scholar, Stevenson received his education
at Princeton University (A.B. 1922) and Oxford University (M.A.
1925), and he received three honorary degrees. From 1925 until World
War II, Stevenson practiced law in New York state. Stevenson and
his wife, Eleanor Bumstead Stevenson (1902-1987), received the U.S.
Armys Bronze Star medal for organizing Red Cross operations
in England and North Africa during World War II. As a result of
her war experiences, Mrs. Stevenson wrote I Knew Your Soldier
Stevensons administration at Oberlin College (1946-1959)
was marked by the return of the Department of Religion in the college,
the enlargement of the faculty of the Graduate School of Theology,
and the establishment of vesper services (which Stevenson led).
The student cooperative dining halls and dormitories, still in existence
today, were started while Stevenson was president. During this period,
Mrs. Stevenson was actively involved in the civil rights movement
and served on the board of the Fund for the Republic. She gave the
first nationally broadcast speech on behalf of Planned Parenthood.
In 1961 Stevenson was appointed ambassador to the Philippines,
a post he held until 1964. During the late Sixties he headed the
Aspen Institute of Humanistic Studies, and Mrs. Stevenson served
on the Music Associates of Aspen Committee.
Scope and Content
The collection is divided into four sections, consisting of a
subject file (boxes 1-69); alphabetical file (boxes 70-92); personal
file (boxes 93-98); and an administrative file (boxes 98-104). Included
in the subject and alphabetical files are letters from and about
Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954), the League of Women Voters (1952-1958),
and the American Association of University Women (1947-1959). Stevensons
papers contain annual reports (1954-1959); records of appointments
(1944-1958); and records of promotions and salaries (1931-1959).
The collection includes compiled lists of assembly speakers, the
titles of speeches (1937-1958), and honorary degree recipients (1928-
1957). The building of womens dormitories and women students opinions
on housing are also documented (1947-1950).
| Papers of Robert K. Carr, 1925
(1960-70) -1977, 27 ft. 1 in.
Robert K. Carr (1908-1979) received his education at Dartmouth
College (A.B. 1929) and Harvard University (A.M. 1930, Ph D. 1935).
While teaching political science at the University of Oklahoma and
Dartmouth College, he became a recognized authority on civil liberties.
Carr was inaugurated as the ninth president of Oberlin College
in 1960. The decade of the Sixties at Oberlin was an era of capital
fund raising, educational experimentation, new construction (15
buildings were added), revision of student rules, and governance
reorganization. New administrative positions created during the
Sixties included the dean of students, provost, director of financial
aid, director of administrative services, personnel officer, and
publications director. Functions of other offices were also redefined,
transferred, or eliminated (e.g., Office of the Secretary, Business
Manager, and the Prudential Committee of the board of trustees).
One of the major changes was the closing of the Oberlin Graduate
School of Theology, which merged with the Divinity School at Vanderbilt
University in 1966. During the Vietnam War years, Carr clashed with
students as he tried to provide an institutional definition
of the proper role and tactics of social protest and dissent in
the academic community. After his resignation in 1970, Carr
was named a board member of the American Council on Education (1970-1975).
Scope and Content
This collection is arranged around three major accessions: a general
file with three sections, 1932 (1960-1970) 1975, each arranged alphabetically;
the personnel file (1960-1970), arranged alphabetically; and the
administrative file (1937-1977), arranged chronologically and alphabetically.
Reports and lists to and from the president include annual reports
(1958-1968); budgets (1960-1967); faculty salary scales (1949-1965);
the Report by the Subcommittee on Dorms and Housing (1968); suggested
recipients of honorary degrees (1959-1964); and a list of faculty
members (1951-52; 1954-1956; 1960-1966; 1968-69). The work of faculty
committees, which led to the changes in womens regulations,
marriage rules, and housing, is well documented. Documentation also
exists on the student demonstrations in the 1960s, which caused
Carr to issue policy statements, design strategies, and correspond
with parents, alumni, and friends of the College. Carrs correspondence
with leaders of various civil rights organizations, including Oberlin
Action for Civil Rights and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, also
| Papers of Robert W. Fuller,
1970-1974, 11 ft. 2 in.
Robert W. Fuller (b. 1936) attended Oberlin (1952-1955) and Princeton
University (M.A. 1959, Ph.D. 1961), and he received an honorary
degree from Oberlin (A.B. 1971). Before assuming the presidency
of Oberlin, Fuller was assistant professor of physics at Columbia
University and Barnard College, a fellow at the Center of Advanced
Studies at Princeton and the Battelle Seattle Research Center, and
dean and faculty member at Trinity College.
Fullers presidency (1970-1974) fostered a greater awareness
of issues affecting blacks and women. This was exemplified by the
formation of various ad hoc committees, such as the Ad Hoc Committee
on the Status of Women and the Education Commission. Greater emphasis
also was placed on theater and dance, resulting in the formation
of a new academic program. During Fullers administration the
curriculum and the governance of the college were evaluated. His
views on these matters ultimately led to his resignation in 1974.
Ann L. Fuller (b. 1936), the wife of President Fuller, was also
involved in the womens movement at Oberlin. She worked to
redefine the role of faculty wives, and she also was active in the
Oberlins Womens Group and the Ad Hoc Committee on the
Status of Women . She was an assistant professor of mathematics
at Oberlin in 1972-73.
Since his resignation from Oberlin College, Fuller has been a
self-employed consultant and a senior researcher at the Worldwatch
Institute. He also has been involved in building television space
bridges between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Scope and Content
This collection consists of general and personal files of Robert
Fuller. Included are preliminary reports, progress reports, and
recommendations from the Education Commission and its subcommittees,
1971, covering student life, female faculty, and equal opportunity.
Contained among the Governance Commission papers are the minutes
(1971-1973) and four progress reports (1972-73). Other series include
personnel actions, 1968-1974; development,1970-1973, and budget,
1971-1973. Also in the collection is a 1972 paper (typescript) titled
Liberating the Administrators Wife, given to the
American Council on Education by Ann L. Fuller.