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Records of the Oberlin Community (Group 31)
[116] Records of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), 1914-1982,1 ft. 3 in.

Historical Note

The Association of Collegiate Alumnae (ACA), the precursor to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), was founded in 1878. Three Oberlin alumnae were among its charter members . The Oberlin chapter was not formed until 1914, however. In 1921 the ACA changed its name to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and in 1950 the group’s bylaws were changed so that members would be accepted regardless of race. The Oberlin ACA AAUW sponsored community programs of an educational and cultural nature. held study groups on topics ranging from the preschool child to international relations, and supported the Cleveland Bureau of Occupations for Trained Women for a number of years. Four Oberlin members—Florence Fitch (1875-1959, A.B. 1897), Mary E. Sinclair (1878-1955. A.B. 1900), Hope Hibbard (1893-1988), and Susan P. Nichols (1873-1942)—received AAUW fellowships for international study. A small group remained active in the 1980s.

Scope and Content

The group, organized around eight records series, consists of minutes of regular meetings and board meetings, 1914-1978; histories of the Oberlin chapter, 1917, 1928, 1933, 1964, and n.d.; constitutions of the organization, 1914, 1929, 1951, 1981, and n.d.; annual reports and treasurer’s reports, 1942-1982; correspondence, 1915-1982; newsletters, 1916-1982; years programs, 1945-1982; and miscellaneous printed matter. Topics covered include national and state conventions, AAUW fellowships, the yearly tea for Oberlin College senior women, the moving-picture improvement campaign, vocational training, a night school in Oberlin. employment bureaus, moral conditions in Oberlin, town improvement and beautification. issues surrounding World Wars I and II, Red Cross work, and a variety of other issues of local. national, and organizational concern.

[117] Records of the Finitimi Society, 1902-1924, 2 ft. 5 in.

Historical Note

The purpose of this Oberlin women’s literary and social club, limited to 20 members, was “the study of Parliamentary Law, or other subjects of interest, and to interest ourselves in the Questions of the day.” Active members included Emma Mason, Martha H. Sperry, EmmaA Haylor, and Emily H. Lyman. Many were also members of the Order of the Eastern Star.

Scope and Content

Records consist of bylaws (n.d.), five volumes of minutes (1902-1923), memorial notes on deceased members, and a few letters from members (c. 1920s).

[118] Records of the First and Second Congregational Churches, 1836-1988, 32 ft.

Historical Note

The First Church in Oberlin, a Congregational church (now United Church of Christ),was the first church founded in Oberlin. The congregation organized in 1834, and under the pastorship and leadership of Charles Grandison Finney, who arrived during the summer of 1835, the members built their first church building in 1842. (It is still in use today.) By 1860 the membership had become so large that Second Church was formed to handle the overflow. The two churches reunited in 1920 as the United Church (Congregational) of Oberlin. In 1929, the name First Church was restored. Over the years First Church was involved in national religious organizations as well as in missions abroad. At the local level, the congregation consistently emphasized such issues as civil rights for blacks and other minorities, peace activities, and women’s rights in the 20th century.

Scope and Content

The records of the First and Second Congregational churches of Oberlin are organized in two subgroups containing 17 and 12 records series, respectively, and date from 1834 to 1989. The records primary for First Church include the minutes, 1834-1914, of the Oberlin Society (the original governing body of the colony and church); the minutes of the board of trustees, 1913-1979 (includes minutes of annual congregation meetings and special meetings); the annual reports, c. 1908-1979 (some gaps exist); general correspondence, 1836-1972; financial records, 1839, 1853-1855, and 1858-1883; membership records, 1834-1947; and the records of’ a number of women’s voluntary and social organizations, 1875-1973. Similar records exist for the Second Congregational Church, but they are more uneven for the years covering 1860 to 1920.

Topics covered include church doctrine, Christian education, church government (trials), fund raising, missions, and volunteerism. The church trials Maria Penfield v. E.J. Penfield, 1852; Brokaw v. Bardwell, 1853-54; Charles Conklin, 1864; and Eliza Livingston v. Jasper Livingston, 1848-1857—concern domestic violence and abuse, divorce, and slander of a woman’s reputation. Second Church membership applications, 1870-1899, half of which are by women and girls, provide personal religious history and some vital statistics. Minutes, programs, and membership lists are included in the collection as are announcements of the following religious, benevolent, and missionary organizations: Second Church Ladies’ Women’s Society, 1867-1920; First Church Women’s Association, 1921-1958; First Church Ladies Home Missionary Society, 1875-1880; First Church Ladies Freed Women’s Aid Society (name changed to Ladies’ Aid Society, 1882), 1878-1903; Women’s League of First Church, 1908-1919; Woman’s Home Missionary Society of First Church, 1919-1929; Foreign Mission Department of the Women’s Association of First Church, 1921-1931; Oberlin Missionary Home Association, 1890-1934; and Second Church Women’s Bible Classes, 1915-1936.

[119] Records of the Junior Forum, 1936-1940, ¼ in.

Historical Note

The Junior Forum was a club organized in 1935 for women aged 18 to 35 for the purpose of “general culture, mutual helpfulness and the promotion of the welfare of the community.” For the first year the club was named the Junior League, after which it was renamed the Junior Forum. It began as an auxiliary to the Oberlin Woman’s flub, but that connection later became more tenuous as older Junior Forum women formed their own senior club instead of joining the Oberlin Woman’s Club. Topics of discussion included foreign cultures, entertaining, home economics, travel, and history.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of a constitution of the organization and programs listing the officers and meetings for the years 1936-1940.

[120] Records of the League of Women Voters of Oberlin, 1924 1974, 2 ft.

Historical Note

The League of Women Voters was organized as the successor to the National American Woman Suffrage Association when women won the right to vote in 1920. As a national nonpartisan organization, it promotes political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government. Though nonpartisan, the organization selects national, state, and local issues to study each year, and it takes a stand if there is a consensus among members. The Oberlin chapter was very active from the early 1920s through the mid1970s, when it folded due to lack of new membership.

Scope and Content

Records include minutes of general meetings and board meetings, 1924-1950; an annual report, 1945-46; bulletins, 1944-1960, 1969-1972; correspondence, 1955-1959; printed matter, 1956-1970; newspaper clippings, 1941, 1952, and l947-1965; and three scrapbooks, 19491961. Folders of information from various committees cover the following topics: “Citizens View of 1952,” a program sponsored by NBC Radio; “Life Magazine”; the League of Women Voters, 1952-53; finance drives, 1953-1972; fluoridation, 1951-1954; the Freedom Agenda(attacked by House Un-American Activities Committee), 1955; housing/zoning/planning c. 1959; Oberlin ordinances, 1957; “Know Your Town,” c. 1947-1952; libraries, c. 1938-1947 Lorain County, 1937-1955; membership, 1949-1958; solid waste, 1971-72; taxes, c. 19571974; and water pollution, 1968-1970.

[121] Records of the Literary and Social Club, 1933-1983, 2 ½ in.

Historical Note

The Literary and Social Club, a women’s club of the town of Oberlin, was organized in 1911 and remains active. It meets monthly.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of printed programs listing officers, members, and meeting times, and subjects for the years 1933 to 1983. Programs for four years are missing. Themes for several years were on women—in history, around the world, in the professions, wives of presidents, etc.

[122] Records of the Maternal Association of Oberlin, 18351866,1 ½ in.

Historical Note

The Oberlin Maternal Association was formed in 1834 with the purpose of having women help each other carry out their duty as parents “to train up their children for God.” Meetings were spent in reading, conversation, and prayer to that end. Esther Raymond Shipherd (1797-1879), wife of one of the Oberlin founders, was the first superintendent of the association. Other prominent members included Elizabeth Capen Stewart (1806-1894), Alice Welch Cowles (1804-1843), Lucretia Fletcher (d. 1860), Minerva Dayton Penfield (later Cowles, 1800-1880), Elizabeth Atkinson Finney (1801-1863), Lydia Andrews Finney (1804-1847), Mary Dix Mahan (d. 1863), and Marianne Parker Dascomb (1810-1879). Many association members were also members of the Women’s Board of Managers, and all were married to founders or early presidents, trustees, and professors of Oberlin College.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of three volumes of minutes of meetings, 1835-1866, and both printed and written copies of the constitution of the association. The minutes give detailed accounts of the discussions on such topics as “Oberlin Perfectionism,” conversion, and child rearing. Some of the conversation may be considered Christian witness, while other parts of it are a sharing of experience and ideas. Names of members and their children and a few newspaper clippings are also included.

[123] Records of the Mutual Improvement Club, 1913-14, ¼ in.

Historical Note

The Mutual Improvement Club was a community-based club for black women organized in 1913. At meetings, members discussed topics such as home economics and improvement, sanitation, education of children, bettering social conditions, and improvement of the race. The officers for both years recorded here were Gertrude Anderson, Kitty Berry, Frankie Robinson (1866-1936) of the Class of 1891, and Annie Heavener (Cowan), a Conservatory student from 1910 to 1914.

Scope and Content

Two yearly programs, 1913 and 1914, list officers, members, and meeting places, and topics.

[124] Records of the Newcomers Club, 1962-1975, 2 in.

Historical Note

The Oberlin College Newcomers Club was organized to welcome new members of the College community, especially women, and to help them get acquainted with the College, the town, and one other. All new members of the faculty and administrative staff; as well as their spouses, were automatically made members for their first three years in Oberlin. The group organized social events and informal special-interest groups. When the group disbanded, some of its activities were continued by the Welcome Wagon.

Scope and Content

Records include minutes, 1962-1972; membership lists, 1968, 1974; and pamphlets and letters describing activities offered, 1967-1975.

[125] Records of the Nineteenth Century Club, 1924-1961,1 ½ in.

Historical Note

Organized in 1900, the Nineteenth Century Club was a community-based literary and social club for women that was devoted to the study and promotion of social and philanthropic interests. Topics discussed during meetings included United States history and historic sights, women in various fields, literature and drama, current topics, and international affairs. Longtime active members included Emma Behr (who studied in the Conservatory) from 1885 to 1889), Mrs. Walter Persons, Jeanette McCoy, Mrs. John P. Wook (A.B. 1910). Mrs. Lester Trufant, and Mrs. Charles Shremer.

Scope and Content

Yearly programs from 1924 to 1961 contain the programs for meetings, the constitution and lists of members and of officers.

[126] Records of the Non-Partisan Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, Oberlin, Ohio, 1897-1924, 2 ½ in.

Historical Note

The Non-Partisan Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was organized on March 13,1888, by women who believed that neither their influence nor their dues and contributions should be used to sustain partisan organizations. The Oberlin WCTU was an auxiliary to the state and national organizations, which had previously endorsed a third party (prohibition) and woman’s suffrage. Because these women believed that partisanship narrowed the influence of the WCTU and retarded its temperance work, they began this second organization. The activities of the nonpartisan group, lasting until August 1924, were similar to those of the WCTU. Active members included Mrs. Olds, Mrs. Phinney (the state president), Mary Burton Shurtleff, Fannie J. Bedortha, and Mrs. S.M. Cole.

Scope and Content

The records consist of two secretary’s books, 1897-1924, which are mainly minutes of meetings, plus a few newspaper clippings. Financial records include a treasurer’s book, 1901-1924, and a few receipts.

[127] Records of the Oberlin Board of Education, 1860-1973, 3 ft. 6 in.

Administrative History

The Oberlin Board of Education was formed in 1860 by five of Oberlin’s leading citizens. Elections were held every three years. In 1895, a year after Ohio passed a law giving women the right to vote in education matters, Alice E. Mead Swing (1859-1944, A.B., 1879) was elected for a three-year term. Voting for a woman board member was the chief interest in this election. Other women who served between 1945 and 1970 included Frances Chamberlain, Mabel Fridenstine (b. 1904), Evangeline Kofsky, Helen (Judy) Steiner, and Jeanne Stephens (b. 1911). The Board of Education still consists of five members elected by the district.

Scope and Content

The records of the Oberlin Board of Education document the needs and issues faced by the town school board in the 19th and 20th centuries. The minutes of the board, which span the years 1860 to 1973, document salaries, student discipline, facilities, and appointments, and include lists of students who received diplomas. Financial ledgers exist for the years 1865 and 1890. The minutes of the Russia Township Commissioners and the financial records of Russia Township are also included. The age and sex of each student is documented in the Oberlin High Student records (2 vols.), 1898-1914.

[128] Records of the Oberlin Female Moral Reform Society, 1835-1857, ½ in.

Historical Note

The Oberlin Female Moral Reform Society was formed in 1835 as an auxiliary to the New York Female Moral Reform Society, whose first directress had been Lydia Andrews Finney (1804-1847) before her move to Oberlin. The society’s purpose was to battle “the sin of licentiousness, in all its forms and with all its horrors,…sustain moral purity among the virtuous,…and reclaim all those who have wandered from the path of virtue.” Members of the society concentrated especially on setting an example of modest dress and behavior for the Oberlin community. The first officers were Alice Welch Cowles (1804-1843), Elizabeth M. Leonard (d. 1873), and Esther Raymond Shipherd (1797-1879). Other members included Minerva Dayton Penfield (Cowles 1800-1880), Marianne Parker Dascomb (1810-1879), Lydia Andrews Finney, Mary Rudd Allen (d. 1892, A.B. 1841), Sarah Blachly Bradley (d. 1893, A.B. 1845), Mary Dix Mahan (d. 1863), Elizabeth Atkinson Finney (1801-1863), Lucy Stone (1818-1893, A.B. 1847), and Ruth H. Pease (1802-1859). By 1840, society membership totaled 380.

Scope and Content

The single volume of detailed minutes of the meetings provides a record of the discussions held and opinions expressed by members. Resolutions passed comprise a substantial part of the minutes. A constitution and annual reports also are included in the notebook.

[129] Records of the Oberlin Historical and Improvement Organization, 1959 (1964-87)-1990, 5 ft. 5 in.

Historical Note

The Oberlin Historical and Improvement Organization (OHIO) was formed in 1964 when the Oberlin Village Improvement Society and the Oberlin Historical Society merged.

The Oberlin Village Improvement Society was founded in 1903 by Adelia A. Field Johnston (1837-1910) with support from Oberlin trustee Charles M. Hall. The object of this organization was “to improve the sanitary conditions, to promote neatness and order, and to do whatever may intend to improve the town and beautify it as a place of residence.” In a plan to improve the city as a place “worthy of the college,” the society’s first effort was to clean Plum Creek and its banks throughout the village. Property was bought with the intention of creating an Oberlin park system following Plum Creek from the Arboretum to the outskirts of town. Houses on the organization’s property were used as community centers by such town organizations as the Oberlin Kindergarten Primary-Training School, the sewing school, and other youth clubs. In 1915 the society, chaired by Helen White Martin, merged with three other societies to form the Oberlin Federation for Village Improvement and Social Betterment. The group continued to offer lectures and various other programs, and it dealt with creating parks and crusading on dandelion infestations.

The successful drive to preserve two of Oberlin’s historical landmarks—the Little Red Schoolhouse and the James Monroe House—from demolition during the late 1950s led to the formation of the Oberlin Historical Society, OHIO’s second predecessor organization, in 1960. Clifford Barden (1890-1961), a public-spirited citizen, led the effort to save these two structures from demolition.

OHIO’s incorporation statement advocated “procuring, maintaining and operating the historically significant sites, structures, artifacts, records, and reproductions, along with promoting the community center’s charitable and literary activities…” An 18-member board of trustees manages OHIO. Since its founding, OHIO has acquired two additional historical properties and has promoted local historical interests in a variety of ways. Sites presently being administered include the Jewett House, the Burrell-King House, the Little Red Schoolhouse, and the James Monroe House. In 1988 OHIO endowed the Frederick B. Artz Summer Travel Grants Program at the Oberlin College Archives, and it has given financial backing to a number of public programs dealing with local history. OHIO issued its first publication—The Churchills of Oberlin, a biographical study of an Oberlin family by Ernest Barrett Chamberlain—in 1965. This was followed in 1968 by The Music of Oberlin and Some Who Made It, by E.B. Chamberlain.

Scope and Content

This record group, consisting of three subgroups, 20 record series, and some 30 subseries, documents the activities and efforts of Oberlin citizens to improve the town and to preserve its history. Important series included under subgroup I, Oberlin Village Improvement Society, 1903-1964, are constitution and bylaws, 1911, 1915, 1928, 1942-43; minutes, 1915, 1932-1938, 1954-1964; correspondence, 1909-1941, 1945-56; and records of the Oberlin Park board, 1911-1914, 1939-42; office of the Treasurer, 1923, 1929-1964. These files document the Adelia A. Field Johnston’s role and the society’s early plans for town improvement. Included in subgroup II, Oberlin Historical Society, 1935-1960-19631 1963, are Constitution and bylaws, n.d.; minutes, 1960-61; correspondence, 1960-1963; and files documenting historical properties (the Little Red Schoolhouse and James Monroe House). The correspondence, mostly that of Mary Rudd Cochran (1881-1982) and Donald M. Love (1894-1974), contains reminiscences about Cochran’s great-aunt Julia F. Monroe (1837-1930) and other relatives.

By far the richest segment of records exist for subgroup III, Oberlin Historical and Improvement Organization, 1964-1989. Documentation exists on the 1964 merger with the local historical group and the improvement society, on the administrative activities of the board of trustees and officers (president, secretary, and treasurer), and on special projects. Listed under this main record series are the following subseries: constitution and bylaws, 1964, 1965, 1968, and 1979; minutes of regular and special meetings, 1964-1989; registration of the corporation, c. 1964-1987; reports, 1966-1987, and correspondence, 1964-1984, of the presidents; secretarial files of Donald M. Love, Nancy Close (b. 1920), and Philip Tear (b. 1921), which are primarily chronological files, 1965-1989; and treasurers’ annual reports, 1964-1985, correspondence, 1964-1987, and voluminous building and property records, 1969-1987. In the record series titled Special Projects, 1960-1988, are the following folder titles: Charles Martin Hall Memorial Center, 1960-1969; citypark, 1967-1986; grant projects, 1966, 1988; publications, 1961, 1965-1970, 1975-1981; and Oberlin Area United Appeal, Inc., 1962, 1973, 1983.

[130] Records of the Oberlin Industrial School, 1885-1914, 5 in.

Historical Note

The Oberlin Industrial School was organized in 1885 by Julia Finney Monroe (1837-1930) with the united effort of women from the various Oberlin churches. Its purpose was to teach young girls to sew and knit when their mothers were unable to do so. Classes were held for girls aged 6 to 16 in various local churches on Saturday afternoons from October to May. The girls were taught to make plain garments for themselves from materials furnished by the school and were given religious lessons at the same time. Over the course of 30 years, the school taught more than 900 students. Volunteers from each of the churches served as teachers. The school closed in 1914 when the public schools began to teach sewing.

Scope and Content

The records include annual reports, 1885-1913, written by Julia Monroe, Mary Monroe (1854-1917), and Kate Fowler (1860-1933), successive directors of the school; teachers’ class reports, 1887 and n.d.; financial records, 1885-1914; letters from industrial schools in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, 1885 and n.d.; names of teachers and students; lesson plans for teachers; religious lessons, n.d.; notes on advice to the girls and their mothers, n.d.; samples of work tone; and a book of prayers (one volume) composed by teachers for use in the school.

[131] Records of the Oberlin Junior League, 1935-36, Single item

Historical Note

The Oberlin Junior League was a social and civic club for women organized in 1935 as a junior auxiliary to the Oberlin Woman’s Club. The name was changed to Junior Forum to avoid confusion with the national Junior League organization, with which it was not affiliated.

Scope and Content

There is one program for the year 1935-36 listing officers and club meetings.

[132] Records of the Oberlin Junior Women’s Club, 1954-1963, 1 ½ in.

Historical Note

The Oberlin Junior Women’s Club was a philanthropic and social club organized in 1954. It remained active until the mid-1980s when the lack of new members proved too great a strain on the club. Maretta (Peg) Van Ausdale was president during the period covered by the bulk of the collection.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of programs for events, 1961-1963; constitution and rules, 1954: magazines from the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1961-62; newspaper clippings; and the Directory of the Ohio Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1960-1962.

[133] Records of the Oberlin Mutual Benefit Association, 1893 1921, 2 ½ in.

Historical Note

The Oberlin Mutual Benefit Association was begun informally in 1893 by a group of women who assisted an elderly woman with sewing. The association was chartered in 1895 with the purposes of obtaining educational benefits for its female members and patrons, providing reading rooms and reading materials, developing opportunities for literary culture and social improvement, promoting benevolence, and furnishing employment to its members and patrons. Once the group was chartered, it purchased the Centennial Building in Oberlin and set up a settlement house there. Among the activities held and services provided there were religious meetings and classes, a kindergarten, a work exchange, a sewing school, a temperance society (associated with the Non-Partisan WCTU), sick rooms and health care for the homeless, a reading room, lectures, and other community services. Charter members who remained active as leaders in the organization were Laura White, Mary Kenney, Nancy Squire, and Ellen Dorsett. The association disbanded in 1921 and gave its assets to the Oberlin Kindergarten Training School.

Scope and Content

The records, which detail the activities of the association consist of a handwritten copy of the charter, 1895; annual reports, 1896-1908; minutes of board meetings, 1903-1908; and minutes of association annual meetings and special meetings of the trustees, 1910-1921.

[134] Records of Oberlin Sorosis, 1898-1915, ¼ in.

Historical Note

Oberlin Sorosis, a community-based social and literary club for women, was organized in 1897 and is still active. It was federated locally (Lakeside) in 1897 and statewide in 1898. Topics discussed at weekly meetings include history, foreign cultures, literature, art, and home economics. Early leaders included Ellen Fletcher Beck with, Alice C. Bunce (founder and first president), Sara Cox Kenaston, and Minnie Wales Spear.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of yearly programs, 1898-1915, listing club programs and members.

[135] Records of the Oberlin Temperance League/Alliance and Ladies League, 1870-1917, 3 in.

Historical Note

Although many Oberlin townspeople were involved in statewide temperance activities as early as 1853, it was not until 1870 that the Oberlin Temperance League was formed. Its purpose was “by all lawful measures, to suppress the traffic in, and use of, intoxicating liquors.” Leaders also worked to promote “pure morality” in Oberlin. Infused with a strong sense of public duty and an almost missionary-like zeal, members of the league also sought to rid Oberlin of other vices, such as street smoking and the playing of billiards. On May 1, 1874, the executive committee of the Oberlin Temperance League voted to transfer the league’s funds to the Oberlin Temperance Alliance, which had been organized on March 1, 1874. Being wealthy city leaders, members assessed their own property to raise tax money in support of the cause. On September 5, 1894, some of the members of the Oberlin Temperance Alliance formed a provisional charter for the Anti-Saloon League of Ohio in an effort to form an statewide temperance organization. Although membership in the alliance was restricted to males, the group cooperated with the Ladies Temperance League, which was also formed in 1874; its name was changed to the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) of Oberlin on May 9, 1882, in compliance with state regulations. Initially the Oberlin Temperance Alliance and the Ladies Temperance League held joint meetings, and women served on some of the same committees as the men. For the most part, however, the Ladies Temperance League was involved in such activities as fund raising and getting temperance petitions signed. On one occasion, 1,560 signatures were collected on a single petition. The immediate cause of creation of both organizations (male and female) was to put a stop to the sale of liquor at Oberlin drug stores, which were legally permitted to sell alcohol in small quantities for therapeutic purposes. In 1875 the Oberlin Temperance Alliance and the Ladies Temperance League took public action against the Beer Saloon, an establishment located on the corner of Groveland and South Main streets. Due to public sentiment exerted by both men and women, the owner of the saloon agreed to close down his bar after only two weeks of business. The league also helped defend members who were legally threatened because of their activities. Methods included keeping watch on the activities of suspected individuals or firms. Sympathetic students occasionally were paid to frequent billiard halls or other “questionable” places to do this. Active members of the Oberlin Temperance Alliance included Oberlin College President James Harris Fairchild, Giles Waldo Shurtleff; E.J. Goodrich, William Kincaid, the Rev. James F. Brand, Homer Johnson, F. Webster, J.B. Clark, J.R. Jewett, and L. M. Pounds. Women active in the Ladies Temperance League were Marianne Parker Dascomb, L.M. Thompson T.J. Keep, Mary B. Shurtleff, Mary Fairchild, H.V. Churchill, Maria S. Gibbs, Rebecca Finney, and Edna Johnson.

Scope and Content

The records (2 vols.) are mainly those of the executive committee, plus newspaper clippings that report on annual meetings and other activities of the alliance. The clippings are pasted into the volumes in chronological sequence. The first 18 pages of volume one contain records of the Oberlin Temperance League, February 1, 1870, to May 1, 1874. It appears that the league disbanded on the latter date, because all cash on hand was turned over to the newly formed Oberlin Temperance Alliance. Included are a few financial records, 1902-1917? consisting of a bank book and receipts. There is also a copy of the History of the Oberlin Temperance War, 1882 (20 pp.; printed).

[136] Records of the Oberlin Woman’s Club, 1901-1981, 2 ft. 2 ½ in.

Historical Note

The Oberlin Woman’s Club was formed in 1901 “to bring together women interested in literary, artistic, scientific and philanthropic pursuits, with a view of rendering them helpful to each other and useful to society.” The organization, which was dominated by faculty wives, immediately joined state and national federations of women’s clubs. Internal departments were formed to address such interests as art, history, literature, home and garden, music, sociology, and social progress. In addition, committees were formed to focus on civic, school, and community-welfare issues. Papers on civic and intellectual topics were given at general and departmental meetings by both members and nonmembers. A number of organizations and projects were supported financially by the club, including but not limited to the Civic Improvement Society, a cooking school, a Red Cross Woman’s Auxiliary during World War I, a nursery school, medical and dental care f or school children, adult education for women, and services for senior citizens and handicapped people. A major project undertaken by the club was the ownership and operation of a thrift shop, 1930-1978, profits from which were used for philanthropic purposes. Club membership rose from 22 charter members to regularly well over 100. The group disbanded in 1981 due to declining membership. Active members throughout the years included Alice C. Bunce, Jennie Huckins, Mrs. George Hubbard, Mrs. George Dudley, Sara Branigan, and Harriet Long.

Scope and Content

The records contain minutes of general and executive board meetings, 1901-1975, and minutes of meetings of the following departments: history, 1927- 1975; literature, 1919-1975; history and literature, 1975-1979; home and garden, 1955-1961; and social programs, 1955-1967. Also included in the records are annual reports, 1961-1981; newspaper clippings, memoranda and photographs concerning a variety of projects; constitutions, 1901-1979; yearly programs, 1901-1981; financial records, 1926-1981; membership records, 1901-1949; and histories, 1901-1926, 1951, and 1981. Separate folders contain information about the club’s numerous projects. There is minimal correspondence in the collection.

[137] Records of the Order of the Eastern Star, 1918-1977, ½ in.

Historical Note

Pansy Chapter #34, the Oberlin chapter of Order of the Eastern Star, WEDS started in 1894 as the women’s auxiliary to the Masons. In the early years of the organization membership overlapped significantly with that of the Finitimi Society, a women’s literary club.

Scope and Content

Records include a three-page history, 1976; programs for events, 1953-1977; and an OES cookbook, 1918.

[138] Records of the Senior Forum, 1941-1986, 1 ½ in.

Historical Note

The Senior Forum was a social club for women organized in 1941 by the older members of the Junior Forum. Membership in the Junior Forum was limited to women under the age of 35. Topics of discussion in the Senior Forum included civic issues, entertaining, home economics, history, and war issues during World War II.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of programs listing officers and meetings for the years 1941 to 1986.

[139] Records of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, 1882-1976, 1 ft. 3 in.

Historical Note

The Oberlin Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), which began in 1874 as the Ladies’ Temperance League, sought to remove the evils of intemperance from Oberlin and to secure the banishment of intoxicating drinks from our land.” On May 9, 1882, in order to conform with state and national organizations, the name was changed to the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union of Oberlin. Its object, as stated in the new constitution, was “to arouse the women of the vicinity to engage in promoting the cause of temperance in every proper manner.” The WCTU was an significant organization in the affairs of Oberlin, especially in its early years. The group’s early tactics of direct action against saloons and druggists who sold alcohol gave way to more conventional means of persuasion in the 20th century. Early members included Marianne Parker Dascomb (1810-1879), the first president; Mary Burton Shurtleff (1836-1924), the first secretary; Minerva Dayton Penfield Cowles (1800-1880); and Lydia Hale Keep (1781-1865). Members active in later years included Susan Hinman (1867-1952, A.B. 1893, A.M. 1918), Esther Bliss Taylor (1890-1980) and Mrs. C.E. Bickford.

Scope and Content

The records, which document the organization from its creation to its demise, consist of the following records series: minutes of meetings (14 vols.), 1874-1913, 1923-1933, and 1944-1976; treasurer’s books (3 vols.), 1929-1955 and 1961-1976; printed programs; membership lists, 1964-1976; newspaper obituaries and other clippings; correspondence; financial records, 1957-1976; and printed matter of state and national origin, 1907-1975.

[140] Records of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the First and Second Congregational Churches of Oberlin, 1869-1920, 10 in.

Historical Note

The purpose of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society, begun in 1869, was “to engage the prayers and efforts of Christian Women in the work of sending the Gospel to those destitute of it, in foreign lands.” In June 1871 the society became an auxiliary to the Woman’s Board of Missions of the Interior of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. The first president was Rebecca Allen Rayl Finney (1824-1907). Other active members included Mary F. Kellogg Fairchild (1819-1890), Lydia Hale Keep (1781-1865), Mary Dascomb (1842-1917. Lit. 1860), and Marianne Parker Dascomb (1810-1879), all of whom were associated with the Women’s Board of Managers and were married to professors or presidents of Oberlin College.

Scope and Content

The records consist of nine volumes of minutes, 1869-1920; eight volumes of treasurer’s books, 1874-1918; the accession book of the library of the society listing 37 entries; and some printed programs of meetings, 1874-1920. Minutes describe talks by and letters from foreign missionaries, lectures on foreign cultures, and the missionary activities and business of the organization .

[141] Records of the Woman’s Relief Corps, 1885-1944, 1 ft. 3 in.

Historical Note

Henry Lincoln Woman’s Relief Corps No. 92, Department of Ohio, was organized in August 1885 with assistance from the Wellington Woman’s Relief Corps. The Woman’s Relief Corps was a national auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), and the local group was an auxiliary to the GAR’s Henry Lincoln Post. Like the GAR, the Woman’s Relief Corps was organized along military lines and used military terminology. Members of the corps provided aid to veterans, their widows and other members of their families. Boxes of clothing, food, and reading matter were sent to the Soldiers and Sailors Home in Sandusky, Ohio. Aid went to the sick; clothing, food, fuel, and money to the needy; comfort to the afflicted and lonely; and burial expenses to the deceased. Members of the corps themselves also were aided. To fund their relief work, the women raised money and collected goods by hosting socials, concerts, and other events. The last meeting recorded was held November 21, 1944.

Scope and Content

Central to the records are nine journals, 1887-1944, which contain minutes of meetings and annual reports. The journal covering the first two years is missing, and thus documentation explaining the precise purpose and scope of the group is lacking. Most of the other records are financial, including ledgers, 1885-1924 (3 vols.), and cashbooks, 1892-1928 (4 vols.), detailing how monies were received and expended. Included in these files are the names of the many members and persons served. A printed, spiral-bound booklet titled “The American Guidebook,” which was sold to raise funds during World War II, contains a “Roll of Honors section that lists the names of over 700 Oberlinians in military service as of November 9, 1944.

[142] Records of the Women’s Progressive Club, 1912, ¼ in.

Historical Note

The Women’s Progressive Club of Oberlin, organized in 1905, is one of the oldest black women’s clubs still in existence in Oberlin and in the United States. In its early years, this civic and educational club discussed such topics as the education of women, public schools, women’s suffrage, the status of women, juvenile reformatory work, child welfare, day nurseries, degeneracy and poverty, women in the professions, and home economics. Leaders of the club were also leaders in other affairs of the black community, including the founding of the Phyllis Wheatly Community Center in the 1930s. The club’s founders were Mrs. V.C. Champ, Gertrude Anderson, Effie J. Copes, and Cordelia Quinn Fisher (1875-1949). Fisher attended the Oberlin Academy from 1893 to 1896 and graduated from Fisk University Normal Department in 1900.

Scope and Content

One yearly program for 1912, titled “Calendar of the Women’s Progressive Club,” lists officers, members, meeting places, and topics of discussion.

 
 
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