At the request of the Ohio blanch of the Womans Board of Missions
of the Interior (WBMI), the Oberlin Missionary Home Association
(OMHA) was founded in 1890. OMHA s purpose was to meet the urgent
demand for a home for the children of missionaries of the American
Board, while separated from their parents during their school years.
Oberlin Colleges educational facilities and the fact that large
numbers of Oberlin graduates were missionaries made the town an
attractive location for the home. In fact, many missionaries children
were already in Oberlin.
A 16-member beard consisting of both men and women was established
to oversee the OMHA. This group included the pastors of Oberlins
two Congregational churches (until 1920), nine residents of Oberlin
and the vicinity, and five people appointed by the Congregational
Conference of Ohio. Over the years such women as Sarah Cowles Little
(1838-1912, A.B. 1859) and Mrs. W.V. Metcalf (1857-1932) served
on the board. With donated money, including the gifts of Mrs. C.
L. A. Tank (1803-1891), the organization purchased lands and two
houses. The OMHAs main building was Tank Home, built and opened
in 1897. After 1900, this building served as a home for the orphans
of missionaries killed in the Boxer Rebellion. After 1922 OMHA leased
the building to Oberlin College. By then educational facilities
in foreign countries had improved and the need to place children
had decreased. However OMHA continued to use another building on
the property, the Dickinson House, to house children until 1949.
At that time OMHA turned over its assets to Oberlin College, and
the College in turn agreed to grant scholarships to children of
missionaries and to rent the two smaller cottages to returned missionaries
or to other designated persons.
Scope and Content
The majority of the records relate to the Ohio branch of the WBMI
and the OMEGA. The financial records of the WMBI include the treasurers
ledger, 1904-1918, and treasurers reports for 1898 and 1899. Mimeograph
copies of five letters, 1959-60, from two female missionariesRuth
Schevenuis of the Nyadiri Mission in Southern Rhodesia, Africa,
and Miriam E. Rogers (1883-1968) of the Marathi Missionare also
available. OMHA records include a list of donors 1890-1916, and
missionaries appointment forms, 1890-1910 (2 folders). These appointment
forms generally list the missionarys name, date of birth, educational
background, present residence and occupation, and date of appointment,
as well as the location of missionary work and the name of the board
that appointed the missionary. Among the printed documents are materials
covering the OMHA, 1894-1922, and the annual meeting of the American
Missionary Association, c. 1902-1906.