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Guide to the Architectural Records in the Oberlin College Archives

Roland M. Baumann, Jessica G. Broadwell, and Michael Morgenstern, Compilers
Roland M. Baumann, General Editor

Gertrude F. Jacob Archival Publications Fund
Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio 1996




Architecture of the Oberlin College Campus


Records of College General (Group 0)

[1] Annual Reports, 1834-1994
[2] Oberlin Alumni Bulletin , Oberlin Alumni Magazine, and Oberlin Today
[3] Oberlin College Observer, September, 1979-May, 1995
[4] Buildings and Dedications, 1834-1993

Records of the Board of Trustees (Group 1)

[5] Records of the Board of Trustees

Records of the Presidents (Group 2)

[6] Charles G. Finney (2/2)
[7] James H. Fairchild (2/3)
[8] Henry Churchill King (2/6)
[9] Ernest H. Wilkins (2/7)
[10] William E. Stevenson (2/8)
[11] Robert K. Carr (2/9)
[12] Robert W. Fuller (2/10)
[13] Emil C. Danenberg (2/11)
[14] S. Frederick Starr (2/12)

Records of the Presidential Assistants (Group 3)

[15] William F. Bohn (3/1)
[16] (Charles) Whiting Williams (3/2)
[17] Harold S. Wood (3/3)
[18] Thomas Edward Harris (3/4)
[19] Bayley F. Mason (3/5)

Records of the Office of the Provost (Group 4)

[20] Records of the Office of the Provost

Records of the Office of the Secretary (Group 5)

[21] Records of the Office of the Secretary

Records of the Office of Business and Finance (Group 6)

[22] Records of the Office of Business and Finance

Records of the Office of the Treasurer (Group 7)

[23] Records of the Office of the Treasurer

Records of the Office of the Controller (Group 8)

[24] Bursar's Office Additions

Records of the College of Arts and Sciences (Group 9)

[25] Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (9)
[26] Allen Memorial Art Museum (9/3)
[27] Department of Physical Education (9/6)

Records of the Conservatory of Music (Group 10)

[28] Records of the Conservatory of Music

Records of the Graduate School of Theology (Group 11)

[29] Records of the Graduate School of Theology

Records of the Dean of Students (Group 12)

[30] Records of the Dean of Students

Records of the Vice-President for Operations (Group 14)

[31] Architectural Review Committee
[32] John Frederick Oberlin Monument, 1991-1995
[33] Microfilm Index of Documents: Buildings and Other Construction Projects of Oberlin College
[34] Facilities Planning and Construction Office Files, Special Note

Records of the Oberlin Shansi Memorial Association (Group 15)

[35] Records of the Oberlin Shansi Memorial Association

Records of the Oberlin College Library (Group 16)

[36] Records of the Oberlin College Library

Records of the Office of Communications (Group 18)

[37] Records of the Office of Communications

Records of Student Life (Group 19)

[38] The Hi-O-Hi
[39] Residences
[40] Scrapbooks and Diaries
[41] Student Papers

Records of the Oberlin File (Group 21)

[42] Records of the Oberlin File

Records of the Oberlin Kindergarten-Primary Training School (Group 24)

[43] Oberlin Kindergarten-Primary Training School

Papers of Other Individuals (Group 30)

[44] Paul B. Arnold (30/254)
[45] Frederick B. Artz (30/175)
[46] Werner Hermann Bromund (30/87)
[47] William Hoskins Brown (30/152)
[48] Lysle K. Butler (30/94)
[49] Jeptha J. Carrell (30/251)
[50] Ernest B. Chamberlain (30/39)
[51] Robert S. Fletcher (30/24)
[52] Karl W. Gehrkens (30/18)
[53] Karl F. Geiser (30/241)
[54] Gerrish Family (30/109)
[55] Cass Gilbert (30/124)
[56] Alfred A. Hahn (30/110)
[57] Charles Martin Hall (30/182)
[58] Frances J. Hosford (30/35)
[59] Ellen H. Johnson (30/243)
[60] Adelia A.F. Johnston (30/19)
[61] Fred H. "Tip" Maddock (30/68)
[62] James C. McCullough (30/53)
[63] Irving W. Metcalf (30/9)
[64] Azariah Smith Root (30/57)
[65] Thomas F. Root (30/253)
[66] Giles W. and Mary Burton Shurtleff (30/32)
[67] A. Clair Siddall (30/145)
[68] Athena Tacha (30/262)
[69] Lloyd W. and Esther B. Taylor (30/97)
[70] Clarence Ward (30/158)
[71] Frank Lloyd Wright (30/146)

Records of the Oberlin Community (Group 31)

[72] First and Second Congregational Church (31/4/1)
[73] Miscellaneous Churches (31/4/2/)
[74] Oberlin Community - Miscellaneous (31/3)
[75] Oberlin City (31/5)
[76] Oberlin Public Schools (31/7)
[77] Oberlin Historical and Improvement Organization (31/9)

Photographs and Negatives (Group 32)

[78] Photographs and Negatives

Postcards (Group 36)

[79] Postcards

Motion Pictures and Tape Recordings (Group 37)

[80] Motion Pictures, Tape Recordings, and Video Recordings

Paintings and Drawings (Group 40)

[81] Paintings and Drawings

Records of the Oberlin College Archives (Group 41)

[82] Records of the Oberlin College Archives

Miscellaneous Architectural Records (Group 53)

[83] Miscellaneous Architectural Records


Just over a century ago, in the 1880s, Oberlin College launched a conscious program to rebuild, expand, and modernize its campus building resources. Thereafter the College tried whenever possible to tap the talent of nationally renowned architects for this purpose. The resulting parade of distinguished structures by distinguished designers has created here an architectural ensemble of remarkable eclecticism. This campus registers every major impulse in the history of American architecture from Richardsonian Romanesque to contemporary Postmodernism.

The paper record reflecting this development--building by building over the past century and more--is a historical resource of striking value. In recent years College Archivist Roland M. Baumann has devoted much energy to gathering the paper record from locations scattered all over the campus and organizing these documents for effective use. And the comprehensive guide which he and his staff have prepared makes their use by scholars a vastly more orderly and informed process than it otherwise might be. Thus important new dimensions of Oberlin College history and of American architectural history are now open for promising investigation. Welcome to the search!

Geoffrey Blodgett
Danforth Professor of History, Oberlin College


The purpose of this subject guide is to assist researchers in accessing, identifying, and locating records (institutional and noninstitutional) in the Oberlin College Archives relating to architecture or the built environment from the 1830s to the present. The focus is on the architecture of Oberlin College and the City of Oberlin, except for a handful of isolated references to other places. The buildings which make up the Oberlin College campus, as well as those which are now gone, constitute a rich artifactual document of institutional growth since the founding of Oberlin in 1833. Oberlin's architectural history is one of eclecticism—a mixture of styles from Greek Revival, H.H. Richardsonian Romanesque, Italian Renaissance, Utilitarian, and Modern. The structural development of the place of Oberlin is well documented in the holdings of the Oberlin College Archives.

The contents of this guide are based upon a painstaking review of hundreds of box listings/inventories developed by staff between 1966 and 1995, as well as on a review of individual documents filed in about four hundred individual groups or collections of records that comprise the Archives' present classification scheme. The Archives contains 54 record groups with eight to ten million pages of documentation.

This subject guide makes no claim to being comprehensive or in having identified every single document relating to the many aspects of architecture and the structural development of the college campus and the town itself. Neither does this volume report on all campus structures or houses built or renovated over time. Yet, this descriptive product containing 83 entries directs users to appropriate archival and manuscript holdings to engage in subject-oriented research. Indirectly, it also reports on the complex relationships that exist among collections or groups of papers holding architectural record content. Most record groups consist of the files of single administrative units, such as the Office of the Provost (RG4), Office of the Treasurer (RG7), and the Construction Office under the Operations Division (RG14). Some records were also brought together on the basis of similar type, medium, or other relationship. Examples of collective groups are Student Life (RG19), Postcards (RG36), and Drawings & Paintings (RG40).

Each numbered entry in this guide includes a collection title in boldface type, with inclusive dates and quantity figures in linear feet (l.f.). The time span and quantity figures are for the entire collection/group and not just for the subject content. Following the collection title is a modest Administrative History or Biographical Note, depending upon whether the entry reports on departmental records of the institution or on the personal papers of an individual or family. In many cases the compilers have provided a "Historical Note" instead of detailed administrative histories or biographical notes because more often than not more detailed versions of these narrative statements can be found in the respective finding guides for each group. Finally, each entry contains a Scope and Content Note, which briefly summarizes the value, extent, and depth of the group or collection being described. Here, too, more detailed descriptive material on the characteristics of the described material is available in the finding guides (Administrative History or Biographical Sketch, Scope & Content Note, and Inventories). A great many of our finding guides are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.oberlin.edu/archive/ for those users with access to the Internet.

Although this guide is ordered by the record group numbers of the classification scheme, the names and subjects found in the index are keyed to the bracketed entry number appearing before each entry title, and not to pages in the guide or to the classification number assigned to the group. For example, in the index, the bold face number [55] associated with commissioned architect Cass Gilbert refers to a main entry on Gilbert and not to the page number. The other fifteen numbers listed, however, refer to references to Cass Gilbert in other individual entries.

The Archivist wishes to acknowledge the many individuals who have helped in one way or another to make this publication possible. First, to project archivists Jessica G. Broadwell and Michael Morgenstern who worked with me at different intervals to compile the more than eighty entries making up this subject guide. Not only did this prove to be a difficult assignment but also the descriptive work had to be done under a rigorous time frame. Acknowledgment is also due to former staff members Valerie Komor, project archivist, and Brian Williams, assistant archivist, who participated in the 1991-92 retrospective conversion project leading to the creation of 110 new finding guides at the College Archives. In anticipation of this subject guide project and for use to accompany a grant application, Brian Williams was asked to produce the initial checklist of architectural record holdings found in the Oberlin College Archives. This subject guide represents a substantial expansion of that document. Thanks are also due to Departmental Secretary Tammy L. Martin for assisting in the administration of the guide project in all matters requested of her; to assistant archivist Mary Margaret Giannini and student assistants Amy Brown and Anita L. Buckmaster, who assisted in the review of select groups of papers and in the preparation of summary information; student assistant Eric Miller compiled a checklist of the architectural blueprints, drawings, and other like media held by the College Archives; to Paul B. Arnold, emeritus professor of art; to Betty Walden, administrative assistant, Operations Division, and Mark Wagner, office manager/accountant, Office of Facilities Planning and Construction, for meeting some special needs; to Danforth Professor of History Geoffrey Blodgett '53, who teaches a course on the "Social History of American Architecture," for the use of his compiled list "Architecture of the Oberlin College Campus," for his valuable support of this project, and for his continuing interest in the development of the Oberlin College Archives; and to Jeffrey Weidman, art librarian, for being willing to respond to our calls for assistance from reference sources held across campus in the Art Library in the Allen Art Building and for his comments on a number of the entries.

Special thanks are due to the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts (Chicago) for its seed or challenge grant of $5,000 in support of a "Document Catalogue of Campus and Town Buildings." The matching provision of this award was met by members of the Oberlin College Class of '29, which sought to remember fellow classmate Gertrude F. Jacob (d. 1989), an archival assistant and volunteer at the College Archives over a 23-year period. These friends, along with many others, were also responsible for the creation in 1987 of the Endowed Gertrude F. Jacob Publications Fund. This Fund was used to underwrite the publication of this subject guide. Finally, it is fitting that this second subject guide of the College Archives be dedicated to William E. Bigglestone, Oberlin College's first archivist between 1966-1986, who appreciated the value of Oberlin's built structures as settings for collegiate and social life.

Roland M. Baumann
Oberlin College Archivist and Adjunct Professor of History
November 15, 1995

Architecture of the Oberlin College Campus
First Church 1844 Richard Bond (Boston)
Allencroft 1861 Architect unknown
Westervelt Hall 1874 Walter Blythe (Cleveland)
Warner Hall 1884 A.B. Jennings (New York)
Johnson House 1885 George H. Smith (Cleveland)
Peters Hall 1886 Weary & Kramer (Akron)
Baldwin Cottage 1887 Weary & Kramer (Akron)
Talcott Hall 1887 Weary & Kramer (Akron)
Shurtleff Cottage 1892 Weary & Kramer (Akron)
Tank Hall 1896 F.A. Coburn (Cleveland)
Severance Laboratory 1900 Howard Van Doren Shaw (Chicago)
Warner Gymnasium 1900 Normand Patton (Chicago)
Old Barrows 1901 Howard Van Doren Shaw (Chicago)
Memorial Arch 1903 J. L. Silsbee (Chicago)
Finney Chapel 1908 Cass Gilbert (New York)
Carnegie Library 1908 Normand Patton (Chicago)
Rice Hall 1910 A. B. Jennings (New York)
Wilder Hall (Men's Bldg.) 1911 J. L. Silsbee (Chicago)
Keep Cottage 1913 Normand Patton (Chicago)
Cox Administration Building 1915 Cass Gilbert (New York)
Allen Memorial Art Building 1917 Cass Gilbert (New York)
President's House 1920 Clarence Ward (Oberlin)
Stadium 1925 Osborn Eng. Co. (Cleveland)
Crane Pool 1931 Walker & Weeks (Cleveland)
Bosworth Hall & Quadrangle 1931 Cass Gilbert (New York)
Noah Hall 1932 C. W. Frank (Akron)
AMAM Addition 1937 Clarence Ward (Oberlin)
Hales Gymnasium 1939 Richard Kimball (New York)
Wright Physics Laboratory 1942 E. J. Schulte (Cincinnati)
Burton Hall 1946 Mellenbrook, Foley & Scott (Berea)
Jones Field House 1948 Eldredge Snyder (New York)
Service Building 1949 Eldredge Snyder (New York)
Harkness 1950 Eldredge Snyder (New York)
Fairchild 1950 Eldredge Snyder (New York)
Hall Auditorium 1953 Wallace Harrison (New York)
Oberlin Inn 1954 Eldredge Snyder (New York)
Barrows 1956 Potter, Tyler, Martin & Roth (Cincinnati)
Dascomb 1956 Potter, Tyler, Martin & Roth (Cincinnati)
Kettering Hall of Science 1961 Austin Company (Cleveland)
Langston Hall 1963 Austin Company (Cleveland)
Williams Ice Rink 1963 Austin Company (Cleveland)
Conservatory of Music 1964 Minoru Yamasaki (Detroit)
King Building 1964 Minoru Yamasaki (Detroit)
South Hall 1964 Potter, Tyler, Martin & Roth (Cincinnati)
East Hall 1964 Potter, Tyler, Martin & Roth (Cincinnati)
Zechiel 1968 Moore & Hutchins (New York)
Barnard 1968 Moore & Hutchins (New York)
Program Dorm Complex 1968 Moore & Hutchins (New York)
Oberlin Inn Addition 1969 Joseph Ceruti (Cleveland)
Philips Gymnasium 1971 Hugh Stubbins & Associates (Boston)
Mudd Learning Center 1974 Warner, Burns, Toan & Lundy (N. Y.)
Art Museum addition 1976 Robert Venturi (Philadelphia)
Tappan Square Bandstand 1987 Julian Smith (Ottawa, Ontario)
Langston Hall addition 1987 Dagit and Saylor (Philadelphia)
Con Library addition 1988 Gunnar Birkerts (Birmingham, Michigan)
Stevenson Hall 1989 Charles Gwathmey (New York)
Sperry Neuroscience Building 1990 Reed Axelrod (Philadelphia)
Heisman Field House 1992 Spillman Farmer (Bethlehem, PA)
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