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Records of Student Life (Group 19)
Records of Student Life, 1889-1994, 30 l.f.

Administrative Note

The Student Life records form an artificial record group containing documentation relating to many aspects of campus student life. Included in this group are records of student publications, student organizations and committees, honorary societies, the Mock Convention, the radio station (WOBC), student scrapbooks and diaries, and student papers. The most pertinent information relating to the built environment and student life is located in series titled “Residences” and “Student Papers,” respectively. Pictures of these residences and other campus and town buildings are found as illustrations in the Hi-O-Hi, the Oberlin College yearbook.

[38] The Hi-O-Hi, 1889-1994

Oberlin College yearbooks at the archives date from 1889 to 1994. The earliest editions of the Hi-O-Hi contain drawings of buildings’ interiors and exteriors. Of course, later yearbooks have a smattering of photographs of local architecture, administration and other campus buildings, boarding houses, and dormitories throughout their pages. The 1920 volume, for example, includes 17 consecutive pages of “Campus Scenes.” The 1940 edition has aerial views of Oberlin at both the front and the back. Drawn maps of “Women’s Campus” and “Men’s Campus” appear in the 1952 Hi-O-Hi. Finally, the 1993 yearbook includes a wry, two-page spread “If you could be a building in Oberlin, what would you be?” with photographs and students’ responses.

[39] Records of Residences, 1890-1939

This record group contains documentation on student residences, including information on student life within various college dormitories and private boarding houses from the 1890s to the 1930s. Baldwin Cottage, Dascomb Cottage, Delta Lodge, Keep Cottage, Klinefelter’s boarding house, Lord Cottage, Second Ladies Hall, and Talcott Hall are all represented. Documents include expense ledgers, resident lists, memos on student life and behavior, party invitations and programs, newsletters, and house scrapbooks.

[40] Scrapbooks and Diaries, 1839-1989

Of approximately 100 scrapbooks and diaries in this record group, more than 30 provide a useful supplement to the photograph collection by predating the employment of the first college photographer hired in 1917. The scrapbooks contain programs, photographs, postcards, clippings, and other memorabilia relating to athletic events, the campus, commencement, concerts, and student life. Chronicling the creator’s years as a student, they also provide unique early images of the Oberlin built environment. For example, the Class of 1910 scrapbook holds a photograph of E. College and Main Sts. in 1909, and other images of the cornerstone laying for either Wilder or Rice Hall. Many scrapbooks exist outside this record group—especially with personal papers—where they remain an integral part of those collections.

[41] Student Papers, 1969-1994

Over the years students’ classroom papers, covering a variety of topics in Oberlin architecture, were collected by the College Archives. From 1969 to 1994, students wrote papers on Barrows House, Carnegie Library, the Jewett House (73 S. Professor St.), the Oberlin Arboretum, the Oberlin Post Office, Peters Hall, Second Ladies Hall, Tappan Square, and the Warner Gymnasium. Issues of historic preservation, landscape architecture and campus design, the Co-op system, community and college building projects, and the residences of women were also researched. For example, Steven McQuillin wrote “An Architectural Analysis of Peters Hall and Proposals for Future Use” in 1974; and Fay Anne Beilis wrote a 1995 seminar paper titled “The Pre-Preservation History of Oberlin College: A Glimpse at Why There Are so Few 19th Century Buildings on Campus.” The nearly 100 papers in this series, however, do not represent all of those produced at Oberlin College.

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