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Records of Missionaries (Group 38)
[147] Records of Missionaries, 1890-1949, 1 ft. 7 in.

Historical Note

At the request of the Ohio blanch of the Woman’s 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 College’s 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 Oberlin’s 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 OMHA’s 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 treasurer’s ledger, 1904-1918, and treasurer’s reports for 1898 and 1899. Mimeograph copies of five letters, 1959-60, from two female missionaries—Ruth Schevenuis of the Nyadiri Mission in Southern Rhodesia, Africa, and Miriam E. Rogers (1883-1968) of the Marathi Mission—are 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 missionary’s 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.

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