In Search of Community:

The Oberlin Student Movement, 1961-1968



Alicia D'Addario

An Honors Thesis Presented to the Oberlin College History Department

27 April 2002









Conceptions of Community                                                                           


Chapter I  

The Activist Consensus                                                                                  


Chapter II

The Early Conflicts                                                                                        


Chapter III

Vietnam and the Fracturing of the Activist Consensus                                


Chapter IV

The Limits of Community                                                                              


Chapter V

The War on Campus                                                                                      


Chapter VI

Student Power and the Reconception of Community                                     



Identity Politics and the Legacy of the Student Movement


Selected Bibliography                                                                                     



            First and foremost, I want to thank the Oberlin student activists of the sixties.  In addition to providing a fascinating topic for a thesis, this movement has deeply inspired me in my own activism.  I especially want to thank all those people who were kind enough to share their memories of Oberlin in the sixties with me.  They are Nan Aron, Marcia Aronoff, Peter Blood, Susan Chandler, Isabel Chang, Tim Craine, David Finke, Paula Gordon, Joe Gross, Pete Guest, Dennis Hale, Charles Hauss, Jack Hill, George Langeler, Fred Magdoff, Bernie Mayer, Nancy and Carey McWilliams, Albert J. McQueen, Tom Mitchell, Paul Osterman, Phyllis Palmer, Anita Reichard, Matthew Rinaldi, Jonathan Seldin, Ann Stromquist and Milton Yinger.  Additional thanks to Nan Aron, Jim Gertminian, Jonathan Seldin, and Ann Stromquist who sent me materials.  Without the help of these people I could never have understood the Oberlin student movement; they helped to fill the important gaps in what the archives could tell me.

            My honors advisor, Gary Kornblith, has been an invaluable guide through this entire process.  I would never have been able to complete this thesis without his advise, suggestions, and encouragement.  He has dedicated time to helping me with ever aspect of this work.  My gratitude for his assistance is immeasurable.  I would also like to extend my thanks to the entire Oberlin College History Department for giving me this opportunity.  I have received an amazing amount of encouragement and support from the department throughout my work on this project.

            Much of my research was conducted in the Oberlin College Archives and for that I owe a debt of gratitude to Roland Baumann.  His advice and assistance made this thesis possible.  Special thanks to Melissa Gottwald and Tamara Martin of the archives staff for putting up with my constant requests for boxes and photocopies.  The kindness and dedication of everyone at the Oberlin College Archives made my time there extremely enjoyable.

            My oral history interviews had to be approved by the Oberlin College Human Subjects Committee.  I would like to thank this Committee for allowing me to conduct this research.  Special thanks go to Carol Lasser and Barbara Fuchsman for helping me to set up a procedure that would allow me to conduct interviews while being mindful of the ethical implications.  Since all my interviews were tape recorded, I want to thank everyone at Oberlin College Audio-Visual Services for putting up with my constant and rather insistent requests for recording equipment.  Thanks also go to the Jerome Davis Committee for helping to fund this project.

            Last but not least, I would like to thank the people whose emotional support has guided me through this endeavor.  My parents, Candy and Larry D’Addario, have taught me so much that it is impossible to sum up their contribution to this thesis.  I am eternally grateful for their love and support.  Michael Snead has always been there for me to discuss my ideas and to bring my mind back to the present from time to time.  Without these people in my life I could never have completed this project.

            To anyone I may have forgotten to mention here, I apologize and thank you for your contribution to this thesis.


                                                                                                Alicia D’Addario

                                                                                                Oberlin, OH

                                                                                                27 April 2002