Friday, April 29, 2016

Archives Exhibits for Commencement Weekend

The Oberlin College Archives celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Conservatory of Music with a special exhibit on the main floor of Mudd Center, May 20th through May 22nd. Exhibits for the reunions of the classes of 1991 and 1966 will be on display in the Goodrich Room on the 4th floor of Mudd Center.  Come see a selection of the wealth of materials held by the Archives from the College and Conservatory's history.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

In Memory of Bill Bigglestone (1924-2016)

Bill Bigglestone in 1986

Bill Bigglestone, Oberlin College’s first Archivist (1966-1986), died Sunday, February 20, 2016, in Tucson, Arizona.  He was 91 years old. 

Bill received his B.A. in history from the University of Arizona and a M.A. in history from Stanford University.  Prior to coming to Oberlin, he worked as an archivist at the National Archives and Records Administration and as corporate archivist for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio.

Marly Merrill, Oberlin affiliate scholar and friend wrote:

“As Oberlin College's first archivist, Bill Bigglestone's abilities, interests and personality fitted the challenges awaiting him in 1966. In his twenty-year archival administration here, he successfully organized a massive array of documents and records that dated back to the College and town's founding in 1833. He also acquired many new institutional and private papers that kept enriching the core collection, and he continued to create user-friendly finding guides to them all.

His deep interest in and knowledge of Oberlin's early racial history inspired him to write or edit a number of articles and two books on the subject that are now widely used by scholars and students.

Trained by Bill as an archival volunteer, I later became a steady user of the Oberlin Archives and a longtime friend. I will always treasure his easy and unassuming perfectionism, his quiet, dry sense of humor, and the way he went about his work in his steady, unflappable and totally committed way.”

Bill provided us with a great foundation that continues to help us to preserve and make available the rich history of Oberlin.  We will always be inspired by his commitment to Oberlin and his efforts to make the Archives a welcoming place for campus and community members and visiting researchers. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mary Church Terrell Symposium, February 26-27

Mary Church Terrell, 1927
Oberlin College Archives

"Complicated Relationships: Mary Church Terrell's Legacy for 21st Century Activists" will take place February 26-27, 2016, on the Oberlin College campus.

Occurring at the intersection of Black History Month and Women’s History Month, this symposium celebrates a significant gift of Mary Church Terrell papers to the Oberlin College Archives.  Terrell (1863-1954), Oberlin College Class of 1884, was a feminist and civil rights activist, a founding member of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) and the NAACP, who worked tirelessly across lines of race and gender to achieve a more just and equitable society.  We celebrate her life while using this opportunity to think together about social justice today.

Participants include Terrell descendants Ray and Jean Langston, keynote speaker Johnnetta Cole ’57 , prominent Oberlin College alumnae Lillie Edwards ’75 Treva Lindsey ‘04, Rachel Seidman ’88, Jennifer Morgan ’86, and Lori Ginzberg ’78, as well as current Oberlin students.

Cosponsored by the Oberlin College Archives, the Gender, the Institute for Sexuality and Feminist Studies Institute, the Africana studies department, the Oberlin Alumni Association of African Ancestry (OA4), and the Office of Alumni Relations, and with support from the Comparative American Studies Program and the history department, Oberlin College Libraries, the Office of the Dean of Students, the Dean of College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of the President, and the Friends of the Oberlin College Library.

The Symposium begins at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, February 26, and continues all day Saturday, February 27. 

For specific information on sessions see

Complicated Relationships is the part of the Think/Create/Engage series on The Framing of Race.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Archives sponsors Winter Term project by Kathleen Leonard, Class of 2019

College Archivist Ken Grossi is sponsoring a winter term project of Kathleen Leonard, Class of 2019.  Kathleen's project is to organize and inventory a collection of her family's papers.  Included in the collection are materials related to Thornton Bancroft and Martha Martin Penfield, and their daughter Charlotte and her husband Reginald Atwater. The College Archives holds some materials related to members of Kathleen's family who attended Oberlin College and served as missionaries in countries such as Jamaica and China.

Thornton Bancroft Penfield, son of Thornton Bigelow Penfield, A.B. 1856 Oberlin, 
and his wife Martha Martin Penfield are pictured here with their granddaughter, 
Caroline Penfield Atwater (Mrs. Edwin Slater Leonard), A.B. 1942 Oberlin. 
The photo was taken in1928.  Photo courtesy of the Kathleen Leonard Family.

Friday, June 19, 2015

NEW! Architecture of Oberlin College, an interactive exhibit by Archives

 Architecture of Oberlin College is now live! On our homepage, click the link on the right under "Virtual Exhibits".

Over six months in the making, this new guide features current structures and construction projects as well as buildings from the College's history and no longer standing. Eva Fineberg, OC 2015, spent Winter Term customizing an electronic exhibit software program, Omeka, just for this project. Existing photographs from the Archives and the College, as well as new photographs illustrate the entries.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Archives Exhibit Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Visits to Oberlin College




Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke on three separate occasions at Oberlin, including his address at the 1965 commencement exercises. The College Archives will display an exhibit during Senior Week and Commencement Weekend in honor of the 50th anniversary of his speech to the Class of 1965, and to celebrate his legacy and his impact on Oberlin and the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibit will be on display in the Academic Commons of the Mudd Center.

Monday, March 16, 2015

New intern in Archives and Special Collections starts March 23

Haley Antell, OC 2009, will be our new intern starting Monday, March 23. Haley recently received her M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons College, with a concentration in Archives Management. She will be moving here from Sherborn, MA. Haley has held previous internships at the Connecticut Historical Society, at Simmons, and at the Orang Asli Archives at Keene State College. Not all of these experiences were onsite, and Haley is enthusiastic about getting hands-on experience at her alma mater.  

You may also see her soon as a server at Black River Cafe, where she worked while an Oberlin student. Give her a warm welcome back to Oberlin!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lecture and Exhibit on Oberlin College's First Official Photographer

Arthur Ludwig Princehorn

"Princehorn's Sioux Photographs: an unknown collection from the early 20th century”
Presentation by Emeritus Professor Linda Grimm
Monday, March 2, 2015
12:00 p.m. 
Azariah’s Café, Mudd Center, First Floor

Linda Grimm, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, will give a presentation about Oberlin's first official photographer, Arthur L. Princehorn, who served from 1917 to 1931.  The talk coincides with her exhibit that will be on display in the Academic Commons of the Mudd Center, March 2-22.   The title of the exhibit is "Princehorn: Oberlin's Pioneer Photographer.  An Emblematic Record of the Sioux at Glen Island.”

 The talk is sponsored by the Oberlin College Archives and is free and open to the public.
 Professor Grimm’s research relates to the on-going work of the Oberlin College Ethnographic Collection Project ( 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Free Public Lecture by Prof. Carol Lasser, Tuesday February 17

Left: Mary E. Burton Shurtleff & daughter
Right: Giles Waldo Shurtleff
Credit: Oberlin College Archives  

Civil War Courtship Letters and the 'Homefront Imaginary'
Free Public Lecture, Tuesday February 17, 4:30 p.m.

Moffett Auditorium (Room 050)
Oberlin College Mudd Library

Oberlin College Professor of History Carol Lasser draws on the correspondence of Oberlininans 

Giles Waldo Shurtleff and Mary E. Burton, as well as that of Elliott Grabill and Anna Jenney, 

and looks at the ways in which these Union soldiers turned to women on the homefront 

for emotional support and relationships beyond the battlefield to sustain them 

during the long conflict.

Co-sponsored by the Oberlin Heritage Center, the Oberlin College Archives 
and the Oberlin College Department of History

Friday, October 24, 2014

New museum objects in the Archives

Like albino squirrels? And lantern slide projectors? We do and we've got them.

See the white squirrel soft toy we received from the Alumni Office: 
White squirrel soft toy 

Here is the lantern slide projector used by former art professor and Allen Art Museum Director Clarence Ward:
Ward lantern slide projector 

And here is the updated finding guide to the Clarence Ward Collection:
Clarence Ward Collection