Thursday, February 16, 2017

Exhibit: PATHWAY TO HOPE AND OPPORTUNITY: Oberlin as Sanctuary


An exhibit on display in the Academic Commons, Mudd Center, February 6-March 31, 2017

The Oberlin College Libraries and Archives present this exhibit as an opportunity to pause and remember our history of helping others during uncertain times. The exhibit features documents, photographs, drawings and artifacts related to Oberlin’s anti-slavery activity and the Japanese American students at Oberlin College during World War II. These are stories of Oberlin helping others in need of a safe place to live, learn, and work.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Summer research opportunity deadline: January 15, 2017

The deadline for applying for a Summer Research Grant at the Oberlin College Archives and Library is January 15, 2017. 

The Oberlin College Archives established the Frederick B. Artz Summer Research Grants Program in 1990. This research program, which is made possible by a grant from the Oberlin Historical and Improvement Organization, is intended to encourage and facilitate the publication of scholarly, humanistic studies based on archival and special collections sources at Oberlin College, with special emphasis on the history of the institution, the Oberlin Community and liberal arts education. Studies of a local nature involving the resources of both archival and special collections departments are especially encouraged. 

Researchers will be selected on the quality and significance of their research proposal, its relationship to the holdings of the Oberlin College Archives and Oberlin College Library, and on the potential for publication. Application forms are available from the link above.

Monday, August 29, 2016

50th Anniversary of the Oberlin College Archives

Oberlin College Archives, 1966-2016: 
50 Years of Preserving and Sharing Oberlin's Rich History

Oberlin in 1846, woodcut by Henry Howe

Please join us in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Oberlin College Archives. A special exhibit will be on view in the Goodrich Room on the 4th floor of Mudd Center from September 19 to October 21, 2016.

We will hold two special open houses with screenings of films from the Archives, on Saturday, September 24 from 10-2 and Saturday, October 8 from 10-2. Our regular hours are Monday through Friday, 10-12 and 1-4:30. We have t-shirts with the image of Oberlin in 1846 for sale too!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Oberlin College Archives 50th Anniversary

This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Oberlin College Archives in 1966. We will mark the occasion with events and an exhibit, The Oberlin College Archives, 1966-2016: 50 Years of Preserving and Sharing Oberlin's Rich History. Two special Saturday open houses will feature the exhibit and a screening of college films dating from 1939 to 2016. Watch for our schedule of events, in progress.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


We welcome the 2016 recipients of the Frederick B. Artz Summer Research Grant:

Irina Muresanu, Assistant Professor, violin faculty, University of Maryland
          In-depth study of the etude books written by French pedagogues in the 18th and 19th century and their impact on teaching modern violin technique (Oberlin Conservatory of Music Herbert K. Goodkind Collection and related materials)

Oran Kennedy, Doctoral Student, Leiden University, Netherlands
         “Beacons of Freedom: Slave Refugees in the Northern States and Canada, 1800-1860”

Joseph Yannielli, Postdoctoral Associate, Princeton University        

               “The Mendi Mission: Africa and the American Abolition of Slavery”


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.