The Oberlin College Archives contains a rich and varied collection of rare, original, and reproduced materials in print, photographic, artistic, electronic, 3-D, media and digital formats.
Department-based and student research projects often involve use of the Archives. Its rich collection of original historical materials offers insight and documentation of Oberlin's involvement in many of the significant social, religious, civil rights, and political movements of our time. Oberlin has been associated with such movements as antislavery, African Americans in higher education, coeducation, missions, women's suffrage, temperance, diversity, and ecology and the environment.
The Archives holds the permanently valuable records of the institution as well as those of individuals, families, and organizations affiliated with the college, the Conservatory of Music, and the city of Oberlin. We have records on the 15 college presidents beginning with Asa Mahan in 1835 to the present. Other records offer details about student life and student government, master plans, art and architecture, and much more. These are described in over 500 finding guides, each consisting of a biographical sketch or administrative history, a description of the scope of the collection, and an inventory.
In addition, we have select personal papers of faculty, graduates, and other Oberlin-related individuals; municipal government records of the town of Oberlin and of Russia Township; format-specific collections such as maps, architectural records, posters, sound recordings and moving images; and more than 300,000 photographs of the college and the town.