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Mary Church Terrell Main Library
148 W College St. Oberlin, OH 44074-1545


The main visitor lot is the east Service Building lot, and the south row of the Carnegie Building lot for visitors to offices within that building.

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About the Collection


The Oberlin College Mail Art Collection includes two archives: the Reid Wood "State of Being" Mail Art Archive and the Harley "Terra Candella" Mail Art Archive. 

Together they contain over 20,000 pieces by over 1,800 artists from 70 countries created over a period of 45 years. Of the 1,800+ artists included in our collection, 300 artist files are processed and available for viewing by individuals or classes. The Mail Art Imagebase contains images for about 60% of the artists.

The Oberlin collection reflects the unexpected, eccentric nature of the Mail Art Movement – focused on turning ordinary mail into art – and their inventive use of materials and methods of communication.  Mail artists have mailed dried squid, shoes, industrial tomato cans, license plates and foam bricks, often adorned with rubber stamps, stickers, metal, confetti, foil, and their unique "artistamps” (non-government stamps produced by artists).

In addition to personal letters, prints, collage and textiles, communication includes elaborate parodies of real-world organizations and people, like the International Council of Independent States a "United Nations" for imaginary mail art countries (a.k.a The Fifth World). 

Want to learn more? Set up an appointment, or contact us.

Klaffki Jo SOB 2002 mail artMittendorf henning tc1995
Vigo crack crack mail art poster

Learn more about our Mail Artists

Remembering Harley: Oberlin Review obituary of Harley

Harley: the Portfolio: Online portfolio of Harley's work and works available for sale

An interview with Reid Wood and his State of Being Mail Art Archive conducted by Barbara Prior, Clarence Ward Art Librarian, edited by Josh Blankfield (OC '18)

Dogfish (aka Robert Rudine), of Tui Tui, speaking the Tui Tui language translated by his wife, Janet Yoder at the opening of the Museum of Artists Stamps

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