The papers (1771, 1819-1926) of James Harris Fairchild do not provide users a complete record of the Fairchild presidency, 1866-1889, or of the personal life of their creator. The body of documentation is instead a mix of personal and professional papers, the bulk of which consists of incoming correspondence (1852-1903). All but two boxes of this correspondence has been described at the item level in a six-volume calendar, plus an index, prepared by Susan F. Zearing in 1955-1956. The correspondence treats those subjects that Oberlin College officially represented, including support of coeducation, missions, black education, and opposition to secret societies and to the use by individuals of alcohol and tobacco. Many of Fairchild’s schoolmates and former pupils sought his counsel, and they communicated with him regarding the “Oberlin Enterprise.” Correspondents include Congregationalists William E. Barton, Sherlock Bristol, Frank Hugh Foster, Abel Hastings Ross, Judson Smith, Josiah Strong, and John M. Williams, and educators William S. Scarborough and Henry A. Schauffler. The family correspondence is extensive, although only a few letters exist of James H. Fairchild. Of interest among the uncalendared letters (1819-1900) is the correspondence between James Harris Fairchild and Mary Fletcher Kellogg during their courtship (1838-1841). The family reproduced the originals in a three-volume set in 1939.
The papers are divided into the following record series: I. Correspondence (Calendared); II. Correspondence (Uncalendared); III. Courtship Correspondence (typescript); IV. Miscellaneous Institutional Records Kept; V. Miscellaneous Non-Institutional Records Kept; VI. Teaching Files; VII. Travel Diaries; VIII. Writings by Fairchild; IX. Sermons; X. Miscellaneous Printed Writings by Fairchild; XI. Writings about Fairchild; XII. Photographs; and, XIII. Miscellaneous Fairchild Correspondence.
Series VIII. Miscellaneous Family Papers was added when additional Fairchild family materials were received from the Oberlin College Library in 2001. Within series, files are typically arranged alphabetically by type of material or chronologically. In the attached Inventory, volume is only indicated for more than one folder of material.
Included with Fairchild's professional and institutional records are several notebooks containing Fairchild's lecture notes for his courses in Moral Philosophy (1862), Theology (1881), and Natural Theology (1881), as well as a series of “Lakeside Lectures” on Scripture (1879, 1880) and lectures on evolution (1876), international law , and painting (1878). The Annual Reports of President Fairchild (1867-1880) to the Board of Trustees, while incomplete, provide information about student health and discipline, curriculum changes, and conditions at the seminary with regard to its low enrollments and faculty shortage. The gap for the years 1881-1889 is filled by a bound volume of reports (1876-1893) in the Oberlin College Archives.
Fairchild’s scholarship is represented in these papers mainly by manuscript and typescript drafts of addresses, articles, and sermons, by printed pamphlets, and by newspaper articles, in the original and in photocopy. None of his books are contained in the collection, although Series VII does contain the manuscript draft of Oberlin, the Colony and the College (1883). Reminiscences about Fairchild, written mainly by former students, are housed with Fairchild’s own writings.
Fairchild’s activities outside of teaching and theological scholarship are evident here in his travel diaries (1870-1871) and in his precise meteorological observations made in Oberlin over a period of nine years (1849-1858). With the exception of the diaries (in Series III), these records are housed together with materials of a miscellaneous character in Series VI. Miscellaneous materials include circulars from various Congregational Church organizations, clippings, an emergency passport issued in 1909 to Mary Flagler Cowles (b. 1862, Lit. 1891), files relating to the Oberlin Agricultural and Horticultural Society (1838-1849), the Oberlin Evangelist Association (1845-1862), and the temperance movement in Oberlin (1881). Miscellaneous papers of a personal nature (1835-1900) are filed in Series II.
Series I. Correspondence, 1852-1903, n.d. (Calendared) (7.2 l.f.)
The correspondence (largely incoming) of James Harris Fairchild is housed in Boxes 1-19 of this collection and calendared in six volumes (including index) prepared in 1955-1956 by Susan F. Zearing. In Boxes 1-18, correspondence is chronologically arranged; in Box 19, correspondence is alphabetically arranged by correspondent.
Series II. Correspondence, 1819-1900, n.d. (Uncalendared) (1.0 l.f.)
Includes a series of letters from James Fairchild to Mary Kellogg (1838-1841) and a series from Mary Kellogg to James Fairchild (1838-1841) written during their engagement. Fairchild’s letters describe his activities as a student in Oberlin’s Theological Department. These letters, together with a group of letters received by James H. Fairchild (1838-1864), are too fragile to handle and must be viewed either on microfilm, or patrons must use the bound volumes found in Series 8. In this three-volume set, some letters are not dated, others appear in abbreviated form (being edited down), and apparently two original letters were not included. Four letters appearing in the typescript form no longer exist in original form. Among the personal papers filed here is the will (1898) of James H. Fairchild. Files are arranged alphabetically by writer and chronologically thereunder.
Series III. Courtship Correspondence of James H. Fairchild and Mary Fletcher Kellogg (typescript), 1838-1841 [acc. 2001/94] (0.4 l.f.)
This series contains Fairchild Family materials including Mary Kellogg Fairchild’s autograph album (1835-1838) and a photograph album presented to Nancy Harris Fairchild on her golden wedding anniversary in November 1863. Also filed here is “Where Liberty Dwells: the letters of James Harris Fairchild and Mary Fletcher Kellogg from the Western Reserve [1838-41]” a three volume work edited by their son, James Thome Fairchild, and granddaughter Dorothy Kellogg Fairchild Graham (1939). See also above, series description for Series 2.
Series IV. Miscellaneous Institutional Records Kept by James H. Fairchild, ca. 1833-1840, 1854-1884 (0.4 l.f.)
Includes an incomplete run of President Fairchild’s Annual Reports (1867-1884); notebooks containing Fairchild’s lectures on theology, international law, and painting (1862-1882); and various date books and account books which include lists of subscribers to Oberlin College (ca. 1867) and to the Organ Fund (n.d.). Early faculty records (ca. 1833-1840) may have been collected by Fairchild while President for the purposes of historical research. Materials are arranged alphabetically by type.
Series V. Miscellaneous Non-Institutional Records Kept by James H. Fairchild, 1771-1909, 1926, n.d. (0.8 l.f.)
Contains detailed meteorological observations (1849-1858) made in Oberlin by Fairchild and Professor of Natural History (1849-1864) George N. Allen, which include data on atmospheric pressure, temperature, moisture, and sidereal and planetary movements; several ms. sermons collected by Fairchild (1771-1865), and three ms. letters to “the people of Oberlin” relating to temperance (1881). Two folders, marked “Folder 1” and “Folder 2” include miscellaneous papers such as passports, poems, sermons, and maps. Records are arranged alphabetically by type of material.
Series VI. Teaching Files of James H. Fairchild, 1862-1882, n.d. (0.6 l.f.)
Contains lecture notebooks in 14 volumes spanning 1862-82, academic grade sheets, miscellaneous teaching files, and a manuscript draft of regulations prohibiting pilfering by students, undated.
Series VII. Travel Diaries, 1870-71, 1884 (0.2 l.f.)
Diaries are arranged chronologically. Letters of introduction (1870), written for Fairchild prior to the European tour described in three of the diaries (1870-1871), are housed in Series 2, Box 21.
Series VIII. Writings by James H. Fairchild, 1852-1910, n.d. (2.6 l.f.)
Writings by Fairchild separated into manuscript and printed materials. These writings treat matters of theology, morals, historical Oberlin, and travel. Most ms. writings are undated. Writings about Fairchild include both typescript and printed essays by J.G.W. Cowles, Judson Smith, and C.J. Ryder, as well as one modern scholarly study (1966).
Series IX. Sermons, 1869, ca. 1870, 1874-75, 1877, 1880-83, 1885-89, n.d. (0.6 l.f.)
Sermons by James H. Fairchild are arranged in three subseries. Subseries 1. Old Testament Sermons and Subseries 2. New Testament Sermons are arranged by the order of the verses in the Bible on which they are based, and are undated. Series 3 contains sermons delivered at commencements, and are arranged in date order.
Series X. Miscellaneous Printed Writings by James H. Fairchild, 1852-1897 (0.2 l.f.)
These printed writings consist of newspaper articles and pamphlets of addresses of a much shorter nature than those contained in Series VIII.
Series XI. Writings about James H. Fairchild, 1883-1910, 1966, n.d. (0.2 l.f.)
Includes typescripts of undated tributes and an essay, as well as various printed writings and clippings.
Series XII. Photographs, 1835-1838, 1863, n.d. (0.4 l.f.)
Consists of one photograph of four of Fairchild’s daughters and an album containing fifty albumen portraits of the Fairchild Family. The pictures are arranged by family, with the children in each family following their parents. Some subjects are unidentified. (This album was formerly described as the one presented to Nancy Harris Fairchild on her golden wedding anniversary in November 1863; however, Nancy Fairchild’s album was received in accession 2001/94 and is filed in Series 8.)
Series XIII. Miscellaneous Fairchild Correspondence, 1881, 1887-1889 (#2004/077) (0.4 l.f.)
This recently added series contains a lot of 45 original handwritten letters and postcards, primarily consisting of correspondence (professional and personal) received by President James H. Fairchild, 1887-89. Also included are letters sent and received by other members of the Fairchild family.