The collection was rearranged into series in 2002 to accommodate a sizable accretion of J. F. Oberlin related material received from the Oberlin College Library, Department of Special Collections. Also at that time several files were transferred to this group from RG 21 "Oberlin File." Series I, II, and III represent the original collection, with a few additional items. Series IV, V, and VI consist of material received in subsequent accretions.
The collection is arranged in six series: I. Letters, II. Manuscripts and Notes, III. Miscellany, IV. Addresses about John Frederick Oberlin, V. Printed Materials, and VI. Prints, Drawings and Photographs.
Items created by John Frederick Oberlin include one letter, inscriptions, three watercolors, a map, woodcuts, music, and printed Bible verses. These items are filed in Series I. Letters, and Series III. Miscellany.
In addition to these items created by Oberlin himself, the papers include a number of items created during his lifetime. They include two sermons written by a contemporary for J. F. Oberlin and letters written by family members or friends. Other items include exercise cards by three of his pupils, a double silhouette of J. F. Oberlin and his wife done from life, and silhouettes of friends. A 1791 memory book of Philipp J. Heisch contains inscriptions by J. F. Oberlin and several of his children and friends. These items are filed in Series I. Letters, Series II. Manuscripts and Notes, and Series III. Miscellany.
Memorabilia relating to J. F. Oberlin include drawings, lithographs and photographs of the Ban de la Roche, commemorative medals, and printed materials commemorating J. F. Oberlin anniversaries. Addresses by Oberlin College President Ernest Hatch Wilkins (1940, n.d.) and by faculty members Robert S. Fletcher (1955), Walter M. Horton (1952), Maurice Kessler (1953), and John W. Kurtz (1972, 1976) discuss J. F. Oberlin's life and his influence on the founders of Oberlin College.
Series V, Printed Material, is subdivided into three subseries: 1. Writings about John Frederick Oberlin; 2. Miscellaneous Printed Material; and 3. Materials from the Musee Oberlin in Waldersbach, France. A number of printed works discuss Oberlin's life and work; many of these publications are written in French or German. Included in the publications in Series V, Subseries 1 is an extract of Oberlin's notes (in French) on the fauna of the Ban de la Roche; these notes were published by Dr. Ernest Wickersheimer in the annual of the Société historique, littéraire et scientifique du Club Vosgien in 1934. A new publication acquired in 2010 is a German cartoon book on the life of Oberlin published for young readers in 1989. Series V, Subseries 2 includes a number of commemorative items celebrating the bicentennial (1967) of J. F. Oberlin's arrival at Waldersbach. Subseries 3 holds printed materials generated by the Musee Oberlin in Waldersbach in recent years, collected by visitors to the area connected with the College.