These records document the mock political conventions held at Oberlin College from 1860 to 1968. This quadrennial event was an Oberlin tradition that many alumni regarded as a highlight of their student experience. There were twenty-seven mock political conventions held at Oberlin. Twenty-four were Republican, two were Democratic, and one was non-partisan. The records consist of correspondence, financial records, official proceedings, committee records, convention newspapers, programs and pamphlets, newspaper clippings, photographs, and audio recordings.
The Mock Convention records were originally arranged chronologically (1948-68) with miscellaneous programs, memorabilia, and non-textual records arranged at the end. In 2001, as part of a project to transfer archival records and manuscripts from the Oberlin College Library, Department of Special Collections, the Archives received an additional 4.5 linear feet of material, including the convention records for the years 1924-44 and official proceedings for 1924-56 and 1964. At this time, it was decided to follow archival practice and to rearrange the records into series to better incorporate this additional material into the record group.
The records are arranged in five series: I. Convention Records, II. Convention Reports, III. Convention Newspapers, IV. Programs and Memorabilia, and V. Non-Textual Materials.
The key sources for researchers are the records and reports filed in the first two series. Series I. Convention Records consists of files of individual conventions from 1924 to 1968. These files contain correspondence, financial and fundraising records, committee reports, and convention programs.
Series II. Convention Reports consists of bound proceedings or reports of the Mock Conventions from 1924 to 1956 and 1964. Also filed here is Allen Metcalf Bailey’s 1936 history Mock Conventions in Oberlin, 1860-1932. Bailey (A.B. 1936) was the historian for the 1936 Mock Convention, and he wrote this history to accompany his report on the convention. Readers should also consult the Oberlin Alumni Magazine, February 1968 and Fall 1992, for articles on the history of the Mock Conventions.
The remaining documentary material consists of Mock Convention publications, memorabilia, and non-textual materials. The publications include newspapers published by the Mock Conventions. These are the 1932 Evening Democrat and the newspaper of the Republican conventions 1916-40 and 1948, The Elephant. Other publications include programs and assorted pamphlets published for convention participants, 1860-1968. Memorabilia consists of scrapbooks and posters. These posters include those advertising the conventions, as well as posters for political candidates. Non-textual material includes a modest amount of photographs and audio recordings of the 1936, 1948, and 1952 Mock Conventions.