The records of the Office of the Registrar (1859-1987) document the multiple functions of the office: registration of students in classes; assigning of classroom space; initiation of student billing; transfer of credit from other institutions; recommendation of degree candidates; reporting of grades; and reporting, through its annual reports, on academic performance. The collection consists primarily of student grade records (1859-1939) in ledger, card, and transcript format. The remainder of the collection includes a small amount of administrative files from the registrars of Oberlin’s three divisions, the College of Arts and Sciences (1894-1987), the Conservatory of Music (1958-68), and the Graduate School of Theology (1963-68). Files include class schedules, degree-authorization forms, program information, and billing records. Missing are records for the Conservatory registrars John C. Kennedy (1939-42, 1952-59) and his predecessor, Mabel D. Brown (1916-38). Also missing are the early records (1937-63) of Graduate School of Theology Registrar (1956-66), Gertrude F. Jacob.
The collection is divided into three subgroups alphabetically arranged: I. Administrative Files of the Registrar, College of Arts and Sciences; II. Records of the Registrars of the Conservatory of Music and Graduate School of Theology; and III. Student Grade Records. Within series, files are typically arranged alphabetically and there under chronologically. In Series III, records are arranged by format in the following order: ledgers, cards, and transcripts. A full listing of these materials is included in the appended Inventory.
The administrative files of Series I include annual reports, statistical studies, correspondence, committee records, and student applications to summer foreign language programs. The annual reports cover the periods 1939-58, 1960-78, and 1981-87, with gaps for 1958/59, 1978/79, and 1979/80. Each report consists of numerous individual studies on such characteristics of the graduating class as attrition, number of degrees awarded, parental occupations, grade distribution and averages, faculty teaching load, and course enrollments. Statistical studies on enrollment and class rankings exist for the years 1920-49 and 1961-67. Of related interest are files (1932-36) describing Oberlin’s move to a numerical ranking system under the guidance of Donald M. Love, Registrar from 1929-35 and 1937-38.
The records of several committees (1894-1946) are also housed in Subgroup I. They reveal not only stringent academic standards but also the college’s early record-keeping and enforcement practices. The files of the Committee on Failure in Scholarship (1908-12) contain letters of warning from Committee Chairman Edward Alanson Miller (1866-1958) to the parents of failing students. The work of the Committee on Substitutions is documented by entries in record books indicating committee approval for substitutions of one course for another. Files of the Faculty Committee on Graduate Study and Degrees (1896-1926) include student applications, letters of recommendation, and committee correspondence.
Three-fourths of the collection consists of 67 volumes of student grade ledgers (1859-1939), grade cards (1850-80) for the Collegiate department and Conservatory, and Oberlin Kindergarten-Primary Training School transcripts, c. 1890-1930. These records list student names, grades, home addresses, Oberlin addresses, place and date of birth, and preparatory school. They provide a valuable resource for the study of student profiles and academic achievement over an eighty-year period. The following degrees have been awarded at Oberlin College:
A.B. The Bachelor of Arts degree was awarded upon completion of the Classical Course; it was the only degree awarded at Oberlin until 1873. It remains the only degree conferred by the College of Arts and Sciences.
S.B. The Bachelor of Science degree was first awarded in 1873 to the first student completing the Scientific Course. Before the course was dropped in 1900, thirty students received this degree.
A.M., S.M. These degrees were first announced in the catalog for academic year 1871/72. They were awarded to students holding the A.B. degree who pursued advanced work in literary or scientific fields and who were of good character.
Ph.B. The Bachelor of Philosophy was granted from 1887 to 1901 to those completing a variant of the Classical Course.
Lit, L.B. The designation "Lit." applies to those graduates who completed the work of the Ladies Course from 1836 to 1874, and the Literary Course from 1875 to 1894. These graduates received diplomas only and were not awarded degrees until 1894, when the L.B. was granted to those who applied for it.
SUBGROUP AND SERIES DESCRIPTIONS:
Subgroup I. Administrative Files of the Registrar, College of Arts and Sciences, 1894-1989 (12.6 l.f.)
Subgroup I includes those records maintained by the Registrar in the course of registering students in classes, assigning classroom space, billing students, reporting grades, awarding transfer credits, and conferring degrees. This subgroup is divided into six series, arranged alphabetically: 1. Annual Reports, 2. Committee Records, 3. Correspondence, 4. Miscellaneous Administrative Files, 5. Statistical Files, and 6. Student Applications for Study Abroad.
Series 1. Annual Reports, 1939-1994, 1996/97, 1997/98, 1998/99 (2.9 l.f.)
Consists of the annual reports of the Registrar (1939-1994). Each annual report contains numerous statistical studies that report on enrollment, geographical distribution, majors, grade distribution, instructional units, and course analyses. Arranged chronologically. No annual reports were produced for 1999-2000 and 2000-2001
Series 2. Committee Records, 1894-1946 (1.9 l.f.)
Contains the record books of several early committees (1894-1946) charged with monitoring student academic progress. Included in these records are several files relating to the adoption of the ranking system of evaluation at Oberlin (1932-36).
Series 3. Correspondence, 1924-1935 (5.6 l.f.)
This series consists of correspondence (1924-35) from the Office of the Registrar. The correspondence dates mainly from the tenure of Donald M. Love (1929-35). Arranged alphabetically.
Series 4. Miscellaneous Administrative Files, 1914-1978 (0.6 l.f.)
This series contains administrative files (1914-78) of various types. Included are several class schedules, forms, documents, and memos, as well as correspondence of Registrars Flora Wolcott (1905-29) and Edith Stanley (1935-55). Included also are records of Chinese students (1921-38), Navy V-12 trainees at Oberlin (1945-46), scholarship holders (1929-34), the Oberlin Kindergarten Training School (1926-39), reports on faculty grading 1960-73), and miscellaneous personnel office files (1930-32). Arranged alphabetically.
Series 5. Statistical Files, 1920-49, 1961-1967 (0.6 l.f.)
Consists of statistical reports (1920-49, 1961-67) on enrollment and class rankings. Arranged chronologically.
Series 6. Student Applications for Study Abroad, 1966-1975 (1.2 l.f.)
Consists of student application files and final grades for summer language study abroad (1966-75). Arranged alphabetically by program.
Subgroup II. Records of the Registrars of the Conservatory of Music and Graduate School of Theology, 1952-68 (0.8 l.f.)
Subgroup II includes a sampling of records maintained by the Registrars of the Conservatory of Music and the Graduate School of Theology. This subgroup is divided into two series: 1. Registrar’s Office, Conservatory of Music and 2. Registrar’s Office, Graduate School of Theology.
Series 1. Registrar’s Office, Conservatory of Music 1952-64 (0.4 l.f.)
Files include a sampling of class schedules and late-degree authorization forms; performance evaluations for seniors; and records of the Conservatory’s program at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria (1958-63).
Series 2. Registrar’s Office, Graduate School of Theology 1963-68 (0.4 l.f.)
Incomplete files contain a sampling of forms signed by Registrar Gertrude Jacob (d. 1989) announcing candidates for degrees; course schedules; student billing forms; and correspondence of Professor of Church History Richard C. Wolf (1912-84), Chairman, Committee on Student Schedules and Standing, relating to student academic performance.
Subgroup III. Student Grade Records, 1859-1939 (67 vols.) (19.5 l.f.)*
Subgroup III consists of 67 volumes of ledgers, boxes of cards, and files of student transcripts. The first 36 volumes bear Roman numerals on their spines (vols. 0-XXXV) and include listings of student grades and relevant biographical information. Listings are separate for men, for the Ladies Department, and for the Preparatory Department. Some grades are listed by course. All listings are alphabetical and indexed on microfiche.
Volumes 100-109 list Preparatory and Academy department grades, 1891-1916. Corduroy volumes in this series are unnumbered.
Grades on cards (boxes 1-5) exist for the Preparatory, Ladies, and Collegiate departments, ca. 1860-1880.
Grades for the Oberlin Kindergarten-Primary Training School, 1894-1907, are listed in one volume; Boxes 6 and 7 include OKPTS grade cards for non-graduates, S-Z. Oberlin Kindergarten-Primary Training School transcripts, application blanks, and related correspondence for graduates and non-graduates, c. 1890-1930, are housed in boxes 8-13.
Grades for the Graduate School of Theology, 1884-1942, are listed in seven volumes with preceding indices; records for the years 1945-66 are currently on file at the Office of the Registrar.
Grades for the Conservatory of Music, 1899-1914, are kept on cards which have been microfilmed and indexed.
(See RG5 Office of the Secretary for microfilm of academic records for the College of Arts and Sciences (1953-66), Graduate School of Theology (1931-66), and Conservatory of Music (c.1890s-1966).