artifacts (objects genre)
calligraphy (visual works)
ephemera - printed ephemera
Microsoft PowerPoint slides
money - paper money
moving images - DVDs
moving images - film
moving images - videocassettes
photographs - lantern slides
photographs - negatives (photographic)
photographs - oversize
photographs - photographic prints
photographs - slides
sound recordings - audiocassettes
sound recordings - CD-ROMs
sound recordings - phonograph records
SCOPE AND CONTENT
The records of OSMA date from 1881 to the present and document the activities of Oberlinians in Asia during that period. Earlier records discuss missionary activities of the Oberlin Band such as evangelism, teaching, medical work, and the operation of opium refuges in the Shansi province of northern China. The bulk of these records, however, deal with the education activities of OSMA, which was formed as a living memorial to those Oberlin missionaries who died in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.
Administrative and financial records of the OSMA from 1908-1981 document the founding and operations of primary and middle schools, and later a college, in Shansi. Extensive correspondence and numerous reports provide insight into the lives of the Chinese people in this era and the lives of American men and women living and working in China. These people observed first hand and regularly reported on political events and social issues in China, from the founding of the Nationalist government, to the invasion by the Japanese and the ensuing Sino-Japanese War, and to the eventual triumph of communist forces, ending American diplomatic relations and thus OSMA's work in China. Major corespondents include H. H. Kung, Mark Wu, Lydia Lord Davis, Wynn C. Fairfield, and Herbert Van Meter. Photographs, negatives, slides, and audio tapes provide extensive visual documentation of the time and place. A selection of glass lantern slides have been highlighted and described on an addendum page. Student essays and art work of very high quality provide the Chinese perspective.
Records from 1950 to the present trace the secularization of OSMA and document the transformation of its programs to an emphasis on two-way exchange of students and scholars. Administrative correspondence offers a look at the role of cultural exchange in both higher education and international relations (and vice versa). Extensive correspondence with both American and Asian students and scholars paints a detailed picture of the impact of cultural exchange on the individual.
In 2008 OSMA celebrated its centennial, sparking an influx of materials donated by former representatives and others associated with Shansi. Most of the materials are audiovisual, including films, photographs, photograph albums, audio recordings, scrolls, currency, and other artifacts primarily from the 1920s through the 1940s, with some later materials. In 2012 director Carl Jacobson retired; from his office a significant amount of material dating from the 1980s to 2012 enlarged the collection, particularly the audiovisual subgroup.