Oberlin College Archives


About this Resource

Architecture of Oberlin College provides historical and current information on the College's structures and monuments from its founding in 1833 to the present day. Images of structures in photographs, drawings and engravings that illustrate the entries were drawn from the Archives' holdings, the College's Office of Communications, or were the result of new photography for this project. Permission to reuse College images must be requested from the Oberlin College Archives. Structures with addresses are pinpointed on a Google map; older structures are indicated on historical campus maps reproduced for this exhibit. Tags enable more keyword searching and collocating. For example, each entry was tagged for a build date in early, mid- or late 19th and 20th centuries, or early 21st century. For a feature story on the development of this exhibit, see "Archives Creates Ultimate Guide to Oberlin's Architectural HIstory" in Oberlin OnCampus (Oberlin College), September 25, 2015.

Additional information on facilities and certain buildings can be found in the College's Virtual Tour. The Archives holds pertinent records on College buildings; see Holdings for more information (particularly Architectural Records). See also Guide to the Architectural Records in the Oberlin College Archives edited by Emeritus Archivist Roland M. Baumann.


The customized design for Architecture of Oberlin College in Omeka was created by Eva Fineberg, OC 2015, as a Winter Term project in January 2015. Images, descriptions and other metadata were compiled/written by Associate Archivist Anne Cuyler Salsich, with assistance from Haley Antell, Archives and Special Collections Intern. John T. Seyfried, an Oberlin College freelance photographer, graciously contributed new photography for eight structures not already well represented. Serena Creary (Class of 2017), Archives Student Assistant, took photographs for two entries. Other images not in the Archives were supplied by the College's Office of Communications.

Jonathan Thurn, Class of 2003, created the first online illustrated guide for buildings erected before 1937 as a student project in 2000. It was designed using Dreamweaver, and titled Photographic Building Guide. Content was derived from descriptions of College and Oberlin town buildings that appeared in the 1936 Alumni Catalogue and a set of building cards created by the College Secretary's office and maintained by the Archives. In 2010 Caroline Casey, Class of 2011, updated the guide to include entries for certain buildings constructed up through 2010. The title of the guide was changed to the Illustrated Building Guide. In 2012 the Library and the Archives adopted a new website, and in 2015 the older iterations of the guide to Oberlin College's architecture were removed from public access. Architecture of Oberlin College was published on August 3, 2015.


Blodgett, Geoffrey. Oberlin Architecture, College and Town: A Guide to Its Social History. Oberlin, OH: Oberlin College, 1985.

Blodgett, Geoffrey. Oberlin History: Essays and Impressions. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2006.

Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.  Cleveland, OH: Case University and the Western Reserve Historical Society, Web edition, 1998 with continuous updates.

General Catalogue of Oberlin College, 1833 [-] 1908. Including an account of the principal events in the history of the college, with illustrations of the college buildings. Oberlin, OH: Oberlin College, 1909.

Oberlin College Alumni Catalogue, 1833-1936. Oberlin, OH: Oberlin College, 1937.

McAlester, Virginia and Lee. A Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.

Oberlin College Archives. Map Collection (RG 52).

Oberlin College Archives. Photographs: Buildings (RG 32/4).

Oberlin College Archives. Photographs: Subjects (RG 32/5).

Oberlin College Archives. Records of the Office of Business and Finance (RG6).

Oberlin College Archives. Records of the Office of the Secretary (RG 5).

Oberlin College Archives.  Aughenbaugh, Karl, with photographs by  Geoffrey Blodgett. Unpublished report on College buildings and projects, ca. 1953. Oberlin File (RG 21), IV. A. College Miscellany.

Ohio State Historic Preservation Office, Ohio Historical Society. Ohio Historic Inventory forms, accessed from the City-wide Building Inventory on the Oberlin Heritage Center website.


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