Scrapbooks and Social Awareness: A Self-Curated History of the Oberlin YWCA

Part 1: Domestic Arts     |     Part 2: Student-Faculty Discussions
Part 3: Career Symposia     |     Part 4: Interracial Relations

Document 1: Domestic Arts Course

Title: Domestic Arts Course

Date: Fall 1940

Location: 1940-1941 YWCA Scrapbook, Series II, RG 29, Box 4, O. C. A.

Document Type: Typed Document



Since its inception, Oberlin YWCA programming had focused on service, education, and charity; World War II politicized all of these sectors. Yet on the eve of World War II, concern with the gendered roles of homemakers held a central place the work of the Oberlin YW, preparing women for their futures as wives and mothers.  The following document is a schedule of homemaking lessons by faculty wives–a new addition to Oberlin YWCA’s annual programming, prefiguring the rise in domesticity that would coincide with the conclusion of the war.


This schedule is the schedule of the YWCA’s Fall Term programming. Spring semester had more specialized programs like “What to do when the crowd comes over” and “Curtains, rugs, and drapes.”


Original                       Both                    Transcription



course list



Domestic Arts Course


The Domestic Arts Course is a new addition to the Y.W.C.A program and has grown from a generel [sic] demand for instruction and demonstration in the domestic sciences. We aim to give you “hints” that have been learned through long experience and to stimulate and add to your knowledge of household methods.

Oct. 21                        “Flower Arrangements” ;   Mrs. C. H. Yocum,[1]   Miss Mary Yocum

251 Forest St.


Oct. 28                        “Table Setting”                ;  Mrs. C. T. Craig[2]

128 Forest St.


Nov.  4                        “Hostessing and Table    ;  [illegible] H. G. Keermund

Serving                            144 Forest St.


Nov. 11           “Interesting Meals”         ;  (Speaker to be announced)


Nov. 18           Practical experience, such as a tea or a luncheon


Nov. 27           “Interior Decorating”       ; Mrs. Raymond Cerf[3]

373 Edgmeer [Edgemeer] Pe.


Dec    2           “Interior Decorating”        ; Lecture by Mrs. Raymond Cerf at

128 Forest St.



Dec    9.           “Hints for a new wife              ; Mrs. W. H. Bromund[4]

4 Prosser Court


Faculty Advisor,   Mrs. C. T. Craig


If at any time you find you are unable to attend please call Irene Diefenbach at   Tank.

Y.W.C.A 1940

[1] Florence Yocum (1895-1992) was a member of Federated Gardens Clubs of New York State Inc. and Chappaqua Garden Club (New Castle Tribune, 1985, Source).

[2] Rena Stebbins Craig (1894-1974) was Dean of Women at Union Theological Seminary from 1955 to 1962. She married Clarence Thomas Craig, professor of theology at Oberlin College, Yale University, and Dean of the Drew Theological Seminary (The New York Times, accessed 29 July 2016, Source).

[3] Anna Ballard “Petey” Cerf Dann (1913-1996) was a philanthropist, activist, and wife of piano professor H. Arthur Dann in Oberlin (John Wake, “Local Philanthropist Dies at 83,” Lawrence Journal World, 1996, accessed 10 August 2016, Source).

[4] Elizabeth Hayden Bacon Bromund (1906-1996) was the wife of chemistry professor Werner Hermann Bromund (Werner H. Bromund Finding Guide, Oberlin College Archives, Oberlin College, accessed 29 July 2016, Source).