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318 Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota, 222 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455

An Inventory of his Papers

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Creator: Ober, Charles K. (Charles Kellogg), b. 1856.
Title: Charles K. Ober papers.
Date: 1882-1948 (bulk 1882-1890).
Collection Number: Y.USA.14
Abstract: Papers of Charles Kellogg Ober, documenting his work in the student movement of the YMCA.
Quantity: 2.0 cu. ft. (5 boxes).
Location: See Detailed Description section for box listing.


Ober was born in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1856. He found his first job as a bootcutter dull and became a cod fisherman. He entered into YMCA work after surviving eight days afloat at sea off the Newfoundland coast. Crediting his survival to prayer, Ober decided to devote himself to Christian work.

Ober enrolled in George Williams College and was a field assistant to Robert McBurney. After his graduation in 1882, he entered state work in Massachusetts, first as an assistant to S. M. Sayford for six months and then state secretary for two years. In 1885, Ober entered student work as secretary for the International Committee, a post he held for six years. It was during this time that John R. Mott became involved in the student movement and with Ober aided in the development of student conferences, and the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions.

For the next twenty years, Ober worked in the Field department, helping to build up state work and to promote the organization. During his career, he was active in recruiting men for Association work. In connection with his work in the Field Department, he developed the "Fellowship Plan" to bring men with high potential into the YMCA and groom them for secretaryship. In 1910 Ober was released from the regular work of the Field Department to concentrate on the development of this program, which he continued until his retirement in 1922. During World War I he also served as a special secretary in France and England.


Ober's papers contain a variety of materials relating to his Association work. There is considerable material, primarily correspondence, relating to the student movement. Other materials relate to the recruiting and training of secretaries and correspondence from state committees concerning finances, personnel and conventions. There are also files for each state containing correspondence relating to the work of state committees in matters of finance, personnel and conventions.


Use of Materials:
This collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright, ownership, and to obtain all the necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials.
Preferred Citation:
[Indicate the cited item and/or series here]Charles K. Ober papers. Kautz Family YMCA Archives. University of Minnesota.
See the Chicago Manual of Style for additional examples.
Processing Information:
Processed by: Chan Harries, August 2004.
Catalog Record ID number: 4454314


The following section contains a detailed list of the materials in the collection. To request materials, please note the corresponding box number.

1 College associations, 1883-1891.
College conferences, 1885-1891.
Northfield student conference, finances, 1888-1892.
Northfield student conference, 1886-1893. 2 folders.
College department, International Committee, 1884-1892.
College department, finances, 1886-1891.
Bible study, 1889-1892.
Theological controversy, correspondence, 1887-1890.
Daily statements, 1887-1889.
A day book recording Ober's travels.
College work, state committees, 1886-1890.
College work, local associations, 1889-1890.
College tours, 1884-1892. 2 folders.
2 College deputation work, 1888-1890.
College work, secretaries reports, 1889-1891.
Foreign education committee, undated.
Secretarial bureau, 1890-1893.
Secretarial bureau, correspondence, 1882-1890.
Secretaries conferences, 1883-1891.
Secretarial bureau, teacher for Japan, C. M. Bradbury, 1885-1888.
Japanese students studying in America, undated.
Southern development, 1888-1892.
Student Volunteer Movement, 1887-1889.
Routing student matters, 1886-1892.
Summer schools, 1890-1892.
Training schools, miscellaneous, 1885-1890.
Training schools, Chicago YMCA training school, 1886-1891.
Training schools, Springfield College, 1886-1890.
Sudan missionary movement, 1889-1891.
3 Inter-seminary alliance, 1888.
Fellowship training, 1887-1948.
YMCA student publications, correspondence, 1882-1891.
National missionary conference, clippings, 1890.
Personal papers, 1887-1891.
Railroad work, 1882-1891.
World YMCA work, 1888-1890.
Foreign work/foreign field, 1885-1892.
YMCA and women's' work, 1886-1891.
State Associations:
Correspondence from state YMCA committees concerning finances, personnel and conventions.
3 Alabama, 1888-1891.
Arkansas, 1891-1892.
California, 1889-1890.
Canada, 1890-1891.
Colorado-Connecticut, 1882-1884.
Georgia, 1886-1892.
Illinois, 1882-1893.
Indiana, 1885-1891. 3 folders.
4 Iowa, 1888-1893.
Kansas, 1891.
Kentucky, 1888-1893.
Louisiana, 1891.
Maine-Maryland, 1882-1884.
Massachusetts, 1882-1891. 11 folders.
Michigan, 1886-1890.
Minnesota, 1886-1892.
Mississippi, 1889-1890.
Missouri, 1888-1893.
Nebraska, 1886-1891.
New Hampshire and New Jersey, 1883-1889.
New York, 1882-1889.
North and South Carolina, 1888-1892.
Ohio, 1886-1889.
5 Oklahoma, 1890.
Pennsylvania, 1886-1891.
Tennessee, 1882-1892.
Texas, 1890-1892.
Vermont, 1890.
Virginia, 1889-1892.
Cephas Brainerd, correspondence, 1882-1890.
Fletcher Brockman, correspondence, 1892-1893.
C. S. Chipley, correspondence, 1885-1892.
James A. Dummett, correspondence, 1892.
International Committee staff, correspondence, 1883-1892.
R. R. McBurney, correspondence, 1882-1892.
Dwight L. Moody, correspondence, undated.
Richard C. Morse, correspondence, 1889-1893.
Fleming Revell, correspondence, 1888-1890.
J. B. Reynolds, correspondence, 1883-1891.
S. M. Sayford, correspondence, 1882-1891. 5 folders.
John T. Swift, correspondence, 1888-1890.
Erskine Uhl, correspondence, 1883-1892.
Robert Weidensall, correspondence, 1888-1892.
R. P. Wilder, correspondence, 1886-1889.
Luther Wishard, correspondence, 1883-1890.


The following books authored by Ober are separately catalogued in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives:
Adventures in Faith
The Association Secretaryship
Bible Studies in Missions
Exploring a Continent (Personal and Associational Reminiscences)
Luther D. Wishard, Projector of World Movements
Out of the Fog : a Story of the Sea


This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Student service -- United States -- History.
Young Men's Christian associations -- Administration.
Young Men's Christian associations -- Employees.
Brainerd, Cephas, 1831-1910.
Moody, Dwight Lyman, 1837-1899.
Sayford, S. M. (Samuel M.), d. 1921.
Uhl, Erskine.
Weidensall, Robert, 1836-1922.
Wishard, Luther D. (Luther Deloraine), 1854-1925.