The SCHAUFFLER COLLEGE OF RELIGIOUS AND SOCIAL WORK (23 Jan. 1886-1957), located at 5115 Fowler Dr. SE near Broadway, was an interracial, international, and interdenominational undergraduate college, founded as the Slavic Bible Readers' Home (School) to train young Slavic women as Christian missionaries to the Czech community of Cleveland. By the 1950s its purpose had changed: "To give social direction to religion and religious motivation to social work."

In 1882 HENRY A. SCHAUFFLER, a former missionary in Turkey and Bohemia, accepted an invitation from Rev. Charles T. Collins, of Plymouth Congregational Church, to become pastor of Olivet Chapel (a mission of Plymouth) and to work with immigrant Czechs. In Oct. 1883 the Congregational Home Missionary Society appointed him superintendent of Slavic missions in the U.S. under the auspices of the Bohemian Mission Board of Cleveland. The board secured land on Broadway in 1884 and erected BETHLEHEM CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH (dedicated Jan. 1885).

Schauffler persuaded Clara Hobart to establish the Slavic Bible Readers' Home (School) next door to the Bethlehem Church. The school began with 1 teacher, Miss Hobart, and 1 pupil, Miss Anna Belsan, in the home of Miss Hobart's parents, 1254 Broadway Ave. In 1888 it became known as the Bohemian Bible Readers' School and moved to a private residence at 1572 Broadway. Mrs. Clara Hobart Schauffler, now the first principal, served until 1889. On 19 May 1890, the school laid a cornerstone at 5115 Fowler Dr. near Broadway for its own building, dedicated on 31 Dec. 1890. No longer limited to women of Slavic descent, the school admitted qualified students of all nationalities. The name changed in 1892 to the Bethlehem Bible Readers' School & Home, and in 1897-98 to the Bethlehem Bible & Missionary Training School. After Dr. Schauffler's death on 15 Feb. 1905, the school was renamed the Schauffler Missionary Training School. An administration building, several dormitories, and a chapel were constructed. During the administration of principal Dr. Raymond G. Clapp (1924-41), Schauffler changed from a 3-year training school to a 4-year college. From 1930-36 it was known as the Schauffler School, A College of Religious Education, Missionary Training, & Social Work.

The school was supported by endowments, church and individual contributions, and Daughters of the American Revolution scholarships. In 1943 Schauffler was recognized by the American Assn. of Schools of Social Work and became a charter member of the National Council on Social Work Education. In 1953 Schauffler accepted men as degree candidates. As the neighborhood industrialized, enrollment declined. In June 1954 Schauffler moved to Oberlin College as the Division of Christian Education. The last students graduated from Schauffler in 1957; it ceased to exist as a separate entity. In 1967 endowment funds were transferred to Defiance College, OH, to support Schauffler Hall (completed in 1981) and courses in religious education and social work.


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