Girls creator Lena Dunham
The Influence of Oberlin

By Clea Kim

Originally published on Advocate.com April 13 2013 3:46 AM ET

Just off the shore of Lake Erie in Ohio sits the storied Oberlin College, the private liberal arts institution that has long been associated with progressive causes, from gay rights to environmental protection, and disciplines as disparate as music and politics. When it  opened its doors in 1833, it was the first American institution of higher learning to admit female and African-American students. In 1970, Oberlin made the cover of Life as one of the first colleges in the country to have co-ed dormitories.

Continuing its trailblazing legacy, Oberlin has been recognized as an LGBTQ-friendly campus with many resources, including a range of workshops, courses, presentations, and programs for the LGBTQ community.

In addition to all these great characteristics, Oberlin is where the HBO hit series Girls all started. Oberlin graduate Lena Dunham has credited her years at the college with helping develop the four principal characters of Girls.

"Oberlin is a quintessential liberal arts college, in that it has its hippie aspects that you can make fun of, but it’s also a serious place for serious thinking," Dunham says.

Oberlin College celebrates its art, music, culture, fashion, sport, politics and social activism with a beautiful hand-bound hardcover book, Oberlin, filled with stunning images by fashion photographer Jonathan Glynn-Smith (Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Levi Strauss). This book will take readers on a visual and textual excursion that explores Oberlin’s past through 468 pages of amazing imagery from the 1850s to today as well as original essays. The book's price tag is $165, but 10% from every copy sold will go back to Oberlin's scholarship fund.

See a selection of images from the book on the following pages.