185 years ago today, Oberlin College was founded by two Presbyterian ministers on 500 donated acres in Oberlin, Ohio. It was the first coeducational liberal arts college in the United States and the second oldest continuously operating coeducational institute of higher learning in the world. Oberlin also became one of the first American colleges to admit African-Americans. Alumni notables include several Nobel laureates, Thornton Wilder and a dozen other Pulitzer Prize winners, 12 MacArthur Fellows, actors Ed Helms and. Lena Dunham, and RadioLab and TV broadcaster Robert Krulwich.(1833)

Oberlin’s progressive founders bragged that “Oberlin is peculiar in that which is good.”

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • The Lewis and Clark Expedition marked their location on a pine tree during explorations from the Missouri River by land to the Columbia River (1805)
  • Surgeons in Cape Town, South Africa performed the first human heart transplant and the patient lived 18 days with the new heart (1967)
  • The Malta Summit produced a declaration by U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev saying the four-decades-old Cold War was over (1989)
  • US hostage Alann Steen was released from Lebanese captivity after 4.8 years (1991)
  • Representatives from 121 countries signed The Ottawa Treaty prohibiting the manufacture and the deployment of anti-personnel landmines (1997)

And, on this day in 1965, the sixth album by The Beatles was released–Rubber Soul. With the 14 new songs, the British band expanded their sound using a wide range of instruments.

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Influences included African-American soul music and the new folk-rock of Bob Dylan. George Harrison’s use of a sitar on “Norwegian Wood” sparked a craze for the Indian instrument that lasted beyond the 60s.

The album greatly influenced Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys who believed it marked the first time in pop music that focus had shifted from just making hit singles to making an actual album.

Rubber Soul, which includes Drive My Car, Nowhere Man, and Michelle, with its French lyrics and instrumentation, earned the #5 spot on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “Greatest Albums of All Time”.

(WATCH this short video, The Making of Rubber Soul, and buy books or music about it here)