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New York City YMCA public relations files

Identifier: Y.GNY.76

Scope and Contents

Included are promotional materials related to day camps and other camping facilities operated by the YMCA of Greater New York, correspondence of staff members that include Frank Weaver, Hannah Heller, Roger Stewart, Frank Totten, Hibbard James, and H. Harrison, and printed matter advertising programs such as aquatics, day camps, child care and other programs.


  • 1929-2009
  • Majority of material found within 1980-1989


Conditions Governing Use

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.

Biographical / Historical

The YMCA in New York City has long been sensitive to the need to promote and publicize its programs and events and to encourage men and women in New York to become members of the Y. In the early years, the organization created printed material of all types announcing events and advertising programs of interest to its primary target audience, young men. Founded by evangelical Christians to benefit evangelical Christians, the early YMCA in New York City understood the need to advertise.

In 1853, the second year of the Y’s existence in the city, the organization spent $31 on advertising. That amount doubled by 1855 and grew again in 1859, when the Y spent $94.75 on advertising. Promoting all aspects of the Y was tied to the need to secure funding and new members.

As the organization added branches and programs and membership expanded to non-evangelical Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and women, the Y began to adopt a more strategic approach to advertising itself. By 1923, the New York Y had a Bureau of Information. By 1927, that office had become the Public Relations department. Both were headed by E. A. Hungerford, the first public relations professional in the New York YMCA.

In the 21st century, the YMCA of Greater New York uses all available media to promote itself and its programs. Although the tactics have shifted, the goal of public relations at the YMCA of Greater New York is the same as it was in 1927: to grow its membership base and promote its programs. Through marketing and public relations, the Y reinforces public awareness of the importance of the Y in the lives of New York City residents.

Information taken from the annual reports collection, YMCA of Greater New York.


15.85 Cubic Feet (26 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection contains correspondence, examples of advertising and other printed material, press clippings, TV and radio scripts, promotional videos, newslettes, surveys, reports, contact lists and other items related to marketing and public relations at the YMCA of Greater New York.

Processing Information

Material has been minimally processed.

Catalog Record ID number: 9974761589101701

An Inventory
Louise Merriam
August 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Kautz Family YMCA Archives Collecting Area