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Army YMCA records

Identifier: Y.GNY.65


The collection includes invoices for furnishing services and program pamphlets for the Army YMCA branch at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn. It also includes material about the New York City police department and its YMCA partnership at Fort Totten, also in Brooklyn.


  • Creation: 1889-1989


Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be 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 necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.


The Fort Hamilton branch of the Brooklyn YMCA (later Brooklyn and Queens YMCA) served soldiers stationed at this post on the westernmost tip of Long Island. Built to guard New York Harbor at the Verrazano Narrows, the branch was established in 1899 as part of the national Army and Navy YMCA.

Operated with considerable support from the Brooklyn YMCA, the branch offered soldiers stationed at Fort Hamilton a library and reading room, religious services and social rooms furnished with a piano, comfortable chairs and games. In warm weather, the branch offered the opportunity to play outdoor sports such as baseball and lawn tennis. Soldiers could also enjoy occasional entertainments.

The original branch building was described as having “pernicious” conditions, but in 1925 a new colonial revival style building opened. By 1941, when the United States entered WWII, the Brooklyn YMCA furnished entertainers, recreation leaders and speakers to the Y branch at Fort Hamilton.

YMCA operations at either the local or national level at Fort Hamilton appear to have ended by 1958, with the Army itself taking responsibility for the broader welfare of its soldiers. Although the YMCA no longer has a presence at Fort Hamilton, the base itself continues to operate as the only active U.S. Army base within the boundaries of New York City.

The Army YMCA at Fort Totten, located in Queens, opened in 1902 and ceased operations by 1968. Like the Fort Hamilton Y, the branch at Fort Totten was first housed in a series of timber frame huts until a purpose-built YMCA building opened in 1927. As it did at Fort Hamilton, the Brooklyn YMCA provided personnel, programs and operational support at Fort Totten.

Although the YMCA ceased traditional operations at Fort Totten in 1967, it continued to work at the site. For example, after the Army closed the base at Fort Totten in 1974, it transferred most of the property to the City of New York. In the 1980s and early 1990s, the YMCA of Greater New York once again had a presence at Fort Totten when it partnered with the city police department to run a juvenile justice project. Later the Flushing branch operated the pool as part of a program center. The former Army base became a New York City park in 2005 and the YMCA once again ceased operations at Fort Totten.


.45 Cubic Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection includes invoices, pamphlets, program information, leases and other materials involving the two Army YMCA branches at Fort Hamilton and Fort Totten in the 1950s though 1980s.

Processing Information

Catalog Record ID number: 9974761574901701

YMCA OF GREATER NEW YORK ARMY BRANCH (Fort Totten and Fort Hamilton)
An Inventory of Its Records
In Progress
Louise Merriam
August 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Kautz Family YMCA Archives Collecting Area