Army YMCA records
SCOPE AND CONTENTS OF THE COLLECTION
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
- YMCA of Greater New York. Army Branch (Organization)
- Brooklyn and Queens Young Men’s Christian Association. (Organization)
- Brooklyn Young Men's Christian Association (Organization)
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.
HISTORY OF NEW YORK YMCA ARMY BRANCH
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.
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