Skip to main content

State, regional, national and international YMCA records collected by the YMCA of Greater New York

Identifier: Y.GNY.85


These materials collected by the New York City YMCA reflect the association’s involvement in state, regional, national and international organizations within and beyond the movement. They include minutes and proceedings of New York State annual meetings and the state Executive Committee as well as minutes, proceedings and reports of from other organizations. Also included in the New York State materials are printed items from a variety of local associations throughout the state and beyond. There are also scrapbooks, financial records and reports, as well as materials related to the Youth and Government program since its founding in New York. The collection also includes material related to state-wide work with boys.

The regional materials include items from the Tri-State and Northeast regional organizations.

National materials include National Council items; many items in the collection were published by the Council for use by local associations. Other National Council publications include studies, annual reports and yearbooks. Also included is information about the Hi-Y program, items related to Springfield College, and material involving efforts to work cooperatively with the YWCA in New York City.

In addition to Association Press material, the collection also includes issues of several national YMCA publications, including Discovery YMCA, Perspective and Circulator. Other national materials include many items related to the Association of Secretaries (later the Association of Professional Directors) and the Retirement Board as well as the North American Urban Group.

International materials include items related to World Service program, the World Alliance, the World Urban Conference, and Y’s Men International. The collection also includes publications from associations around the world, especially Great Britain, Canada, and Ireland.


  • 1863-1989


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 YMCA in New York City did not operate in a vaccuum, but as part of the broader movement throughout the United States and the world. In fact, from its very beginnings, the Y in New York assumed a leadership role within the movement, fueled by its wealthy supporters and the sheer size of the city it served. Combined with Brooklyn, an independent city until 1898, the population of New York was 1.4 million, dwarfing the next largest US city, Philadelphia. The size and wealth of the New York and Brooklyn associations made them natural leaders to whom associations throughout the movement turned for advice and information.

The New York City association was instrumental in bringing the national organization to New York in 1866, where it remained until 1981. In addition to its shared location, the New York Y and the national Y shared board members and other officials. For example, Cephas Brainerd was on the New York City board and also chaired the national board from 1867 to 1892. William E. Dodge, Jr., long-time president of the New York City YMCA, also served as an advisor to the national Executive Committee (later known as the International Committee) for 36 years. Other supporters of the Y in New York City also held prominent positions within the structure of the national organization.

The New York City Y, under the leadership of Robert Ross McBurney, was also instrumental in organizing the New York State YMCA, presiding over the first two New York State conventions in the 1870s. McBurney was also central to the founding of the American Secretaries Conference. He was deeply involved in international work, being chosen as president of the International Convention in 1874 and serving as chair of the International Committee's work with foreign missions in the 1890s.

The New York City YMCA was involved in international work before there was any plan and before the Foreign Education Committee had been established in 1888. World War I formalized the New York Y's involvement overseas. For example, in 1917, NYC branch fundraising efforts resulted in nearly $60,000 being sent to the National War Work Council, according to the 1918 annual report. Many New York City members and secretaries saw service in Europe even before the United States entered the war in 1917.

The New York association's desire to be involved in international efforts after the war eventually led to the construction of a handsome building for the New York World's Fair in Queens, which took place in 1939 and 1940. It was the first time any YMCA had provided a structure at a world's fair or other exposition. In the 1980s, the New York Y established the first American International YMCA Program Center. Individual branches within the association were encouraged to form connections with YMCAs in other countries. In addition, the New York association operated numerous international programs for the YMCA of the USA after the national organization moved from New York to Chicago. The association also participated in international exchange programs such as Y Global Teens and Y Global Leaders. Of course, the NYC association continued to operate programs focused on immigrants and international visitors to the city, providing language classes, inexpensive lodging and assistance with adjustment to American life. Today, the New York City Y reflects its location in an international city and the wider world through its programs, staff and members.


46 Cubic Feet (107 boxes)

Language of Materials



Minutes, agendas, brochures and pamphlets, correspondence, proceedings, committee reports, publications and journals, and other materials that reflect the involvement of the YMCA in New York City in state, regional, national and international YMCA organizations.

Processing Information

Catalog Record ID number: 9974846095601701

An Inventory of Materials Collected by the YMCA of Greater New York
Louise Merriam
January 2017
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