Harlem YMCA photographs
SCOPE AND CONTENTS OF THE COLLECTION
The largest part of the Harlem branch YMCA photo collection consists of professional black and white photographs from noted Harlem photographers Austin Hansen and Walter Baker. There are also a few color photos, negatives and snapshots. Most of the images are from the period 1940-1970, although there are some earlier images. They focus on events, most frequently dinners, fund-raising events, and award ceremonies. Most of the people in the photographs are unidentified. However, some known prominent board members and long time employees appear frequently. In addition, local political figures, such as Shirley Chisholm, Charles Rangell, Percy Sutton, and John Lindsay are represented. National figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Ralph Abernathy also visited the Harlem Branch YMCA. Performers such as opera star William Warfield and comedian Richard Pryor made appearances at the Harlem Branch YMCA auditorium
- Creation: 1940s-1990s.
- Creation: Majority of material found within ( 1940s-1960s)
- Harlem Branch YMCA (Organization)
Language of Materials
Use of Materials:
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.
HISTORY OF HARLEM BRANCH (135th Street)
Organized in 1901 by Reverend C. T. Walker of the Mount Olive Baptist Church as the "Colored Men’s" Branch, this branch first started in mid-Manhattan. It was later moved to the Harlem area and its name changed in 1919 to the One Hundred-Thirty Fifth Street Branch. In 1933 it opened a new building, and two years later took the name Harlem Branch, which had been used by another branch until 1933.
In the post World War II era the branch underwent a renaissance. Always a haven for writers, the Harlem Y gained recognition for its active theater program. Entertainers and musicians such as Richard Prior and William Garfield appeared on the Harlem YMCA stage. Local political leaders, such as Mayor John Lindsay, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, Congressman Charles Rangell, Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton, and many others made appearances at the Harlem Branch. National and international entertainers, musicians, and comics added their talents to events held at the branch.
The national fight for civil rights lead the branch to focus more on poverty and urban issues that affected Y members and people in the Harlem neighborhood. Programs such as the Youth Enrichment Program dealt with drug abuse prevention. The Black Achievers’ Program highlighted successful African Americans. Basketball and other sports programs emphasized the role African American children. A number of successful professional athletes, including Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, became involved with the branch's youth athletic programs.
1.5 Cubic Feet (5 boxes)
Collected photographic images from the Harlem Branch of the YMCA of Greater New York, located on West 135th Street in Manhattan.
ORGANIZATION/ARRANGEMENT OF THE RECORDS
The collection organized in following series:
See Detailed Description section for box listing.
Note on Language in the Collection and this Guide
Please note that some of the descriptive language found in this collection guide reflects and re-uses the words and ideas of the people and organizations that created the material. Historical records represent the opinions and actions of their creators and the society in which they were produced. This historical language was retained in cases where we believe it provides important context about the materials, is a Library of Congress Subject Heading, or is the official title of an item, organization, or event. As such, please be aware that this material and the guide describing it contains racial and other language and/or imagery that is outdated, offensive and/or harmful.
Processed by: Louise Merriam, August 2007.
Catalog Record ID number: 5002906
- Hansen, Austin, 1910-1996 (Person)
- Baker, Walter (Photographer) (Person)
- Abernathy, Ralph, 1926-1990 (Person)
- Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962 (Person)
- Campanella, Roy, 1921- (Person)
- Robinson, Jackie, 1919-1972 (Person)
- Lindsay, John V. (John Vliet) (Person)
- Rangell, Charles (Person)
- Chisholm, Shirley, 1924-2005 (Person)
- Sutton, Percy E. (Person)
- Pryor, Richard (Person)
- Warfield, William (Person)
Genre / Form
- YMCA OF GREATER NEW YORK HARLEM BRANCH:
- An Inventory of Photographs
- Finding aid prepared by Louise Merriam
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- 2021-11-30: Text was updated to more clearly indicate when harmful/outdated language is being quoted from original sources for historical purposes, vs. supplied by the Archives. Small edits were also made to the historical background sketch to reduce aggrandizing language.