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Richard D. Cooper China diary and other papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: Y.USA.81


Typescript diary describing Cooper and his family's travel to China and his work there with the YMCA during the final months before the Communist Revolution of 1949 forced the American YMCA personnel to leave. The diary documents the family's journey by ship to Shanghai via Manila and Hong Kong in late 1947 and early 1948, and the subsequent year and a half in Shanghai, including many details of family life, travel, observations on culture and current events, and descriptions of daily work and other activities. The collection also includes a few report letters from his subsequent YMCA work in India and Sri Lanka during the 1950s and 1960s. Also included is a personal reflection on his YMCA career written by Cooper in 1992.


  • 1947-1969, 1992
  • Majority of material found in 1947-1949


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.


Richard Daniel Cooper was born May 9, 1914 in Augusta, Maine. Following graduation from Springfield College in 1936, he served as Boys' Work Secretary for the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Passaic, New Jersy, and Brockton Massachusetts YMCAs, and then as General Secretary for the Chester, Pennsylvania YMCA. The bulk of his career was spent in the YMCA World Service. His first posting was in Shanghai, China but was cut short by the Communist Revolution. In 1952 he began a nearly twenty year stint in India, before returing to the U.S. to take the post of Director of Development at the YMCA in White Plains, New York. In India, Cooper first served as Regional Secretary with responsibility for the YMCA's College of PHysical Education in Madras and the Y's rural development centers. He later served as Development Secretar for the National Council of YMCAs of India and Ceylon and then Fraternal Associate Directory of the National YMCA Training School at Bangalore. Cooper married artist and art teacher Edith Hewett Leonard (1914-2010) in 1937 and the couple had two daughters. Cooper died December 20, 2007 in Claremont, California.

[Biographical information was compiled from documents in the YMCA Biographical Files (Y.USA.12)]


.2 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



Diary describing Cooper and his family's travel to China and his work there with the YMCA. Also includes a few report letters from his subsequent work in India and Sri Lanka during the 1950s and 1960s.

Related Materials

Additional records related to Lyon and his work for the YMCA can be found in the YMCA Biographical Files (Y.USA.12). Many reports of his work in India can be found in the Records of YMCA International Work in India (Y.USA.9-2-40).

Processing Information

Catalog Record ID number: 9976384007601701

An Inventory of his Papers
Lara Friedman-Shedlov
August 2019
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