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New York YMCA Schools Branch records

Identifier: Y.GNY.40


The YMCA Schools Branch collection includes Board of Managers and Trustees minutes, financial reports, a retirement dinner program, correspondence, fund raising appeals, McBurney School reports to city headquarters, materials related to the separation of McBurney School from the YMCA, historical information about the development of the Schools branch, and information about the faculty salary scale.


  • 1917-1985.


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Personnel and salary records created after 1949 are restricted for 70 years after creation date.

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.


The seeds of the New York YMCA schools branch were planted in the 1852 constitution of the YMCA in New York City. That document contained a provision for offering lectures and sermons that would assist the "spiritual and mental improvement of young men," although actual regular programming did not occur until the opening of the new building on 23rd Street. Formal educational activities undertaken at each New York City YMCA branch were consolidated in 1930 into the Education Department of the West Side Branch. In 1945, the Schools Branch was founded. Included in the Schools Branch were the McBurney School, a college preparatory school; Evening High School; the Trade and Technical School, which had its roots in the first automobile school in New York; Hervey Junior College (previously known as the New York Business Institute); and the Civil Service Institute.

The McBurney School was founded in 1916 as a six-year high school (grades 7-12) that prepared young men for college. It merged in 1924 with the Chelsea Day School, and in subsequent years with the Baldwin School, the Riverside School and the Carnegie Hill School. McBurney was housed for many years in the West Side YMCA on 63rd Street. In the 1980s, the school moved once again, this time to 20 West End Avenue. However, its new location, where the school was surrounded by taxi depots, car repair shops, and parking lots, did not attract students and parents, and despite the millions received from selling the West 63rd Street building, the school was forced to close in 1988.

McBurney boasts many famous alumni, including actors Jason Robards and Henry Winkler, novelist J.D. Salinger (who used McBurney as a model for Holden Caulfield's school in Catcher in the Rye), journalist Haynes Johnson, and financier Felix Rohatyn.

The practice of offering working men formal high school classes in the evening began at the Boston YMCA in 1893. In New York, an evening preparatory school began in 1907; in 1927, the school was reorganized as the Evening High School of the 23rd Street (later McBurney) Branch. In 1930, it became part of the Educational Department of the West Side YMCA, and in 1945 it was one of the schools that formed the new Schools Branch.

The Trade and Technical School was descended from the Automobile School of the West Side YMCA, established in 1903, and was initially known as the New York Business Men's Vocational School. In 1927, the West Side Branch took over the technical courses previously offered at the closed East Side Branch. By 1945, when the West Side curriculum was incorporated into the new Schools Branch, the Trade and Technical School offered a wide range of vocational courses, including automobile mechanics, radio and television repair, refrigeration, sign painting, plumbing and more. In 1957, the Trade and Technical School merged with the Brooklyn Trade School, and relocated to Brooklyn as part of the Bedford branch's operations. It closed in 1976.

Hervey Junior College was established in 1946 to meet the needs of returning veterans and continued the program of afternoon and evening classes offered by the New York Business Institute. It began in 1907 as a two-year course in accountancy leading to the CPA, and was called the New York Institute of Accountancy and Commerce. By 1923, the school offered two three-year programs: the CPA preparation program and a business administration program. Because the wave of young men seeking college-level training had subsided, the college closed in 1957.

Like Hervey Junior College, the Civil Service Institute was established in 1946 to meet the education and training needs of returning veterans. The school prepared students to take the civil service exams required by the New York City police and fire departments. It was absorbed into the Trade and Technical School as a result of a 1952 branch survey recommendation.

Although the McBurney School continued operating until 1988, the Schools Branch was not listed in annual reports after 1984.

Information taken from the collection.


7.9 Cubic Feet (16 boxes)


Collected minutes, correspondence and financial information of the Schools Branch of the YMCA of Greater New York and its predecessors.

Physical Location

See Detailed Description section for box listing.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Louise Merriam, May 2012. Additions made October 2013.

Catalog Record ID number: 6392971

An Inventory of Its Records
Finding aid prepared by Louise Merriam.
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