New York YMCA Young Men's Institute records
SCOPE AND CONTENTS OF THE COLLECTION
The collection of the Young Men's Institute consists of copies of the branch newsletter, Institute Notes, and miscellaneous printed materials.
- Creation: 1885-1924
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 THE YOUNG MEN'S INSTITUTE
The Young Men's Institute, the second location of YMCA work in the Bowery, opened in 1885 in a new building at 222-224 Bowery. It was named the Young Men's Institute to distinguish itself from the Bowery branch, which was located at 243 Bowery. Unlike the Bowery branch, the Young Men's Institute targeted young working men. In contrast, the Bowery branch was from its beginnings primarily a relief effort, focusing on the homeless and destitute. The Institute branch was the second building commissioned by the YMCA in New York City and was designed by Bradford Lee Gilbert, an architect well-known to railroad magnate and YMCA supporter Cornelius Vanderbilt. Not surprisingly, given Gilbert's significant involvement with railroad work, the building has been described as being "like a railroad station in Erie."
The Institute immediately offered classes for the betterment of young men, starting with different types of drawing classes as well as instruction in bookkeeping, arithmetic and penmanship. Sunday activities included Bible talks and prayer meetings. Notable speakers provided lectures; in 1886 both Henry Ward Beecher and Teddy Roosevelt spoke at the Young Men's Institute. In subsequent years the branch offered classes on carriage design, English for Italians, English grammar, and civil service test preparation.
Gymnasium equipment included ropes and swings, a bowling alley, horses, parallel bars, chest machines and striking bags. In an effort to combat declining membership, the branch installed a swimming pool and basketball courts in 1915 with funds secured from supporters such as Cleveland H. Dodge.
The branch closed in 1932, but the building, now with New York City landmark status, remains on the Bowery as the home of numerous artist studios and apartments. It is the only surviving 19th century YMCA building in Manhattan.
Information taken from the Landmarks Preservation Commission designation list, 1998, at http://www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org/db/bb_files/1998YoungMensInstitute.pdf.
1.7 Cubic Feet (3 boxes)
Publications and other printed materials of the YMCA Institute Branch. .
See Detailed Description section for box listing.
Processed by: Louise Merriam, June 2012.
Catalog Record ID number: 6394294
- YMCA OF GREATER NEW YORK INSTITUTE BRANCH:
- 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