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YMCA biographical files

Identifier: Y.USA.12


The biographical files contain information on over 5,000 prominent YMCA of the USA leaders over a wide spectrum, from lay to professional, at the local, regional and national levels, working abroad as well as in the United States. Also represented in the files are a number of non-YMCA people who were prominent in world affairs, such as Woodrow Wilson and Martin Luther King, Jr. The amount and type of material for each individual varies greatly. For some individuals, the files contain only a few basic biographical facts. Others are represented by substantial collections of personal papers or organizational records, including diaries, manuscripts, scrapbooks, office correspondence, press releases, reports, and other material. Most files contain ready reference-type material such as resumes and vitae, obituaries, news clippings, and biographical sketches. The files were originally compiled by the YMCA Historical Library as part of a biographical history project and have been augmented over the years by archives staff.


  • 1853-2004.


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.


Brief biographical sketches are included in the Detailed Description section of the finding aid for selected individuals (primarily those for whom the biographical files contain a substantial collection of personal papers). For additional biographical information, see the actual file for the individual in question.


245 boxes (Approx. 90 cu. ft.)


Biographical material as well as small collections of personal papers of prominent YMCA of the USA leaders.


The files are arranged alphabetically by the individual's last name.


Photographs of many of the individuals represented in these biographical files are available in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives photograph collection.

Additional personal papers of the following individuals represented in these biographical files are separately cataloged in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives:
  1. Anderson, Karl Brooke.
  2. Anderson, Paul B.
  3. Barnett, Eugene Epperson.
  4. Bishop, Merlin.
  5. Brainerd, Cephas.
  6. Brunger, Harry.
  7. Carey, Cliff.
  8. Chapman, Irvin C. ("Ernie").
  9. Cousins, Solon
  10. Custer, John.
  11. Douwsma, Gerrit B.
  12. Fisher, John.
  13. Fletcher, Fremont.
  14. Goncharoff, Nicholas.
  15. Hall, Lawrence K.
  16. Hanson, Agassiz Wayne.
  17. Hardy, James.
  18. Harlan, Robert.
  19. Harmon, Francis Stuart.
  20. Kiehne, Frank.
  21. Kinnamon, Ron.
  22. Lansdale, Herbert Parker and family.
  23. Lavake, Steven.
  24. Lerrigo, George.
  25. Limbert, Paul.
  26. Lockwood, William.
  27. Ludwig, Marvin.
  28. Lyon, Adrian.
  29. Lyon, David Willard.
  30. McBurney, Robert R.
  31. McClelland, Dalton Finley.
  32. Maguire, Bruce.
  33. Marcile, Neal.
  34. Marsh, Leo.
  35. Masland, Frank E. III
  36. Minard, Herbert L.
  37. Morse, Richard Clay.
  38. Mott, John Raleigh.
  39. Ober, Charles Kellogg.
  40. Pence, Owen Earle.
  41. Pettit, Clifford W.
  42. Shipp, Frederick B.
  43. Sibley, Harper.
  44. Sorenson, Roy.
  45. Sproul, J. Edward.
  46. Stange, Karl.
  47. Tucker, Norman S.
  48. Tobias, Channing.
  49. Torrence, Edgar.
  50. Underwood, Herbert G.
  51. Urice, Jay A.
  52. Weidensall, Robert.
  53. White, J. Gustav.
  54. Wilber, Francis.
  55. Wiley, Samuel Wirt.
  56. Wood, Ralph.
  57. Yergen, Max.

Processing Information:

Catalog Record ID number: 4439189

The collection was originally divided into three separate series: "Bio-A" consisted of individuals for whom the collection included more than one folder of materials, providing significant documentation of their career. "Bio-B" comprised the individuals with a single folder of material, and "Bio-C" was a separate group consisting of individuals who had been involved in foreign work. These series were later combined into one, large group arranged alphabetically. Several extensive collections of personal papers formerly included in the biographical files have been removed and separately cataloged. See the related materials list for a list of individuals represented in these biographical files for whom the Archives has separate collections of personal papers.

4,957 entries (some for more than one individual) as of June 2009

The papers of Darius A. Davis, formerly part of this collection, were removed and recataloged as a separate collection, along with an additional accession of correspondence, in February 2014.
An Inventory
Finding aid prepared by YMCA Staff.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Kautz Family YMCA Archives Collecting Area