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Wayne Hanson papers

Identifier: Y.USA.17


Hanson's papers contain a series of diaries, starting with a diary of a trip to Williamsport, Indiana at the age of fifteen. Other diaries span the dates 1923-1962 and cover his personal life (health, reading, church, etc.) and his career with the YMCA (fundraising, travel, meetings, etc.). His work in France during World War I is described in his and his wife's letters to their families. There is also a guest book of their residence while in France.

Other records include letters on his travels in Latin America (Mexico, South America and the Caribbean) from 1939-1942. A report and related correspondence on a Polish refugee camp in Mexico, which Hanson was hired by the U.S. government to assess. Hanson's fundraising work for churches is documented in correspondence and reports from 1947-1954. Also included are materials concerning his speeches on international issues (1952-1961).


  • 1892-1965.


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.


Agassiz Wayne Hanson was born on August 24, 1877 in Green Hill, Indiana. He graduated from Indiana University in 1899, where he had been the president of the student YMCA. After graduating he became assistant state secretary for Indiana, responsible for city, railroad and student associations, as well as fundraising.

In 1919 the YMCA's Overseas Division called him to work with the Foyers du Soldat, a French organization similar to the YMCA. He was first assigned to a large sailors' foyer in Toulon, where he coached the French personnel in association methods and developed this center into a model foyer. Later he took charge of the American YMCA staff in Paris, where he oversaw the demobilization of the French foyer work after the end of the war.

Hanson stayed in Europe after working in Paris, as he accepted a position as an associate secretary for Europe, headquartered in Geneva. His experiences in Europe prepared him for his next position, which was the director of the bureau of information and publicity for the YMCA's International Committee, a position he took in 1924. In this capacity he conducted international institutes, which helped educate local associations on the work of the YMCA World Service.

In 1932 Hanson relocated to Chicago to become the western field secretary of the International Committee. Here he continued an active interest in international affairs and continued to educate on world citizenship and the World Service, as well as fundraising.

In 1939, Hanson retired from the YMCA and became a lecturer on international affairs. He continued his international travels and contributions to the YMCA up to his death in 1965.


3.6 Cubic Feet (9 boxes)


Material documenting Hanson's career with the YMCA, as well as his work as a professional speaker on international issues. Of particular interest are the journals, which cover his time in Europe working with the Foyers du Soldat during World War I.

Processing Information:

Material in this collection was formerly cataloged as part of the YMCA Biographical Files.

Processed by: Chan Harries, September 2004.

Catalog Record ID number: 4459114

An Inventory of his papers
Finding aid prepared by Chan Harries.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Kautz Family YMCA Archives Collecting Area