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Marvin Ludwig papers

Identifier: Y.USA.35


Personal materials contain correspondence, both personal and professional. Also included are speeches and writings for various organizations and publications, within and outside the YMCA.

Domestic YMCA service details Ludwig's work in the United States with the YMCA, including his tenure at the Marion, Ohio YMCA. Details of his work with various committees can also be found here, including the Archives Committee, area committees, the International Committee and the YMCA Fund, Inc.

Foreign YMCA service includes details of his extensive work with African YMCAs, especially in Ethiopia. Background material on social conditions in Ethiopia prior to the 1974 overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie and religious background are of particular interest in this series.


  • 1951-1997


Language of Materials


Use of Materials:

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Marvin Ludwig was born on August 29, 1926 in Sioux City, Iowa. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in physical education and has done graduate work in sociology and group work. He was awarded a Doctorate of Human Letters from George Williams College in 1975 and has also received a Doctorate of Technical Letters from Northwest Technical College.

His first professional position within the YMCA was as a youth director at the Marion, Ohio YMCA, a post he held from 1949-1954. From 1955-1968, Ludwig worked in Ethiopia as a YMCA World Service executive helping to expand that country's YMCA from one association in Addis Ababa to twenty-three centers in eighteen cities. Under his leadership, the organization became the first non-governmental organization to receive the Haile Selassie First Prize Trust Award for outstanding achievements in humanitarian activities. Another achievement of Ludwig's was the training of indigenous leadership, which eventually led to total Ethiopian leadership of the YMCA and the appointment of the first Ethiopian to serve as National Executive Secretary. Also during this time, five YMCA buildings were constructed with only three percent of the support coming from overseas.

In 1968 he became the executive director of YMCA education and income production for the International Committee, traveling extensively across the country raising money for World Service work.

In 1975 Ludwig became president of Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio. He stayed at this post until his retirement in 1994. During this time, he was still very active in YMCA committees and boards, including the Ohio/West Virginia area board from 1976-1980, the Midwest Field Committee from 1980-1990, the National Board from 1984-1992 and the International Committee from 1978-2001.


3.6 Cubic Feet (8 boxes)


Papers of Marvin Ludwig, documenting his work with the YMCA in the United States and Africa. The majority of the materials reflect Ludwig's interest in work with African YMCAs, especially the establishment in Ethiopian YMCA in the 1950s and 1960s and its re-establishment in the 1990s.


These documents are organized into the following sections:

  1. Personal Materials
  2. Domestic YMCA Service
  3. Foreign YMCA Service

Physical Location

See Detailed Description section for box listing.

Acquisition Information

Accession number: Y0030

Processing Information:

Audio/visual material removed from this collection include 178 photographs.

Processed by: Chan Harries, October 2005.

Additional material, mainly on Ethiopia, received late 2009 and added January 2010.

Catalog Record ID number: 4644196

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