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Herbert Parker Lansdale, Jr. papers

Identifier: Y.USA.22


The bulk of the collection is correspondence written by and to Herb and his wife Jessie during their stay in Athens, Greece after Herb's retirement in 1972. Also included are personal materials, including extensive genealogical material, as well as circular letters sent from Athens, which describe the political climate there during the early 1970s. The development of the YMCA in Greece is documented in a series of correspondence and documents collected by Lansdale. The American Farm School in Thessaloniki, Greece, which was headed by Lansdale's son Bruce is also documented in this collection.


  • 1898-1989
  • Majority of material found within ( 1955-1979).


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.


Herbert Parker Lansdale, Jr. was born on March 7, 1898 in Baltimore, Maryland. His father, Herbert Parker Lansdale, Sr. was the general secretary of the Rochester, New York YMCA from 1911 until his retirement in 1929. His mother was Lida R. Eppley Lansdale. His only sibling, Robert T. Lansdale (1900-1980), served as the New York Commissioner of Social Welfare under Governor Thomas E. Dewey from 1943 until 1953.

Lansdale graduated from East High School, Rochester, NY in 1915. He attended Oberlin College, where he received his B.A. in 1919 and his Masters in 1920. Honorary degrees bestowed upon him in later life included Doctors of Humanities from Beaver College in 1954, Springfield College in 1957 and Oberlin College in 1959; and an LL.D. from George Williams College in 1957.

Lansdale spent the majority of his professional career working with the YMCA. His positions included: education director of the Worcester, MA, YMCA (1920-1925); general secretary of the Saloniki, Greece, YMCA (1925-1931); national director of the Greek YMCAs (1927-1939); general secretary of the Rochester, NY, YMCA (1939-1952); executive secretary of the International Committee of YMCAs of the United States and Canada (1952-1957); general secretary of the United States National Council of YMCAs (1957-1964); secretary of the Rochester Community Chest (now called the United Way) (1964-1966); and as assistant to the president of Colgate Rochester Divinity School (1967-1972).

Lansdale married his first wife, Marjorie M. McKay in 1922 (d. March 1950). She was the mother of his two sons, Dr. Herbert Parker Lansdale III (known as "Parker") and Bruce McKay Lansdale. Parker Lansdale graduated from Monroe High School, Rochester, NY in 1942 and went on to graduate from Yale Divinity School as an ordained minister. His life's work has concentrated on the YMCA. Bruce Lansdale also attended Monroe High School, as well as the University of Rochester, from which he graduated in 1946. He served as Director of the American Farm School in Thessaloniki, Greece from 1954 to 1990.

Lansdale's second wife was Mrs. Grace H. Hartley (d. March 1953). Her children were Peter and Ann. His third wife was Mrs. Jessie L. Howell, who survived him. Her daughter by her first marriage was Jacqueline.

Herbert Parker Lansdale, Jr. died on September 13, 1988 in Palo Alto, CA, where he had retired.

Biographical information is quoted from the finding aid for the Herbert Parker Lansdale, Jr. Papers, 1863-1982, at the University of Rochester River Campus Libraries.


3.8 Cubic Feet (5 boxes)


Geneaological material, correspondence, speeches and other largely personal materials from Lansdale's work with the YMCA in the United States and Greece.


These documents are organized into the following sections:

  1. Personal Materials
  2. Correspondence
  3. YMCA Work
  4. Greece


Photographs depicting Lansdale's extended family, Greece, and various celebrations in his honor were separated from the papers and are available in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives Photograph Collection.

The following related materials are available at other archival repositories:

Herbert Parker Lansdale, Jr. Papers, 1863-1982. University of Rochester Library. Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

Processing Information:

Some material in this collection was formerly catalogued as part of the YMCA biographical files.

Audio/visual materials removed from this collection include 353 photographs, 11 negatives and 1 plate.

Processed by: Chan Harries, December 2004. Additional material added by Ryan Bean, April 2007.

Catalog Record ID number: 4487903

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