Skip to main content

Records of YMCA work with related organizations

Identifier: Y.USA.64


Correspondence, reports, minutes, proposals, magazines, newspaper and journal articles, financial documents, manuals, pamphlets, yearbooks, program catalogs, building plans, histories and images among other records of the North American YMCA’s work with other organizations. The major topics of this collection include colleges, government agencies, community funds, social welfare, citizenship, peace work, war work, group work, YWCA relations, the White House and government agencies. Specific organizations mentioned include Springfield College, George Williams College, Estes Park Conference Center, the World Future Society, the World Council of Churches, the Girl Scouts, the Red Cross, The Inquiry, the Institute of Pacific Relations, the United Nations, the United Way, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and the World Federation of Democratic Youth. Government agencies include the US Department of Labor, the US Department of State, the National Council on Aging and the National Assembly of National Voluntary Health and Social Welfare Organizations.

Records concerning work with colleges comprise one of the largest segments of the collection. Institutions with programs specific to YMCA training, such as George Williams College and Springfield College, where secretaries were trained, and the Estes Park Conference Center, where the War Work training school was held feature most prominently. War work is also a major topic of the records related to the YMCA's work with the Red Cross, which include material related to the American Red Cross War Council, relief activities and other World War I related literature and activities.

YMCA relations with the YWCA is also highlighted in the collection, primarily discussing cooperation and the sharing of buildings as well as wartime cooperation, the status of women and the role of the YWCA in a changing era. War work within the collection also includes World War II and later. The Institute of Pacific Relations material greatly concerns North American relations with the East. The topic of peace is referred to through many different agencies, campaigns and conferences including but not limited to the United States Institute of Peace, the National Peace Academy Campaign, the National Peace Conference, the International Peace Conference, the Pact of Paris, Students Against the War and Disarmament Now.

Social welfare activity is discussed through many topics including group work, community planning, social change studies and human behavior symposiums. The subject of citizenship is largely covered through various conference reports, resolutions and agendas. Woodrow Wilson is specifically mentioned in regards to the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and the H. W. Wilson Companies publications. WIlson files are primarily in regards to education, public reference and research.


  • Creation: 1885-2001


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.


From almost immediately after its initial founding in 1851, the North American YMCA chose to work alongside other agencies for the benefit of their members and communities. Some of these organizations were closely tied to the YMCA through methodology and purpose while others were only distantly associated to the Y’s strategies and goals. Addressing topics such as social welfare, human rights, disarmament, and mental health, among others, they have worked alongside the YMCA, becoming a part of the North American YMCA’s network for many years. Some of the most prominent include the organizations below.

Estes Park Conference Center:An offshoot of the Rocky Mountain YMCA in Colorado, the Estes Park Conference Center contained 800 acres adjoining Rocky Mountain National Park. Through use of its outdoor space and recreational buildings it hosted many YMCA gatherings and conferences. It also hosted weekend and summer school programs involving war work training and the training of YMCA secretaries.

George Williams College:Founded in 1890, George Williams College started as the Young Men’s Christian Association Training School. Later it became the Secretarial Institute and Training of the Young Men’s Christian Associations and then the Young Men’s Christian Association College. During these years its sole function was the training of personnel for the YMCA. After 1933 an attempt was made to broaden the base of operation for the institution. It became co-educational, including programs for preparation in serving many youth agencies interested in social welfare, physical activities, informal education, and the building of character. It then changed its name to George Williams College. The YMCA remained monetarily tied to the college as well as a presence on its board of trustees and advisory committee.

The Inquiry:An organization founded in 1922 as a sort of freelance service, meeting ground and clearinghouse for religious and secular people. They studied the conditions of social conflict, maladjustment and how to make relationships and activities yield educative experiences. The YMCA attended conferences held by The Inquiry along with other religious organizations discussing the use of conferences and conventions, how to meet diverse needs of groups, theories behind education, training and deciding on courses of action, among other topics.

The Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR): In 1919 the American YMCA chose Honolulu as a site for a conference on common understanding and motivations of the Pacific people. In 1922 Frank C. Atherton, a YMCA layman, assumed responsibility for the conferences. He restructured them into a roundtable discussion concerning Asian and Pacific issues, involving important people from throughout the region. With the assistance of YMCA secretaries, J. Merle Davis and Charles F. Loomis, a founding session was made for a permanent, independent, international association. The IPR was officially founded in 1925 in an awareness of the United States' new role as a world power, and a belief that liberal democracy should be promoted throughout the world. To promote greater knowledge of issues related to the Pacific, the IPR supported conferences, research projects and publications. The Institute dissolved in 1960.

The National Assembly of National Voluntary Health and Social Welfare Organizations (NANVHSWO):In 1919 a committee of the American Association for Organizing Family Social Work met with representatives of the American National Red Cross to discuss how to avoid duplication of their efforts and help existing agencies better fulfill their functions. Executives representing twelve national social work organizations began monthly meetings in 1920 and organized the National Social Work Council (NSWC) in 1923. In a December 1945 meeting, the National Social Work Council became the National Social Welfare Assembly (NSWA). In 1967 the organization changed its name to the National Assembly for Social Policy and Development (NASPD) and in 1973 it changed its name again to the National Assembly of National Voluntary Health and Social Welfare Organizations (NANVHSWO). The organization changed its name once again in 2005 to the National Human Services Assembly (NHSA). The North American YMCA collaborated with the assembly on many programs and conferences, including the Taxonomy of Human Services, the National Collaboration for Youth, Colleagues of the Assembly and the National Juvenile Justice Program Collaboration.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA):In 1950 the National Social Welfare Assembly formed the National Committee on Aging which was focused on developing, implementing, and disseminating programs that improve the lives of older Americans with limited income and resources. It was renamed the National Council on the Aging (NCOA) in 1960. The North American YMCA worked with the NCOA on many community action programs including Project FIND, friendless, isolated, needy, disabled. This project identified the needs of the elderly poor, gathered information about their living conditions, facilitated their involvement in self help and created employment and volunteer opportunities.

The Red Cross:Since 1881, American Red Cross members and volunteers have been a part of The United States’ response to war, natural disaster and other human suffering. During World War I, Red Cross employees and volunteers provided medical and recreational services for the military at home and abroad and established a Home Service Program to help military families. In World War II, more than 104,000 nurses recruited by the American Red Cross served in military hospitals at home and overseas. Starting in WWI the YMCA’s National War Work Council worked alongside the Red Cross, erecting hospital buildings and providing religious services to patients. The YMCA has continued to work alongside the Red Cross during times of war and crisis and even incorporated Red Cross training into local YMCA’s programs.

Springfield College:Originally in 1885 Springfield College was founded as the School for Christian Workers. The School early in its history had three other names which included the YMCA Training School, the International YMCA Training School, and, later still, the International YMCA College. The School didn’t officially adopt the name “Springfield College” until 1954. The School enjoyed a long and productive collaboration with the YMCA, including courses and degrees dedicated to the training of YMCA secretaries, but never had any formal organizational ties to the YMCA movement.

The United Nations:The name "United Nations" was first used in the Declaration by United Nations of 1 January 1942. In 1945, representatives of 50 countries met at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter. The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945. The North American National Council of YMCAs utilized UN conferences for insight into international issues of significance, to acquire familiarity with resources for study and educational activity and to identify the role of the YMCA in international affairs. In 1968 the YMCA was asked to develop programs and manuals for the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The YMCA also participated in the development of many later programs and seminars that the UN was involved with. In 1995 the UN hosted YMCA day, celebrating the two groups’ 50 year involvement.

The YWCA:In 1860 the Ladies Christian Association was formed in New York City. “YWCA” was first used in Boston in 1866. The YWCA has been dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all and has been a key supporter of the military throughout its history. YMCAs and YWCAs have cooperated in joint programs and planning, use of one another’s facilities, joint building usage and occasionally the unification of the associations. The North American YMCA used consultative studies of the YWCA to develop a working relationship between the two organizations as well as to indicate a need for YMCA involvement in the development of personal leadership and growth of women and girls and the increasing of full family participation in the YMCA. YMCA involvement with the YWCA also includes assistance in supplementing YWCA programming.

Historical information is largely adapted and quoted from American Red Cross,, 2014; retrieved 05/12/2014, the Social Welfare History Project,, 2013; retrieved 05/12/2014, NCOA National Council on Aging,, 2014; retrieved 05/12/2014, UBC Hooper.pdf, retrieved 05/07/2014, Springfield College,, 2014; retrieved 05/07/2014, United Nations,, 2014; retrieved 05/06/2014, YWCA,, 2013; retrieved 05/06/2014, and from the collection.


23.8 Cubic Feet (31 boxes)


Correspondence, reports, minutes, proposals, magazines, newspaper and journal articles, financial documents, manuals, pamphlets, yearbooks, program catalogs, building plans, histories and images among other records of the North American YMCA’s work with other organizations, including the YWCA, the White House and other government agencies, colleges, community funds, and social welfare, citizenship, peace work, war work, and group work organizations.


These documents are organized into the following sections:

  1. Citizenship
  2. Red Cross
  3. National Council on Aging
  4. American Friends Service Committee
  5. Peace Committees
  6. Community Funds and Councils of America
  7. The Inquiry
  8. Girl Scouts
  9. Institute of Pacific Relations
  10. Group Work
  11. Social Welfare
  12. YMCA-YWCA Relations
  13. National Assembly
  14. George Williams College
  15. Springfield College
  16. Other YMCA Colleges and Conference Centers
  17. United Nations
  18. Subject Files


Records of George Williams College are separately cataloged in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives.

Additional records concerning the Estes Park Conference Center are available as part of YMCA Educational Work Records, separately cataloged in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives.

Processing Information:

Processed as part of Fast Processing Project II, Augutst 2009, as collection FP74. Material has been minimally processed. Folder descriptions may be general and material has not been grouped into series.

Catalog Record ID number: 9973950707701701

An Inventory of Its Records
Finding aid prepared by Lara Friedman-Shedlov and Melanie Doherty.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Kautz Family YMCA Archives Collecting Area