General and administrative files
SCOPE AND CONTENTS OF THE COLLECTION
The collection is comprised of administrative files of the national body of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in the United States, especially minutes and related documents of its various governing bodies (the International Commitee, the National Board, the National Council, and the Executive Board), as well as numerous committees. Also included are subject files, reports, and studies on various topics, and many conference and convention records. The collection primarily includes material in analog / paper-based form, but does contain a small amount of digital material.
- YMCA of the USA (Organization)
- Young Men's Christian Associations of North America. International Committee (Organization)
- National Board of the Young Men's Christian Associations. (Organization)
- National Council of the Young Men's Christian Associations of the United States of America (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
Analog (non-digital) material open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room. The digital files are available upon request. Please contact the Kautz Family YMCA Archives to arrange access to these 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.
HISTORY OF THE YMCA OF THE USA
The YMCA of the USA is the national body of the U.S. American arm of the Young Men's Christian Association. Organized June 6, 1844 in London, England, the YMCA was initially intended to be a young businessmen's organization dedicated to evangelism, social welfare, and relief services. Originally this evangelizing took the form of libraries, lecture courses, and social activities. The first North American chapters were established in 1851 in Montreal and Boston. The idea quickly took root and by the time the first "Annual Convention of Young Men's Christian Associations of the United States and British Provinces" was held in 1854 there were fourteen American associations present.
The YMCA in America continued to grow and take on a character of its own. In America, with its large immigrant populations, the associations were focused on "the promotion of evangelical religion, the cultivation of Christian sympathy, and the improvement of the mental and spiritual condition of young men." Throughout the 1850s, local Ys would host lectures on a variety of topics to stimulate the minds of young men and would send out men to preach on street corners in order to promote Christian values. In 1856 the Brooklyn, New York Association instituted a physical education program in order to provide a more holistic approach to the development of young men. Also in 1856 the first bricks were laid for what was to become the Student YMCAs.
Throughout the years the nature of the YMCA's work grew more complex until the American Civil War (1861-1865). Many local associations did not survive this conflict and those that did experienced severe declines in membership. The YMCA, with the New York City association taking the lead, quickly rebounded. New YMCAs were established to serve specific populations, including African Americans, students, and railroad workers. YMCA colleges were founded and specific departments such as boy's work and the industrial division were formed.
Local associations have always maintained administrative and financial autonomy. Starting in 1854, annual national conventions, held under the auspices of the Executive Committee, were in charge of coordination on the national level. In 1879 the Executive Committee changed its name to the International Committee and in 1883 was incorporated as the permanent, centralized agency for the American YMCA movement. This was possible due to the many programs established and the number of associations established in the United States and Canada.
In 1912 the Canadian associations split from the International Committee and formed their own organization. In 1923 the domestic work of the International Committee was taken over by the newly formed General Board (later National Board). The International Committee continued until 1936 when it was absorbed by the National Council. In 1981, following the move of the headquarters from New York to Chicago, the organization incorporated under the name YMCA of the USA. The various name changes reflect the complexity and growth of this national organization. Each time a new initiative was begun or an national crisis was faced the YMCA in America reflected these changes within its national structure.
91.9 Cubic Feet (159 boxes and 24 trays)
21.9 Megabytes (374 files)
Language of Materials
Primarily administrative files of the national body of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in the United States, especially minutes and related documents of its various governing bodies (the International Commitee, the National Board, the National Council, and the Executive Board), as well as numerous committees.
Other Finding Aids
A complete listing of the individual digital files included in the collection is available from the Kautz Family YMCA Archives
Processed as part of Fast Processing Project FP162, 2019. Material has been minimally processed and only loosely grouped into series.
Accession number Y20151113 added May 2022.
Catalog Record ID number: 9976470783001701
- National Board of the Young Men's Christian Associations.
- YMCA of the USA
- Young Men's Christian Associations of North America. International Committee
- Young Men's Christian associations -- United States -- Administration. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- GENERAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE FILES:
- An Inventory of Records
- October 2019
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
Collecting Area Details
Contact The Kautz Family YMCA Archives Collecting Area