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Records of YMCA international work in the Philippines

Identifier: Y.USA.9-2-10


The records of YMCA work in the Philippines consist of correspondence and reports of the foreign secretaries; annual reports; and financial records, including war claims and transfer of property records. Records of approximately fifteen local associations, primarily building records, are also included, as well as records of specific programs and activities, especially rural reconstruction work. There are also some records of the Army-Navy work, histories, issues of periodicals, pamphlets, and photos. Much of the material from the 1970s onwards concerns the transfer of property owned by the International Committee (of YMCAs of the United States) to the Filipino YMCA and support of YMCA-sponsored development projects around the country.


  • 1901-1990
  • Majority of material found within ( 1902-1980).


Language of Materials


Use of Materials:

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The work of the YMCA in the Philippines began in 1898 with the arrival of American YMCA secretaries with the American army in Manila during the Spanish-American War. In the beginning the work was largely serving American military personnel and civilians and later developed into an Army-Navy YMCA. William A.. Tener, the first secretary sent to the area by the International Committee, arrived in the Philippines in 1907. He was joined a year later by James E. Groves. Early in 1910, Elwood S. Brown arrived in Manila as physical director and soon wrote urging the necessity of various facilities, including a student building for Filipinos, an athletic field, an additional wing to the building constructed in 1908 for the American-European Association, and a building for a city Association for Filipinos. (Brown went on to make significant contributions to the Association's physical education work in the region, and was the leading spirit bringing into being the Far Eastern Games, first held in Manila in 1913.) With the help of Tener and John R. Mott, who raised additional money in the U.S., funds were obtained which made possible the erection and furnishing of the city YMCA and student branch. Partly as an outcome of the success of the financial campaign, the Young Men's Christian Association of the Philippine Islands was organized and incorporated in Manila in 1911. A permanent National Board was created in 1925, and by 1926, the Association had over 6000 members and nearly fifty Filipino secretaries. The first Filipino national secretary, Domingo C. Bascara, was appointed in 1940. The Filipino movement is notable for having been the first major YMCA in Asia to become completely indiginous in active full time staff.

While the 1920s and 1930s saw significant growth in the Filipino Association (despite the financial difficulties of the Depression), the onset of World War II nearly wiped out of those gains. In December 1941 Manila fell, and E. Stanton Turner, who had been a key leader in the Association since his arrival in 1915, was interned. The invading Japanese attempted to co-opt Association, but the Filipino secretaries refused, insisting that the YMCA was not a political body. In the course of Japanese evacuation of Manila which followed the advance of the victorious army, scores of thousands of the inhabitants of the city were slain by the retreating forces, and in the general holocaust the equipment and the buildings of the YMCA were either completely lost or very badly damaged. In the islands as a whole, seventeen of the eighteen buildings were destroyed.

Despite the crippling blow dealt by the war, the Association recovered surprisingly quickly in the following years. With money raised in both the United States and the Philippines, as well as assistance from the World Youth Fund, buildings were restored and re-equipped, and new buildings were constructed and programs launched. In 1947, Turner reported that there were more Hi-Ys, Y's Men's Clubs, parents' associations, student associations, and community work than before the war; and that throughout the islands about 200,000 men and boys were being served weekly. By 1951 the Filipino YMCA had a registered membership of 14,296, a staff of 43, and 1,245 laymen serving in one or another capacity. Eight buildings were completed , there were three others for which money was available, and funds were being raised for three more. Just two years later, membership had more than doubled to 30,020 in sixteen branches.

Among the notable works and contributions of the YMCA in the Philippines were the organization of the first training class for schools in physical education; establishment of the first law school in English, now the College of Law of the University of the Philippines; conduct of the first Far Eastern Athletic Meet, the precursor of the Asian Games; organization of the first chartered Boy Scouts troop for Filipino boys; conduct of the first student conferences and first Rural Development Youth Work Camps; organization of the first National Fund Campaigns; and, establishment of the first gymnasia and swimming pools for Filipinos. The Association won international acclaim for its summer camps. Started in 1953, the philosophy of these programs was to help improve living conditions of the people in the villages and to awaken among the future professionals of the country a sense of responsibility for the welfare of their fellows. The Filipino Y also started the Rizal Youth Leadership Training Institute in 1963. Each year, it offered an intensive training in Christian democratic leadership to about 100 college students who were selected on the basis of scholastic achievement, moral character, and leadership potential.

In 1971 the national organization was restructured as a federation, decentralizing the authority of the central office and increasing local autonomy for its 22 member associations. Under the new structure, local branches, now incorporated as independent corporations, could acquire and own property.

The following is a list of individuals who served as YMCA secretaries in the Philippines, along with their dates of service:

Barnes, Henry Blencoe (1924-1927) Lewis, Charles Mason (1929-1934, 1939-1945)
Berner, Harold Washington (1935-1937) Long, Golden Dice (1913-1917)
Blyth, James Allison (1917-1918) Long, John Franklin (1952-1958)
Brown, Elwood Stanley (1910-1918) Love, Harry W. (1919-1922)
Calkins, George G. (1916-1919) Maxwell, John Truitt (1921-1929)
Carroll, L. Earl (1930-1933) Mayer, Walter Cyrus (1916-1917)
Collins, Zerah C. (1909-1915) Mihailoff, Vladimir Anatol (1937-1945)
Douwsma, Gerrit Ben (1948-1954) Morill Alfred Truman (1914-1917)
Erdman, Charles P. (1933-1935) Nestle, Mark Howard (1930-1937)
Forgrave, William Matthew (1920-1922) Pronko, Stephen M (1926-1934)
Fraser, Harry Carleton (1910-1916) Rice, George Ernest (1911-1913)
Frazee, Charles Clifford (1916-1920) Rudman, Arthur (1906)
Goss, George Edward (1913-1916) Schwan, Louis Alvin (1954-1955)
Groves, James Morgan (1908-1915) Smith, Roy Glenn (1945-1952)
Haag, Howard Lee (1936-1942) Tener, William Allen (1906-1916)
Hall, Richard Mant (1920-1932) Turner, Everett Stanton (1915-1952)
Harding, Harold Park (1923-1933) Wishard, Glenn Porter (1937-1945)
Jackson, Frank Avery (1898-1900)
Historical information largely adapted and quoted fromWorld Service: A History of the Foreign Work and World Service of the Young Men's Christian Associations of the United States and Canada,(New York: Association Press, 1957) by Kenneth Scott Latourette, the YMCA of the Philippines web site ( and the collection.


9.9 Cubic Feet (27 boxes)


Correspondence, reports, financial and property records, and printed material documenting YMCA international work in the Philippines, including material on local associations, Army-Navy work, and rural reconstruction.


Biographical information on many of the secretaries involved YMCA work in the Philippines (see list of individuals in the historical note) is available in the YMCA Biographical Files, separately cataloged in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives.

Processing Information:

Processed as part of Fast Processing Project II, October 2010, as collection FP015. Material has been minimally processed. Folder descriptions may be general and material has not been grouped into series.

Catalog Record ID number: 6219340

An Inventory of Its Records
Finding aid prepared by Lara Friedman~Shedlov.
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