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Records of YMCA international work in India

Identifier: Y.USA.9-2-40


The collection includes material concerning YMCA work in India, in addition to some records from Burma, Ceylon, and Pakistan. The collection includes material dating from 1854 to 1995; however, the majority of the material was created before the 1960s – with sparse material from the 1980s and 1990s.

The records documenting YMCA work in India are primarily composed of typed and handwritten correspondence and quarterly/yearly reports written by foreign secretaries, as well as correspondence from members of the International Committee. The collection also includes official publications (pamphlets and bound books), maps (paper and canvas), building schematics, photographs, newspaper articles, histories, and financial records.

The collection contains records that detail the personal correspondence of YMCA staff, association operations, boys' work, physical education, rural development, religious education, reports on conventions, demographic reports, reports on religion in India, and reports on political issues within India. The collection also includes material documenting special YMCA programs within India, such as work with the military, industrial education, railroad work, student conferences, and adult education programs.


  • 1854-1995
  • Majority of material found within ( 1880s-1960s)


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.


Although several attempts to establish YMCAs in India were made dating back to 1854, the first successful YMCAs were launched in 1873 in Trivandrum and in 1875 in Calcutta, Bombay, and Lahore. In 1889, the International Committee sent a young American named David McConaughy to Madras to serve as the first foreign secretary in India. McConaughy encouraged the development of YMCA associations throughout the subcontinent and held the first National Convention in 1891, which resulted in the formation of the National Council of India, Burma, and Ceylon.

By 1891, there were 35 associations throughout India with 1,905 members – many of which were established prior to McConaughy's arrival. The associations implemented the YMCA's fourfold spiritual, social, mental and physical programs, while focusing on evangelism among Indian students. In 1896, the International Committee sent Sherwood Eddy to conduct student work; however, Eddy found that the students were suspicious of Western rule and religion, leading him to focus his attention on India's middle and lower classes by traveling throughout the countryside preaching and offering medical treatment. In 1912, a Scot named J.N. Farquhar was appointed as literary secretary of the Indian National Council. Farquhar made significant contributions to YMCA work in India by writing and editing a series of publications that compared the leading Indian faiths to Christianity.

In 1915, Indian YMCAs were staffed by 44 foreign secretaries – more than any other nation except China. The associations offered programs for Indian railroad workers and the military. However, one of the YMCA's most notable contributions in India was their rural development work, which was first begun by an Indian named K. T. Paul in 1913. Paul trained young men to organize YMCA associations in rural villages with the aim of promoting thrift, increasing the financial independence of villagers through cottage industries and improved agricultural techniques, as well as encouraging physical fitness. Importantly, Paul established a system of cooperative credit societies that freed the rural poor from the grips of moneylenders. The microloan programs educated villagers on the powers of combined action and won many converts among India's lower classes. Paul's appointment was part of a larger plan of "Indianization" promoted by the influential General Secretary Edward Clark Carter who believed that the future of the YMCA in India was dependent on the development of independent Indian leadership.

The First World War led to the reduction of foreign and Indian YMCA staff, which was crippling for some associations and contributed to the National Council's increasing financial debt. After the war, YMCA physical education staff helped to form India's first Olympic team in 1924. In addition, the National Council focused on improving its relationship with individual associations, and continued its rural development work and the traditional fourfold program. The rise of the Swaraj self-government movement included many Indian YMCA staff, and in 1927, the YMCA was accused of favoring Indian nationalism because of its promotion of Indianization – despite the National Council's insistence of its neutrality on the issue.

The Great Depression once again reduced the number of foreign secretaries in India and inflicted financial hardship on the National Council. During World War II, the YMCA continued its work with the military and aided Burmese refuges in India. Following the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, the YMCA's governing body became the National Council of India, Pakistan, and Ceylon; several years later, after the formation of national organizations in Burma, Pakistan, and Ceylon, the organization became the National Council of India. By the end of 1955, following years of increased native leadership, there were five North American secretaries serving in India.

Through the late 1950s and 1960s, foreign aid contributed by the Buildings for Brotherhood Campaign led to the construction of numerous YMCA buildings throughout India. In 1969, the National Council of India proposed a new objective of becoming financially independent, which was supported by local fundraising and revenue generated by tourist hostels throughout the country – although foreign donations continued to support some special projects within India. In addition, the YMCA began to implement new programs, including industrial training, family planning, and adult education classes.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the YMCA in India made attempts to further expand its mission to new areas of the country – especially rural villages. The rural development program continued its work throughout India, and was supported by matching funds from USID. By 1982, there were 250 YMCA associations in India, 200 of which were located in rural or semirural areas.

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

Anderson, Howard Elmer (1911-1913) Gray, John Henry (1908-1919, 1928-1939) Peterson, Harold Hill (1921-1933)
Arnold, Theodore Wayne (1950-1955) Greene, Mack McGuire (1960) Popley, Herbert Arthur (1916-1932)
Bagot, Lindsay Beresford (1946-1947) Guyton, Harold Lee (1944-1946) Purves, Jack Alexander (1944-1947)
Barber, Benjamin R. (1899-1913) Hadley, Ross Albert (1910-1914) Reynolds, Frank Humphrey (1905-1910)
Barling, Stanley Nelson (1921-1934) Harlow, Milton Wilberforce (1917-1924) Robson, John Stanley (1915-1919)
Beall, Harold Gething (1915-1928) Hart, Henry Garfield (1915-1917, 1920-1927) Sarvis, Guy W. (1901-1903)
Beals, Lester H. (1899-1901) Harte, Archibald Clinton (1908-1915) Saunders, Kenneth James (1912-1921)
Becknell, Harvey E. (1926-1931) Hatch, Duane Spencer (1916-1937) Schaetti, Henry M. (1910-1943)
Berry, Elmer H. (1938-1939) Haworth, Lester C. (1916-1917) Segard, Christian Peter (1914-1919)
Boyd, Alden Work (1928-1929) Healy, Warren Dwight (1919-1932) Shelton, Melvin Robert (1913-1918)
Bryce, George Pardon (1914-1920) Heinrichs, Waldo Huntley (1915-1932) Shumaker, Don Cameron (1913-1919)
Buck, Harry Crowe (1919-1943) Herman, Harold Clyde (1911-1926, 1932-1935) Simonds, Everett James (1916-1918)
Burr, Lawrence Clay (1947-1953) Horne, Harold Hardy (1947-1954) Slack, Frank Van Hart (1909-1922)
Callan, Joseph C. (1905-1920) Hume, Wilson McClaughry (1913-1952) Smith, George Benton (1898-1904)
Carter, Edward Clark (1902-1908, 1911-1919) Jessop, William Mort (1910-1913) Smith, George Haslam (1912-1919)
Clarke, Dumont, Jr. (1909-1911) Jewett, Earle Melvin (1943-1946) Smith, Oliver (1944-1946)
Coan, Frank Speer (1919-1932) Johnson, Frank L. (1920) Smith, Wilbert Barnes (1914-1919)
Cooper, Richard Daniel (1952-1961, 1965-1970) Keith, Henry James (1904-1906) Stanchfield, Oliver Otis (1913-1925)
Craig, Garland (1918-1924) Kennedy, Melville Talbot (1912-1925) Stanley, John Wistar (1915-1929)
Danielson, Andrew John (1927-1932) Larsen, Lars Peter (1899-1910) Steintahl, F.W. (1900-1913)
Danner, Paul Rutledge (1913-1917) Lawrenson, Frank Aubrey Wilson (1908-1910, 1911-1914) Stenger, Robert William (1949-1962)
Davis, Raymond (1894-1896) Mathers, James (1912-1920) Stockwell, Albert P. (1895-1898)
Day, Sherwood Sunderland (1912-1919) McCarty, Wilford Clark (1922-1924) Tebben, Alfred Harrison (1919-1922)
Dewick, Eward Chisholm (1926-1934) McClain, Bovia Hunt (1912-1926) Walter, Howard Arnold (1912-1918)
Dixon, Leonard Alexander (1912-1915, 1919-1931) McClelland, Dalton Finley (1915-1945) Ward, Arthur Allen (1906-1909)
Doud, Harry Gardner (1904-1921) McConaughy, David (1889-1902) Ward, William Earl Dodge (1916-1932)
Dunderdale, John H. (1935-1962) McConnell, Joseph Jasper, Jr. (1912-1921) Weber, Frederick (1921-1934)
Earl, Edwin Charles Magary (1919-1931) McGregor, Daniel Arthur (1907-1912) Webster, Charles Robert (1913-1922)
Eddy, George Sherwood (1896-1915) Michel, Frederick J. (1904-1910) White, Harry Walter (1908-1919)
Elliot, William Emroy (1911-1923) Miller, Alvah Leslie (1912-1935) White, J. Campbell (1893-1902)
Ewing, Robert Logan (1905-1913) Moffat, Colin Smith (1945-1947) White, Wilbert W. (1896-1898)
Farquhar, John Nicol (1902-1923) Moffat, Elbert Marston (1911-1916) Whitehair, Charles (1912-1914)
Fletcher, Clifton Pliny (1919-1922) Morris, Alfred George (1946-1948) Wiens, Rudolf Peter (1943-1945)
Ford, Norman Franklin (1954-1966) Mott, John Livingstone (1920-1931) Wilder, Robert Parmelee (1899-1902)
Forgie, Andrew Wallace (1927-1935) Murray, J. Lovell (1902-1907) Williams, Garfield Frank (1908-1910)
Fowler, James Hartley (1915-1921) Noehren, Arthur Groman (1915-1928) Williamson, J. Rutter (1900-1901)
Freeman, Floyd Conger (1912-1916) Ormond, John Douglas (1917-1923) Wilson-Lawrenson, F.A. (1911-1914)
Gibson, Robert Godfrey (1944-1946) Park, Andrew Perry (1915-1927) Wishard, Glenn Porter (1932-1933)
Gilbert, Frred M. (1902-1904) Paterson, Charles Stiven (1904-1947) Wood, F.H. (1892-1893)
Glunkler, Herman (1913-1919) Patton, T. Duncan (1902-1905) Worman, Eugene Clark (1910-1929)
Golden, Frederic Stanley (1903-1908) Payne, Howard John (1927-1932) Wright, William McKendee (1913-1917)
Goodwin, Carl Henry (1922-1928) Peacock, Arthur Hilton (1946-1950) Wybourn, Edbrooke Sidney (1951-1958)
Grace, Archibald Hew (1900-1908) Peterson, Dean W. (1913-1918)
Historical information largely adapted from the collection, as well as from World 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 LaTourette.


40.6 Cubic Feet (101 boxes)


Correspondence, reports, pamphlets, maps, financial records, building records, and other material documenting YMCA international work in India, in addition to some records from Burma, Ceylon, and Pakistan.

Physical Location

See Detailed Description section for box listing.


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

Records of YMCA work in Pakistan, Burma, and Ceylon/Sri Lanka are separately cataloged in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives.

Processing Information:

Processed as part of Fast Processing Project II, March 2009, as collection FP014. Material has been minimally processed. Folder descriptions may be general and material has not been grouped into series.

Catalog Record ID number: 6414816

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

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Kautz Family YMCA Archives Collecting Area