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Philip A. Conard and family papers

Identifier: Y.USA.62


Material compiled by Lois Conard Gassler and later sorted by her daughter Florence Gassler Scattergood, documenting family history, especially the careers of Lois's father, Philip Arthur Conard and her mother, Florence Mary Smith Conard, as well as general family matters. The largest section of the collection consists of chronologically arranged correspondence exchanged between Conard family members, documenting Philip Conard's work with the YMCA and the American Field Service Committee (AFSC), as well as the travels, interests, and activities of his wife Florence Smith Conard and their three daughters as they grew up, attended school in Montevideo and Ohio, married, and had children. Material organized by family member further documents their particular interests and activities. Highlights include letters written by Florence Conard Wainwright during the period of her relief work with the AFSC during the Spanish Civil War; material documenting Lois Conard Gassler's studies at Oberlin College and the New York School of Social Work; material related to Florence Smith Conard's research and writing on South American folk tales; and Philip Conard's papers related to the Montevideo YMCA, the YMCA camp at Piriápolis, the South American Federation of YMCAs, and his post-retirement AFSC work during World War II. The papers also include a collection of brochures, pamphlets, magazines, and other publications on Uruguay and South America, mainly written for tourists.

The collection includes both paper/analog and digital files. The digital files consist primarily of scans of documents made by the donor, including scans of documents that are included in the collection in paper form as well as material that was retained by the donor in its original form.


  • 1866-1982
  • Majority of material found within ( 1930s-1960s)


Language of Materials

English, Spanish

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.


Philip Arthur Conard(1875-1958) was born on a farm near Monticello, Illinois, the second of ten children. He graduated from the University of Illinois, where he had been active in the student YMCA, and took on the position of secretary there after graduating. In 1906 The International Committee of YMCAs of the USA and Canada offered him the opportunity to go to South America to investigate the possibility opening a new YMCA. At that time there were two Ys in South America, in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. Philip was charged with determining in where the new Y should be launched. He spent two years in Buenos Aires on that assignment, and also assisted the local YMCA on its financial campaign and learned Spanish. In 1909 he went to Montevideo, Uruguay to organize the establishment of a YMCA there. After successfully launching the Montevideo Association, Philip went on to serve as Continental Secretary for the South American Federation of YMCAs. He also directed the Instituto Technico, the South American YMCA training school, from 1922 to 1927 and founded the International YMCA Camp at Piriápolis. He retired in 1940, but continued to reside in Uruguay with his family, and was recalled for emergency service more than once after that. During World War II, he served for several years as field representative of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Portugal, Spain, and North Africa.

Philip Conard married Florence Mary Smith, whom he had met while both were students at the University of Illinois, in 1915. The couple had three daughters, Florence, Lois, and Alice Fay. The family rented a large house in Montevideo and all three girls attended Crandon Institute, a private bilingual girls' school with a strong religious focus and social service commitment. After Florence Mary died in 1945, Philip married Jennie Reid ("A'Jen"), a longtime friend of the couple who had moved to Montevideo in 1914 to take the position as director of Crandon. Philip died in Montevideo at age 82. Jennie passed away in 1964 in New Jersey, of complications from Parkinson's Disease.

Florence Mary Smith Conard(1877-1945), was born in Elbridge, New York, daughter of Elizabeth Hutchinson Smith and George R. Smith, a Presbyterian minister. Highly educated, Florence studied Latin at the University of Illinois, where she first met Philip Conard. For fifteen years she had a career in teaching, both at the high school level and as a member of the faculty at Hunter College in New York City. She believed strongly in opportunities for women and participated in the Suffrage movement. She completed her academic career at Columbia University, earning her Ph.D before embarking a ship to Brazil where she married Conard at age 38. The marriage was opposed by her parents, who had expected her to remain a spinster teacher and take care of her sister Bertha, who was intellectually disabled following a childhood illness.

Florence's scholarly studies included Latin, English, writing, and researching early champions of women's rights. While in South America, she translated many folk stories from Spanish to English and study materials from English to Spanish. She also taught English at Crandon Institute and was active in early welfare projects such as the "Semano del Nino" that helped educate new mothers on questions of nutrition and child care. In her 50s, she took up watercolor painting, and her keen interest in botany led her to paint many definitive pictures of indigenous wildflowers which were published in botanical journals and YMCA materials. She passed away in 1945 of cancer.

Florence Elizabeth Conard Wainwright (1916-1951) was the oldest child of Philip and Florence Mary Conard. After graduating from Crandon Institute in Montevideo, she attended Oberlin College in Ohio and then traveled to Europe, where she intended to study in Madrid, Spain with a scholarship. Just a day after her ship departed from New York, however, the Spanish Civil War broke out. After spending the summer with family friends in France waiting (unsuccessfully) to enter Spain, she returned to the United States to earn a masters degree at Wellesley College. She spent a year teaching English at Ogontz School, near Philadelphia and was then was offered a position by the AFSC doing relief work with children in Murcia, Spain and later in Madrid. She met Englishman George W. Wainwright in Madrid, where he was working for Shell Oil. The couple married and settled in Madrid. Florence died suddenly in 1951 from complications following a minor surgical procedure.

Lois Orilla Conard Gassler(1918-2012) was born in Montevideo and attended Crandon Institute with her sisters. She graduated from Oberlin College and received her M.S. in social work from Columbia University. She served as a child welfare worker for the Philadelphia Children's Aid Society prior to her marriage to Dr. Robert K. Gassler in 1944. Following her husband's active duty in the U.S. Navy and his specialty training in orthopedics, the Gasslers moved to Texarkana before settling in Waco in 1953. She was active in and held leadership roles in the Pan American Round Table, the McLennan County Medical Auxiliary, Planned Parenthood, the YMCA, and St. Alban’s Episcopal Church.

Alice Fay Conard Grannon ("Beba") (1920-1995) was born in Rochester, New York while the family was on furlough to the United States. After attending junior college in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she went on to complete her undergraduate education at the University of Iowa. She married Charles Grannon in 1941.

Biographical information was taken from the collection.


3 Cubic Feet (4 boxes)

1.61 Gigabytes (1146 digital files)


Correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, and other papers compiled by Lois Conard Gassler and later sorted by her daughter Florence Gassler Scattergood, documenting family history, especially the careers of Lois's father, Philip Arthur Conard and her mother, Florence Mary Smith Conard.


These documents are organized into the following sections:

  1. Family Background and Correspondence
  2. Florence Elizabeth Conard Wainwright
  3. Lois Orilla Conard Gassler
  4. Alice Fay Conard Grannon
  5. Florence Mary Smith Conard
  6. Philip Arthur Conard
  7. Uruguayan and South American Printed Material
  8. Digital Files


Additional information on Philip Arthur Conard may be found in the YMCA Biographical Files, separately cataloged in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives.

See also the Records of YMCA International Work in Uruguay, separately cataloged in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Lara Friedman~Shedlov, January 2015. Digital files were transferred from the media on which they were donated (flash drive and CD-ROMs) to server storage space associated with the accession number Y20140321_Conard.

Catalog Record ID number: 9973949303801701

An Inventory of Their Papers
Finding aid prepared by Lara Friedman~Shedlov.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Collecting Area Details

Contact The Kautz Family YMCA Archives Collecting Area