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YMCA Archives

      Doris Brossard

      Seeking control

      World War I, the Great Depression, and immigration all contributed to a growing number of people who were unattached — unmarried and not linked to communities in significant ways. To study these single people, most of whom were men, Doris Brossard, a doctoral student of modern U.S. history, gender, and women’s history at Rutgers University, recently came to the University Libraries to access the Social Welfare History Archives and the Kautz Family YMCA Archives.
      Ryan Bean

      Y archivist propels critical conversations

      By Allison Campbell-Jensen On March 19, Reference and Outreach Archivist Ryan Bean will introduce the idea of global racism to the World Alliance of the...
      YMCA World War I volunteer Punch Card

      Decoding history

      In all, 25,926 men and women served during World War I with the YMCA — in the United States and globally — caring for the mental, spiritual, and physical needs of the troops. Each person had a punch card laden with data, including name, gender, age, marital status, and more. The cards, part of the U's YMCA Archives, are being decoded through Zooinverse, a crowdsourcing platform, and they are a potential treasure trove for researchers.
      Seal of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice

      Anthony Comstock, the YMCA, and the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice

      Anthony Comstock is well-known as the instigator of the Comstock Law, which was passed by the United States in 1873 in an effort to stop the shipment and sale of “obscene materials” through the U.S. mail. Less well known is the role played by the Young Men’s Christian Association of the City of New York — now the YMCA of Greater New York — in making Comstock’s vision a reality.
      “Health Pays Dividends” YMCA Public Health Campaign, circa 1916. Credit: Kautz Family YMCA Archives,P846

      Now Online! Records of YMCA work in China

      Significant portions of the records of YMCA international work in China — one of the richest and most heavily used collections at the Libraries' Kautz Family YMCA Archives — is now freely available online.
      Brianna Lane Nofil PhD Candidate, Columbia University

      Chambers Fellows visit the archives

      Four research fellows are now using the Social Welfare History Archives and Kautz Family YMCA Archives with assistance from the Clarke Chambers Fellowship. The fellowships fund travel to the archives for dissertation writers and early career scholars. The first Chambers fellowship was awarded in 1992 and, to date, 126 fellows have visited the archives.  
      Photo of Robert R. McBurney, the “first paid secretary” of the YMCA sitting at his desk.

      The ‘Y’ as Social Welfare Agency: Letters to the New York City YMCA 1852-1880

      Louise A. Merriam Archivist, YMCA of Greater New York In the 19th century, the CEO of the New York City YMCA, then called a secretary, spent...
      An image of the "People on the Move" exhibit showing the title banner, display cases and suitcases.

      Happy Anniversary!

      The Immigration History Research Center Archives, with our colleague Immigration History Research Center, celebrates 50 years this fall at the University of Minnesota.
      Trench library in France

      YMCA Reading Rooms and Public Libraries Today

      When we think of a library, we may picture the typical modern library, a community space with books and other publications available to the public for study. However, many of the libraries we know today were preceded by the early libraries and reading rooms of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA).
      Cover of brochure titled "Confronting Racism in the YMCA" describing the National Conference of Black and Non-White YMCA Laymen and Staff (BAN-WYS) circa 1968-1975

      162 Years in the making: 5 Black, African and African Americans who pushed the...

      The context and understanding which the study of archives provides allow researchers to discern the historical underpinnings of current events, and the evolution of ideas over time. Within the Kautz Family YMCA Archives, the history of Black, African, and African Americans within the organization reveals contributions that have strengthened and clarified the scope and breadth of the YMCA.
      A photo of the front of the historic Hangzhou YMCA building, constructed in 1918 and still used today as offices and a hotel/hostel

      Celebrating and Connecting with the Chinese YMCA

      Archivists are frequently called upon to preserve and provide access to the evidence of history, but we seldom have the opportunity to help make it. As part of our work, we document many communities, but less often do we have the opportunity to connect and cooperate with these communities to help them tap into their history and leverage it.
      YMCA Archive image of a basketball team at the Tung Wen Institute in China.

      2014 Clarke Chambers Travel Fellowship recipients visit the Social Welfare History Archives and Kautz...

      By Linnea Anderson, Archivist, Social Welfare History Archives The fellowships were established in honor of Clarke Chambers, Professor Emeritus of History and the founder of...

      YMCA Publishing Work with Russian Emigres: Preserving Culture in the Midst of Chaos

      Melanie Doherty, a Project Archives Research and Reference Assistant at the Kautz Family YMCA Archives, created an exhibit that narrates a story of the life of the Russian exile after the Russian Revolution and the importance of of reading material to those exiles.

      The Migration and Social Services Collections

      By Ellen Engseth, Curator of Immigration History Research Center Archives and Head, Migration and Social Services Collections Joining the staff of Archives and Special Collections...

      “Let the materials speak to you.”

      Elizabeth Vocasek (M.Ed. in Youth Development Leadership, 2013) contributed this blog entry about using sources in the Social Welfare History Archives and Kautz Family...

      50 Jr. High students from Olson Middle School visit the archives

      On January 11th Andersen Library was pleased to welcome 50 students from Olson Middle school, Bloomington, MN. These 6th and 7th graders who are...

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