Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2351

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Scope and Content Note

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Collection Overview
Creator: Young Men's Christian Association of Greater Boston
Title:Young Men's Christian Association of Greater Boston records
Dates:n.d., 1833-2003 (bulk 1851-1970)
Call Number:M13
Location:73/3-4, 63/1-2, 61/4, FF5/D1
Volume:60 cubic ft. (84 boxes)
Scope and Content Abstract:The records of the YMCA of Greater Boston document the organization's administrative, religious, social, educational, and community activities from 1833 to 2000, with the bulk of the collection dating between 1851 and 1970. Materials include correspondence, brochures, pamphlets, annual reports, meeting minutes, photographs, scrapbooks, committee reports, financial records, hymn books, newspaper clippings, newspapers, newsletters, publications, and fund-raising records.
Historical Abstract:The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) of Greater Boston was the first YMCA chapter in North America. It was founded in 1851 by Captain Thomas Valentine Sullivan (1800-1859), an American seaman and missionary. He was influenced by the London YMCA and saw the association as an opportunity to provide a "home away from home" for young sailors on shore leave. The Boston chapter promoted evangelical Christianity, the cultivation of Christian sympathy, and the improvement of the spiritual, physical, and mental condition of young men. By 1853, the Boston YMCA had 1,500 members, most of whom were merchants and artisans. Members paid an annual membership fee to use the facilities and services of the association. Because of political, physical, and population changes in Boston during the second half of the century, the Boston YMCA established branch divisions to satisfy the needs of local neighborhoods. From its early days, the Boston YMCA offered educational classes. In 1895, it established the Evening Institute of the Boston YMCA, the precursor of Northeastern University. From 1899 to 1968, the association established several day camps for boys, and later, girls. Since 1913, the Boston YMCA has been located on Huntington Avenue. It continues to offer social, educational, and community programs, and presently maintains 31 branches and centers.
Arrangement:Organized into 7 series: 1) Administration; 2) Branches; 3) Camps; 4) Northeastern University and Affiliated Schools; 5) Subject Files; 6) Regalia; and 7) Visual Materials.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Boston Young Men's Christian Association

  • Day Camps -- Massachusetts -- Boston
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.) -- History
  • Outdoor recreation -- Massachusetts -- Boston
  • Vocational education -- Massachusetts -- Boston
  • Young Men's Christian associations -- Massachusetts -- Boston

Restrictions:The collection is unrestricted.
Related Materials:The Archives and Special Collections Department capture the website content of the Young Menís Christian Association, which is accessible at: http://wayback.archive-it.org/1747/*/http://www.ymcaboston.org/
Processor:Finding aid prepared by Archives Staff, Ellen Lassiter, September 2005