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Young Women's Christian Association records

Identifier: 1980_008-UA

This record group includes material which documents the legal, social, administrative, and fiscal history of the YWCA in Louisville, from the founding of the central branch in 1912 and the west end branch (Phillis Wheatley) in 1922 into the 1970s. Record types include legal documents (constitutions and bylaws), board of directors and various committee minutes, correspondence, printed and published material, photographs, and financial records. Some photographs from these four shipments were removed and segregated into a separate photograph series. A portion of the records are in poor physical condition. Access to the personnel records requires the permission of the University Archivist.


  • circa 1912-1979


Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers with the exception of some records relating to personnel, which are restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in the Young Women's Christian Association Records have been transferred to the University of Louisville.


54.25 linear feet

Biographical / Historical

YWCA was organized in Louisville at a meeting attended by over 300 people. A board was elected and rooms at 229 South Fourth were rented. A staff was hired and activities included religious and educational classes; physical fitness, noon meetings in four large industries weekly; maintenance of two matrons at railway stations to help traveling women.
Summer camp opened for industrial girls. Other programs expand.
Funds raised to buy the old Ford Mansion at Second and Broadway, with two wings added for expanding programs. A separate residence was built and the YWCA moved to its new quarters, debt free.
YWCA operates a hostess house at Camp Taylor and cared for soldiers' relatives at YWCA residence.
Camp Chelan purchased and used to give industrial girls healthy, low-cost vacations. Camp later used for children, teens adults, families.
Property purchased at Sixth and Chestnut for Phyllis Wheatly Branch YWCA.
YWCA worked with unemployed girls to improve their skills and train for jobs.
Parties and dances scheduled for service men; weekend dormitory space made available for service women, swing shift (midnight to dawn) program for industrial war workers, both men and women.
Phyllis Wheatly building closed and YWCA Branch moved to 2nd B'way.
Building rented on Cecil Avenue for Branch activities.
Property at 4303 West Broadway considered and purchased for use as the West End Branch YWCA.
YWCA purchases the Henry Clay Hotel, 604 S. Third, and 134 residents move into new headquarters for Louisville & Jefferson County YWCA.
Pool area at Central YWCA completed and swim program for handicapped children organized. Teen program included outreach work in Newburg and Southwick areas. Work with adults included clubs; classes; special interest groups; dances; special activities and events. The YWCA Residence was serving working women and students in the downtown area.
Contract signed with National YWCA to participate in Job Corps-YWCA program, with young women trained in Job Corps Centers coming to Louisville YWCA to live, be placed in jobs and work until receiving a saticfactory reference. These girls, both black and white, were from disadvantaged backgrounds. Decentralized activities program continued at Newburg and classes organized in St. Matthews area.
The Community Chest urged member agencies to expand services to persons from poverty areas. A special summer program for mothers and children was provided by the downtown YWCA in cooperation with the Department of Parks and Recreation. Day long Playschool at West End Branch provided care and educational activities for preschool children of working mothers, for a minimal fee. Program continues.
Work began with women in the Beecher Terrace area of west Louisville.
YWCA begins swimming program for children from inner city poverty area agencies. Residence began working with other local agencies and taking referrals of hard-to place women and girls. The Teenage Parent Program was begun with a special school for young, expectant mothers held on the second floor of the downtown YWCA building. The school was staffed by the Louisville Board of Education, with recreational and group work leadership and space provided by the YWCA.
A Clinic was established in the downtown YWCA building to provide medical care for the TAPP (Teenage Parent Program) girls. Louisville Medical School and City-County Health Department provided the staff. In the residence, a contract was signed with the Department of Child Welfare to provide housing for girls between ages 17 and 21 who were being released from detention. First Summer Day Camp opened at the Central YWCA, 604 S. Third, for children age 6-12 of working mothers.
Half-Way House sponsored at YWCA Residence by State Department of Child Welfare to house girls 17 and 18 years of age while they, as wards of the state, attend vocational training schools in the city.
R.A.P.E. Relief Center opens at Central YWCA to provide whatever assistance is needed by rape victims and their families in the Jefferson County area. This program has received national recognition for its outstanding volunteer service. The Creative Employment Project began later in the year at Central YWCA, and places low income women in high paying jobs that are non-traditional for their sex. Counseling and placement are free and confidential.
The Spouse Abuse Center opened in November. The Center provides shelter, counseling, referral information and assistance for women and their children who are victims of abuse. A Woman's Center began exploring the need for a department dealing just in Woman's issues. The first program developed was a Widowed Persons Service.
The members of the YWCA of Louisville and Jefferson County vote to disaffiliate from the national YWCA, becoming the Center for Women and Families.
Young Women's Christian Association Records
Archives Staff
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections Repository

Ekstrom Library, Lower Level Room 17
Louisville KY 40292
502 852-6752