Online Data about YMCAs and YMCA People
Ever wondered if you could find out which YMCA your grandfather worked for back in the 1930s? Curious about how long your hometown YMCA has been around? Are you interested in what kinds of programming the YMCA was offering in 1910? These are just a few of the types of questions that can be answered by searching the YMCA yearbooks, directories, and proceedings, which are fully digitized and available online.
The collection consists of published annual directories and reports of the body that coordinated or oversaw YMCA work for North America, and later the United States from 1854 to 2002. While the content varies significantly, they consistently include lists of YMCAs existing during that year and employed staff members, as well as those serving in leadership positions at regional and national levels. Most also include statistical charts with such data as number and type of members, types of programs and numbers of participants, although other information varies greatly over the years. Volumes from the earliest years are in the form of proceedings of the annual convention, consisting primarily of reports from the various delegates about the progress of YMCA work across the continent. In later years, the publications, then called "year books," included reports from the various programs and departments. Beginning in the early 1980s, much of the narrative content was eliminated and the volumes included only officer and staff directories and statistical data.
A complete list of the volumes with links to the digitized versions is available. You can then search within each volume. You can also search across the entire set of volumes by going to the YMCA Archives website, selecting the "images/media" tab from the "search the collections" box, and then limiting your search to "yearbooks, directories, and proceedings." To locate your search term(s) within a given volume, click on it in the search results page and then use the "search within this item" box.
Photo: Page from the 1919-1920 YMCA Year Book showing some details about YMCAs in Idaho and Illinois