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Young Women's Christian Association of Greater Hartford Records

Identifier: 1991-0024

Scope and Content

The records of the YWCA of Greater Hartford document its growth and evolution as a service organization for women from its inception in 1866 through the early 1980s. The collection includes administrative and financial records, minutes, correspondence, publications, reports, newspaper clippings, memorabilia, 16mm film, negatives, photographs, a record album and scrapbooks.


  • Creation: undated, 1867-1988


The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.


At the time of its formation in 1866, the Hartford Association was one of the earliest Associations for young women in America, and the first community social agency in Hartford. In 1867, the Association was incorporated as The Women's Christian Association, with rooms for rent at two adjacent Hartford locations. These boarding facilities for young women were to be self-supporting and offer “most of the advantages of a well-ordered Christian home at much less price than a common boarding house.” The rooms were open every day and evening “for social purposes, reading, Bible and singing classes.” In an effort to provide further support to its residents, an employment service was established.

In 1889, an education program was formed with classes in typing, stenography, bookkeeping, penmanship, and grammar, along with a health education program offering classes in first aid, hygiene, and physical culture. In an effort to broaden its reach, a Group Work program was established in 1899 to offer the services of the Association to girls of the general community rather than only to those in the residence and workshop. Around 1912, with an expanding demand on the Association facilities, a site at Ann and Church Streets was purchased, a building campaign was launched, and, in 1916 a new building was erected. In 1926, Camp Aya-Po in Somers, Connecticut, was added to the Association's facilities. The same year, the Association changed its name to the Young Women's Christian Association and the personal basis of membership was adopted to replace the Protestant Evangelical membership requirement.

Throughout the 1940s, the YWCA continued to expand its services, acquiring space in West Hartford, Windsor and Wethersfield. In 1966, it was decided that the YWCA of Hartford County and the YWCA of Greater Hartford should unite to form one organization, allowing service expansion throughout the metropolitan area, and greater access to services for area residents.

During the 1970s and 1980s, YWCA programs changed and expanded to reflect the changing needs of women in Connecticut. While continuing to offer courses and counseling in career services, child care and physical fitness, a Jobs Corps program focused on employment and job training was establishment to meet the needs and demands of women moving from the home into the workplace. Programs in rape crisis, sexual assault crisis, sex equity, child abuse and women in leadership were established. The needs of a growing senior citizenry were addressed with a Senior Service program, Widow-to-Widow, and Neighborcare, while programs for teens were enlarged to encompass teens as parents, summer youth employment training and career exploration.

As part of its sense of global responsibility toward all women, the YWCA of Greater Hartford took part in a national boycott of the Nestlé Corporation from 1978 to 1981 in order to bring attention to advertising tactics throughout third world countries, which contributed to placing infants at risk from contaminated formula.


23 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



At the time of its formation in 1866, the Hartford Association was one of the earliest Associations for young women in America, and the first community social agency in Hartford.


Series I: Administrative Records (1867-1988) consists of files including reports of annual meetings, audits, budgets, outreach and service information, goals and objectives, and personnel and staff records. The series is further divided into eight subseries: Administrative, Branch, Historical, Finance, Statistics, Public Relations, Fund Raising, and Building Campaigns. The subseries Branch contains material on the various YWCA branches in the Greater Hartford area. Historical contains residence records, correspondence, photographic negatives, historical data, and printed materials from the late 1800s through the late 1950s. Finance consists of a cash book, committee reports, and a ledger book. The cash and ledger books cover the years 1870-1900. Statistics (1955-1985) contains local and national figures compiled by the YWCA on residence, membership, services and programs. Public Relations contains printed materials such as brochures, catalogs, program listings, events programs, forms, newsletters, news releases and newspaper clippings. The subseries also includes copies of the YWCA Triangle and a 45 rpm record of a service spot, “Women on the Move,” recorded by Gloria Steinem. Fund Raising consists of information on campaigns, promotional materials, benefits, foundations and scholarships. Building Campaigns contains material directly related to efforts on behalf of the YWCA to organize plans and raise funds for new construction.

Series II: Minutes (undated, 1867-1985) contains records of business conducted by various committees; included are the Board of Directors, Executive, Finance, Human Resource, Steering, Public Affairs and Race Relations committees.

Series III: Committees (undated, 1965-1987) consists of the records of YWCA committees. The series includes groups concerned with such issues as affirmative action, building and property, development, finance, planning, membership, public policy, and women's issues.

Series IV: Residence Records (undated, 1967-1982) contains the records of YWCA rooming facilities. The series includes financial and managerial records, as well as correspondence and information on specific residences such as Ann Street and Woolverton Hall.

Series V: Camp Aya-Po (undated, 1926-1984) records the physical and business management of the summer camp. Topics include a history, campsite information, physical plant information, use study and long range planning.

Series VI: Programs (undated, 1967-1987) details the programs, services and events offered by the YWCA throughout the 1970s and 1908s. Subjects include career services, child care, fitness, youth programs, job corps, rape crisis, senior service, sex equity and women in leadership.

Series VII: Grants and Contracts (undated, 1945-1987) consists of records concerning the acquisition and use of grant monies for YWCA services to the public. The majority of the grants target employment, training, and human resources.

Series VIII: World Mutual Services (1970-1982) contains information on the YWCA's involvement with and commitment to the Nestlé boycott. Included are correspondence endorsements, films, publicity and World Mutual Service Committee material.

Series IX: Films (undated, 1969-1976) contains reels of 16mm film documenting YWCA events such as the 100th Anniversary Dinner. There is a WFSB-TV service spot and a film on women's activities and teen services.

Series X: Scrapbooks (1912-1983) is largely a collection of newspaper clippings, photographs and printed memorabilia. Many of the scrapbooks are specific to YWCA facilities, such as Camp Aya-Po and Old Woolverton Hall, or to YWCA groups, such as the Newcomers Club and Welcome Wagon.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to the University of Connecticut in the fall of 1989.

Related Material

Archives & Special Collections has a substantial collection of materials pertaining to various aspects of Connecticut history. For detailed information on these collections please contact the curator or ask at the Reading Room desk.

Young Women's Christian Association of Greater Hartford Records
Archives & Special Collections staff
1992 May
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US