In Her Own Right

YWCA of Philadelphia - Kensington Branch, Acc. 520, 531, 552

Date range 1891 – 1981
Creator YWCA Kensington Branch
Abstract The collection covers the period from 1891 to 1981, with the bulk of the material dated 1960-1980. The Board minutes span nearly the entire history of the organization, thus providing an excellent overview of the Kensington YWCA. Of special interest in this collection is the Board and program minutes from the very beginning of Kensington Branch.
Description In addition to other association business, meeting minutes discuss in considerable detail the kinds of classes the branch should hold and the hiring of teachers and employees. Minutes also include some discussion of women's contributions to the war effort, supplemented by patriotic materials that can be found in scrapbooks. Program minutes from 1891 to 1900 are especially interesting. Early entries include narrative accounts of each evening's activities—how many young women came, what the night's entertainment was, etc. As evidence of the association's efficacy, they include quotations from attendees emphasizing how grateful they are and how anxious they are to get into classes (albeit from the perspective of board members). Later accounts feature class rosters with the names, addresses, and occupations of students. Many of them were domestic or factory workers (especially in the garment trades), but there were also a handful of dressmakers, tailoresses, clerks, stenographers, and teachers.
Research interest This collection is interesting largely as an institutional history or in the context of other, similar organizations formed around the same time, including but not limited to other YWCAs. Its target audience was somewhere between that of a settlement house and a working women's guild; while each involved elite women attempting to help those in need of aid, the class status of the second group was not identical. Historians may wish to investigate whether these differences affected relationships between the various constituencies.
Size 10 cubic feet
Full collection description Home repository description for YWCA of Philadelphia - Kensington Branch, Acc. 520, 531, 552
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Contributing institution Temple University Libraries
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