In Her Own Right

YWCA of Germantown, Acc. 280

Date created 1785-1982 (bulk 1869-1982)
Creators YWCA Germantown Branch
Abstract The materials in this collection include records documenting the history of the YWCA of Germantown, including activities, administration, financial records, photographs, and special events.
Description Of all of the branches, the Germantown YWCA has the most extensive pre-1920 documentation. Minutes and reports are exhaustive and sometimes redundant, as each committee collected others' reports and noted them in their own minutes. Of particular interest are their attempts to found a branch for African-American women, which is documented throughout the collection but especially in the Committee of 22 minutes. Other topics covered include debates over whether to affiliate with the Philadelphia YWCA, women's work conditions and labor laws, and contributions to the war effort. Two books included in the collection, The Handbook of the Young Women's Christian Association Movement (1916) and Elizabeth Wilson, Fifty Years of Association Work among Young Women (1916), provide detailed histories of the Y movement, although they are not specific to Philadelphia. The collection also includes a number of photographs; although many are from later in the 20th century, a handful depict leisure and athletic activities from the 1910s and 1920s.
Research interest In addition to comprehensive institutional documentation, the chronological scope of this collection offers the opportunity to chart changing ideas of ideal womanhood, especially as envisioned in cross-class relationships. While in the early years of the organization directors cast their patrons as "women adrift," alternately downtrodden and wanton, in later years they appealed to their audience as modern, independent, and useful. For students in particular, this collection provides a good illustration of the shift from true to new womanhood.
Size 44 lf
Full collection description Home repository description for YWCA of Germantown, Acc. 280
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Contributing institution Temple University Libraries
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