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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the YWCA of Greater Des Moines records

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1885-1995
Creator: YWCA of Greater Des Moines (1895-)
Extent: 12.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0167
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: The records are arranged in eight series: Administrative records, Financial records, Publicity, Branches and clubs, Photographs, Scrapbooks, Artifacts, and 1998 Accession.
View Selected Items Online:African American Women in Iowa Digital Collection

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 21 and throughout

Access: The records are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The records (donor no. 242) were donated by the YWCA of Greater Des Moines in 1994 and succeeding years.

Preferred Citation: YWCA of Greater Des Moines records, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason
Email: lib-women@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa

The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Greater Des Moines was founded in 1895 by Della Marquart (later Mrs. Harris Coggeshall) and Helen Ankeny (later Mrs. Mungery) to help young Protestant women find housing and employment. The Des Moines chapter was affiliated with the National YWCA in 1896. The primary purposes of the organization were "...to stimulate interest in evangelical religion among young women of the city and vicinity and to improve their social, intellectual, and physical conditions by means of an association of young women." (Constitution, Box 1, Administrative records, Histories).

Over the years the YWCA has provided numerous programs and activities which were not traditionally offered to women. For example, in 1898, the first women's basketball game ever played in Des Moines was held in the YWCA's gymnasium. Since 1901, the YWCA of Greater Des Moines has also offered a variety of courses to women, ranging from fencing to Shakespeare, foreign language, and sewing.

The YWCA has reached out to minorities and immigrants almost from the beginning. In the 1880s and 1890s, the National YWCA aided immigrants in rural communities. Starting in 1911, the YWCA of Greater Des Moines offered courses in English for foreign-speaking women. The creation of the National Institute for Immigrant Welfare in 1933 was largely due to the YWCA's work with immigrants. In 1903, Mrs. Booker T. Washington spoke at the YWCA of Greater Des Moines and in 1932 Langston Hughes read his poetry there, although he was refused service by the hotels and restaurants in Des Moines. An African-American woman was elected to the YWCA of Greater Des Moines Board of Directors for the first time in 1931.

The Blue Triangle branch of the YWCA was founded for the African-American community in 1919. This branch offered separate programs similar to those of the rest of the organization, as well as a few integrated programs. In 1924 the Blue Triangle Branch started the Book Lover's Club, a reading group for women. The Blue Triangle Branch was located in a separate building from the main branch. It obtained a new building in 1936 and remained there until 1947, when the Blue Triangle Branch was merged with the main branch as part of a nationwide integration program.

The YWCA has also offered a variety of other community-oriented programs. In 1917, for example, the YWCA of Greater Des Moines was used as a meeting place for soldiers and their families. The YWCA's Girl Reserves (changed to Y-Teens in 1946) offered aid to soldiers. Always interested in the welfare of families, in the 1960s and 1970s the YWCA initiated programs and support groups such as Big Sisters, Parents Anonymous (a program for parents of children who have problems with drugs), and a support group for single parents. With a special focus on women and children, the YWCA of Greater Des Moines designed the National Center for Youth Outreach Workers in 1972 to help low-income children and to offer child care; in 1976 it organized the Battered Women's Coalition.

Today the YWCA continues such programs, in an effort to attain "peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people," and works to eliminate "racism wherever it exists and by any means necessary." (Box 1, Administrative records, Histories).

The YWCA of Greater Des Moines records date from 1895 to 1995 and measure 12 linear feet. The records are arranged in eight series: Administrative records, Financial records, Publicity, Branches and clubs, Photographs, Scrapbooks, Artifacts, and 1998 Accession.
 
The Administrative records series (1895-1994) includes annual reports, secretary's reports, minutes, bylaws, a study of the YWCA as a women's movement, World Fellowship Committee information, training information, records from the 1969 summer program (including the children's evaluations of this program), and board materials.
 
The Histories: Greater Des Moines chapter folder contains various histories as well as the YWCA constitution, a copy of the Des Moines Branch's application for charter membership, and some correspondence. Included within these histories is information on the YWCA's work for women's suffrage and child labor laws, as well as some additional information on the Blue Triangle Branch. The General: Activities for children scrapbook contains a wide variety of clippings from newspapers and magazines which detail games and crafts in which the children were involved.
 
Tax audits, accountant's reports, building and capital campaign files, budgets, and information on the new buildings of the YWCA of Greater Des Moines can be found in the Financial records series (1895-1985).
 
The Publicity series (1904-1969) contains newspaper clippings, pamphlets on YWCA activities (including some pertaining to the YWCA's work with working women), photographs, obituaries, a small amount of Blue Triangle information, and two YWCA newsletters, Inklings and Y's Winks. The bulk of this series is scrapbooks of newspaper clippings about YWCA activities. Included within this series are articles on gay, lesbian, and bisexual memberships (Newspaper clippings, 1982-1988), information on the YWCA's international work, the Youth Forum's discussion of sexuality and abortion, and an article on the problems of African-American students (Pamphlets, signs, newspaper clippings, 1903-1967). In the publicity folder (Publicity, Newspaper clippings and magazines, 1895-1983), is an article on the World Affairs Conference, including a photograph of racially diverse youth from around the world.
 
The Branches and clubs series (1935-1988) is comprised of two subseries: the Blue Triangle Branch and the Candlelight Club. The Blue Triangle Branch subseries includes scrapbooks, pamphlets and newspaper clippings, photographs, annual meeting materials, a history, and other materials. Nearly all of the material in this series pertains to African-Americans. There are other occasional references to the Blue Triangle scattered throughout the collection. The Candlelight Club subseries contains minutes and photographs of both African-American and Caucasian women. The club was apparently a social club that met weekly for dinner.
 
The Photographs series (1921-1988) consists of a variety of photographs from summer camps, Y-Teens, a 1988 calendar (original photographs before they were made into a calendar), and others.
 
Within the Artifacts series (1955 and undated) are two YWCA commemorative plates, one for the national YWCA centennial and the other stating the YWCA imperative to eliminate racism.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS
Series 2: FINANCIAL RECORDS
Series 3: PUBLICITY
Series 4: BRANCHES AND CLUBS
Series 5: PHOTOGRAPHS
Series 6: 1998 ACCESSION ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS
Series 7: SCRAPBOOKS
Series 8: ARTIFACTS

  • Series 1: ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS
  • Sub-Series: Histories
  • Box 2:
  • Greater Des Moines chapter - 1896, 1940-1995
  • National YWCA - 1968-1993
  • Sub-Series: Award
  • Box 2:
  • Award in the field of interracial relationships - 1952
  • Sub-Series: Board materials and guidelines
  • Box 2:
  • Constitution, undated
  • Constitution, bylaws, articles - 1951-1952
  • Board materials (2 folders) - 1963-1967
  • Leadership training packets - 1969
  • Agenda of the executive board career planning service - 1970-1971
  • Board materials (2 folders) - 1973-1978
  • Board materials (2 folders) - 1973-1978
  • Guidelines for membership campaigns - 1976
  • Box 39:
  • Membership ledger - 1895-1902
  • Sub-Series: General
  • Box 2:
  • YWCA memberships - 1901-1904
  • Board members - 1936-1945
  • Correspondence - 1908, 1946-1954
  • Insurance reports - 1915-1920
  • Box 3:
  • Activities for children [disbound and photocopied] - 1936
  • Membership questionnaires - 1936
  • National Traveler's Aid Society certificate - 1917
  • Secretary's book - 1943-1944
  • Sub-Series: Minutes
  • Box 3:
  • Invitation committee - 1895-1900
  • Minutes (removed from scrapbook) - 1895-1908
  • Minutes - 1895-1908
  • Annual meetings - 1917-1927, 1940
  • Board minutes - 1921-1924, 1939
  • Membership meetings - 1938-1943
  • Executive committee minutes - 1947-1952
  • Box 4:
  • Board minutes - 1958-1961
  • Board minutes - 1962
  • Sub-Series: Organizational chart
  • Box 4:
  • Organizational chart - 1936
  • Sub-Series: Permits
  • Box 4:
  • Permit to run an employment bureau - 1913
  • Permit to solicit funds in Iowa - 1914
  • Sub-Series: Programs and Committees
  • Box 4:
  • Committee descriptions - 1980
  • Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) program development, summer program - 1971
  • National board: YWCA learning center assembly sessions (3 folders) - 1980
  • National board: YWCA learning center material - 1981
  • National board: YWCA learning center XII program development - 1981
  • Box 5:
  • National Center for Youth Outreach Workers (2 folders) - 1977
  • Program development, committee minutes - 1983
  • Program development - 1983
  • Program stories - 1946-1947
  • Stay-at-Home Convention - 1945
  • Summer program (2 folders) - 1969
  • Women's Economic Development Group (WEDGE) - 1986-1989
  • World Fellowship Committee - 1967-1973
  • Box 6:
  • World Fellowship Committee (2 folders) - 1967-1973
  • YWCA Camp Council, undated
  • Y-Wives Committee notes and meetings - 1965-1969
  • Y-Wives: Decentralization - 1961-1966
  • Y-Wives Reports - 1967
  • Annual reports - 1899-1911
  • Annual reports - 1938-1964
  • Annual reports - 1991-1994
  • Reports: Christmas finances and programs - 1946-1953
  • General secretary reports - 1902-1909
  • General secretary reports (2 folders) - 1902-1916
  • Box 7:
  • General secretary reports - 1921-1926
  • General secretary reports - 1926-1931
  • Reports: Objectives for the program year - 1963/1964-1968/1969
  • Student secretary reports - 1906-1908
  • Reports: Evaluation of the 60th Anniversary Celebration - 1941
  • Reports: Executive secretary, bylaw vote - 1954-1956
  • Reports: "Study of the YWCA as a Women's Movement" - 1964-1967
  • YMCA/YWCA study committee report - 1966
  • Series 2: FINANCIAL RECORDS
  • Box 7:
  • Accountant's reports - 1980-1982
  • Budget - 1978-1979
  • Budget - 1984-1985
  • Box 8:
  • Endowment fund: Articles of Incorporation - 1978
  • Endowment fund: Bylaws - 1978
  • Endowment fund: Memorial plaque donors - 1967-1971
  • Endowment fund: Promotional materials - 1974-1976
  • Endowment fund: Secretary's notebook - 1974-1982
  • Financial Donors - 1957-1962
  • Financial Donors and other information - 1967-1969
  • Financial Donors - 1971
  • Financial donor records: Campaign workers - 1971
  • Financial Donors, correspondence - 1971-1973
  • Box 9:
  • Capital funds campaign: Ledger (2 folders) - 1979
  • Capital funds campaign: Ledger - 1980-1983
  • Capital funds campaign: Donor cards (sample) - 1979-1980
  • Financial reports - 1971-1982
  • Materials used to prepare program budget - 1978-1979
    Memberships and finance (folder missing)
  • Building information: General - 1906-1980
  • Architect bids - 1968
  • Budget recommendations to the board - 1969
  • Correspondence, general - 1966
  • Correspondence, architects - 1966
  • Report by Mrs. Harold B. West - 1966
  • Box 10:
  • Des Moines Urban Renewal Plan - 1965
  • Floor plans and site maps, undated [shelved in map case]
  • Greater Des Moines Chamber of Commerce Appeals Review Board - 1966
  • Greater Des Moines Planning and Development Study - 1965-1966
  • Notes and minutes - 1966-1969
  • Planning and Development Study--Area Analysis, undated
  • Planning phase proposals - 1965
  • Projected use statistics - 1966
  • Proposed ideas for renovating the old building - 1945
  • Residence study questionnaire - 1965
  • "YMCA-YWCA Cooperation" - 1956
  • Land contracts - 1905-1907
  • Leases - 1921-1922
  • New building: photographs [1909 photograph in map case] - 1903, 1971
  • Sales and rental agreements: 1st Unitarian Church of Des Moines - 1956
  • Sales and rental agreements: St. Simon's Episcopal Mission - 1933
  • Newspaper clippings, finance campaigns - 1918, 1921
  • Official papers, correspondence, receipts, permits, will - 1913-1947
  • Scrapbook - 1928
  • Scrapbook - 1929
  • Semi-annual report program to United Way - 1976-1979
  • Box 11:
  • Statistical records - 1895-1897
  • Statistical records - 1897-1899
  • Statistical records - 1900-1901
  • Statistical records - 1979
  • Tax audits - 1921-1929
  • Tax audits - 1931-1938
  • Tax audits - 1939-1942
  • Tax audits - 1944-1947
  • Box 12:
  • Tax audits - 1949-1953
  • Tax audits - 1954-1958
  • Tax audits - 1959-1963
  • Tax audits - 1964-1967
  • Tax audits - 1968-1969
  • Series 3: PUBLICITY
  • Box 12:
  • Diploma and photographs - 1901
  • Guest registers - 1955-1957
  • Guest registers - 1959
  • Box 13:
  • Guest registers - 1960-1963
  • "Inklings" (2 folders) - 1905-1928
  • Newsletters, correspondence, pamphlets on programs and events - 1980-1985, 2005
  • Newspaper clippings: YWCA Hostess House - 1918
  • Newspaper clippings and photograph (includes Blue Triangle materials) - 1913, 1923-1926
  • Newspaper clippings - 1928-1939
  • Newspaper clippings - 1955
  • Newspaper clippings - 1982-1988
  • Newspaper clippings and magazines [shelved in map case] - 1895-1983
  • Obituaries - 1986
  • Pamphlets and "Y-Winks" - 1904-1924
  • Box 14:
  • Pamphlets, signs, newspaper clippings - 1903-1967
  • Photographs - 1952
  • "Tip Off" (songbooks) - 1938-1939
  • Working women and the YWCA - 1917, 1966
  • Scrapbooks - 1895-1905
  • Scrapbooks - 1905-1911
  • Box 15:
  • Scrapbooks - 1912-1916
  • Scrapbooks - 1912-1919
  • Scrapbooks - 1916-1919
  • Box 16:
  • Scrapbooks - 1919
  • Scrapbooks (6 folders) - 1920-1924
  • Scrapbooks - 1922-1923
  • Scrapbooks - 1924-1925
  • Scrapbooks: March-September [photocopies] - 1926
  • Scrapbooks: September-December [photocopies] - 1926
  • Scrapbooks: Campaign publicity [photocopies] - 1926
  • Scrapbooks [photocopies] - 1927
  • Box 17:
  • Scrapbooks [photocopies] - 1928
  • Scrapbooks [Introductory materials for Greater Des Moines Chapter] - 1928
  • Scrapbooks [photocopies] - 1929-1930
  • Scrapbooks - 1931
  • Scrapbooks - 1933
  • Scrapbooks - 1934
  • Box 18:
  • Scrapbooks - 1935
  • Scrapbooks - 1936
  • Scrapbooks - 1937
  • Scrapbooks - 1938
  • Box 19:
  • Scrapbooks - 1939
  • Scrapbooks - 1940
  • Scrapbooks - 1940-1941
  • Scrapbooks - 1941
  • Box 20:
  • Scrapbooks - 1942
  • Scrapbooks - 1947-1948
  • Scrapbooks: YWCA Camp, undated [shelved in map case]
  • Series 4: BRANCHES AND CLUBS
  • Sub-Series: YWCA Blue Triangle Branch
  • Box 20:
  • Annual meetings - 1941-1942
  • Brochures, obituary, photographs - 1941, 1947, 1988
  • Camp Committee minutes - 1947
  • Coskery Fund Committee - 1946
  • History - 1942, 1975
  • Membership list - 1942
  • Race relations committee - 1927
  • Scrapbooks - 1929-1932
  • Scrapbooks - 1929-1932
  • Scrapbooks - 1935-1939
  • Box 21:
  • Scrapbooks - 1938-1940
  • Sub-Series: YWCA Candlelight Club
  • Box 21:
  • Meetings - 1955-1956
  • Series 5: PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Box 21:
  • Photographs - 1921-1924
  • Camp Boone - 1924-1926
  • Photographs - 1920-1969
  • Miscellaneous - 1946
  • Centennial of the YWCA - 1955
  • Y-Teen - 1949-1956
  • Miss Y-Teen - 1958, 1969, 1972
  • Aquamaids (YWCA swim team) with Dick Van Dyke, undated
  • Newspaper article, YWCA calendar photos - 1983
  • Miscellaneous photographs and correspondence - 1988
  • Camp Mitigwa, undated
  • Events - 1990-1992
  • Series 6: 1998 ACCESSION ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS
  • Box 22:
  • Administration structure - 1966-1967
  • President-elect - 1974
  • President-elect, Margaret McCollum - 1976-1977
  • Association review - 1977-1978
  • Board meetings and materials (3 folders) - 1975-1978
  • Personnel - 1973-1976
  • Personnel: Affirmative Action Plan - 1974-1976
  • Personnel: Staff development - 1977
  • Personnel: Employment handbook, undated
  • Box 23:
  • Program for Action - 1970-1973
  • RSVP Advisory Committee - 1976-1977
  • Therapeutic Recreation Committee - 1973-1975
  • YMCA-YWCA Advisory Committee - 1973-1977
  • Miscellaneous committees and programs - 1976-1978
  • Annual committee reports - 1968-1975
  • Annual meeting reports - 1971-1976
  • Community Career Planning Center for Women Report - 1977
  • Imperative Report on Racism - 1973-1974
  • Policies, Bylaws and Progress Report - 1977
  • Progress Report Review Committee - 1975
  • Box 24:
  • Financial Records: Accountant reports - 1974-1975
  • Financial Records: Building campaign donations (2 folders) - 1971-1974
  • Financial Records: Tax exemption - 1971-1974
  • Miscellaneous financial records - 1976-1977
  • Publicity: Gun control policy - 1973
  • Publicity: Leader luncheon - 1975
  • Publicity: Booklets and brochures (2 folders) - 1971-1978
  • Publicity: YWCA Interchange - 1974-1977
  • Publicity: YWCA Action Audit for Change
  • Printed materials: "YWCA World Mutual Service" - 1973
  • Printed materials: "The Power and the Glory is in We," Report - 1973
  • Printed materials: "Social Health and Recreation Needs and Services in Greater Des Moines," Report - 1973
  • Series 7: SCRAPBOOKS
  • Box 25:
  • Scrapbook: Publicity - 1943
  • Box 26:
  • Scrapbooks, Publicity - 1944-1945
  • Box 27:
  • Scrapbooks, Publicity - 1946-1947
  • Box 28:
  • Scrapbooks, Publicity - 1948-1949
  • Box 29:
  • Scrapbooks, Publicity - 1951-1957
  • Box 30:
  • Scrapbooks, Publicity - 1958-1969
  • Box 31:
  • Scrapbooks, Publicity - 1971-1972
  • Box 32:
  • Scrapbooks, Publicity - 1973-1975
  • Box 33:
  • Scrapbooks, YWCA Camp - 1971
  • Box 34:
  • Scrapbooks: YWCA Blue Triangle Branch - 1932-1934
  • Box 35:
  • Scrapbooks: YWCA Blue Triangle Branch - 1935-1937
  • Box 36:
  • Scrapbooks: YWCA Blue Triangle Branch - 1941
  • Box 37:
  • Scrapbooks, Candlelight Club - 1955-1957
  • Series 8: ARTIFACTS
  • Box 38:
  • Commemorative plates: National YWCA centennial - 1955
  • Commemorative plates: "Our Imperative: the Elimination of Racism," undated