Collection ID: C341
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Collection context


Y.W.C.A. Indiana U.
The Indiana University chapter of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) was founded in 1886 by Mrs. Jenny Bryan, sister to future IU president William Lowe Bryan. Open to all interested women in the Bloomington community, the YWCA aimed to encourage the personal development, religious growth, social sensitivity, and civic responsibility of its members. It sought to provide leadership training in the many areas of life and to provide volunteer leaders for community service in Monroe County. This collection consists of various publications, administrative material, financial records, and scrapbooks created by the organization from 1903 through 1973.
5.4 cubic feet (6 boxes)
Materials are in English
Preferred citation:

[Item], Indiana University Young Women's Christian Association records, Collection C341, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.


Biographical / Historical:

In 1886 the Indiana University chapter of the YWCA was founded by Mrs. Jenny Bryan for the purpose of encouraging the personal development, religious growth, social sensitivity, and civic responsibility of its members. A constitution was drafted and in it the organization's hierarchy was laid out with a five part leadership structure including the following: 1) student officers, who were the primary decision making body, 2) the Executive Council, which held ultimate responsibility for the organization's health, direction and finances, 3) a cabinet, responsible for final approval of executive council actions regarding policy, 4) an executive director and a secretary, who were employed to implement and manage organizational policy, and 5) a board of directors, which were elected from each of the following categories: faculty and staff, faculty and staff wives, town women, and unrestricted. Additionally, four voting ex-officio members were drawn from the wives or mothers of the president of the university, one woman from the university board of trustees, one woman from university administration and one more woman recommended by the advisory board to serve in a position of special assistance.

The organization's programming activities included both IU campus specific as well as wider community outreach efforts. For example, from 1932 until at least 1970 the organization was responsible for the campus musical revue IU Sing, and for several years the organization ran a campus orientation known as Freshman Camp. Community wide efforts included but were not limited to classes in karate, yoga and auto mechanics.

Since its origination, there was a continual increase in membership, reaching its height in 1964 with a total of 671 members. However, by May of 1970 (the last year for which data is present) membership had dwindled to only 492 members. There are no records to indicate what happened to the Indiana University YWCA or when it ceased to function. Many of the records from the 1970's seem to indicate a wide programming collaboration with the YMCA, and it is possible though undocumented that the YWCA was simply absorbed by the men's organization.

Scope and Content:

The Indiana University Young Women's Christian Association records are organized into two series: Subject files (1903-1973), which is arranged alphabetically, and Scrapbooks (1929-1937), which is arranged chronologically. Where multiple folders appear for one subject, such as I.U. Sing, the folders are filed chronologically. Within the IU Sing files are both programs from each year the program was produced as well as more general administrative files, including instructions for participants. The subject files contain a wide variety of materials including administrative files such as budgets, meeting minutes, annual reports and correspondence and files representing particular Y.W.C.A. programs such as the Chimes of Christmas, International Bazaar and Freshman Camp. There are also several files containing information on current events and topics of interest such as abortion and the American Indian Movement. At the end of the collection there are several files pertaining to the Y.W.C.A. and Y.M.C.A combined programming. Several of the files include historical information that dates as far back as 1892. However, the bulk of the files were created between 1960 and 1972. The scrapbooks largely contain newspaper clippings of various YWCA-related articles, but they also hold administrative records, program materials, and other miscellaneous items. Within, some scrapbooks are arranged chronologically, but others are organized by subject matter such as Membership, Cabinet Retreats, and General Meetings.

Acquisition information:
Accession numbers 7003, 7004, 7005, 7006, 7007, 7063, 7552, 7553, 7554. YWCA publications from 30P and Accessions 2023/021, 2017/004.1011.
Processing information:

Processed by Archives staff.

Completed in 2009

Updated in September 2023 by Evan Brandon.


Organized in two series: Subject files, and Scrapbooks.



Student Recommendations were restricted and placed at the end of the collection.

Advance notice is required for access.


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[Item], Indiana University Young Women's Christian Association records, Collection C341, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.

Indiana University Bloomington
Herman B Wells Library E460
1320 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-7000, United States
Indiana University Bloomington