Young Men’s Christian Association of Cleveland Records, Series II

The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was established in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1854 with a program of lectures, prayer meetings, a Sunday school and a lending library. It initially focused on missionary and religious work. By 1880 the emphasis shifted toward character development and broadened to include boys as well as men, offering educational and physical training programs. During the 20th century the Y worked with the city’s social settlements and welfare agencies, conducted fundraising campaigns during World War I, and increased its efforts to work with young boys. By the 1980s there were over 20 branches in the Cleveland area. The collection consists of minutes of the Cedar Avenue Boys’ Branch, 1922-1977; also, general files of the Central YMCA, 1880-1975; publications and reports, including some issues of the Cleveland Red Triangle, the Association Boy, the Junior, News and Notes, and the West Side Boy; East End Branch scrapbook, 1929-1930; Cleveland surveys and studies, 1931-1962; Fenn College publications and reports, 1896-1938; War Work Week scrapbook, 1917; and miscellany. The collection pertains to the activities of the YMCA, including efforts at religious and missionary work, development of character in urban youth, war work, and alleviation of depression-era unemployment. The Cedar Avenue Branch records in particular document the Y’s effort to serve Cleveland’s black community, beginning in 1922.