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318 Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota, 222 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455

An Inventory of Its Photographs

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Creator: YMCA of Greater New York. Camping Services.
Title: Greater New York YMCA Camping Services photographs
Date: 1880s-1980s (bulk 1940s-1960s)
Collection Number: Y.GNY.0009-1
Abstract: Collected photographic images from the Camping Services Department illustrating the history of 14 overnight and day camps operated by the YMCA of Greater New York.
Quantity: 4 cubic feet (11 boxes)
Location: See Detailed Description section for box listing.


YMCA camping in the United States is acknowledged to have begun in New York City. The Brooklyn YMCA took boys on a camping trip in 1881. Sumner F. Dudley, known as the father of organized camping, took a group of boys for an eight-day camping trip to Poughkeepsie in 1885. By 1903, camps in Putnam County and elsewhere served more than 8,000 campers from the New York and Brooklyn Associations. By 1922, there were six camps operated by specific branches: Greenkill, near Kingston, New York, operated by the West Side Branch; Camp Talcott, run by the Bronx Union branch; Camp Glenwood, located in New Jersey and operated by the Twenty-third Street Branch; Camp Harlem, run by the Harlem branch; Camp Oscawana, near Peekskill, New York and operated initially by the French Branch and later by the Railroad Branch. In addition to these camps run by individual city branches, the Association also operated Camp Crumbie, near Kent, Connecticut. The Brooklyn Association operated Camp Dudley and Camp Brooklyn. Camp Pratt, on Staten Island, was established in 1914 specifically for working boys.

By the centennial of camping in 1985, the New York Association still operated Camp Talcott, Camp McAlister and Camp Greenkill. During the 100 years since the start of camping, the purpose and programs of these camps and the sessions they offered changed significantly. After its 19th century efforts to promote Christian values through cooperative living and outdoor activities, YMCA camping became more specialized. Theme camps such as canoe camps, sports camps, and remedial academic camps became the norm. In the 1970s, the YMCA began to place more emphasis on day camps and day care centers such as the Clinton Youth Center, reflecting societal changes which encouraged the introduction of all day structured programs close to home.

Although its emphasis evolved, YMCA camping in New York continued to serve thousands of children and teens every year. The New York association's camps are accredited by the American Camping Association and have adopted even more rigorous standards internally.

(Information taken from The YMCA at 150: A History of the YMCA of Greater New York, 1852-2002, by Pamela Bayless, 2002; An Event on Mercer Street, by Terry Donoghue, 1951; and 100 Years of YMCA Camping, by Eugene A. Turner, 1985.)


The YMCA of Greater New York Camping Services photographs consist of black and white images, primarily from the 1940s through the 1960s. There are, however, a number of photographs from the 1880s and 1890s that document some of the earliest efforts to provide outdoor experiences for boys and young men. The collection includes images from 14 overnight and day camps operated by the New York and Brooklyn Associations from the beginning of camping through the development of day camps. The photos feature camp facilities, groups of campers and staff, and images of campers participating in activities and sports programs.


These documents are organized into the following sections:
Camp Brooklyn.
Camp Custer.
Camp Dudley.
Camp Greenkill.
Camp McAlister.
Camp Oscawana.
Camp Pratt.
Camp Talcott.
Cathedral Day Camp.
Central Queens Day Camp.
Clinton Youth Center.
Heights and Hill Day Camp.
Holiday Hills.
Westside Camp.
Miscellaneous Camp Scenes.


Use of Materials:
This collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright, ownership, and to obtain all the necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials.
Preferred Citation:
[Indicate the cited item and/or series here]. Greater New York YMCA Camping Services Photographs. YMCA of Greater New York. Kautz Family YMCA Archives. University of Minnesota.
See the Chicago Manual of Style for additional examples.
Processing Information:
Processed by: Louise Merriam, February, 2008.
Catalog Record ID number: 5216148


The following section contains a detailed list of the materials in the collection. To request materials, please note the corresponding box number.

Camp Brooklyn

Box 35 Campers, 1910s, 1940s-1970s. 6 folders.
Images of Camp Brooklyn campers and staff, including campers in cabins, camp chorus, families enrolling in camp, campers with fish, campers canoeing, map reading, flag raising ceremony, campers and counselors in tents.
Miscellaneous camp activities, 1890s-1900s, 1920s, 1940s-1970s. 8 folders.
Handling snakes, cooking out, dancing at Indian pow-wow, fishing, track and field, attending church, horseback riding, building a fire, cleaning the cabins, camp meal, setting up a tent, rifle range, aquatics, baseball, crafts, woodcarving, boating, camper on stilts, skinning a squirrel, Christmas group.
Sports, 1910s, 1950s-1970s. 6 folders.
Photos include aquatics, rifle range, archery, canoeing, baseball, basketball, tennis, martial arts.
Box 35 Miniature photos for mailing, circa 1905. 2 packages, 3" x 2".
Photos of camps scenes, including bunkhouse, lake, playing tennis, swimming, social hall, baseball, volleyball, horseback riding, post hall. Includes duplicates.

Camp Custer

Box 36 Campers, 1940s-1970s.
Mealtimes, Indian dress.
Sports, 1940s, 1970.
Baseball, archery, volleyball, skating, swimming.

Camp Dudley

Box 36 Campers, circa 1905.
Campers and counselors in front of tents. Sumner Dudley, known as the father of organized camping in the YMCA, appears in one group.

Camp Greenkill

Box 37 Campers, 1940s-1970s. 5 folders.
Groups of counselors and campers,
Miscellaneous camp activities, 1940s-1950s. 5 folders.
Woodcarving, rope making, wildlife instruction with frog, making model airplanes, tug-o-war, basket making, campers with racoon and turtle.
Sports, 1940s-1950s. 6 folders.
Horseback riding, canoeing, diving, track, archery, aquatics, fishing, swimming, rifle range.
Sports camp, 1970s. 2 folders.
Tennis, gymnastics, martial arts, boating.
Camp Greenkill-Marling, 1925. 2 folders.
Flag raising, diving, dining hall, baseball, long jump.
Box 142 Aerial views, 1942.

Camp McAlister

Box 40 Campers, 1950s.
Standing outside cabin, camper holding frog, camper brushing teeth, camper washing hands, cafeteria scenes, camper and turtle, campers playing in the sand, counselor groups, youthmobile.
Miscellaneous camp activities, 1950s.
Camp breakfast, camp store, wood cutting, youth choir, youth with a globe, camper with a turtle, camper with a frog, evening Bible study.
Sports, 1950s-1960s.
Fishing, boating, aquatics, horseback riding.
Buildings and grounds, 1950s. 3 folders.
Camp under construction in winter, administration building, dedication of Osgood Lodge.

Camp Oscawana

Box 36 Campers, 1880s-1950s.
Winter scenes, Indian games, volleyball, cooking & eating, swimming, skating.
Buildings and grounds, 1939-1956.
Aerial view of camp, cabins, old hotel, dock, railroad along the Hudson.

Camp Pratt

Box 36 Miscellaneous camp activities, 1940s.
Rowboat race, music, baseball.

Camp Talcott

Box 41 Campers, 1925, 1940s-1950s, 1970s. 6 folders.
Group photo of counselors, playing a trumpet, cafeteria scenes, in the infirmary, camp mother, camp sing-along, inside cabin at bed time, square dancing.
Miscellaneous camp activities, 1950s.
Dance, Indian games, washing cafeteria trays, eating, basket making, campfire cooking, arts and crafts, rope making, choir, bugler, boy with a rabbit, waterfront with canoes, hand inspection, chapel/assembly.
Sports, 1940s-1950s. 2 folders.
Rifle range, swimming, baseball, archery, basketball, sand castle, boating, horseback riding, tether ball.
Buildings and grounds, 1940s, 1955. 2 folders.
Hurricane damage, aerial view of camp, camp mother's cottage dedication, cabins.
Box 142 Aerial views, 1942.

Cathedral Day Camp

Box 39 Miscellaneous camp activities, 1950s-1960s.
Eating lunch, wallet making, baseball, outdoor activities.

Central Queens Day Camp

Box 39 Campers, 1950s.

Clinton Youth Center

Box 39 Miscellaneous, 1960s-1980s. 3 folders.
Rotary Club sponsors, construction of the interior of the center, Friendship Day Camp.

Heights and Hill Day Camp

Box 39 Campers, 1970s. 2 folders.
Fishing, counselors, group photos.
Miscellaneous camp activities, circa 1975.
Group photos, Youth and Government meeting, swimming, art projects, counselors.

Holiday Hills

Box 38 Campers, 1940s-1970s. 21 folders.
McBurney "Y" group before the fireplace, group on the footbridge, Flushing "Y" winter sledding group, group by the waterfall, boy with horse and dog, group in front of the Inn, sitting in a field, chatting on deck, eating in the dining hall, winter scenes, group on the raft in the lake, children with a beach ball, cafeteria line, children swimming, dormitory room, lovers on the footbridge, Bronx Union delegation to President's Conference at Holiday Hills, junior leaders, sailing, toasting marshmallows, dance, a walk in the woods, speakers, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial, children playing card game, picking flowers and reading comics.
Miscellaneous camp activities, 1930s-1960s. 14 folders.
Indoor activities, sledding, cows, painting, dish duty, choir, dancing, hula, Carlton Branch annual retreat, enjoying the fireplace, executive group meeting
Sports, 1940s-1950s, 1970s. 17 folders.
Horseback riding, tennis, canoeing, shuffleboard, ping-pong, winter sports, golfing, swimming, sailing, baseball, horseshoes, bocci, co-ed baseball/softball, skating, badminton,
Box 39 Buildings and grounds, 1940s-1950s, 1970s. 15 folders.
Camp sign, dedication planning meeting, lake view, aerial views, cabins, house, camp buildings, dormitory bedroom, summer landscapes, the Inn, parking at the Lodge, dining hall, barns, Lathrop Center, Donaldson Center, Nick Bollettieri Tennis Camp, groundbreaking ceremonies, architectural plans.

Westside Camp

Box 36 Campers, 1906.
Tent exteriors, airing blankets, flag ceremony.

YWCA Robinhood Camp

Box 39 Miscellaneous, 1950s.
Aquatics, hiking, camp nurse, group photos, boy with turtle.

Miscellaneous Camp Scenes

Box 81 Campers, 1950s-1970s. 16 folders.
Includes images of young campers and their counselors, arriving at camp, cabin scenes, camp nurse, outdoors camping, mail call, evening Bible study, hikers with backpacks, Uptown Branch campers on their way to camp, Bedfor Branch day camp, Harlem branch day camp, Camping and Outing Branch headquarters building, camp staff.
Sports, 1950s-1970s. 9 folders.
Includes photos of volleyball, tennis, badminton, lake scenes, swimming, canoeing and sailing.
Box 82 Miscellaneous camp activities, 1950s-1970s. 15 folders.
Includes images of nature hike, target practice, ping pong, baseball, singing around the piano, climbing a dirt pile, fire tower, arts and crafts, dining hall and kitchen scenes, roasting marshmallows and pigs in blankets, Indian games, gymnastics and Heights & Hills Day Camp, young adults horseback riding, 1972 American Camping Association national convention, horseback riding at Bar-Y Ranch, girls on a see-saw, raking leaves, playing checkers, boys and executives playing ping-pong.
Buildings and grounds, 1960s-1970s. 5 folders.
Includes photos of Ellsworth Huggins Memorial Chapel, Swift Chapel, outdoor chapel service, exteriors, woods scenes, maintenance crew, building a cabin.
Box 83 Buildings and grounds, 1950s. 3 folders.
Images include one building at Silver Bay, architectural rendering of the Henry Kaufman Campgrounds in Staten Island and Wyandanch, Long Island, and photos of Robert Kleinstuber, donor of land to the Hugenot Camps.
Campers, 1880s, 1950s-1980s. 2 folders.
Photos include unknown camp groups as well as campers at Central Queens, Holiday Hills, Hugenot Camps, McBurney, and Camp Greenkill.
Miscellaneous camp activities, 1950s-1960s. 3 folders.
Includes images of archery, fishing, baseball, boating, lifesaving and other aquatic activities, tennis, Indian games, tree climbing, sitting by the campfire, doing chin-ups, woodworking.
Box 142 The lake, circa 1960. Oversize photo.


See also the records of the Camping Services Department, separately catalogued at the Kautz Family YMCA Archives. >>See the Inventory


This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Camps -- New York (State).
Camping -- History.
Day camps -- New York (State) -- New York.
Young Men's Christian associations -- New York (State) -- New York.
Campers -- New York (State).
Camp counselors -- New York (State).
New York ( N.Y.)
Dudley, Sumner F.
YMCA of Greater New York. Camping Services.
YMCA of Greater New York. Camping and Outing Branch.
Types of Documents: