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

Brooklyn Central YMCA
An Inventory of Its Records

Historical Sketch | Contents Summary/Organization | Administrative/Access Info | Contents Details | Other Finding Aids | Indexed Terms/Access Points


Creator: YMCA of Greater New York. Booklyn Central Branch.
Title: Brooklyn Central YMCA records.
Date: 1855-1970s (bulk 1880s-1970s).
Collection Number: Y.GNY.024
Abstract: Collected minutes, reports, correspondence, pamphlets, flyers, governing documents, fund raising material, program information and publications primarily from the Brooklyn Central branch of the YMCA of Greater New York.
Quantity: 20 cubic feet (50 boxes)
Location: See Detailed Description section for box listing.


The YMCA in Brooklyn, New York, founded in 1853, initially met at the Second Congregational Church, the Church of the Pilgrims, the Brooklyn Athenaeum, the Reformed Church on the Heights and other Brooklyn churches. After establishing formal rooms, the association was located in the Washington Building at the corner of Court and Joraleman Streets, but it rapidly outgrew this facility as well as second location. In 1865 the organization leased a building at 80-82 Fulton Street at the corner of Gallatin Place. In 1872 it moved again--this time across the street to larger rental accommodations. In 1885 the Brooklyn YMCA dedicated its first purpose-built building, at 502 Fulton Street--the Brooklyn Central YMCA. The new building included a "swimming bath" 14 feet wide, 45 feet long and 5 feet deep that was reported to be the first swimming pool in a YMCA facility. The branch was involved in other sports "firsts": In 1896 its basketball team participated in the first professional game against the Trenton, New Jersey, YMCA. The branch also hosted the first national YMCA swimming championships.

The Brooklyn association was known for the extent and fervor of its religious work, holding many weekly prayer meetings and conducting local evangelizing work that targeted everyone, not just young men. A long-serving General Secretary, Edwin F. See, articulated the sentiment of many leaders and benefactors of the Brooklyn association when he said, "The religious work must permeate all phases and departments of the Association." See directed the establishment of extensive Bible training and study courses and developed outreach programs to men working in factories, conducting meetings and hymn sings during the lunch hour. This effort to reach men where they worked extended to commercial travellers, shopworkers and railroad workers. The Brooklyn Association was also involved in missionary work abroad and maintained links with many Protestant churches in Brooklyn.

In 1915, the Brooklyn Association dedicated its new Central building, known as "the largest YMCA in the world". Located on the block bordered by Hason Place, Fort Greene Place and South Elliott Place, the building project was funded by generous gifts from donors such as Mrs. William Van Rensselaer Smith, members of the Pratt family and John D. Rockefeller. In addition to building the new Central branch, the Brooklyn Association purchased a new site for the Twenty-sixth Ward branch and began fund raising for an expanded Prospect Park branch at the same time. In the years following World War I, the Brooklyn Association expanded its focus beyond its roots, conducting Americanization programs targeted at immigrants, most of whom were not evangelical Protestants. In 1924, the association changed its name to the Brooklyn and Queens YMCA to reflect the branch's expansion into the neighboring borough. In 1957 the Brooklyn and Queens YMCA merged with the New York YMCA to become the YMCA of Greater New York.

After weathering some tough financial storms during the Depression, and significantly changed Brooklyn demographics, the Central branch ended the 20th century operating from a storefront in Brooklyn Heights. However, in 2005 it opened a new building on Atlantic Avenue, funded in part by a significant grant from the Dodge Family Foundation. The branch name changed to the Dodge branch of the YMCA of Greater New York. By 2012, Brooklyn was home to eight branches; Queens had six.

(Information taken from History of the Brooklyn and Queens Young Men's Christian Association, 1853-1949 by E. Clark Worman.)


The records include Board of Managers minutes, financial reports, fund raising materials, printed brochures and other advertising material, correspondence, records of other Brooklyn YMCA branches (including the Bay Ridge branch) information about YMCA buildings, material about the merger with the New York YMCA in 1957, governing documents, program information, material related to specific events, branch studies and planning documents, and annual reports. Among the advertising materials are brochures and flyers from camps such as Camp Pratt, Camp McAlister and Heights and Hill Day Camp. The collection includes correspondence and reports focused on the Brooklyn Central branch's relationships with Brooklyn churches, local colleges and universities, and other YMCAs. The collection includes information about the educational programs conducted by the branch as well as publications about the history of the YMCA.


These documents are organized into the following sections:
Board of Directors.
Executive Records.
Finance and Operations.
Programs, Events and Activities.


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]. Brooklyn and Queens YMCA Records. Kautz Family YMCA Archives. University of Minnesota.
See the Chicago Manual of Style for additional examples.
Processing Information:
Processed by: Louise Merriam, July 2009.
Catalog Record ID number: 6258658


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

Board of Directors

Box 32 Organizing documents, 1869-1950s. 8 folders.
Charter revisions, by-laws, constitution and by-laws for the athletic club council, amended articles, by-laws for Board of Trustees and Board of Directors and plan to reorganize as a metropolitan association.
Box 33 Organizing documents, 1884-1896. 8 folders.
Includes amended charter, constitution and bylaws of the Brooklyn YMCA, Board of Directors bylaws (1884), bylaws of the Committee of Management.
Box 36 Board of Managers minutes, 1965-1973. 11 folders.
Box 37 Minutes and reports, 1954-1971. 3 volumes, 2 folders.
Includes Reports of the Executive Director (1966), reports of the Brooklyn Strategy Committee (1971), operational committee minutes (1950s-1960s), miscellaneous Executive Committee correspondence.
Box 38 Merger with New York YMCA, 1956-1957. 5 folders.
Certificate of name change, Agreement of Consolidation, Certificate of Consolidation, Minutes: Plan and Scope of the Inter-Association Conference Committee and other materials related to the merger of the New York and the Brooklyn-Queens associations.
Box 45 Governing documents, 1883-1885. 5 folders.
Constitution, endowment fund subscriptions, legal advice re building at 502 Fulton Street, recommendations to membership (monthly election). Also includes Jubilee speech, "Settled Principles in Association Work".
Box 46 Minutes, 1956, 1959-1969.1 folder, one bound volume.
Board of Managers minutes, minutes of Board of Trustees, 11/20/1956.
Box 50 Board of Directors minutes, 1853-1874. 1 bound volume.
Box 51 Board of Directors and Association minutes, 1906, 1859-1860. 1 bound volume.
Box 52 Trustee's minutes, 1895. 1 bound volume.
Box 53 Committee of Management minutes, 1896-1915.1 bound volume.
Box 57 Report of the Executive Secretary to the Committee of Management, November 1915-December 1945. 3 loose-leaf volumes.
Box 60 Board of Managers minutes, 1856-57, 1974-1986, 1988-1992. 17 folders.
Box 72 Board of Directors minutes, 1874-1883, 1935-1956, 6 volumes
Box 73 Minutes, 1912-1950. 6 volumes.
Minutes of the Board of Trustees: 1913-1938, 1939-1950; Minutes of the Board of Directors: 1912-1935.
Box 79 Board of Managers minutes, 1915-1930. 1 volume.

Executive Records

Box 26 Bay Ridge branch, 1925. 3 folders.
Annual report, budget statement, fund raising flyer.
Box 27 Bay Ridge Boy's Outpost, 1944-1970. 4 folders.
Annual report (1945), financial campaign (1944), agreement of occupancy (1946), youth enrichment/drug abuse programs (1970).
Box 28 Brooklyn Central branch, 1871-1974. 9 folders.
Surveys and reports, planning for Atlantic Terminal, Springfield College guidance center, merger proposal, donation information, building attendance by branch, Camp McAllister.
Box 30 Miscellaneous and printed material, 1913-1982. 26 folders.
Reports and surveys include "Case Statement for Support" (1979), "Brooklyn YMCA Awareness and Image Study (1982), fund report (1972), annual reports (1929-1930) and report on the Central Branch community (1955). Also includes brochures, flyers, reports amd evalations relatd to camps, including Camp Pratt and Heights and Hill day camp. Also includes miscellaneous program materials, including Marquand School for Boys, anniversary dinner-dance (1965) and physical department brochures. Also includes personnel policy, material related to the sale of the building, staff biographies and annual review of the secretary (1929).
Box 31 Correspondence, 1887-1903. 5 folders.
Correspondents include Edwin F. See, Thomas J. Wilkie, Edwin Packard and Silas H. Berry.
Box 67 Miscellaneous reports, 1906-1979. 47 folders.
Includes Planning Committee minutes, budget material, Brooklyn College YMCA, church programs, church programs, building and renovations, reports from other branches.
Box 68 Miscellaneous administrative records, 1960s, 1970s. 45 folders.
Financial campaigns, by-laws, public relations manuals, clippings, members, churches, committees, Youthmobile, Man of the Year, Downtown Brooklyn Development Commission, Laymen's Conference, Committee of One Hundred Fifteen, students, residence room rates, anniversary dinners.
Box 69 Miscellaneous administrative records, 1950s, 1960s. 21 folders.
Board of Managers deceased and retired members, Indian guide father-son programs, job descriptions, program and membership reports.
Box 71 Miscellaneous administrative records, 1960s-1980s. 63 folders.
Financial campaigns and reports, branch studies, World Service flyers, anniversary programs, committee minutes, student work, donors, building maintenance, insurance, budget, programming.
Box 80 Administrative files, 1950-1956. 6 folders.
Includes material on personnel policies, race relations and budget.
Box 81 Executive Committee minutes, 1885-1896, 1903-1909. 2 volumes.


Box 34 Groundbreaking and dedication, 1884-1885. 18 folders.
Illustrated brochure, "The New Building of the Brooklyn YMCA" (1885), program for cornerstone laying ceremony (1884), manuscript describing laying of cornerstone (1884), contents of cornerstone box: Bond Street building, remarks of Daniel W. McWilliams at ceremony, will of Frederick Marquand and copy letter making gift of property to the Brooklyn YMCA (1884), inscription on box, report of the ninth international conference of YMCAs (1884), yearbook of the Brooklyn YMCAs (1884-1885), college work at the Brooklyn YMCA, railroad work, state work, commercial travelers work, general pamphlets and other materials.
Box 49 Groundbreaking, 1915. 6 folders.
Invitations, tickets, program for cornerstone laying ceremony; dedication of building; descriptive brochure; dedication address by Richard C. Morse.

Finance and Operations

Box 42 Staff meeting minutes, 1953-1967. 2 volumes.
Box 43 Brooklyn Queens annual financial exhibits, 1936-1955. 21 exhibits.
Box 58 Branch Planning Committee, 1955-1968. 13 folders.
Includes minutes, correspondence, questionnaires, reports, studies, flyers, and administrative manual for the Brooklyn and Queens YMCA.
Box 62 Financial statements, 1950-1957. 14 folders.
Audits conducted by C.D. Giles & Company. Some duplicates.
Box 63 Financial statements, 1909-1935. 167 reports.
Includes reports on building funds, gift funds, annuities, investments, endowment funds, cash accounts.
Box 64 Miscellaneous records, 1886, 1940s, 1957-1963, 1935, 1960s. 19 folders.
Financial campaigns, conferences, anniversary dance (1965), Key Men's Conference, salary and income studies, Committee of One Hundred Fifteen.
Box 66a Expired memberships, 1970-1972.19 folders.
Application cards marked "expired."
Box 66b Membership records, 1900-1940s, 1970s. 24 folders.
Partner membership application cards for lifetime members and current (1970s) members.
Box 70 Fund raising, 1960s-1970s.16 folders.
Memorial gifts, World Service campaigns, all boroughs campaigns, finance campaigns.
Box 70a Personnel records, 1930s-1970s. 9 folders.
Box 74 Financial campaign, 1949.
Box 75 Financial campaigns, 1923-1949.6 folders.
Includes campaign poster, 1925-1926, Worker's Manual (75th Anniversary Campaign), brochures and flyers (1923, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1944, 1949).
Box 83 Financial campaigns, 1940-1943, 1945. 5 folders.
Box 84 Financial statements, 1936-1956. 20 folders.
Box 88 History of Brooklyn and Queens YMCA, 1952. 6 folders.
Typescript of book by E. Clark Worman, published in 1952.

Programs, Events and Activities

Box 29 Boys' Work, 1910-1930.
The Brooklyn Boy (circa 1910), policy of boys' work (1921-1922), individual branch scores on tests to boys, Goodwin B. Watson (1928), two booklets "For Your Boy".
Box 35 Miscellaneous printed material, 1910-1924. 11 folders.
Newspaper clippings, brochures, pamphlets and flyers.
Box 39 Brooklyn Central: A Weekly Publication Devoted to the Varied Interests of Young Men,1903-1918.23 bound volumes, including 6 duplicates.
Weekly, except in summer. Includes program schedules, advertisements, poems and short essays.
Box 39a Brooklyn Central: A Weekly Publication Devoted to the Varied Interests of Young Men, September 15, 1904-November 10, 1905. 9 folders of unbound single issues.
Weekly, except in summer. Includes program schedules, advertisements, poems and short essays.
Box 39b Brooklyn Central: A Weekly Publication Devoted to the Varied Interests of Young Men,November 17, 1905-December 28, 1906; December 23, 1927-June 15, 1928 (incomplete). 8 folders of unbound single issues, 17 unfoldered single issues.
Weekly, except in summer. Includes program schedules, advertisements, poems and short essays.
Box 40 Printed material, 1920s-1960s. 6 folders.
Pamphlets; posters; brochures; descriptive program and branch pamphlets.
Box 41 Printed material, 1902-1902, 1930s, 1950s, 1960s. 9 folders.
Includes material related to the opening of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit railroad men's branch, closing of the Brooklyn Naval branch, food service invoice, anniversary dinners, building dedication, statistical information.
Box 44 Printed material, 1855-1885. 7 folders.
Tracts, circulars, papers read at the YMCA international conferences, pocket manuals, samples of printed matter in use in 1884 (receipts, library forms, advertising cards, annual meeting programs, stationery, admission tickets, hymn sheets).
Box 47 Jubilee, 1894. 2 folders.
Programs, tickets, invitations.
Box 48 Miscellaneous material, 1855-1920. 13 folders.
Form letters, facts and figures sheet, promotional and fund-raising pamphlets, "A Statistical Study of Work among Colored Men" (1919), plans and description for a new building (1860s), "Chinese Tea" card announcing a program about missionary work in China to be held at the 26th Ward branch, correspondence with J. T. Bowne, newspaper clippings (1859-1915), Gospel Tent Bulletin (1879).
Box 54 Printed material, 1870s-1920s. 10 folders.
Programs, tickets, promotional brochures, forms, printing samples, newsletters, event calendars, program catalogs, published reports.
Box 55 Printed material, 1903-1910. 6 folders.
Includes miscellaneous brochures and flyers, Annual prospectus for the Brooklyn Central branch (1901-1910), information about boarding houses, Boys Department, Bible Institute, night school and Bible Institute.
Box 56 Printed material, 1890s-1910s. 8 folders.
Box 59 Historical information, 1852-1903. 20 folders.
Includes Historical Sketch of YMCAs, U.S. and British Provinces; Our History, by Alfred Wilkes; historical sketches and notes; lists of trustees, officers, staff and early members; chronology.
Box 61 Events, 1857, 1885. 2 folders.
First Public Reception of the Young Men of Brooklyn in Association Hall, Sermon Delivered Before the Brooklyn YMCA, by the Rev. W. H. Lewis, D.D.
Box 65 Annual laymen's conferences, 1946-1967. 22 folders.
Conferences cancelled 1965, 1967.
Box 76 100th anniversary dinner program, 1952.
Includes seating list.
Box 77 Sports and physical recreation, 1896-1940. 4 folders.
Includes A.L.N.A. basket ball [sic] championship score book for 1896-1897, Physical Department statistical reports (1912-1914), schedule for Brooklyn-Queens baseball league (1927), Why We Swim, by Don Stone, aquatic director (1940).
Box 78 Library catalogues, 1862-1889.6 folders.
Printed Brooklyn Central library catalogues; also includes Rules of Use, How to Use the Card Catalogue, forms and description of classification scheme.
Box 82 Program and management information, 1926-1955.17 folders.
Includes Blue Book, studies and surveys, program and camp brochures, correspondence, membership analysis, personnel policy material and material from World Government Week (1948) that includes numbered and signed artwork by Jean Henri Michel.
Box 85 Bethelship Merchant Seamen's Branch, 1920s, 1946. 3 folders.
Includes descriptive branch pamphlet, 1946 survey regarding the advisability of conducting Boys' Work at the branch, and program for 82nd anniversary (1926).
Box 86 Centennial of the YMCA, 1944. 4 pamphlets.
Second Century Day (June 6, 1944), YMCA is 100 Years Old (illustrated), Some Significant Events in a Century of Y.M.C.A. Service With Youth, Centennial Tributes to the Y. M.C.A., Section I.
Box 87 Religious programs, 1855-1880s. 11 folders.
Includes YMCA tickets to Moody and Sankey revival meetings, minutes of meeting to considering Sunday evening meetings, and material from other organizations, including the U.S. Christian Commission, Young Men's Christian Union of Cincinnati, Brooklyn Young People's Union Prayer Meeting Association, State Association of YMCAs of New York, Fulton Street Prayer Meeting, Missionary Association of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Sabbath School, Washington Conference, Brooklyn Industrial School Association, Northfield Seminary, Brooklyn Sunday School Union,
Box 89 Bush Terminal Department, 1915. 1 pamphlet.


In the Brooklyn Historical Society: Louise Hasbrook Brooklyn Navy YMCA collection; Guide to the Brooklyn YMCA Central Branch publications.


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.
Young Men's Christian associations -- Administration.
Young Men's Christian associations -- Buildings.
Young Men's Christian associations -- New York (State) -- Kings County.
Young Men's Christian associations -- New York (State) -- Queens County.
Brooklyn (New York, New York).
See, Edwin F. (Edwin Francis), 1861-1906.
Wilkie, Thomas J.
Packard, Edwin.
Berry, Silas H.
Brooklyn Young Men's Christian Association.
Brooklyn and Queens Young Men's Christian Association. Central Branch.
YMCA of Greater New York. Brooklyn Central Branch.
YMCA of Greater New York. Dodge Branch.
Brooklyn and Queens Young Men's Christian Association. Bay Ridge Branch.
Brooklyn and Queens Young Men's Christian Association. Twenty-Sixth Ward Branch.
Brooklyn and Queens Young Men's Christian Association. Bush Terminal Branch.
Brooklyn and Queens Young Men's Christian Association. Bethelship Merchant Seamen's Branch.
Types of Documents: