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

An Inventory of Its Records

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Creator: Brooklyn and Queens YMCA. Carlton Avenue Branch
Title: Carlton Avenue YMCA records.
Date: 1903-1954.
Collection Number: Y.GNY.025
Abstract: Collected brochures, clippings, branch publications and reports from the Carlton YMCA branch in Brooklyn..
Quantity: .25 cubic feet (1 box)
Location: See Detailed Description section for box listing.


The Carlton Avenue branch of the Brooklyn Young Men's Christian Association was opened in 1902 under the leadership of executive secretary Charles H. Bullock, who had organized a branch for African-Americans in his native Charlottesville, Virginia. He was asked to come to Brooklyn to organize the first colored branch in Brooklyn, reflecting the national YMCA's growing interest in serving special populations such as immigrants, railroad workers, boys and African Americans. The work was funded by several well-known philanthropists, including George Foster Peabody, Julius Rosenwald, John D. Rockefeller, and members of the African-American community in Brooklyn. After starting its operations in a brownstone at 405 Carlton Avenue, in Fort Greene, the branch opened a typical YMCA building in 1918. The structure boasted 70 dormitory rooms, a swimming pool, bowling alleys, showers, meeting rooms, game rooms and a social lounge. It was, according to the Brooklyn Eagle, the second largest "colored YMCA" in the world. Women were welcome at this branch, and could participate in physical education classes designed for them. The branch was known for the prowess of its baseball team. In its early years, the branch focused on helping young men who had migrated from the south to New York, offering an employment service and other programs designed to help newcomers adjust to the city.

The branch closed in 1955, reflecting the decline in the need for a special branch for African Americans, who had moved away from the immediate neighborhood around the branch and were now served by other YMCA programs and buildings. The new residents of the neighborhood, many of whom had moved to New York from Puerto Rico, did not participate in YMCA programs. Moreover, the Carlton building was showing its age, and the Brooklyn and Queens YMCA was not eager to put money into a branch whose services might overlap with other branches close by. Finally, a controversy in the early 1950s over the firing of the executive secretary Herbert T. Miller, who had held the post since 1941, split the board and made cordial relations with the larger association difficult. As of 2012, the former YMCA building was operating as a nursing home.


Included in the collection are pamphlets and other publicity materials, annual dinner programs, reports related to the closing of the branch and the controversy over the firing of the executive secretary, newsletters and magazines issued by the branch, and information about program attendance and building specifications.


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]. Carlton Avenue YMCA Records. Kautz Family YMCA Archives. University of Minnesota.
See the Chicago Manual of Style for additional examples.
Processing Information:
Processed by: Louise Merriam, January 2012.
Catalog Record ID number: 6266955


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

Box 97 Branch histories, 1902.
A description of the branch's physical plant.
Report of the Survey Committee, 1954.
Summary of the decision to close Carlton Branch.
Press release, 1951.
Press release regarding Herbert Miller's dismissal.
Brochures and other printed material, 1904-1918, 1923, 1940s.
Annual report, 1908-1909.
The Chatter, 1938.
Monthly publication of the Carlton Avenue branch.
Newspaper clippings, 1951-1952.
Primarily related to ouster of branch secretary Herbert T. Miller.
The Carlton Y Post, December 6, 1929.
Weekly newsletter.
Reports, 1907, 1924, 1959.
Letter on building insurance coverage (1907), report on building condition and operation (1924) and summary of board actions concerning the branch, including its sale.
Observations for discussion, 1951.
List of Brooklyn Association concerns related to integration and inclusivity.


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.
African Americans -- Organizations -- New York (State) -- New York.
African Americans -- Social conditions.
Young Men's Christian associations -- Administration.
Young Men's Christian associations -- Buildings.
Young Men's Christian associations -- New York (State) -- King's County.
Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
Miller, Herbert T., 1900-1977.
Bullock, Charles H., 1875-1950.
YMCA of Greater New York.
Brooklyn Young Men's Christian Association.
Types of Documents: