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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: National Board of the Young Men's Christian Associations. International Division.
Title: Records of YMCA International Work in Cuba
Date: 1904-1979 (bulk 1904-1941)
Collection Number: Y.USA.9-2-16
Abstract: Correspondence, reports, and printed material, primarily concerning the YMCA in Havana, Cuba, mostly concerning the finances and the 1941 closure of the YMCA, building projects, and World Service.
Quantity: 1.9 cubic feet (6 boxes)
Location: See Detailed Description section for box listing.


In 1904, Joseph E. Hubbard was sent to Cuba to assist in establishing a YMCA. The Cuban Y was founded on May 12, 1905 in Havana. This Association served both Americans and Cubans. A building was rented, a gymnasium was opened, Bible classes were held, a boys' camp was facilitated, and Cubans were added to the board of directors.

Havana had difficulties raising money early on. In 1911, an effort was made, encouraged by a conditional offer of $75,000 from the YMCA International Committee, to obtain 150,000 in Havana for a new building. The Catholic bishop publicly attacked the project as Protestant, Spanish clubs were opposed, American business men were lukewarm and the campaign fell far from the goal. Hubbard was not discouraged and remained in Havana. In 1915 a building was erected with mostly money from the International Committee.

In 1921, Everett James Simonds replaced Hubbard. For a time the Havana Association continued to grow through the financial support of the Cubans. Simonds left in 1926. Cuban Luis Machado was president, but in general, able Cuban leadership was lacking, especially for the secretarial posts. Simonds was replaced by Herbert Watson Chaffee. Unfortunately, arguments about finances and revisions of the constitution arose between the Cubans and the North Americans. The building was in horrible shape and debts were accumulated. The depression struck and with it fell the economy. And for all of the above reasons the effort in Havana came to an unfortunate end. In 1941 the building was sold.

The following is a list of individuals who served as YMCA secretaries in Cuba, along with their dates of service:

Chaffee, Herbert Watson (1927-1932) MacLeod, John J. (1906-1908)
Davis, Charles (1923-1925) Mann, Frank H. (1905)
Garniss, George Winslow (1909-1919) Nuttle, Charles Howard (1909-1913)
Ghiselin, Samuel Brown (1909) Simonds, Everett James (1918-1925)
Hatch, Arthur L. (1919-1920) Thayer, Clarence Putnam (1920-1922)
Hubbard, Joseph Edward (1904-1919) Ward, Earle A. (1921-1925)

Historical information largely adapted and quoted from World Service: A History of the Foreign Work and World Service of the Young Men's Christian Associations of the United States and Canada, (New York: Association Press, 1957) by Kenneth Scott Latourette, and from the collection.


Includes correspondence, reports, and printed material, primarily concerning the YMCA in Havana, Cuba. A significant portion of the records consist of correspondence and documents concerning the finances and the 1941 closure of the YMCA, building projects, and world service. There are also small portions of records concerning assistance to Cuban refugees during the 1960s, and the 11th World Festival of Youth and Students held in Havana in 1978, to which the YMCA's World Alliance sent a delegate.


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]. Records of YMCA International Work in Cuba. Kautz Family YMCA Archives. University of Minnesota.
See the Chicago Manual of Style for additional examples.
Processing Information:
Processed as part of Fast Processing Project II, August 2009, as collection FP031. Material has been minimally processed. Descriptions of box contents are very general.
Catalog Record ID number: 6258641


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

Box 1 Havana correspondence and reports, building information, World Festival of Youth and Students, 1933-1941, 1958, 1978-1979.
Box 2 Havana correspondence and reports, building information, bylaws, 1912-1932.
Box 3 World Service correspondence, 1904-1927.
Box 4 World Service correspondence, 1928-1940.
Box 5 Newspaper articles, pamphlets, Boletin de YMCA, Cubans in Exile, 1906-1928, 1960's.
Box 6 Legal papers and power of attorney, reports, financial statements, articles of the constitution, organization of corporation, correspondence, 1914-1932.


Biographical information on many of the secretaries involved in work in Cuba (see list of individuals in the historical note) is available in the YMCA Biographical Files, separately cataloged in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives.


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.
Refugees -- Cuba.
World Festival of Youth and Students for Peace and Friendship (11th : 1978 : Havana, Cuba)
Young Men's Christian Associations -- Administration.
Young Men's Christian Associations -- Buildings.
Young Men's Christian Associations -- Cuba -- Havana.
Havana (Cuba).
International Committee of YMCAs. World Service.
National Board of the Young Men's Christian Associations. International Division.
Young Men's Christian Associations of North America. International Committee.