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

An Inventory of His Papers

Biography | Contents Summary/Organization | Administrative/Access Info | Contents Details | Indexed Terms/Access Points


Creator: Morse, Richard Cary, 1841-1926.
Title: Richard C. Morse papers.
Date: 1841-1961 (bulk 1880-1910).
Collection Number: Y.USA.16
Abstract: Papers of Morse's fifty year tenure as general secretary with the YMCA. Includes information on the Morse family genealogy.
Quantity: 3.0 cu. ft. (8 boxes).
Location: See Detailed Description section for box listing.


Morse was born on September 19, 1841 in Hudson, New York to a distinguished family which included Samuel Morse, the inventor of the telegraph. Graduating from Yale in 1862, he went on to further education at Princeton and the Union Theological Seminary. In 1867 he joined the staff of the New York Observer, a religious weekly which his father had founded. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1869 and entered work in the YMCA as an editor and publisher of the Association News. In 1872 he became general secretary of the YMCA's Executive Committee, which became the International Committee in 1879. Holding this position until 1915, Morse (working closely with Cephas Brainerd and Robert McBurney) oversaw growth from a few associations to over two thousand. He was also one of the original members of the World's Committee from 1878 to 1888. He was active in the New York City association, including serving on its committee of management for the railroad branch (Morse and McBurney had established a railroad branch in New York City in 1873).

In 1915 Morse resigned as the general secretary of the International Committee and was succeeded by John Mott. Although Morse was offered a pension, he continued in active service of the International Committee under the title of Consulting General Secretary. He did war relief work in France during World War I, for which he was made and honorary American Secretary of the World's Committee.


Morse's papers include a variety of materials relating to the International Committee of the YMCA: correspondence relating to personnel; reports and speeches on "colored work," the growth of the YMCA, secretaryship of the YMCA and the International Committee itself. There is also material relating to Morse's interest in the association at Yale University and the construction of Dwight Hall.

Biographical materials include a genealogy book and a series of letters called "Family League letters," detailing his work and travels with the YMCA.

Also included are lecture notes on a variety of YMCA topics, including boys' work, the role of laymen and the International Committee. A manuscript of his autobiography, which he titled "Recollections of Richard C. Morse," later published under the title "My Life with Young Men, " is also included in the collection.

Papers relating to Morse's later career include correspondence regarding his retirement as general secretary; correspondence and reminiscences concerning his work in the war relief effort; correspondence from William A. Hunton (son of the first African-American secretary), thanking Morse for financial support which helped Hunton attend Harvard; and memorials and obituaries on Morse's death.


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]. Richard C. Morse Papers. Kautz Family YMCA Archives. University of Minnesota.
See the Chicago Manual of Style for additional examples.
Processing Information:
Material in this collection was formerly cataloged as part of the YMCA Biographical Files.
Processed by: Chan Harries, September 2004.
Catalog Record ID number: 4458213


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

1 Biographical material, undated, 1908-1961.
Morse genealogy, 1905.
Morse family tree, undated.
Autograph book, Philips Academy, 1858.
Morse attended Philips Academy in New York City.
Family League letters, 1881-1887. 3 folders.
2 Family League letters, 1888-1915. 10 folders.
3 Family League letters, 1916-1924. 3 folders.
The Family League was a family group that circulated letters amongst themselves.
Roamer League letters, 1909-1911.
Reminiscences of Richard C. Morse, manuscript, 1841-1892. 6 folders.
Chapters 1-13
4 Reminiscences of Richard C. Morse, manuscript, 1893-1895.
Chapter 14. The manuscript was later published under the title "My Life with Young Men: Fifty Years in the YMCA"
Reminiscences of Richard C. Morse, manuscript, notes, undated, 1914, 1923. 2 folders.
25th anniversary reception, 1895.
40th anniversary tribute, 1909.
50th anniversary tribute, 1919-1920.
Condolences, 1926-1927. 2 folders.
Asia travel, correspondence, notes, 1907.
Notes from journeys, 1907-1923.
Travelogues, 1867, 1902-1903. 2 folders.
Lecture outlines, YMCA, 1909-1910.
Outlines of lectures given on YMCA history.
Lecture notes, undated, 1910.
5 Lecture outlines, undated, 1912-1924. 4 folders.
Anti-polygamy petition, 1899.
One of Morse's personal projects was a petition drive to amend the U.S. constitution to outlaw polygamy.
Association Work, articles, 1909, 1912, 1915.
Articles written about Morse.
Association work, materials, 1893, 1899-1927.
Memorandum, 1892, 1915-1916.
Notes, 1887-1896.
6 Papers, 1870-1901.
Miscellaneous materials, including a handbook from the University Club in New York City, of which Morse was a member, as well as materials from the Jubilee Celebration in 1901.
Railroad YMCA, historical materials, 1890, 1915.
Reports, 1872-1902. 2 folders.
Speeches, 1884-1910.
Student work materials, 1915.
Subscription book, Jubilee year, 1901.
Subscription ledgers, 1880-1925. 2 folders.
Training institutes, materials, 1910-1915.
Writings, undated, 1883-1919.
Yale University, Dwight Hall dedication, remarks, 1886.
YMCA historical time line, undated.
Correspondence, undated, 1841, 1881-1901.
7 Correspondence, 1907-1926.
W. A. Hunton, correspondence, 1924-1926.
Charles Ober, correspondence, 1882-1892. 3 folders.
P. A. Weiting, correspondence, 1879-1926. 2 folders.
Luther Wishard, correspondence, 1892-1893.
Yale YMCA, correspondence, 1885-1897. 3 folders.
8 Contract with executive committee, 1870.


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.
Social work with African Americans.
Young Men's Christian associations -- Employees.
Hunton, William Alphaeus, 1863-1916.
Morse family.
Ober, Charles K. (Charles Kellogg), b. 1856.
Wishard, Luther D. (Luther Deloraine), 1854-1925.
Yale University -- Buildings.
Yale University Young Men's Christian Association.
Young Men's Christian Associations of North America. International Committee.