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World Emergency, circa 1942-1946

 File — Box: 1, Reel: 76, microdex: 3
World Emergency, circa 1942-1946
World Emergency, circa 1942-1946

Scope and Contents

Documents concerning YWCA war relief activities in Newfoundland, the Philippines and Poland. During World War II, the YWCA of the U.S.A. cooperates with the World YWCA, YWCA organizations around the world, and other relief agencies to assist with the global cause. War relief activities include operating hostess houses, refugee relief, financial support, health aid and supplying provisions. As a strategic military location, St. John's Newfoundland quickly becomes crowded with Canadian and American military. Due to this crowding the YWCA in St. John's loses its building and finds itself unable to serve the many women coming in need of jobs and housing. Correspondence and reports concern the YWCA of the U.S.A.'s assistance to the YWCA in St. John's by sending financial support and visiting secretaries. In the Philippines, the YWCA in Manila also loses its building to the war. Narrative accounts from YWCA secretaries in Manila describe the effect the war has on its women and YWCA activities and request funds and supplies. One letter from a YWCA Girl Reserve secretary in the Philippines contains an account of her midnight arrest by Japanese soldier and subsequent imprisonment and eventual move to a psychiatric hospital. In Poland women and men face the atrocities of living under Nazi occupation. Appeals from the women of Poland vividly describe the treatment of women, mass murders and the threat to their lives. A compelling letter from an American secretary visiting Poland after the end of the war contains an account of her tour of a concentration camp. 

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: circa 1942-1946

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

From the Record Group:

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

However, by agreement with the YWCA of the U.S.A., microdexes known to contain financial records or personal health information (usually on job applications) were not digitized and/or not published in our online repository as part of the CLIR Digitizing Hidden Collections grant. These microdexes may still be accessed on the original microfilm, and digital files may be made available to individual researchers upon request.


618 frames (1 partial reel)