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Virginia Heim George papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00221

Scope and Contents

The Virginia Heim George papers consist of correspondence, diaries, clippings, and photographs. A major portion of the material dates from 1940 to 1948 and is related to her foreign secretary work for the YWCA in South America and Czechoslovakia and her USO work in the Caribbean.

The papers are divided into two series, PERSONAL and PROFESSIONAL. The PERSONAL material contains correspondence and diaries, both ranging from 1940 to 1981. The correspondence consists of letters to her family, mostly to her mother, with a small amount of incoming correspondence from family and friends, 1945-50. The nine diaries consist of six written between 1940 and 1948, plus three travel accounts from 1953, 1965, and 1981. Both the letters and diaries provide a detailed description of George's life while working for the YWCA and the USO. She was an eager and enthusiastic participant in her work and also took advantage of the opportunities it provided to travel extensively. She was a keen observer of the countries she visited and the people she met. Her wartime letters as well and those from postwar Czechoslovakia reflect the mail censorship of the times. As a result the diaries and the occasional letters that she was able to write freely are more candid. The diaries written from her two trips to Czechoslovakia in 1965 and 1981 contain particularly interesting accounts of life there, and the 1965 account reports earlier arrests and trials, particularly an incident involving the YWCA in 1948.

The PROFESSIONAL material consists of clippings and articles about George and her work, 1925-1975, three reports from her Czechoslovakia and Germany experiences, 1948, and a nine-page speech on the USO, ca. 1945. In this series are also fifteen photographs, five of the USO, six related to the YWCA, and four of women in Puerto Rico.

Dates of Materials

  • 1925 - 1981


Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that she owns copyright, Virginia Heim George has assigned the copyright in her works to Smith College; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Virginia Heim George, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri
University of Wisconsin, major in economics
Program Director, YWCA, working with industrial workers, Kansas City, Utica, Pittsburgh
Camp Director, YWCA
Carnegie Institute of Technology, graduate study in group work
Executive Director, YWCA, Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Regional Assistant Director of USO, Brazil, Caribbean Area
Program Consultant, YWCA, Czechoslovakia, with two-week special
National staff, YWCA, Community Division, working with business
Group work and recreational director, YWCA, Oakland, California
Executive Director, YWCA, Yakima, Washington
Executive Director, YWCA, Utica, New York
Advisor, YWCA, Taipei, Taiwan
Advisor, YWCA, Colombia, with three short periods in Lima, Peru
Executive Director, YWCA, Omaha, Nebraska
Virginia Heim George died circa 2003


0.625 linear feet (2 containers)

Language of Materials



Virginia Heim George was a YWCA executive, YWCA overseas secretary, and USO official. Most material in the George papers pertains to her foreign secretary work in South America and Czechoslovakia and her USO work in the Caribbean. Personal letters and travel diaries include descriptions of life in Brazil and the Caribbean and in post-war Czechoslovakia and West Germany. Material also includes speeches, clippings and photographs.


This collection is organized into two series:

  1. I. Personal
  2. II. Professional

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Virginia Heim George Papers were a gift of Mrs. George in 1989.

Additional Formats

Selections from the Virginia Heim George papers can be viewed in the Web exhibit "An Ever-Widening Circle of Friendship": YWCA Overseas Secretaries from China to Liberia.


Finding aid to the Virginia Heim George papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Susan Boone
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2005-09-23: mnsss17 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:12-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2019-04-15: Made paper FA pencil edit changes and updated finding aid.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063