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YWCA of the U.S.A. records, Record Group 9. Photographs

 Record Group
Identifier: SSC-MS-00324-RG9

Scope and Contents

The National YWCA photographic print collection consists of approximately 24,000 photographic images taken within the United States and abroad from the late 19th century through the first few years of the 21st. The majority of the photographs were taken by professional photographers for publicity use. A good portion of these document activities at Community YWCAs and were submitted to the National Association for use in its main serial The Association Monthly/Womans Press/YWCA Magazine.

In addition to these publicity photographs, there are also a significant number of personal snapshots donated to the National Board Archives by retired staff members.

The World War I-era section is particularly strong, with subjects ranging from U.S. Hostess Houses and Overseas Staff to the "Women at Work" war effort on both sides of the Atlantic. There is also a smaller collection of images documenting World War II, including scrapbook photos of Japanese Relocation Centers, United Community Defense Services trailer boom-towns and the history of the U.S.O.

The bulk of the images taken within the United States are either from 1918 or from the late 1950s through early 1970s. Many of the Program section's broadest topics (Recreation, Students, Y-Teens) were taken in large part during the mid-1960s by staff photographer Carroll Aument, whose style is distinctive from that of other YWCA photographers.

The majority of the images in all sections of the collection are in black and white. Color photographs taken in the 1970s-1990s are often lesser quality snapshots taken by YWCA staff members.

Series 4 also contains three scripts for which no motion picture film exists in the collection.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: around 1890s to 2001


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 it owns copyright, YWCA of the USA has retained copyright in its works donated to Smith College, but has has authorized Smith College Special Collections to grant permission to publish reproductions or quotations from the records on its behalf. 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 those few instances beyond fair use, or which may regard materials in the collection not created by YWCA of the USA, 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.


45.525 linear feet (105 containers)

37.44 Gigabytes (23,053 jpg files)

Language of Materials



This record group includes photographic prints, negatives, slides and filmstrips documenting the work of the YWCA from the 1890s to the early 2000s. It forms part of the YWCA of the U.S.A. records.


This record group is divided into three series based on format in which the images were received by the Sophia Smith Collection:

  1. Prints and negatives
  2. Slides
  3. Filmstrips

Within the first two series, the contents are arranged to mirror the arrangement of the overall YWCA of the USA records, as described in more detail under each subseries. The third series consists of four items.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The YWCA of the U.S.A. donated a portion of its records to the Sophia Smith Collection in 1964 and the remainder in 2002 and 2003.

Existence and Location of Copies

41 boxes of photographs in the in the international work, program, and student work portions of Series 1 (boxes 1001-1041)were digitized were digitized as part of a 2016-2018 CLIR Hidden Collections grant and are available through our digital repository. Individual folders of digitized photographs are linked to in the container list, below. The digitization focused on photographs only; no negatives and little of the supporting materials found in some folders were digitized.

Related Materials

This record group forms part of the YWCA of the U.S.A. records.

Processing Information

Processed by Maida Goodwin, Amy Hague, Kara McClurken, Amanda Izzo, 2008. Finding aid augmented and revised by Mandy MacLeod, 2017-2018.


Finding aid to Record Group 9. Photographs, of the YWCA of the U.S.A. records
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Finding aid prepared by Maida Goodwin, Amy Hague, Kara McClurken, Amanda Izzo, Mandy MacLeod (2018), Christie Peterson (2019), and amended by Scott Biddle (2020).
2008, 2018, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Processing of the YWCA of the U.S.A. records was made possible by the generous support of the National Historical Records and Publications Commission and the estate of Elizabeth Norris. Digitization and description of a selection of photographs was made possible by the Council on Library and Information Resource (CLIR) 2106-2018 Digitizing Hidden Collections grant.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2018-02-01: This resource was updated by Mandy MacLeod for the CLIR 2016-2018 YWCA digitization project.
  • 2019-03-18: Updated finding aid in preparation for publishing post-CLIR digitization grant. Included updating notes to current standards
  • 2020-08-28: Added info. to flat file folders

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063