Skip to main content

Mabel Cratty papers

 Collection
Identifier: SSC-MS-00600

Scope and Contents

The Mabel Cratty Papers consist of .75 linear ft. and are primarily related to her work as General Secretary of the YWCA of the U.S.A. between 1906 and her death in 1928. Types of materials include biographical materials, notebooks, "daily reminder" diaries, and a small amount of correspondence. Included also is Margaret Burton's book Mabel Cratty: Leader in the Art of Leadership (1929), a compilation of Cratty's speeches and writings with a biographical sketch by Burton.

The small amount of correspondence consists mainly of typed excerpts of letters by Mabel Cratty which appear to have been collected as part of memorial acitivities after her death.

Cratty's notebooks contain a wide variety of handwritten and typewritten notes, speech drafts, and ideas. They also contain quotes, prayers, statistics, and excerpts from newspaper articles and other reading which relate in some way to the YWCA and its "field." Topics include leadership, women and finance, women and religion, and the Association concept. They provide fascinating insight into her view of her job and the role of the YWCA.

The "daily reminder" diaries include volumes kept by Cratty and by her secretaries, Isabel Norton (1913-18), Lois Clark (1919-21), and Helen A. Davis (1921-23). The brief entries give a sense of Cratty's daily schedule of appointments, meetings, conferences.

Dates of Materials

  • 1904-1928
  • Majority of material found within 1913-1928

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright ownership of Mabel Cratty's writings is unknown. Copyright to materials authored by persons other than Mabel Cratty may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. 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. 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

Mabel Cratty was born June 30, 1868 in Bellaire, Ohio, to Mary (Thoburn) and Charles Campbell Cratty. Her father was a merchant and later an insurance agent. She attended Bellaire public schools, then spent one year at Lake Erie Seminary (1884-85), eventually finishing an undergraduate degree at Ohio Wesleyan University in 1890.

After college, she taught in public schools in Ohio and Delaware, and at the Wheeling (West Virginia) Seminary. She entered administrative work in 1900 when she was made principal of the Delaware (Ohio) High School.

Cratty's involvement with the YWCA, an organization she came to call "the home of her spirit," came through college friends who convinced her to join the Ohio State Committee of the American Committee of Young Women's Christian Associations in 1902. In 1904 she resigned from the Delaware High School and moved to Chicago to become Associate General Secretary of the American Committee.

When the American Committee merged with the International Board of Women's and Young Women's Christian Associations to form the YWCA of the U.S.A. in 1906, Cratty moved to New York City to take charge of the new organization's Home Department. After a year or so working out administrative structure, by-laws, motto, seal, and articles of incorporation, the YWCA of the U.S.A. appointed Cratty General Secretary, the chief executive staff member. She held this position until her death from pneumonia in 1928.

Cratty credited her Scots-Irish Thoburn relatives with a singular determination to "transcend a narrow point of view." As an administrator, she quietly worked to shape the YWCA into an organization with "prophetic vision and courage." A New York Times editorial following her death in 1928 called her a "seer among her sisters" citing her "exceptional foresight in anticipating the direction which social and economic development of womanhood would take" in the first two and a half decades of the twentieth century.

Mabel Cratty died of pneumonia on February 27th, 1928, in New York City. She was buried in the family plot in Bellaire, Ohio.

Extent

0.854 linear feet (2 containers)

Abstract

Administrator, Teacher, YWCA executive. Papers primarily relate to her work as General Secretary of the YWCA of the U.S.A., 1906 to 1928. Types of materials include biographical materials, notebooks, "daily reminder" diaries, and a small amount of correspondence. Topics include leadership, women and finance, women and religion, and the Association concept. They provide fascinating insight into her view of her job and the role of the YWCA.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Mabel Cratty Papers came to the Sophia Smith Collection with the YWCA of the U.S.A. Records in 2002. The YWCA received them from the estate of Margaret Burton in 1967.

Related Materials

Related materials can be found in the YWCA of the U.S.A. Records.

Processing Information

Processed by Maida Goodwin, 2008

Title
Mabel Cratty papers
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Finding aid prepared by Maida Goodwin.
Date
2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Sponsor
Processing of the Mabel Cratty Papers was made possible by the generous support of the National Historical Records and Publications Commission

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:15-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

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

Contact:
Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063