Skip to main content

Ina Ruth Hillis Lackey papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00292

Scope and Contents

The Ina Ruth Hillis Lackey papers consist of 5 linear inches of correspondence and biographical material, including clippings and photographs. The inclusive dates are 1909 to 1988, the major part spanning from the last year (1957) of her twelve year tenure as YWCA secretary in Racife, Brazil, to 1988, when she donated the papers.

The papers are divided into two series, CORRESPONDENCE and BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL. The CORRESPONDENCE section contains 5 letters, 1958-1969, to and from Hillis Lackey related to her work in Recife; a letter describing her life and philosophy of service (1987); a letter to the Collection after donating the papers (1988); and, primarily, circular letters sent by her once or twice a year between 1975 and 1988 to friends and family members (200 of them, she estimates in one of the letters) to update them on her personal life, travel and retirement plans, and post-retirement activities, voluntary and paid. There are 33 of these letters, since most had both an English and a Portuguese version. The letters portray a vigorous woman in her 60s and 70s for whom retirement is an extension of her YWCA career in the service of those in need--in her family, her church, and the communities in which she has lived.

The BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL contains 17 clippings (4 in Portuguese) spanning from 1959, when Ruth Hillis became executive director of the Corpus Christi YWCA, to 1984, when she was retired and living in Albuquerque. The clippings are primarily about her appointment to and tenure in YWCA directorships in Corpus Christi, Albuquerque, and Racine, and about a stint in Brazil in 1964, when she developed and opened a community center in a particularly impoverished section of Recife.

Also in the BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL are the photograph album, well annotated by Mrs. Lackey, mainly with pictures from the Racife community center but with a few of other YWCA personnel in Corpus Christi and South America; a 1967 Peace Corps application with references; and a dossier she prepared in 1986.

Dates of Materials

  • 1909-1988
  • Majority of material found within 1909-1988


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

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works of Ina Ruth Hillis Lackey. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission must be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

Biographical / Historical

Born in Ardmore, Oklahoma
A.B. cum laude Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, major in Spanish, minor in education
Director of Social Work, Peoples' Central Institute, Methodist Board of Missions, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
M.A. Scarritt College, Nashville, Tennessee, religious education and social work
Postgraduate studies, Union Seminary and Teachers' College, Columbia University
Regional Supervisor, USO, Recife and environs, Brazil
Advisory Secretary, YWCA, Recife, Brazil
Associate Executive Director, YWCA, Akron, Ohio
Executive Director, YWCA, Corpus Christi, Texas
Consultant, YWCA, Recife, Brazil, developing a social center; consultant, Governor of Pernambuco State, Brazil, opening day nurseries; assistant to the Director, Catholic Relief Services, northeast Brazil
Executive Director, YWCA, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Executive Director, YWCA, Racine, Wisconsin
Various retirement activities, Niagara Falls, New York, Maceio, Brazil, and Albuquerque, including chairman, Task Force on Aging, New Mexico Conference of Churches (1984-85)
Died March 1st


0.229 linear feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



YWCA overseas secretary, YWCA official, USO regional director. Papers document some of her YWCA work, primarily in Brazil, and include circular letters sent annually to friends and relatives plus photographs of YWCA activities.


This collection is organized into two series:

  1. I. Correspondence
  2. II. Biographical Material


This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Ina Ruth Hillis Lackey papers were a gift of Ms. Lackey in 1988.

Additions to the Collection

Periodic additions to collection are expected

Processing Information

Processed by Brooke Trent, 1992.

Ina Ruth Hillis Lackey papers
Finding Aid
Brooke Trent
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: mnsss38 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:17-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063