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Sarah Scudder Lyon papers

 Collection
Identifier: SSC-MS-00609

Scope and Contents

The Sarah Scudder Lyon Papers consist of .5 linear ft. and are primarily related to her work in the Foreign Division of the Young Women's Christian Association of the U.S.A., 1923-44. Types of materials include correspondence, photographs, reports, a scrapbook, speeches, travel notes, and writings.

A large portion of the Papers documents Lyon's travels all over the world for the YWCA through both official reports and more informal "diary letters." A scrapbook with many photographs presented by the YWCA of Manila, Philippines, when Lyon visited there in 1932 is included.

Other materials of note include a set of circular letters (1929-44) sent several times a year to American YWCA staff stationed around the world. These letters are full of news about Foreign Division colleagues, the doings of the national association, and life and events in the U.S. There are also copies of articles Lyon wrote for the YWCA's general magazine, Association Monthly/Womans Press, 1919-45.

Dates of Materials

  • 1867-1966
  • Majority of material found within 1923-1944

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

The Papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Conditions Governing Access

Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections (specialcollections@smith.edu) at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Copyright ownership of Sarah Lyon's writings is unknown. Copyright to materials authored by persons other than Sarah Lyon 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 to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Biographical / Historical

Sarah Scudder Lyon was born November 8, 1884, in Summit, New Jersey, to Sarah Johnson Wood and Phoebus W. Lyon. She prepared for college at Ivy Hall School in Bridgeton, New Jersey (1898-1902). Lyon attended Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, from 1902-06, earning an A.B. in biology and Latin.

Her long career with the YWCA began in 1905 when she took a job as a Secretary in the East End Branch of the Bridgeport, Connecticut, YWCA. She attended the American Committee's Chicago Training Institute in 1906, then went to work as an Industrial Secretary in the YWCA of Akron, Ohio (1906-07). She returned to Mount Holyoke for one year as Student Secretary (1907-08) then became General Secretary in Akron (1908-1916) and Field Secretary at the College of Wooster, in Wooster, Ohio (1916-17).

Lyon joined the YWCA of the U.S.A. national staff in New York City as Executive of the headquarters staff of the Overseas Committee of the War Work Council late in 1917. After the reconstruction period, Lyon was made Association Executive of the Foreign and Overseas Department (1920-23) and then Executive of the newly re-named Foreign Division, a position she held until her retirement in 1944.

In this capacity, Lyon traveled extensively, conferring and consulting with YWCA leadership and staff in more than fifty countries. She also often represented the YWCA of the U.S.A. at international meetings, including World YWCA Councils and three world meetings of the Executive Committee of the International Missionary Council, as well as its significant Jerusalem Conference in 1928.

During her years with the Foreign Division, Lyon completed an M.A. (1932) and did coursework toward a Ph.D. in international relations at Columbia University. Her thesis, "The Connection of the Foreign Division of the Young Women's Christian Association with Governments," drew heavily on her work experience. "When she did graduate work in international relations at Columbia, one wonders whether Sarah Lyon or the instructors profited more," wrote Emma Bailey Speer in a retirement tribute.

After retiring from the YWCA, Lyon served as Executive Director (1946-53) of the Vellore Christian Medical College Board, a group of twenty Canadian and U.S. mission boards that served as the "home base service agency" of the missionary Medical College and Hospital in Vellore, South India.

In 1961 Lyon moved to Mt. San Antonio Gardens, a retirement community in Pomona-Claremont, California. She died there on February 5, 1981 after a long illness. Lyon's ashes were placed in the family plot in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

Extent

1 boxes (.5 linear feet)

Overview

YWCA executive. Papers are primarily related to her work in the Foreign Division of the Young Women's Christian Association of the U.S.A., 1923-1944. Types of materials include correspondence, photographs, reports, a scrapbook, speeches, travel notes, and writings. A large portion documents Lyon's overseas travels for the YWCA through reports and more informal "diary letters."

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Sarah Scudder Lyon Papers came to the Sophia Smith Collection with the Records of the YWCA of the U.S.A. in 2002. Sarah Lyon donated them to the YWCA in 1979.

Related Materials

Related materials, including Lyon's M.A. thesis, "The Connection of the Foreign Division of the Young Women's Christian Association with Governments," are in the YWCA of the U.S.A. Records, Sophia Smith Collection. The Edith Lerrigo Papers contain correspondence and notes on a conversation Lerrigo had with Lyon about her work for the YWCA as part of a project to collect reminiscences of retired Foreign Secretaries.

Processing Information

Processed by Maida Goodwin, December 2008
Title
Sarah Scudder Lyon papers
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Finding aid prepared by Maida Goodwin.
Date
2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Sponsor
Processing of the Sarah Scudder Lyon Papers was made possible by the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records 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)
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:18-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

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

Contact:
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063