Sarah Scudder Lyon papers
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
- Creation: 1867-1966
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1923-1944
Language of Materials
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
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. 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
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.
0.438 linear feet (1 container)
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.
Processed by Maida Goodwin, December 2008
- Sarah Scudder Lyon papers
- Finding Aid
- Finding aid prepared by Maida Goodwin.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Processing of the Sarah Scudder Lyon Papers was made possible by the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission
- 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.
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063