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Winnifred Wygal papers

 Collection
Identifier: SSC-MS-00617

Scope and Contents

The Winnifred Crane Wygal Papers consist of 1.75 linear ft. and are primarily related to her professional and public life, dating from 1918 to 1972. Types of materials include biographical materials, correspondence, memorabilia, notebooks, administrative planning files, subject files, and writings.

The bulk of the papers date from 1932 to 1958 and focus on Wygal's work planning religious services, writing religious program materials, and as a speaker and discussion leader for the YWCA and for other religious groups.

Wygal's notebooks (1932-58) document her part in wide variety of conferences, councils, meetings, worship services, courses, seminars, and discussion groups in the YWCA and other national, international, and local organizations. They also include notes on lectures and conferences she attended and books and articles she read.

The main subject of Wygal's writings, most published by the YWCA's Womans Press, is the development of meaningful worship services, and relevance of religion in twentieth-century life.

Dates of Materials

  • 1918-1972
  • Majority of material found within 1932-1958

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. 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

Winnifred Crane Wygal was born August 25, 1884 in Springfield, Missouri, to Frank and Katie A. Bigelow Wygal. Frank Wygal was a wagon maker at the Springfield Wagon Works. Both parents read widely and encouraged their daughters to do likewise. Frank Wygal's Christian socialist beliefs fostered a strong commitment to social justice in the young Winnifred. In an autobiographical manuscript, Wygal wrote of her childhood: "I was wanted and loved and cherished. Life was exciting and good almost at once."

After graduating from Springfield High School, "Windy" Wygal attended Drury College (now Drury University) in Springfield, where she first joined the Young Women's Christian Association. After receiving her B.A. in 1906, Wygal taught high school English and Latin in Missouri from 1906 to 1911. Wygal attended the YWCA's National Training School in New York City and did graduate coursework at Columbia University in 1911-12. Drury awarded her an M.A. in 1912. A life-long student, Wygal also did post-graduate work at Union Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago Divinity School, as well as "special reading" with Canon Streeter at Oxford University and with H.B. Sharman of the Pendle Hill Quaker Center for Graduate Study.

In 1913 Wygal took a job at the YWCA at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 1917 or early 1918 she joined the War Work Council staff of the national YWCA. She supervised five Hostess Houses where servicemen could meet with family and friends, and three recreational service centers at Camp Funston at Fort Riley near Manhattan, Kansas. From there, Wygal transferred to the YWCA's North Central region field staff in 1919 or 1920, as a Student Secretary. She moved to the National Student Council staff (the college and university student department of the YWCA) in 1922, where she remained until 1935, working on program and personnel and serving several years as acting executive, associate executive, and finally, executive of the Council. Much of Wygal's work in the Student YWCA centered on helping young women to distinguish between "the prohibitions imposed by culture" and "the universal imperatives."

In 1935 Wygal transferred to the Laboratory Division where she developed religious resources for use in YWCA programs. In May of 1935 Wygal was co-chair with Gregory Vlastos, of the Fletcher Farm Seminar on Religion, a ten-day seminar led by Reinhold Niebuhr, Henry Nelson Wieman, and Paul Tillich. Wygal attended the Conference of the Church on Life and Work at Oxford University in 1937 and she wrote preparatory materials for the World Christian Youth Conference in Amsterdam in 1939. A 1940 staff reorganization moved Wygal's work to the Division of Community YWCAs. Wygal retired from the YWCA in 1944.

For many years after retirement, Wygal did extensive free-lance speaking and discussion leading to young people's groups in churches and YWCAs. She was the author of many works relating to personal and group worship and the first woman to be a deacon at Riverside Church in New York City.

In a meditation written for Wygal's memorial service in 1972, YWCA General Secretary Edith Lerrigo described Wygal with the words "deep," "ardent," "committed," "flaming," "impatient," and "dedicated."

Winnifred Wygal died of a heart attack in New York City on September 8, 1972. She was buried in San Antonio, Texas.

Extent

4 boxes (1.75 linear feet)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

YWCA worker. The Winnifred Crane Wygal Papers are primarily related to her professional and public life and include biographical materials, correspondence, memorabilia, notebooks, administrative planning files, subject files, and writings. The bulk of the papers date from 1932 to 1958 and focus on Wygal's work planning religious services, writing religious program materials, and as a speaker and discussion leader for the YWCA and for other religious groups. Wygal's notebooks (1932-58) document her part in wide variety of conferences, councils, meetings, worship services, courses, seminars, discussion groups in the YWCA and other national, international, and local organizations. They also include notes on lectures and conferences she attended and books and articles she read. The main subject of Wygal's writings, most published by the YWCA's Womans Press, is the development of meaningful worship services, and relevance of religion in twentieth-century life.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Winnifred Crane Wygal Papers came to the Sophia Smith Collection with the Records of the YWCA of the U.S.A. in 2002. The YWCA received them from Winnifred Wygal in 1969 and from her estate in 1972.

Related Materials

Related materials in the Sophia Smith Collection are in the YWCA USA Records, Sophia Smith Collection.

Separated Materials

Additional papers of Winnifred Wygal are housed at the Schlesinger Library, Harvard University.

Processing Information

Processed by Maida Goodwin, 2009

Title
Winnifred Wygal 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 Winnifred Crane Wygal 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:
Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063