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Southern Women, the Student YWCA, and Race collection

Identifier: SSC-MS-00679

Scope and Contents

This is a collection of fourteen audiotaped interviews (transferred to CD) with women who were involved with the Student Young Women's Christian Association in the southeastern United States between 1920 and 1944. The interviews were conducted by Frances Sanders Taylor [Anton] in 1981 and 1982 as part of the research for her Stanford University doctoral dissertation, "'On the Edge of Tomorrow': Southern Women, the Student YWCA, and Race, 1920-1944."

Also included is a copy of the thesis, interview permission forms, and Taylor Anton's notes on the interviews. In addition, there are notes Taylor Anton made on a 1967 taped interview with YWCA student staff member, Mary Jane Willett. It is unclear who conducted the 1967 interview.

Taylor Anton's questions deal primarily with the women's memories of their YWCA involvement, and the YWCA's work on issues related to race, but she also inquires about their family background, and their lives and careers after their work for the Student YWCA. Many of the women interviewed first became associated with the YWCA as members, joining either as teenagers or during their college years. Later, they served as volunteer leaders and/or joined the staff at the local, regional, or national level. The YWCA made a point of hiring staff members to work in its Southern Region (southeast) who were themselves raised there believing that they would understand the territory best and be more effective advocates for YWCA program within that milieu.

Five of the women interviewed were African-American (Catchings, Hamilton, Logan, Thurman, and Williams) the remaining nine were white. Their names are as follows:
  1. Sarah Gibson Blanding
  2. Katharine "Kasha" Butler
  3. Rose May Withers [Catchings]
  4. Mary "Polly" Moss Cuthbertson
  5. Lois Gratz
  6. Grace Towns Hamilton
  7. Elizabeth "Betty" Smith [Harrington]
  8. Wenonah Bond Logan
  9. Katharine DuPre Lumpkin
  10. Frances Helen Mains
  11. Rosalie Oakes
  12. Augusta Winn Roberts
  13. Sue Bailey [Thurman]
  14. Frances Harriet Williams

Dates of Materials

  • 1920-1944


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Original AV and born-digital materials may not be used; research use copies are available.

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 ( 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

Original audiovisual materials may not be used. Research copies are available.


5 boxes (2 linear feet)


YWCA workers. Fourteen audiotaped interviews with women who were involved with the Student Young Women's Christian Association in the southeastern United States between 1920 and 1944 conducted by Frances Sanders Taylor [Anton], 1981-82 as part her doctoral dissertation.

Custodial History

Materials in this collection were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by Frances Sanders Taylor Anton in 2009.

Additional Formats

Audio recordings have been copied to digital format for research use.

Related Materials

Related materials can be found in the Sophia Smith Collection in the YWCA of the U.S.A. Records and in the papers of various YWCA staff members, especially Winnifred Wygal. Additional interviews with Sue Bailey Thurman and Frances Harriet Williams are in the Black Women Oral History Project. Additional material about Katharine DuPre Lumpkin can be found in the Smith College Archives.

Additional and related materials available in other repositories include the Katharine DuPre Lumpkin Papers in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina; the Sarah Gibson Blanding Papers in the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University; the Grace Towns Hamilton Papers at the Atlanta History Center; and the Sue Bailey Thurman Papers at Boston University.

Processing Information

Processed by Maida Goodwin, 2011
Finding aid to the Southern Women, the Student YWCA, and Race (1920-1944) collection
Finding aid prepared by Maida Goodwin.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:20-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2018-10-12: Removed link to online playlist which was removed from website.
  • 2019-06-06: Emergency repairs to make it publish on Asteria

Repository Details

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

Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063