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Young Men's Christian Association (Toledo, Ohio) - MS 174

Introduction | Agency History | Scope and Contents | Series Description | Inventory


The Toledo YMCA Collection contains 46 linear feet of materials dating from the establishment of the association in Toledo in 1865, until 1977. Included are minutes, correspondence, printed materials, financial documents, legal documents, reports, photographs, speeches, scrapbooks, maps, and blueprints. These records are indicative of functions, organizations, policies, procedures, programs and activities within the association. They also reflect its relationships with members, civic leaders, religious groups, community organizations, businesses, and unions. The Central, Indiana Avenue, Railroad, West, South, East and Toledo University branches are represented throughout the collection, as well as Camp Storer. Information on the Bowman Park Family YMCA pool is also included.

The Collection contains confidential materials in the form of personnel files, therefore the Center for Archival Collection's policy on confidential materials must be followed in order to obtain access to these files.

The Collection was transferred to the Center for Archival Collections in July 1972 and additions have been made periodically. This register was prepared in February 1988 by Susan M. Hughes.

 Agency History

George Williams and Edward Beaumont, two dry-goods clerks, founded the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in London on June 6, 1844. The early YMCA was a religious movement of laymen who faced poor living and working conditions in the city. This movement was ecumenical, evangelical, and at times, puritanical in spirit. The popularity of its fellowship grew and by 1851, it had reached across the Atlantic to establish associations in Montreal, Canada and Boston, Massachusetts. During the mid-to-late 19th century, the YMCA spread almost as swiftly as industrialization throughout the United States. In this period, Toledo, situated at the end of Lake Erie and on major railways, naturally became an industrial center drawing hundreds of young workers. Community and religious leaders of Toledo perceived a need to provide a healthy social life for these young men.


1859 First ecumenical meeting in Toledo concerning the establishment of a YMCA
Jun 25, 1865 Toledo YMCA founded
Aug 29, 1865 First officers elected: President, Henry G. Sheldon; Vice-President, Thomas Van Stone; Secretary, Dan A. Waterman; Treasurer, Miles Bashore
Nov 27, 1865 Located at first headquarters, second floor of Hartford Building at Summit and Madison
c. 1870's Purchased building at 4047 Summit
Nov 24, 1871 Incorporated under the laws of Ohio: First General Secretary, Reverend T.A. Nelson, employed
1882 Moved to building at Summit and Orange
1883 First gymnasium opened at Summit and Orange
1893 Horace Walbridge deeds property at 423 Michigan Avenue, fund-raising campaign for a new building on this property
Dec 20, 1905 Central branch at 423 Michigan dedicated
1908 YMCA Law School opened
1909 Reorganization effected, program for foreign-born planned, campaign to "Save the Y" from financial and membership slump
Jan 8, 1911 First Y circus to raise funds
1912 Scout movement which has been organized by the YMCA turned over to the Toledo Scout Council
1914 Beginning of four year war program, counseling service for drafted men, welcome hut for returning soldiers, $400,000. raised for war work
Industrial service provided educational and social activities for factory workers
1915 Beginning of five year program to raise funds and enroll 10,000 members
1916 First Hi-Y Club organized, site for Camp Storer leased on Stoney Lake near Napoleon, Michigan
1917 First proposals for East Side branch work
1919 East Side branch work organized, began negotiations for a Railroad branch
Jun 1, 1919 Camp Storer founded
1920 Beginning of work for Blacks, first support of work in foreign countries, began work for South End branch
Jan 28, 1920 East Toledo branch organized at 228 Main Street, later moved to 651 Euclid Street
Sep 20, 1920 Railroad branch organized at 1163 Oak, financed by railroads, cafeteria and sleeping rooms, open 24 hours for Railroad workers
Oct 1, 1920 University of Toledo branch organized
Dec 21, 1921 South Toledo branch organized
1922 Stronger relationship established with the Community Chest
May 4, 1922 Tolymca, a men's booster club organized
1923 Policy of expansion approved including new central building, building for Blacks, additional branch buildings, expansion of Camp Storer
1925 Beginning of Church Relations Program
1928 Fund-raising for expansion implemented, which raised $1,500,000.
Jul 12, 1928 Indiana branch organized at 669 Indiana Avenue
1929 Peak membership
1930 Branch for Black community completed
c. 1930's Swing Inn on Huron Street for teenagers, many Hi-Y and Gray-Y Clubs organized, night schools for adults
1934 Joint swimming, dramatics, social dances, and school activities begin with women's groups
Oct 20, 1935 Central branch established at 1110 Jefferson
Sep 1, 1950 Central Union Terminal Y opened at 415 Emerald
Apr 4, 1951 Stanley Yard Y opened
Apr 1, 1952 South Toledo Building at 1226 Wildwood dedicated
May 9, 1954 Dedicated Hudson Memorial, West branch at 5020 Tremainsville Road
1955 Camp Storer opened to girls
1961 Long-range planning program implemented
1962 Camp Storer Hall of Fame inaugurated
1965 Centennial celebrated


Presidents of the Board of Trustees (as of 1865)General Secretaries of the Toledo YMCA (as of 1871)
1865 - Henry G. Sheldon
1868 - C.H. Buck
1869 - Charles Pratt
1870 - Charles Douglas
1875 - James Rayner
1877 - George B. Brown
1878 - G. Frederick
1880 - W.J. Cooke
1882 - Selah R. MacClaran
1884 - John D. Chambers
1885 - C.H. Whitaker
1886 - H.C. Sprague
1888 - A.C. Whitney
1890 - T.H. Walbridge
1892 - H.E. King
1893 - P.O. Paddock
1894 - J.J. Freeman
1895 - J.B. Merill
1897 - F.A. Hantsberger
1899 - L.S. Churchill
1900 - T.H. Walbridge
1906 - J.D.R. Lamson
1909 - M.J. Riggs
1926 - Grove Patterson
1929 - Adam R. Kahlman
1932 - George A. Vradenburg
1942 - A.C. Norton
1945 - Ford R. Weber
1948 - Harold Anderson
1952 - Dr. R.C. Young
1954 - Otto H. Spengler
1957 - E.A. Schattler
1962 - Alvin E. Seeman
1965 - Harold A. James
1871 - Reverend T.A. Nelson
1874 - Unknown
1881 - Fred S. Goodman
1885 - L.C. Sherry
1888 - William Smith
1893 - F.A. Brown
1904 - Fred C. Green
1909 - Percy Williams
1936 - Floyd Radabaugh
1940 - President George Vradenburg, Acting Secretary
1941 - Paul H. Routsong
1955 Erie D. Chapman

 Staff Organization -- Management

  • General Secretary
  • Controller
  • Program
Bowman Park -- YMCA Family Branch
  • Executive
Central Branch
  • Executive
  • Physical Director
  • Membership
  • Building Superintendent
  • Residence
  • Program
  • Youth
  • Assistant Physical
  • Assistant Youth
  • Health Director
South Toledo Branch
  • Executive
  • Physical Director
  • Youth Director
  • Adult Program
West Toledo Branch
  • Executive
  • Physical Director
  • Youth Director
  • Women and Girls
East Toledo Branch
  • Executive
  • Program
Railroad Branch
  • Executive
  • Assistant Executive
University Branch
  • Executive
Camp Storer
  • Director
  • Assistant Director
Indiana Avenue Branch
  • Executive
  • Physical Director
  • Youth Director
  • Adult Program

 Scope and Content

The Toledo YMCA Collection contains records dating from the beginning of the association in 1865 to 1977, with the bulk falling after 1930. The records contain minutes, correspondence, printed materials, financial documents, legal documents, personnel files, photographs, reports, speeches, maps, and blueprints. The minutes are the most valuable and extensive records. There is one volume of Secretary's Minutes dating from August 29, 1865 to July 30, 1867, followed by a gap in the record until the Board of Directors Minutes began on May 8, 1882. The Minutes of the Board of Directors, renamed the Board of Trustees in 1905, are complete from May 8, 1882 through December 30, 1963. Executive Committee Minutes are available in one volume dated December 1, 1883 through September 30, 1886, followed by a gap, and then complete from January 1, 1928 through December 16, 1960. The Board of Trustees Minutes and the Executive Committee Minutes contain records of meeting proceedings, policies, programs, committee reports, recommendations, constitutional amendments, and bills presented. They reflect the association's organization and function, and its relationships with the Toledo community and the national YMCA.

The collection contains many record series of minutes which can contribute to the understanding of various branches and committees. None of these are complete, however, and some are limited to a few meetings. Some of these series are of value because of their extent, or the nature of their information.

The following minutes series offer particular strengths to the collection.

City Staff, Meetings, 1934-1940; 1949-1954
South Toledo Management Committee, 1933-1957
Railroad Branch Management Committee, 1933-1941
Building Committee, 1925-1953
Finance Committee, 1928-1968
Budget Committee, 1932-1955
Education Committee, 1926-1956
Membership Committee, 1931-1935; 1949-1967
City Wide World Service Committee, 1937-1961

The minutes of the South Toledo branch and the Railroad branch are more extensive than for the other branches. There are West Toledo branch Management Committee Minutes from 1950 to 1957, and the Indiana branch Minutes from 1933 to 1935. East Toledo Branch Minutes, 1933 to 1958 and Toledo University Branch Minutes, 1955 to 1969 are incomplete. There is not extensive correspondence for any of the branches, but it is available for the following years.

South Toledo Branch, 1942-1967
West Toledo Branch, 1955-1967
Railroad Branch, 1936-1968
Toledo University Branch, 1955-1969
East Toledo Branch, 1933-1958
Indiana Avenue Branch, 1944-1968
Central Branch, 1931-1934; 1947-1955

The minutes and correspondence provide the best information concerning the programs of the Toledo YMCA. The collection includes reports and printed materials about some of the programs but these certainly do not give a complete history. Scrapbooks and clippings also include significant materials about programs. In addition, the scrapbooks provide information about community relations and general history of the association. There are clippings from 1910 to 1920, a general history scrapbook containing materials from 1884 to 1940, and seven volumes of general scrapbooks dating from 1944 to 1969. Other sources of general information are assorted pamphlets dating from 1892 to 1962, newspapers of and on the Toledo YMCA, and general YMCA histories.

Annual reports dating from 1952 to 1953 and 1960 to 1968; printed annual reports from 1954 to 1963 and 1965 to 1968; and statistical summaries from 1952 to 1967, provide information on branches, memberships, budgets, expenditures and receipts. There are several record series relating to finances which are strong. Financial reports, complete from 1940 to 1955 indicate the budget, income, and expenses of each branch. The relationship with the Community Chest is reflected in Community Chest correspondence, Community Chest statistics, and budget reports. Three series of minutes are directly related to finances; Budget Committee Minutes, 1932 to 1955; Finance Committee Minutes, 1928 to 1968; and Investment Committee and Inventory of Securities Minutes, 1933 to 1967.

The Toledo YMCA has been involved in a number of campaigns to raise funds and the collection contains materials related to these. The most extensive records are for the World Service Campaign and the Building and Expansion Campaign. For the World Service Campaign, there are Committee Minutes dating from 1937 to 1961, reports, correspondence, and printed materials. For the Building and Expansion Campaign there are Committee Minutes dating from 1928 to 1937, plans, correspondence, team reports, account books, receipts and four scrapbooks. These materials illustrate how the YMCA organized for these campaigns, and its involvement with the national association, community organizations and businesses.

Some materials dating from 1918 to 1969 concern industrial and union relations. These series are limited but when supplemented with other materials, they could prove valuable. Records dealing directly with social aspects, such as minority and religious groups are not extensive. These records are best used in combination with other sources.

 Series Description


1882 - 1988. Box 1-14, 79-80
Arranged alphabetically by Committee and within chronologically.
Most extensive portion of collection. Includes minutes from Board of Trustees, branch executive meetings, board meeting material and handouts, branch boards, membership campaigns and various committees such as camp, Hi-Y projects and the Centennial celebration. Minutes from the South branch and Bowman Park YMCA Pool are located in Boxes 54 and 55, respectively. A small number of membership cards are found in Box 63. Membership lists from 1883 through 1893 are in wrapped volume 85.


1918-1975. Box 15-23.
Arranged alphabetically by subject and within chronologically.
Correspondence to and from the Board of Trustees, various campaigns and capital improvements, Health Club, memberships and various committees as well as special functions. Building correspondence for 1929 through 1930 covers the building of Central YMCA headquarters on Jefferson, as does the campaign correspondence of 1925 through 1936. Several files deal with communications between the YMCA and building contractors. Health Club correspondence covers alterations and additions to the Central branch. One interesting area is the Hudson Estate correspondence which discusses an endowment to build Hudson Memorial YMCA in the West End. Correspondence to and from prominent Toledo citizens such as Grove Patterson and Paul W. Alexander are included. Correspondence from South branch and Bowman Park YMCA Pool are located in Boxes 54 and 55, respectively.

1934-1969. Box 24-26.
Arranged alphabetically by branch and within chronologically.
Indiana Avenue, Railroad, South, West and East Correspondence. Discussion of joint use of facilities by boys and girls in YMCA-YWCA correspondence, 1964 through 1967.


1930-1969. Box 27-28.
Arranged chronologically by date of employment.
Information on job performance of employee (CONFIDENTIAL).

1915-1975. Box 29-33.
Arranged alphabetically by subject and within chronologically.
Majority of files deal with special events and programs, such as the Centennial, Health Fair, Hi-Y and Youth Day. Also included are files on sports as sporting events: church basketball league, softball, swimming and diving competitions. Files concentrate on late 1940's through early 1960's. Of special note is the information on the 1965 Toledo YMCA Centennial Celebration and the building of the YMCA in East Toledo. Many files contain copies of correspondence and printed materials relevant to the subject.

1953-2001. Boxes 80-82
Miscellaneous printed, programming, and planning material related to the West Toledo branch of the YMCA, including a separate grouping of material that was placed in a cornerstone “time capsule” and later opened in 2010.


1930-1974. Box 34-36.
Arranged alphabetically by subject and within chronologically.
Reports on YMCA campaigns, services and programs. Included are reports on city-wide services, physical education and several branch surveys. Financial reports include West, Indiana Avenue and Railroad branches. Late 1940's to late 1960's are covered most completely. Reports from South branch and Bowman Park YMCA Pool are located in Boxes 54 and 55, respectively.

1952-1969. Box 36.
Arranged chronologically
Annual YMCA reports from 1954 through 1969 as well as individual branch reports for several years from 1952 to 1965.


1947-1949; 1967-1969. Box 37.
Arranged by subject.
Inserts for YMCA Sunday at local churches and written histories of the Toledo YMCA from its beginning to the 1930's; program leadership forms.


1925-1963. Box 37.
Arranged by subject and within chronologically.
Various YMCA contracts from 1929 to 1931, Railroad branch lease and inventory. Of note are papers pertaining to the demolition of the Central Christian Church in 1958. Legal documents on South branch and Bowman Park YMCA Pool are located in Boxes 54 and 55, respectively.


1931-1970. Box 37-44.
Arranged alphabetically by subject and within chronologically.
The majority of this series is made up of Central branch budget reports from 1931 to 1971. Also contains fund-raising information for the World Service Campaign and information on the YMCA's relationship with the Toledo Community Chest during the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's. Financial documents such as account books and pledge cards are found in Boxes 59 through 69, and Boxes 76 and 77.


1920-1965, 1968-1972. Box 45, 84.
Arranged by subject.
Scrapbooks contain miscellaneous clippings of YMCA news, sports and events and the West Toledo branch Men’s Club. Two books of clippings pertain to the YMCA's Centennial Celebration of its founding in London in 1844. Oversize boxes 70 through 75 and 83 contain a large number of scrapbooks and news clippings. Wrapped volumes 78 through 82 also contain scrapbooks.


1920-1930. Box 58.
Arranged alphabetically by branch and within chronologically.
Architect's specifications for Central and Indiana Avenue branch construction. Maps and specifications for South branch and Bowman Park YMCA Pool can be found in Boxes 54 and 55, respectively. Blueprints for the Central YMCA Health Club are in wrapped volume 83.


1892-2009. Box 46-53, 78.
Arranged alphabetically by subject through Box 51, Folder 5; thereafter, non-alphabetically by subject.
Materials largely deal with sports and recreational programs, instructor's manuals and YMCA publicity. Of interest to research on the history of the YMCA in Toledo is Box 46, Folder 8, which contains early pamphlets, YMCA rules and regulations, programs of social events and sketches of the early YMCA building at Summit and Orange, including inside views. Boxes 51 through 53 contain many publicity pamphlets on YMCA programs and policy designed by distribution to the members as well as the general public. Box 53 contains material on the history of the YMCA, photos of YMCA branches, YMCA executives and Camp Storer. The public relations publication “In the News” is located in box 78. Printed materials on South branch and Bowman Park YMCA Pool can be found in Box 54 and Box 55, respectively.


1949-1967, 1995-2002, undated. Box 53, 56-57.
Photos of athletic events, Camp Storer, YMCA executives, activities of the West Toledo branch. A large number of photographs are unidentified although most are from before 1950. Other photographs can be found in Box 53 along with printed materials. Box 75 contains YMCA films on reel and several oversize photos are in Box 77.

Manuscripts by Subject | Miscellaneous Collections | MS 174 YMCA (Toledo) Inventory