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Young Women's Christian Association of Albuquerque Records

Identifier: MSS-522-BC

Scope and Content

The collection contains correspondence, meeting minutes, directories, annual reports, committee reports, financial records, program files, newspaper clippings, publications, and scrapbooks of the YWCA of Albuquerque. Arranged in three series: I. Administration, II. Programs, publicity, and publications, III. Photographs; each series contains subseries arranged in chronological order. Series I, Administration, documents the management and funding functions of the YWCA, and includes historical information, correspondence, real estate records, Board of Directors minutes, annual reports, committee files and financial records. Series II contains a large series of program files that chronicle the YWCA's expanding services from 1936-1988. Also in this series are publicity files, convention and conference records, publications and other printed material, scrapbooks, memorabilia and short films of girls at Blue Triangle Camp (on DVD). Series III. contains photographs, photo albums and slides from various YWCA programs and activities.


  • 1910-1992


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Institutional History

The Young Women's Christian Association of Albuquerque was founded in 1910 to provide needed services to the Albuquerque community through a fellowship of Christian women. Originally, its main function was to assist young women by providing rooms for women boarders who needed temporary shelter. The first YWCA building was located downtown, on the 200 block of South 4th Street.

The YWCA was originally designed as an association of women to provide physical, social, and spiritual guidance for young women and girls. Following the lead of the national YWCA, in 1934 the organization adopted a more inclusive Christian membership policy, which originally had been restricted to members of Protestant churches. As the YWCA's place in the community expanded, it developed into a common meeting ground for women of different backgrounds, ages, and races. By the end of the 1930s, services were open to all women and girls, and membership was not necessary to participate in many YWCA sponsored activities.

Funding for the YWCA relied at first on philanthropy from wealthy citizens. As the Community Chest developed between the World Wars, the Albuquerque YWCA became dependent on that source of funds, giving up its own fund raising structure. Later, when United Fund (now United Way) replaced the Community Chest, their fund distribution shifted from funding agencies to funding specific programs. This caused the YWCA to scramble for general operating money, eventually relying on a variety of sources such as program fees, grants, and United Way support to achieve full funding.

The Albuquerque YWCA constantly expanded their social agenda to include non-denominational education programs for girls and adults, physical fitness programs, summer activities, leadership programs, and charitable services. Special groups such as the Girl Reserves for school girls, and the Elderberries for seniors arranged age-appropriate social and cultural activities and classes. YWCA groups also gave their support to other community service agencies through donations, fund raising, and entertainment activities.

Reflecting popular attitudes and social agendas, the YWCA of Albuquerque changed and developed with the times. In the summer of 1945 the YWCA sponsored its first inter-racial camp at Blue Triangle Camp in the Manzano Mountains. It was deemed a success by the YWCA administration, as well as by the girls in attendance. After World War II, interest in co-ed activities increased, as Albuquerque turned its attention back to social pursuits. The Girl Reserves became Y-Teens operating a recreational Saturday night canteen for both girls and boys. Also in the late 1940s, the YWCA Business and Professional Club of young working women hosted a weekly Sunday afternoon social for UNM students attending school on the G.I. Bill.

In 1950s the Albuquerque YWCA offered programs such as summer camps and day camps for young girls and teens at the Blue Triangle Camp (now called Pi?on Canyon Camp) in the Manzano Mountains. Low cost lessons in sewing, guitar, and dance for adults, and programs for seniors such as field trips to New Mexico historical and cultural attractions were popular. Although charm and manners instruction were still common for young women, the YWCA maintained its commitment to working women by continuing to offer residential housing and by sponsoring nationally recognized professional women speakers.

Recognizing changing social conditions the YWCA developed new youth services during the 1960s and 1970s. They introduced special programs for pregnant teens, establishing the New Futures School for teenage mothers in partnership with the Albuquerque Public Schools. During this time the YWCA overnight housing, originally serving out-of-town visitors and new-comers to Albuquerque, was used more and more by troubled teenage girls and transient women. While standard fare such as fashion show fund raisers and Valentine's Day dances persisted, job clinics and youth employment programs were introduced to assist young people entering the work-force. In addition, the YWCA became involved in the booming need for day care by helping working women make informed choices and offering educational programs for day care providers through its Cari?o services.

The Albuquerque YWCA has responded to the changing needs of the community throughout its history. At the close of the 20th century it continues to provide educational, recreational, and social services to the women and girls of Albuquerque and surrounding communities.


21 boxes (18.62 cu. ft.)

Separated Material

Original films, DVCPro Tapes and master DVDs and CDs are stored in B3. DVDs/CDs for patron use are housed in the collection.
Finding Aid of the Young Women's Christian Association of Albuquerque Records, 1910-1992
Processed by K. Ferris
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 522 BC::Young Women's Christian Association of Albuquerque Records)//EN" "nmu1mss522bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131