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Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of San Diego County Records, 1907-2008Add to your cart. | Special Collections & University Archives

Title: Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of San Diego County Records, 1907-2008Add to your cart.
ID: MS-0396
Extent: 35.87 Linear Feet
expand icon Historical Note

The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) is the largest women’s international organization in the world, with participants in more than 90 countries and  headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. There are community YWCA organizations in all 50 states, with the US national headquarters in New York, NY. The YWCA’s philosophy embraces women of all religious faiths, as well as those with none. Its programs are a combination of services and social actions, and are devoted to bringing about social change – a broadening of educational, economical and political opportunities for women of all ages and races.

The YWCA of San Diego County was founded in 1907. Some documents assert San Diego's branch was organized by Dr. Charlotte Baker, Ellen Browning Scripps, and George Marston, all important local leaders in the early 20th century. Other materials name the first two presidents, Mrs. G. Audrey Davidson (1907-1908) and Dr. Charlotte Baker (1909-1910) as founder's of San Diego's YWCA. YWCA San Diego is governed by a Board of Directors. The first documented meeting of the Board of Directors was in 1907.

In 1907 San Diego had no recreational centers, no adult education classes, and no employment bureau for women. Within a year of its founding, the local YWCA provided all of these services, and grew into a 500-member organization by 1908. From 1908 to1910 the YWCA opened the city's first cafeteria, the first employment bureau, and the first Traveler's Aid Office Bureau.

In the 1910s and 1920s, the governing body proclaimed leadership development and empowerment of women and girls as the organization’s main purpose. The YWCA was involved in many projects, including summer camps, cooperative housing for women and families, female unemployment, and others. During World War I, the YWCA was the only women’s organization of seven national organizations which were chosen by the federal government to provide aid to servicemen and their families.

In the 1930s, the YWCA San Diego instituted many new services, some in conjunction with federal relief programs, such as programs for non-working women. During World War II, the YWCA of San Diego County again concentrated its effort on providing services to Navy Personnel and defense workers, their wives and children. The YWCA staffed Hostess Houses at military bases, organizing dances and card games with servicemen. By 1944, attendance of YWCA programs averaged 25,000 a month.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, San Diego's YWCA continued to expand its services. Because of the city's growth, the YWCA established branch divisions to satisfy the needs of local neighborhoods.  These branches became centers of activity in communities. They offered outreach programs, established recreational programs for teenagers, and health and physical activities.  Children's and Youth programs have been expanded. There were more than 20 "Y-Teen" Clubs all over San Diego in the 1950s. South, East and San Ysidro Centers offered child care services.

The YWCA is known across San Diego for its public activism. Throughout the organization's history, the most significant and long-term programs have been designed to aid physically and emotionally abused women and their children. In the 1970s, Battered Women's Services, the first comprehensive domestic violence program, was established in San Diego. A series of state and county grants received by the San Diego YWCA in the 1970s and 1980s funded a pilot project to provide shelter and support for victims of domestic abuse. Casa de Paz, a shelter in the YWCA's downtown building, became the first shelter for victims of domestic violence and for homeless women. Many of the temporary services started in the 1970s and 1980s have grown into long-term programs.

In the 1990s, the YWCA organized the 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline, which provided crisis intervention, counseling, and shelter placement to more than 2,500 callers each year. Since 2001, the Becky’s House Emergency Shelter, an 18-month 33-bed transitional housing program, has provided temporary housing and support services to women and children victims of domestic violence. The Becky’s House 2, an additional shelter facility with 55 beds in 14 apartments, was opened in October, 2007. The YWCA also manages PASSAGES, a two-year supportive living program, which provides single women with the resources necessary to complete transition from homelessness to independent living.

Since 2002, the YWCA has operated Cortez Hill - a 120-day transitional housing program for homeless families. More than 70 percent of individuals served by the YWCA of San Diego County's social services have been successful in finishing the YWCA's transitional program, in obtaining employment and permanent housing, and in maintaining a stable, self-sufficient lifestyle.

In 2008, The YWCA of the San Diego County celebrated its centennial. The YWCA receives some governmental funding, but it relies on the community to donate the additional funds. The organization continues to be at the forefront of providing services that respond to the needs of women and families.

Author: Svetlana Kondratenko
expand icon Arrangement

I. Historical files,  1907-2005

II. Administrative Information, 1907 - 2006

     1. Board of Directors Meetings, 1907 - 2006

     2. Financial Documents, 1908 - 2006

     3. Membership Records, 1908 - 2002

     4. Staff/Volunteers, 1925 - 2003

     5. Publicity, 1919 - 2005

     6. World and National YWCA, 1926 - 2000

III. Buildings/Facilities, 1923 - 1991

IV.  Programs and Services, 1908 - 2007

V. Conferences and Events, 1919 - 1999

VI. Media and Artifactual Materials, 1947-2003

     1. Audio Materials, 2001-2003

     2. Board of Directors Computer Files and Software, 1992-2002

     3. Video Materials, not dated

     4. Artifactual Materials, 1907-2008

expand icon Administrative Information
Acquired: 2007. 2008
Restrictions: This collection is open for research.
Rights: The copyright interests in some of these materials have been transferred to or belong to San Diego State University. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections means that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. Permissions is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish.  Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.
Related Materials:

Tish Sommers papers, 1970-1985

Older Women's League, San Diego County Records, 1947-1997

Center for Women's Studies and Services Records, 1947-1997

San Diego City Advisory Board on Women Records, 1972-1989

National Organization for Women (NOW), San Diego County Records, 1964-1984

Preferred Citation: Identification of item, folder title, box number, Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of San Diego County Records, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.
Collection Material Type: Official Records
Other Note: An inventory to Series I: Historical Files, prepared by the YWCA of San Diego County is available in the Louis Kenney Reading Room.
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