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Rare Book Collection: YMCA Publications & Historical Sources

Springfield College and the YMCA share a unique partnership, history, and heritage, which dates back to the establishment of the College in 1885, then known as the School of Christian Workers. Because of this history, Springfield College has a deep collection of YMCA Publications & Historical Sources that highlight the YMCA movement and programs from the local level to the international level. Many of these historical sources are YMCA imprints – either periodicals or monographs – published by the YMCA Association Press.

Spines of "YMCA Yearbook and Official Roster" from 1953-1960
Forty year run of YMCA Year Books.

The YMCA’s institutional Archive and hub for YMCA imprints is at the University of Minnesota, but Springfield College has the deepest YMCA collection on the east coast and one of the richest YMCA collections in the United States. Examples of YMCA include over 800 pamphlets of the YMCA International Commission (1870-1896); a full run of the seminal YMCA periodicals The Watchman and Young Men’s Era; and a variety of YMCA reports, conferences, and conventions.

International Conventions of the Y.M.C.A. spines
In addition to print reports of YMCA International Conventions seen here, the collection includes primary sources like this photo from the YMCA 28th International Convention in 1889.

These diverse historical YMCA sources relate to Springfield College’s history and curriculum, but also provide a lens into larger historical trends. For instance, the YMCA’s popular periodical The Watchman is an excellent lens on America culture from the Civil War until the Great Depression.

Olive green, muted red, and beige spines of bound periodicals: 'World's Youth', and 'American Y.M.C.A. Year Books and Conventions'
International sources like World's Youth: Quarterly review of the World's Alliance of YMCA and deep U.S. sources, like these YMCA yearbooks and conventions.
Red, green, white, and black spines of bound reports from international Y.M.C.A conferences in Great Britain
YMCA sources for London and England.
Beige spines of bound periodical "Reports Y.M.C.A. Boston" spanning 1852-1905
YMCA reports for Boston.

Size & Scope: 44 shelves, approximately 3,000 volumes. Unlike the University of Minnesota, we do not collect YMCA imprints comprehensively. The focus is on pre-1950 YMCA materials relating to the College’s history, curriculum and collections.