Reno/Sparks YWCA Records

 Collection
Identifier: 94-53
Reno-Sparks YWCA Records include minutes, yearly and special reports, correspondence, strategic plans and policies, organizational histories, program documentation, scrapbooks, clippings, and photographs.

Researchers are fortunate to have available numerous sets of minutes of meetings of the board of trustees, beginning in 1927 and continuing until 1965 (subsequent minutes remain in the offices of the YWCA). The collection also contains minutes and financial records of Camp Nay-a-ti, the Y's summer camp at Zephyr Cove, Lake Tahoe; and minutes of the Young Wives' Club (also known as the Merry Weds).

Papers which are useful in documenting the administration of the Y are executive director reports, 1920-1946, and many annual reports for scattered years between 1925-1993. Annual reports were compiled by the president of the board of trustees and provide detailed assessments of yearly activities, programs, and financial status. Executive director reports provide much the same kind of information.

This collection contains a substantial number of scrapbooks of newspaper clippings and photographs. These items document the Y's facilities, programs, personnel, and members.

The YWCA has known three homes in Reno since 1920: the basement of Reno City Hall, 339 W. 1st Street; and their current location, 1301 Valley Road, at the corner of Valley and Highland Roads. Legal documents, reports, deeds, programs, photographs, and clippings document those sites and the frequent struggles to balance the need for programs, the limitations of building size, and the shortage of funds.

During its 77 year existence the Y has offered many types of programs for its members and the community. The collection contains materials that describe some of those programs, including brochures, programs, schedules, calendars, and program reports, clippings, and photographs.

Dates

  • 1919-1998

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Extent

6 Linear Feet (10 boxes, 2 oversize folders)

Overview

YWCA Nevada is an affiliate of YWCA USA, and the first officially established YWCA in Las Vegas since November 2014. YWCA’s impact spans more than 160 years and serves more than 25 million women and girls. Reno-Sparks YWCA Records include minutes, yearly and special reports, correspondence, strategic plans and policies, organizational histories, program documentation, scrapbooks, clippings, and photographs.

Researchers are fortunate to have available numerous sets of minutes of meetings of the board of trustees, beginning in 1927 and continuing until 1965 (subsequent minutes remain in the offices of the YWCA). The collection also contains minutes and financial records of Camp Nay-a-ti, the Y's summer camp at Zephyr Cove, Lake Tahoe; and minutes of the Young Wives' Club (also known as the Merry Weds).

Papers which are useful in documenting the administration of the Y are executive director reports, 1920-1946, and many annual reports for scattered years between 1925-1993. Annual reports were compiled by the president of the board of trustees and provide detailed assessments of yearly activities, programs, and financial status. Executive director reports provide much the same kind of information. Dates range from 1919-1998.

Administrative History

The YWCA began in England about 1860 when a boarding home was opened in London to provide respectable housing for the many nurses returning from the Crimean War.

The American YWCA originated in Boston 1866. Several women decided to form an organization whose object was the "temporal, moral, and religious welfare of young women who are dependent on their own exertions for support." The group hired a secretary to find suitable boarding places for girls, to secure positions for them, to be their counselor and to help them combat the loneliness of new surroundings. They called themselves the Young Women's Christian Association.

The first YWCA program in Reno, Nevada was the Young Women's Christian Association, formed at the University of Nevada, Reno, also known as the Campus Y. It was organized on March 25, 1898 and became a charter member of the National YWCA in 1906. The Campus Y was very active at the University but with the construction of a student union in 1958 and a cessation of United Fund monies, its membership declined. By 1974/75 it was no longer recognized as a university organization.

Reno's YWCA was organized on March 22, 1920 with over 350 founding members. Headquarters were in the basement of the Reno City Hall; the rent was free. Several clubs for girls and young women such as the Business Girls' League and the Girl Reserves were initiated at this time.

Within the first ten years of the Y's founding, several properties at Zephyr Cove and Carnelian Bay, Lake Tahoe, were donated for use as summer camps. The property at Zephyr Cove, called Camp Ney-A-Ti, was fully developed and offered outdoor summer recreational opportunities.

By the summer of 1937, the YWCA began teaching arts and crafts in the City Hall basement. During World War II, weekend recreation rooms were opened to servicemen until 1943, when the City asked the Y to find new quarters. A house and lot on the northeast corner of Stevenson and West First Street (339 W. 1st St.) were purchased in 1944. There the YWCA offered a service to help women find places to live and work, take classes, and enjoy recreation. Gradually the building was expanded with an auditorium and gymnasium.

From 1951 to 1960, serious consideration was given to forming a joint YMCA and YWCA. The motion, in the long run, was defeated. New facilities were desperately needed, however, by 1959. A site was selected at the corner of Highland Terrace and Valley Road and the architectural firm of DeLongchamps and O'Brien was engaged. A major capital campaign was held. The Lake Tahoe property was sold to the Presbyterian Conference of California, the Y building on West 1st Street was sold, and a generous grant was awarded by the Fleischmann Foundation. Ground breaking was held on December 9, 1964 and the building occupied in July of 1965.

Known initially as the Reno YWCA, the name was changed in 1964 to reflect its new location between two cities. The Reno YWCA became the Reno-Sparks Young Women's Christian Association.

Today the YWCA offers a great variety of services to its members and the community: classes, recreational opportunities, child care, and women's support serves are some examples. In later years the Y has suffered financial difficulties and been forced to scale back its operations. In 1997 the Reno City Council agreed to buy the property and allow the Y to continue its operations as a much needed center of community services and activities.

The Reno-Sparks YWCA celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1995. To mark the occasion Victoria Ford was commissioned to write the Y's history. A copy of the manuscript, entitled "Making Their Mark: Reno/Sparks YWCA History," as yet unpublished in 1997, is included in the collections of the Special Collections Department as manuscript collection 96-04. In addition to providing a history of the Y, this work offers oral histories of women who have made significant contributions to the Y.

Arrangement

Arranged into the following series: 1) Administrative; 2) Policy, Strategic Plans, and History; 3) Physical Plant; 4) Programs; 5) Scrapbooks, Clippings, and Miscellaneous

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Reno/Sparks YWCA in 1994.

Related Materials

Related archival materials held by the University of Nevada, Reno Special Collections Department:

Related archival materials held by the University of Nevada, Reno University Archives:

Separated Materials

Loose photographs, photographic albums and album pages have been transferred to the photo archives of the Special Collections Department as collection UNRS-P1997-55.

A Part of

Nevada women's archives.

Creator

Title
Guide to the Records of the Reno/Sparks YWCA
Status
completed
Author
Susan Searcy
Date
September 1997
Description rules
dacs

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Contact:
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5665
775-682-5724 (Fax)