Iowa Women's Archives
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa



RECORDS, 1885-1995
12 linear feet


Iowa Women's Archives
100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Phone: 319-335-5068
Fax: 319-335-5900
E-mail the Iowa Women's Archives

Collection Overview

The records (donor no. 242) were donated by the YWCA of Greater Des Moines in 1994 and succeeding years.
The records are open for research.
Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.
In Box 21 and scattered throughout the collection.
Processed by:
Lea Keohane, 1995, and Kristen Rassbach, 1997. [YWCA.doc]  
Additions by:
Elizabeth Engel, 2004.


The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Greater Des Moines was founded in 1895 by Della Marquart (later Mrs. Harris Coggeshall) and Helen Ankeny (later Mrs. Mungery) to help young Protestant women find housing and employment. The Des Moines chapter was affiliated with the National YWCA in 1896. The primary purposes of the organization were " stimulate interest in evangelical religion among young women of the city and vicinity and to improve their social, intellectual, and physical conditions by means of an association of young women." (Constitution, Box 1, Administrative records, Histories).

Over the years the YWCA has provided numerous programs and activities which were not traditionally offered to women. For example, in 1898, the first women's basketball game ever played in Des Moines was held in the YWCA's gymnasium. Since 1901, the YWCA of Greater Des Moines has also offered a variety of courses to women, ranging from fencing to Shakespeare, foreign language, and sewing.

The YWCA has reached out to minorities and immigrants almost from the beginning. In the 1880s and 1890s, the National YWCA aided immigrants in rural communities. Starting in 1911, the YWCA of Greater Des Moines offered courses in English for foreign-speaking women. The creation of the National Institute for Immigrant Welfare in 1933 was largely due to the YWCA's work with immigrants. In 1903, Mrs. Booker T. Washington spoke at the YWCA of Greater Des Moines and in 1932 Langston Hughes read his poetry there, although he was refused service by the hotels and restaurants in Des Moines. An African-American woman was elected to the YWCA of Greater Des Moines Board of Directors for the first time in 1931.

The Blue Triangle branch of the YWCA was founded for the African-American community in 1919. This branch offered separate programs similar to those of the rest of the organization, as well as a few integrated programs. In 1924 the Blue Triangle Branch started the Book Lover's Club, a reading group for women. The Blue Triangle Branch was located in a separate building from the main branch. It obtained a new building in 1936 and remained there until 1947, when the Blue Triangle Branch was merged with the main branch as part of a nationwide integration program.

The YWCA has also offered a variety of other community-oriented programs. In 1917, for example, the YWCA of Greater Des Moines was used as a meeting place for soldiers and their families. The YWCA's Girl Reserves (changed to Y-Teens in 1946) offered aid to soldiers. Always interested in the welfare of families, in the 1960s and 1970s the YWCA initiated programs and support groups such as Big Sisters, Parents Anonymous (a program for parents of children who have problems with drugs), and a support group for single parents. With a special focus on women and children, the YWCA of Greater Des Moines designed the National Center for Youth Outreach Workers in 1972 to help low-income children and to offer child care; in 1976 it organized the Battered Women's Coalition.

Today the YWCA continues such programs, in an effort to attain "peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people,” and works to eliminate “racism wherever it exists and by any means necessary." ( Box 1, Administrative records, Histories).

Scope and Content Note

The YWCA of Greater Des Moines records date from 1895 to 1995 and measure 12 linear feet. The records are arranged in seven series: Administrative records, Financial records, Publicity, Branches and clubs, Photographs, Artifacts, and 1998 Accession.

I. Administrative records
II Financial records
III Publicity
IV Branches and clubs
V Photographs
VI 1998 Accession
VII Artifacts and Oversize

The Administrative records series (1895-1994) includes annual reports, secretary's reports, minutes, bylaws, a study of the YWCA as a women's movement, World Fellowship Committee information, training information, records from the 1969 summer program (including the children's evaluations of this program), and board materials.

The Histories: Greater Des Moines chapter folder contains various histories as well as the YWCA constitution, a copy of the Des Moines Branch's application for charter membership, and some correspondence. Included within these histories is information on the YWCA's work for women's suffrage and child labor laws, as well as some additional information on the Blue Triangle Branch. The General: Activities for children scrapbook contains a wide variety of clippings from newspapers and magazines which detail games and crafts in which the children were involved.

Tax audits, accountant's reports, building and capital campaign files, budgets, and information on the new buildings of the YWCA of Greater Des Moines can be found in the Financial records series (1895-1985).

The Publicity series (1904-1969) contains newspaper clippings, pamphlets on YWCA activities (including some pertaining to the YWCA's work with working women), photographs, obituaries, a small amount of Blue Triangle information, and two YWCA newsletters, Inklings and Y's Winks. The bulk of this series is scrapbooks of newspaper clippings about YWCA activities. Included within this series are articles on gay, lesbian, and bisexual memberships (Newspaper clippings, 1982-1988), information on the YWCA's international work, the Youth Forum's discussion of sexuality and abortion, and an article on the problems of African-American students (Pamphlets, signs, newspaper clippings, 1903-1967). In the publicity folder (Publicity, Newspaper clippings and magazines, 1895-1983), is an article on the World Affairs Conference, including a photograph of racially diverse youth from around the world.

The Branches and clubs series (1935-1988) is comprised of two subseries: the Blue Triangle Branch and the Candlelight Club. The Blue Triangle Branch subseries includes scrapbooks, pamphlets and newspaper clippings, photographs, annual meeting materials, a history, and other materials. Nearly all of the material in this series pertains to African-Americans. There are other occasional references to the Blue Triangle scattered throughout the collection. The Candlelight Club subseries contains minutes and photographs of both African-American and Caucasian women. The club was apparently a social club that met weekly for dinner.

The Photographs series (1921-1988) consists of a variety of photographs from summer camps, Y-Teens, a 1988 calendar (original photographs before they were made into a calendar), and others.

Within the Artifacts series (1955 and undated) are two YWCA commemorative plates, one for the national YWCA centennial and the other stating the YWCA imperative to eliminate racism.



Box 1    

Greater Des Moines chapter, 1896, 1940-1995 and undated


National YWCA, 1968-1993 and undated


Award in the field of interracial relationships, 1952

  Board materials and guidelines

Constitution, undated


Constitution, bylaws, articles, 1951-1952


Board materials, 1963-1967 (2 folders)


Leadership training packets, 1969


Agenda of the executive board career planning service, 1970-1971


Board materials, 1973-1978 (2 folders)

Box 2  
    Board materials, 1973-1978 (2 folders)

Guidelines for membership campaigns, 1976


Memoranda, minutes, policies, youth activities, 1976-1980 (2 folders)


Policies, 1978-1981


YWCA memberships, 1901-1904


Board members, 1936-1945 and undated


Correspondence, 1908, 1946-1954 and undated


Insurance reports, 1915-1920

Box 3  

Activities for children, 1936 and undated [disbound and photocopied]


Membership ledger, 1895-1902 [oversize: box 39]


Membership questionnaires, 1936 and undated


National Traveler’s Aid Society certificate, 1917


Secretary's book, 1943-1944


Invitation committee, 1895-1900


1895-1908 (removed from scrapbook)




Annual meetings, 1917-1927, 1940


Board minutes, 1921-1924, 1939


Membership meetings, 1938-1943


Executive committee minutes, 1947-1952

Box 4  
  Board minutes



Organizational chart, 1936


Permit to run an employment bureau, 1913


Permit to solicit funds in Iowa, 1914

  Programs and Committees

Committee descriptions, 1980


Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) program development, summer program, 1971



National board
    YWCA learning center assembly sessions, 1980 (3 folders)
    YWCA learning center material, 1981
    YWCA learning center XII program development, 1981
Box 5  

National Center for Youth Outreach Workers, 1977 (2 folders)


Program development, committee minutes, 1983


Program development, 1983


Program stories, 1946-1947


Stay-at-Home Convention, 1945


Summer program, 1969 (2 folders)


Women's Economic Development Group (WEDGE), 1986-1989


World Fellowship Committee, 1967-1973 (folder 1)

Box 6  

World Fellowship Committee, 1967-1973 (folders 2-3)


YWCA Camp Council, undated



    Committee notes and meetings, 1965-1969
    Decentralization, 1961-1966
    Reports, 1967 and undated
    Annual reports, 1899-1911
    Annual reports, 1938-1964
    Annual reports, 1991-1994
    Christmas finances and programs, 1946-1953

General secretary, 1902-1909

    General secretary, 1902-1916 (2 folders)
Box 7    
    General secretary, 1921-1926
    General secretary, 1926-1931
    Objectives for the program year, 1963/1964-1968/1969
    Student secretary, 1906-1908
    Evaluation of the 60th Anniversary Celebration, 1941
    Executive secretary, bylaw vote, 1954-1956
    "Study of the YWCA as a Women's Movement," 1964-1967
    YMCA/YWCA study committee report, 1966


Box 7
  Accountant's reports, 1980-1982
Box 8  
Endowment fund  
  Articles of Incorporation, 1978
  Bylaws, 1978
  Memorial plaque donors, 1967-1971
  Promotional materials, 1974-1976
  Secretary’s notebook, 1974-1982
Financial donor records
  Donors, 1957-1962
  Donors and other financial information, 1967-1969
  Donors, 1971
  Campaign workers, 1971
  Donors, correspondence, 1971-1973
Box 9  
  Capital funds campaign
  Ledger, 1979 (2 folders)
  Ledger, 1980-1983
  Donor cards, 1979-1980 (sample)
Financial reports, 1971-1982
Materials used to prepare 1978-1979 program budget
Memberships and finance, 1901 [folder missing]
Building information
  General, 1906-1980
  Building campaigns, 1905-1907
  Building campaigns, 1945-1969
  Architect bids, 1968 and undated
  Budget recommendations to the board, 1969
  Correspondence, general, 1966
  Correspondence, architects, 1966
Box 10    
  Des Moines Urban Renewal Plan, 1965
  Floor plans and site maps, undated [shelved in map case: drawer 8]
  Greater Des Moines Chamber of Commerce Appeals Review Board, 1966
  Greater Des Moines Planning and Development Study, 1965-1966
  Notes and minutes, 1966-1969
  Planning and Development Study--Area Analysis, undated
  Planning phase proposals, 1965 and undated
  Projected use statistics, 1966
  Proposed ideas for renovating the old building, 1945
  Residence study questionnaire, 1965
  “YMCA-YWCA Cooperation,” 1956
  Land contracts, 1905-1907
  Leases, 1921-1922
  Photographs, 1903, 1971 [1909 photograph, in map case drawer 2]
  Sales and rental agreements
  1st Unitarian Church of Des Moines, 1956
  St. Simon’s Episcopal Mission, 1933
  Newspaper clippings, finance campaigns, 1918, 1921
  Official papers, correspondence, receipts, permits, will, 1913-1947
  Scrapbook, 1928
  Scrapbook, 1929
  Semi-annual report program to United Way, 1976-1979
Box 11  
  Statistical records
  Tax audits
Box 12    


Box 12 (cont.)
  Diploma and photographs, 1901
  Guest registers
Box 13  
"Inklings," 1905-1928 (2 folders)
Newsletters, correspondence, pamphlets on programs and events, 1980-1985, 20015
Newspaper clippings
  YWCA Hostess House, 1918
  Newspaper clippings and photograph, 1913, 1923-1926, undated (includes Blue Triangle materials)
  1928-1939 and undated
Newspaper clippings and magazines, 1895-1983 [shelved in map case]
Obituaries, 1986 and undated
Pamphlets and "Y-Winks," 1904-1924
Box 14  
Pamphlets, signs, newspaper clippings, 1903-1967
Photographs, 1952
Tip Off (songbooks), 1938-1939
Working women and the YWCA, 1917, 1966
Box 15  
Box 16  
  1920-1924 (6 folders)
  March-September, 1926 [photocopies]
  September-December 1926 [photocopies]
  Campaign publicity 1926 [photocopies]
  1927 [photocopies]
Box 17  
  1928 [photocopies]
  1928 [Introductory materials for Greater Des Moines Chapter]
  1929-1930 [photocopies]


Box 18  
Box 19  
Box 20  
  1943 [oversize: shelved in box 25]
  1944-1945 [oversize: shelved in box 26]
  1946-1947 [oversize: shelved in box 27]
  1948-1949 [oversize: shelved in box 28]
  1950-1957 [oversize: shelved in box 29]
  1958-1969 [oversize: shelved in box 30]
  1971-1972 [oversize: shelved in box 31]
  1973-1975 [oversize: shelved in box 32]
  YWCA Camp, 1971 [oversize: shelved in box 33]
  YWCA Camp, undated [oversize: shelved in map case]


Box 20 (cont.)
  YWCA Blue Triangle Branch
    Annual meetings, 1941-1942
    Brochures, obituary, photographs, 1941, 1947, 1988 and undated
    Camp Committee minutes, 1947
    Coskery Fund Committee, 1946
    History, 1942, 1975 and undated
    Membership list, 1942
    Race relations committee, 1927 and undated
    1929-1932 and undated
    1929-1932 and undated
    1932-1934 [oversize: shelved in box 34, on conservation shelf]
    1935-1937 [oversize: shelved in box 35, on conservation shelf]
Box 21  
    1941 [oversize: shelved in box 36]
  YWCA Candlelight Club
    Meetings, 1955-1956
    Scrapbook, 1955-1957 [oversize: shelved in box 37]


Box 21 (cont.)
  Camp Boone , 1924-1926
  Miscellaneous, 1946 and undated
  Centennial of the YWCA, 1955
  Y-Teen, 1949-1956 and undated
  Miss Y-Teen, 1958, 1969, 1972
  Aquamaids (YWCA swim team) with Dick Van Dyke, undated
  Newspaper article, YWCA calendar photos, 1983
  Miscellaneous photographs and correspondence, 1988 and undated
  Camp Mitigwa , undated
  Events, 1990-1992


Box 22

  Administrative records
  Administration structure, 1966-1967
  President-elect, 1974
  President-elect, Margaret McCollum, 1976-1977
  Association review, 1977-1978
  Board meetings and materials, 1975-1978 (3 folders)
  General, 1973-1976
  Affirmative Action Plan, 1974-1976
  Staff development, 1977
  Employment handbook, undated
Box 23  
Programs and committees
  Program for Action, 1970-1973  
  RSVP Advisory Committee, 1976-1977  
  Therapeutic Recreation Committee, 1973-1975  
  YMCA-YWCA Advisory Committee, 1973-1977  
  Miscellaneous committees and programs, 1976-1978  
  Annual committee reports, 1968-1975  
  Annual meeting reports, 1971-1976  
  Community Career Planning Center for Women Report, 1977  
  Imperative Report on Racism, 1973-1974  
  Policies, Bylaws and Progress Report, 1977  
  Progress Report – Review Committee, 1975  
Box 24    
  Financial Records  
  Accountant’s reports, 1974-1975
  Building campaign donations, 1971-1974 (2 folders)
  Tax exemption, 1971-1974
  Miscellaneous financial records, 1976-1977
  Gun control policy, 1973
  Leader luncheon, 1975
  Booklets and brochures, 1971-1978 (2 folders)
  YWCA Interchange, 1974-1977
  YWCA Action Audit for Change
  Printed materials
  “YWCA World Mutual Service,” 1973
  “The Power and the Glory is in We,” Report, 1973
  “Social Health and Recreation Needs and Services in Greater Des Moines,” Report, 1973



Box 25
Scrapbooks, Publicity  
Box 26    
Box 27    
Box 28  
Box 29    
Box 30    
Box 31    
Box 32    
Box 33    
  YWCA Camp, 1971  
Box 34    
Scrapbooks, YWCA Blue Triangle Branch  
  1932-1934 [on conservation shelf]  
Box 35    
  1935-1937 [on conservation shelf]  
Box 36    
  1941 [needs conservation]  
Box 37 Scrapbooks, Candleight Club  
Box 38    
  Commerative plates  
  National YWCA centennial 1955  
  "Our Imperative: the Elimination of Racism," undated  
Box 39    
Membership ledger, 1895-1902  

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Last updated 9/2004