Young Women's Christian Association, an undenominational organization to promote the religious, intellectual, moral and social development of young women, had its beginning shortly after the colleges were opened to women, and at first was almost entirely a college institution. By 1886 the movement had spread to 17 different states and there were 88 local organizations, 7 of which were in Kansas, one in each of the following towns: Topeka, Highland, Newton, Ottawa, Fort Scott, and two in Lawrence. On Nov. 5, 1886, they all sent delegates to Ottawa, where a state association was formed. The first state convention was held the next month at the same place. The government of the state association was vested in an executive committee made up of one member from each local organization, and the first committee was composed of Lyda Locke, A. May Churchill, Mabel A. King, Anna S. Campbell, Eunice A. Lyman and Mabel Crawford. The committee elected its own chairman, who chose a secretary from her own local association.
The second annual convention was held at Lawrence in 1887. Five new locals had been added, Lecompton, Baldwin, Garden City, Manhattan and Marion. It was voted that the executive committee should be composed of not more than 17 members and not less than 9, five of whom should reside at the state headquarters. Topeka was chosen as the permanent state headquarters. The convention of 1888 was addressed by Rev. Anna Shaw, who was doing suffrage work in Kansas at the time. The following locals had been added to the state association; Belleville, Winfield, Oswego, Concordia, Wesleyan University at Salina, Winfield College, Great Bend, Agricultural College, McPherson, Garnett and Columbus.
Kansas was the first state where the Y. W. C. A. hired a regular secretary and kept her working in the interests of the organization all the year. In 1889 there were 26 local associations, with a membership of 887. In 1890 the work was divided into city, college, neighborhood, junior, foreign missions and home missions departments. There were in that year, 15, city and 15 college locals. From that time on the number of city organizations were on the decrease and those of the colleges increased. In 1893 all the city locals except Topeka and Arkansas City had been disbanded, while 3 college associations had been added. In 1895 Topeka was the only city organization, but many individual members in different towns remained affiliated with the state organization. The Y. W. C. A. work was carried to the academies and high schools and in 1899 there were 28 college, high school and academy organizations. In 1903 the number had been increased to 35, besides Topeka, which were affiliated with the state organization, 4 of which were in Oklahoma.
In 1911 there were 38 student organizations, with a membership of about 3,500, and 4 city organizationsat Topeka, Iola, Kansas City, and Wichitawith a combined membership of 1,500. Topeka and Kansas City own association buildings, the one at Topeka having been completed in 1911 at a cost of $75,000. Topeka was the headquarters of the state association until in the early part of 1910, when it was merged into the territorial organization with Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, the headquarters of which are at Denver. The provisional state committee held over until Sept., 1911, when the territorial committee took its place. The work of the Y. W. C. A. has been very much extended from the original field. It is a young woman's club in every sense of the word, providing not only religious, moral and social training, but rooms, meals, physical training, employment bureau, assistance in a material way to young women out of employment, study classes in all academic branches, reading and rest rooms and a home for working girls.Pages 953-954 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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