Scope and Content of Collection
Title: The YWCA of Silicon Valley Records
Collection number: MSS-2006-01-01
Silicon Valley YWCA
14 Cartons, 1 Box, 12-14 Folio, 1 Oversize Folio
18 linear feet
San Jose State University. Library.
San Jose, California 95192-0028
Abstract: The Young Women's Christian Association of Silicon
Valley (YWCA) was established in 1905 to provide fellowship, mutual aid, and spiritual
and professional guidance to young working women. The YWCA pioneered
services to poor and working women in the valley,
valley and continues to offer an array of educational resources and programs
designed to improve the community. The records included in this collection,
range from 1905 to 2005 and include budgets, clippings, correspondence,
financial statements, minutes, memoranda, photographs, printed material,
registries, reports, scrapbooks, slides, and videos.
Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog
Languages represented in the collection:
The collection is open for research.
Copyright has been assigned to the San Jose State University Library Special Collections and Archives. All requests for permission
to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication
is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include
or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply
to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.Copyright
restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files from or derived from these
collections is restricted to research and educational purposes.
The YWCA of Silicon Valley Records, MSS-2006-01-01, San Jose State University Library, Special Collections and Archives.
Donated to the San Jose State University Library by the YWCA of Silicon Valley in 2006.
Collection processed and finding aid written in July 2007, by Michelle Morton. Ead Encoded in 2007, by Erin M. Louthen.
The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) originally formed in England
in 1855. In the United States the YWCA combined evangelism and
pragmatic activism to provide for the physical, social, mental, and
spiritual needs of young women living on their own. The organization
strove to provide “wholesome” activities for women and girls living in
cities and to develope civic-minded female leadership. In addition to
Christian guidance, local YWCA braches offered residences, cafeterias, job training,
daycare, exercise, crafts, camping, dances, and other services.
By 1906 the U.S. YWCA had over 186,000 members. In 1907 it incorporated
and established its headquarters in New York City. Today YWCA branches
function fairly autonomously and respond to local needs and conditions.
Currently, there are, nearly 300 U.S. branches serving some 2 million women,
and there are chapters in more than 122 countries.
The YWCA of Silicon Valley was organized in 1905 and
incorporated in 1914. The organization struggled initially, disbanding in
1909 because of debt, but by 1914 local women were in the midst of a $75,000
fund drive to match a $25,000 donation by Maria Schofield for a YWCA building
in San Jose. Julia Morgan, architect for a number of YWCA buildings on the west
coast, was hired to design the building and in 1915 the cornerstone was laid on
Second and San Antonio Streets in San Jose. An annex was added in 1926, and the
expanded building included residences, a cafeteria, a gym and pool, and club
rooms. The Morgan building was demolished in 1973 to make way for the San
Antonio Plaza urban renewal project. The current YWCA facility, Villa Nueva,
opened in 1993 after a $3,000,000 capital campaign matched by state, local, and
federal funds. The Villa Nueva facility includes low-income housing, childcare
facilities, and administrative offices.The agency was renamed the YWCA of Silicon
Valley in 2004.
The YWCA pioneered services to poor and working women in the valley. The
national YWCA worked to improve the conditions of girls working in factories,
passing resolutions at their 1920 convention calling for an 8-hour day and the
right to organize and collective bargaining. The YWCA started
the Girl Reserves in 1918, a club devoted to patriotic work and charity, as well
as picnics, hiking, and camping at Ayun Mapu in Big Basin and Asilomar in Pacific
Grove. The Business Girls League, founded in 1930, offered vocational counseling,
classes, and clubs for working women. Between 1942-1946 YWCA, the Red Cross, and
the United Service Organization recruited Victory Girls to attend dances with
soldiers. When Japanese Americans were interned during World War II, the YWCA
accompanied single women and set up branches in the internment camps. By the 1950s
the Girl Reserves had become the Y-Teens, with groups at local high schools and
conferences at Asilomar and other locales. This shift reflected local youths’
interest in more social and co-educational activities. The Hi-Spot (1944-1959,
re-opened briefly in 1961) was a popular teen center governed by a council of
high school students with an adult advisory board. The Hi-Spot offered a snack
bar, classes and discussions, sports, games, dances, and a Sunday column in the
San Jose Mercury entitled “Hi-Spot News.” By the 1950s the majority of its members
were Latino youth.
The YWCA also served the needs of older women in this period through programs
such as “Ladies Day Out” and clubs such as the Y-Wives. While local programs had
served the racially diverse population as early as the 1930s, in
the 1960s the YWCA began to address the issue of racial justice more aggressively.
Responding to pressure from local branches, the national YWCA passed an "Interracial Charter"
The charter mandated the active integration of women of color into programs, facilities, and
governing bodies. In 1965 the national YWCA created the Office of Racial Justice, and in 1969
the first of eight Racial Justice Institutes was held in Palo Alto. In 1970, the national YWCA
adopted the One Imperative: “To thrust our collective power toward the elimination of racism,
wherever it exists, by any means necessary.” Locally, the YWCA established a Racial Justice
Committee, which published a Directory of Black Businesses, it held race dialogues,
and it developed youth programs and multicultural curriculum. In 1973 Inez Jackson became
the first African American to be elected Board President of the YWCA.
The YWCA offered a number of innovative programs in this era, including the
Young Mother’s Education Program (1967), which partnered with the San Jose
Unified School District to keep young mothers in school; the 24-hour Rape
Crisis Hotline (1973); and the Hispanic Outreach Program (1978), which offered
childcare, youth programs, clubs, and citizenship and English as a Second
Language courses. Rape Crisis services expanded in the 1970s, developing
a speaker’s bureau and collaborating with police, the district attorney, and
the county hospital to assist victims of sexual assault. In the 1980s and
1990s YWCA programming expanded to include Child Assault Prevention, Parent
Education, Career Development, and two major outreach and fundraising events,
a Tribute to Women in Industry (1985) and the Professional Women’s Luncheon
(1991). More recent organizational activities and programs include the
election of the first men to the Board of Directors (2004, Walk a Mile in
Her Shoes (2003); an event at which male community leaders walk a mile in
women’ shoes to raise awareness about sexual assault. The Social and Racial
Justice Program (2006), an anti-bias education program, New Options, a
multilingual after school program, and TechGYRLS 2007) and an after-school
program that teaches girls technological and engineering skills.
Fran Smith was commissioned to write the history of the YWCA of Silicon Valley.
Her book, Breaking Ground: The Daring Women of the YWCA in the Santa Clara Valley
1905-2005, was published in 2005.
Scope and Content of Collection
The YWCA began programs to serve women in the United States in 1858.
The YWCA slogan “Eliminating racism, Empowering women” reflects
their history as a racially integrated agency that pioneered
programs to serve poor and working women. The Records of the YWCA
contain documents relating to the administration and evolution of
the agency; materials about local clubs, programs, and events; and
clippings, photos, scrapbooks and slides of YWCA clubs and programs
dating from the early years of the organization. Formats include
budgets, clippings, correspondence, financial statements, minutes,
memoranda, photographs, printed material, registries, reports,
scrapbooks, slides, and videos.
This collection is arranged into 3 series. I. Administrative Files, 1905-2005. II. Programs and Events, 1910-2002. III. Printed
and Visual Materials, 1910s-2000s.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
Young Women’s Christian Association (Association: San Jose, Calif.) – History
Young Women’s Christian Association of the U.S.A. – History
Women – California – Santa Clara County – History
Santa Clara County (Calif.) - History