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YMCA - Reachout - Service Council. Records, 1928-1991

Identifier: RG6-13

Scope and Contents

The records date from 1928 to 1991, with the period 1930-1950 having the most complete coverage. Prior to 1928, information about the YMCA appears in the Wildcat Handbooks, the Davidson College Magazine, the Davidsonian and the yearbooks. The minutes include the meetings of the Board of Control 1928-1949 and the YMCA Cabinet, 1924-1948. The Board of Control was comprised of faculty and students and was responsible for approving budgets and overseeing the programs of the YMCA. The Cabinet was comprised of student officers and committee chairs and was responsible for carrying out specific projects and activities. The Annual Reports for 1929-1956 are fairly extensive reports made to the College's Board of Trustees describing the activities of the Y for the year and giving recommendations for improving campus life. The Correspondence and General Files are less detailed than the minutes. The General Files, 1980-1991, contain officer lists, some correspondence, and some publicity materials. The Committee Reports contain information on the YMCA's work with the local African-American Community as well as describe changes in religious life on the campus. The Financial reports for 1941-1946 detail expenditures, while the materials from 1947-1988 are mostly budget summaries and requests. The Printed Material includes copies of various YMCA newsletters as well as publicity and newsclippings, vesper programs, and programs from symposiums hosted by the YMCA. The photographs include an album on the Biederwolf Leper Colony with pictures of houses built with funds donated through Davidson College and of Davidson graduate, James S. Wilson (1934). There are also photographs of YMCA activities on campus and on retreats. The scrapbooks also document YMCA activities, including their work in rebuilding housing in Davidson in the 1950s. The files also contain information on the YMCA-sponsored Book of the Year and Book of the Semester Programs as well as information on Spring Services in 1952-54 that were sponsored by the YMCA.


  • Creation: 1928


Biographical / Historical

The YMCA is first listed as a student organization in the 1878-1879 catalog. A decade later, a fund-raising campaign was underway to construct a YMCA building and gymnasium. The cornerstone was laid in 1890 and the building completed in 1891. [Original cornerstone is housed in the College Archives.] The YMCA held freshman receptions in the late 1880s and gradually assumed responsibility for orientation activities including the publication of a student handbook in 1896. Regular publication of the Davidson Handbook, renamed the Wildcat Handbook in 1926, began in 1902 and continued until 1961, when the Publications Board assumed responsibility. the major activities of the YMCA included deputations, assisting with Boy Scout Troops, working with local boy's clubs and sports teams, and community work. In addition, to the deputations or teams of students sent out to speak at area churches, the Y provided Sunday School teachers for the Mecklenburg TB Sanatorium. The work with the Boy Scouts, athletic teams, and community projects included sponsoring African-American troops and teams. The Y was active in constructing new housing in Davidson after a fire in 1950. Initially, all students were automatically members of the YMCA, in 1955 membership became voluntary. The office of College Chaplain grew of the the YMCA secretary position. The first Y secretary, George W. Markey was hired in 1917 and his position was jointly funded by the college and students. Y secretaries were frequently alumni and usually held the position for one or two years. In 1951, Alan Gripe became the first Y secretary to hold the title Chaplain. The title reverted back Y secretary after one year and was changed again in 1956 to "Minister of Students." The job was expanded to include conducting chapel and vesper sevices as well as directing Y activities. With the advent of co-education, the YMCA was renamed the YM/YWCA in 1975. It was renamed again in 1980 to become the Y Student Service Corps and in 1993 to become Reach Out. Reach Out helps coordinate student volunteer programs including Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, Davidson Day Care, CROP lunch for world hunger relief, Hospital Visitation., Into the streets and Recycling. Into the Streets is a program designed to introduce more students to thoughtful community service and to provide a learning experience that will challenge them to volunteer on a regular basis. The program is national in scope but is implemented locally. The leaders of the Davidson program were Brian Campbell (class of 1999) and Bill Abrams (class of 1997). With the creation of the Service Council in 1998, Reach Out shifted to direct community service and individual programs. Service Council serves as the umbrella organization for community service.


4.00 boxes_oversize (4 boxes + oversize)




The records are organized into the following series: Minutes, Annual Reports and President's Reports, Correspondence and General Files, Committee Reports, Financial Material, Printed Material, Photographs, and Scrapbooks.

Physical Location




Mapstand D-5

Immediate Source of Acquisition

some materials donated by Reach Out President (1995-1996) Smita Donthamsetty

Related Materials

Part of Dean of Students

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the College Archives Repository