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Fonds Level Description

Accession Number: 91-003


Young Women's Christian Association fonds. Additions. -- 1897-1991. -- 5 cm of textual records. -- 45 photographs. -- 8 audio cassettes.

Biography / History

The Peterborough Young Women's Christian Association was founded 1891 when a young man, who greatly appreciated what the Y.M.C.A. had done for him, felt that a similar organization should be offered to women. With the support of Mr. Colville, secretary of the Y.M.C.A., a meeting was arranged at which sixteen ladies attended (two from each church). These ladies became the charter members of the Peterborough Young Women's Christian Association. The first meeting took place over Long's Confectionary Shop on George Street. Bible studies, educational classes and club group meetings were held there. In 1892 a house on the north side of Brock Street (near George Street) was furnished to serve as a Residence for young girls who had no homes in the town. Before long all the work of the Association was carried out at the Brock Street residence. The Peterborough Y.W.C.A. was actively involved in many of the conferences and new ideas that came into the Association. For instance it was one of the first associations to take up Industrial work and offer meetings, in 1909, for girls employed at the electrical works. In 1901 the Y.W.C.A. needed to move into larger quarters due to the expansion of its members. They were able to secure rooms, with the aid of the Honourable Senator Cox, on the west side of George Street and stayed there for two years. In 1904 the Y.W.C.A. decided it needed a Y.W.C.A. building and purchased the lot on the corner of Simcoe and Aylmer Streets. Senator Cox provided rooms in the Bank of Commerce Building and the rooms on George Street and the house on Brock Street were given up. Mrs. Cox laid the cornerstone September 7, 1904 and the new building was opened in 1905. In 1912 rooms at 133 Rubidge street were formally opened. In 1916 a swimming pool was built and by May 30, 1918 was able to be used. In 1919 the Y.W.C.A. rented a cottage on Stoney Lake as a summer camp. The aim of the Y.W.C.A. was to provide religous education as well as special clubs, classes and parties to encourage the development of the all-round girl who would be the woman of the future. The Y.W.C.A. was considered a fellowship. In 1929 the Y.W.C.A. purchased nine acres of land near the centre of Stoney Lake as a campground, called Camp Inglestane and charged $7.00 a week per girl. The camp was sold at the end of the 1940's. The Y.W.C.A. continued to act as an employment bureau and forming clubs in the industrial sector. In June, 1939 the Peterborough Y.W.C.A. became more newly equipped with a more modern gymnasium and a new pool was opened. A nursery school opened in 1960. The Y.W.C.A. continued to grow and develop with each new year and national and international changes. In 1967 the Y.W.C.A. purchased the Knights of Columbus building as a Centennial project. This building was adjacent to the original Y building and was called Stevenson Hall in memory of James E. Stevenson, the original owner of the property. (Taken from: "The Peterborough Y.W.C.A. 1891 to 1981." Box 3, folder 2, Trent University Archives.) In the original Y.W.C.A. building programs such as Crossroads, which was a program for battered women and a series of shelters, and "Y's Buys" were run. The original building which was on the corner of Simcoe and Aylmer, and had been sold a number of years ago, burnt down on February 15, 1996. (See "Arthur" Volume 30, Issue 19, February 27, 1996, p 8.)

Custodial History

This fonds was created by and in the custody of the Young Women's Christian Association before it was donated to the Trent University Archives.

Scope and Content

This addition to the fonds consists of original Peterborough YWCA incorporation documents from 1897, YWCA photographs, financial and business documents, and other records including audio cassettes with oral interviews and tea meetings.


Title based on creator of fonds.

This fonds was donated by Alissa Lee and Lisbeth Shaw-Cullen of the Young Women's Christian Association.

Restrictions: N

Finding aids: Y

For a list of associated materials please see "The Canadian Women's Movement, 1960-1990: A Guide to Archival Resources" which is in the Trent University Archives Reading Room.

Further accruals are expected. This fonds along with 94-011 is an addition to 85-001.


Box 1


1: Photographs: Peterborough YWCA building, including "Y's Buys" store; YWCA buildings in other locations; YWCA crests and awards; 1950s photograph set including YWCA building, etc.; miscellaneous buildings including Peterborough Public Library, St. Andrew's United Church, Queen Alexandra Community Centre.

2: Original incorporation documents of the YWCA of Peterborough 1897

Copies of memorandum of agreement 1904 and indenture 1905 relating to mortgage and deed of YWCA property in Peterborough

Surveyor's plans of Peterborough YWCA property and adjacent properties 1933, 1939, 1945

YWCA kitchen floor plan (Peterborough) 1957 - "New Kitchen Layout"

3: Peterborough YWCA "Listing of Securities" 1961

YWCA correspondence and indenture related to mortgage 1973

Correspondence and documents related to the will of G.W. Dartnell, in which a "one-fifth interest in the residue" was bequeathed to the YWCA in Peterborough 1979

Peterborough YWCA financial statement and auditor's report 1981

Auditor's reports and related correspondence 1982-1983

Copies of "development project" application to Employment and Immigration Canada for the project entitled "Moving Along", submitted by Peterborough YWCA 1983

4: Miscellaneous : "YWCA History Questionnaires". Jubilee Year (1941) notes. YWCA Gymnasium Pageant featuring "Sea Ballet" - program 1949. Skit entitled "Mrs. Y-be-a-Member Joins Up" 1953. "YWCA Quarterly" June 1953 article (featuring photo of Queen Elizabeth II - coronation). World YWCA Council Meeting daily schedule 1959 (Mexico). miscellaneous correspondence 1964-1965 (G.Karause and N. Cowell). "Former YWCA Director Dies in Toronto" (Leta Brownscombe) - newspaper article undated.

Audio Cassettes:

1. lst Tea Mtg., Held & YW, June l990 (60 minutes)

2. 2nd Tea Mtg., Held & YW, July l990 (90 minutes)

3. 3rd Tea Mtg., Held & YW, Sept. l990 (90 minutes)

4. Jack & Ross Brownscombe, Nov. 21, 1990, 10:00-12:00am (voices are distorted because of low batteries)

5. Annabeth Wright, Nov. 13, 1990, 1:30-3:00

6. Anne Heideman [Haldimand?], Nov. 13, 1990, 10:00-11:00am

7. Miep Gadd, Nov. 20, 1990, 3:l5-4:l5

8. Hazel Dunford, Nov. 7, 1990, 1:30- 3:00