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Young Woman's Home Association Records

Identifier: UR001923

Scope and Content

The Young Woman's Home Association Collection contains correspondence, annual reports, minutes of board and committee meetings, financial records, newspaper clippings and other ephemera primarily related to the operation of its residence club for working women.

Important subjects in the collection: Detroit philanthropy Priscilla Inn Eliza Seaman Leggett Residence clubs for working women Women's voluntary associations

Important correspondents in the collection: Marjorie Jewell


  • 1877 - 2016


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


In 1877 a group of socially prominent Detroit women organized the Working Woman's Home Association (later, the Young Woman's Home Association — YWHA) and opened the Working Woman's Home in rented facilities on Jefferson Avenue. The Home provided what YWHA members described as a safe, comfortable and respectable Christian residence for women of good moral character, working or seeking employment, who had neither family nor friends in the city.

As Detroit grew, so did the number of applicants to the Home, many of whom had to be turned away for lack of space. So, in 1887 the Association purchased land at the corner of Clifford and Adams and erected its own building, the Young Woman's Home (later called the Young Woman's Club), which opened its doors the following year. The Home was self-supporting, its construction, furnishing and maintenance underwritten by residents' room and board payments, private donations and the proceeds from numerous fund-raising events.

By the 1960's, however, social mores were changing, young women were becoming more independent and the Home was no longer able to attract enough guests to cover its expenses. In 1969 YWHA was forced to close it and sell the property, but it continues to use its endowment to fund a broad range of projects that benefit women and children in Michigan.


3.75 Linear Feet (2 MB, 2 SB, 1 OS)


Organized by a group of socially prominent Detroit Women, and originally known as the Working Woman's Home Association, the YWHA provided a residence for women. Although the physical building closed in 1969, the YWHA continues to offer projects that benefit women and children in Michigan. Their records relate primarily to the operation of the residence club for working women.


Folders are arranged alphabetically.


The papers of the Young Woman's Home Association were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in June of 2006 by the Association. More material was added by Ann Nicholson in January of 2017.


Some photographs of YWHA officers, the exterior and interior of the Young Woman's Club, and the dolls dressed by residents for distribution by the Goodfellows have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collection.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in August 2006.
Guide to the Young Woman's Home Association Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Revised by Elizabeth Nicholson on 2018-08-21.

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA