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YMCA of Greater Charlotte records

Identifier: MS0593

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of materials created by the YMCA of Greater Charlotte over its entire history. It includes a large series of news clipping scrapbooks that range from 1907-1960 and cover the development of the organization during that time, focusing on Camp Thunderbird, the development of new branches and membership and fundraising drives. Additionally, there is a very thorough collection of meeting minutes of the Board of Directors that range from 1878-1991 and includes a photocopy of the minutes of the original founding meeting in 1874. Finally, there are Y histories, photo albums (including several ones of boys camping trips) and several financial ledgers the organization maintained over the years.


  • Creation: 1878-2011

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte records are the physical property of J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections. Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

The YMCA of Charlotte was founded on November 11, 1874 in a hall above Wadsworth Livery Stable in uptown Charlotte by 23 men. The group adopted the Constitution of the YMCA of America and enrolled 16 active members and 7 associate members. On November 17, the Rev. Shorter Caldwell was elected the first President and the organization rented Wadsworth Hall to use as their facility for $6.25 a month. The Y's headquarters shifted to several different places over the next few years and its main programs included a library and reading room, games, socials and religious services. In 1876, George Hanna became President and remained in office until his death in 1906. In 1880, the Y began the first YMCA educational program in North Carolina by offering night classes in bookeeping, German and French. In 1889, the organization finished construction on the first Y building in North Carolina, whose facilities included the city's first gymnasium, an auditorium, library, residence rooms and business rental space. The Y continued to expand and in 1908 its second building was dedicated, which included the first swimming pool in Charlotte.

The organization also began to start outreach in the African-American community and started offering educational classes for African-Americans in 1912. In 1936, the first African-American YMCA in North Carolina was established in the Brooklyn neighborhood as the Second Street Y. Over the years, several new branches opened throughout Mecklenburg county, including the Johnston Branch in North Charlotte (1948), Lake Norman in North Mecklenburg (1969), Simmons Branch in East Charlotte (1971), Harris Branch in South Mecklenburg (1977), Brace Family Branch in Matthews (1988), Keith Family in the University area (1989), Mooresville Branch (1991), Morrison Family in Ballantyne (1999), Gateway Village in Uptown Charlotte (2001), Steele Creek (2004), Stratford Richardson in West Charlotte (2007) and Wesley Chapel (2008). Additionally, the Y opened a camp for boys on the shores of Lake Wylie in 1946, it became co-educational with the construction of girls' cabins in 1965. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte has played an important role in the Charlotte area for nearly 150 years through their role in mentoring children and promoting healthy living. The organization currently has over 297,000 members over 19 branches with two overnight camps and one child development center.


18 Linear Feet (18 Bankers Boxes)

Language of Materials



Papers documenting the history of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. Includes newspaper scrapbooks, Board meeting minutes, written histories, building campaigns, photographs and financial ledgers.


The collection is arranged into the followng six series: News Clipping Scrapbooks, Board Minutes, Historical Materials, Ledgers and Notebooks, Photographs and Audiovisual Material.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Todd Tibbits, on behalf of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, in 2019.

Processing Information

The collection was processed in 2020 by Andrew Pack.

YMCA of Greater Charlotte records
YMCA of Greater Charlotte records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

Special Collections and University Archives
J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
(704) 687-1170
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