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Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Hampton Roads Records

Collection ID: MG 76

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the records of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Hampton Roads. Included in the records are the administrative records of the organization, publications, photographs, scrapbooks, artifacts, and blueprints of various property held by the organization.


  • circa 1906-2017, undated
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1960-1990
  • Other: Date acquired: 08/30/2000



45.20 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Biographical or Historical Information

The YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) is the oldest and largest women's membership association. It began in London in 1855, and first came to the U.S. in 1858. Although similar in name, the YWCA has no affiliation with the YMCA. The YWCA was an independent movement that arose out of Women's church groups as a way of making life better for other women. These first YWCA's provided boarding houses, skills training, recreation, and a social environment for single, working women. After World War II, the YWCA's emphasis shifted to the family: mother and children. In 1946, the YWCA adopted an Interracial Charter. Its purpose became the empowerment of women and the elimination of racism. The YWCA of South Hampton Roads started as housing for working girls in 1893. In 1908, the Phyllis Wheatley Branch of the YWCA of Norfolk began as an association of African American Women. The branch was named after a black woman poet who lived during the time of the Revolutionary War. Another YWCA started in Norfolk in 1911. This chapter had a residence for single women, and offered classes in cooking, stenography, Bible studies, typing, and gymnastics. It also had a cafeteria and a reading room. In 1925, the two branches came together. Then, in the 1950s a Virginia Beach branch was created. Over the years, many splits and mergers have occurred in the YWCA's of Hampton Roads. Throughout their history, the YWCA chapters of Hampton Roads have created many institutions in the community. Camp Owaissa, Camp E.W. Young, and various day camps have provided summer recreation for young girls. The Norfolk YWCA ran a cafeteria on West Freemason for many years. The YWCA has hosted women's shelters including the Phyllis Wheatley House, the Wilkshaw, and undisclosed battered women's shelters. Other YWCA programs have included the Winners Dinners, now known as the Women of Distinction Award, where women of achievement have been recognized, Y-Prep and Y-Teens for young and adolescent girls, Black History Month, the Women in Crisis Program for victims of domestic violence, the Women in Transition Program to help economically disadvantaged women find employment or gain job skills, and Ladies Day Out workshops and fashion shows. In addition to these, the YWCA of Hampton Roads has held and continues to hold a wide variety of programs for women of all ages and backgrounds. They offer classes, workshops, and training; fashion and talent shows; retreats; conventions; political events, achievement and award dinners, services and shelter for battered and abused women and children; and a variety of youth programs.

Note written by Special Collections Staff

Language of Materials



The YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) is the oldest and largest women’s membership organization. The YWCA of South Hampton Roads first started as housing for working girls in 1893. Throughout their history, the YWCA chapters of Hampton Roads have advanced their purposes of empowering women and fighting racism by running women’s shelters, camps, workshops, and various other programs. The collection consists mainly of photos, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings, as well as some business and historical records of the organization.

Arrangement Note

This collection is broken down into groups based on when they were given to Special Collections and University Archives: Record Group 1: First Accession; and Record Group 2: Second Accession. Each record group is further organized into series within each record group.

Physical Access Requirements

Handling of the scrapbooks may be limited due to the fragile nature of the material.

Source of Acquisition

YWCA of Hampton Roads

Method of Acquisition

Gift. Accession #A2000-7

Accruals and Additions

The second accession was received by Special Collections and University Archives from Regina Malveaux, on behalf of the YWCA of Hampton Roads, on 03/30/2010.

Related Materials

Ocean View, Seaside and Seaview Amusement Park Collection (MG 31) and Virginia Beach Resorts Research Collection (RC 2) contains information about Seaview, the African American resort at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. YWCA material can also be found in the Women's Council for Interracial Cooperation Papers (MG 54).

Current information about the YWCA of South Hampton Roads can be found on their website.

Processing Information

The first accession was processed between 2000 and 2010. The second accession was processed by Mona Farrow, Reading Room Supervisor, in 2017.

A Guide to the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Hampton Roads Records
Special Collections Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 09099999: Finding aid was updated by Mona Farrow, Reading Room Supervisor, in June 2017.

Repository Details

Part of the ODU Community Collections Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US