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In 1867, President H. L. Baugher appointed Tutor Henry Eyster Jacobs (Class of 62) to chair a student committee to draw up a constitution for an organization through which students could learn about and support Christian missions. March 16, 1867, the Young Men’s Christian Association of Pennsylvania College was formed with Edward S. Breidenbaugh (Class of 1868) as its first president. With an early membership of 40, the association meet monthly, then quickly moved to weekly programs including prayer meetings, bible study, and lectures. Over the years, they supported the work of the Y. M. C.A. of Pennsylvania, several foreign missions, conducted services in the local poorhouse, held public lectures, and worked for temperance The Y.M.C.A. was the precursor to the Student Christian Association that functioned on this campus until 1965 when it merged with the Chapel Council to become one body.

Chiefly an organization for inquiry concerning missions, the Y. M. C. A. of Pennsylvania College members wrote letters to foreign missionaries requesting details of mission work. Folder 1 contains letters from missionaries in Indian, Japan, Syria, Turkey, and China, as well as a “home missionary” in St. Louis, Missouri. Some respondents wrote of the importance of the work in general and a few wrote details of their personal missionary work.

The rest of the papers contain business correspondence with Executive Committee of the Y.M.C.A. of Pennsylvania and other Y.M.C.A. organizations, as well as letters from local ministers contacted to speak before the group. These records, 1867-1872, are the only extant records of the association until 1946-1965, For those papers, see Record Group 3.4 Office of the Chaplain, Series I: Student Christian Association.

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Collection Size

.25 cubic feet

Publication Date

August 2018


Young Men’s Christian Association, Pennsylvania College, 1867-1872, Christian missions, Y.M.C.A.


Christianity | Cultural History | History | Missions and World Christianity | Social History | United States History

Document Type

Finding Aid

MS – 230: Young Men’s Christian Association of Pennsylvania College Papers, 1867-1872