Duluth Y.W.C.A. (through 1910)

The Young Women’s Christian Association of Duluth was organized in April, 1902, with over 200 charter members. The membership rapidly increased until at the present time it numbers about 1, 400. It is managed by a board of directors comprised of about a score of the leading ladies of the city, and there is an advisory board of prominent business men. Religious services are held regularly and the rooms of the association afford all the comforts and advantages of a downtown home for girls whose employment keeps them away from home advantages and influences through the day or evening. It fulfills a mission on behalf of young women and girls which is met by no other organized influence in the city. A prominent feature of the institution is the lunch room, in which clean, substantial, well cooked food is served both noon and evening at a moderate cost.

There are also rest and reading rooms and a gymnasium. The educational department provides instruction in English to foreigners as well as teaching other languages and a number of domestic arts, such as cooking, dressmaking, millinery, embroidery and plain sewing. Many social advantages are also afforded and the same help and courtesy is shown to all women and girls, whether members of the association or not.

Soon after the association was formed it installed a matron at the Union Passenger Station, who has been able to render valuable assistance and advice to many women who are traveling and to girls who arrive in the city as strangers, as a result of which service there has been a marked change of conditions at that place. Another important and useful feature is the employment bureau and boarding house directory, by means of which many hundreds of women have been directed to respectable boarding and rooming houses and many hundreds of girls have been enabled to secure employment. The association is housed in a large and commodious building at West Second street and Second avenue west, which was erected and opened to the members May 1, 1909. The building cost $180, 000, this amount being raised by subscription among the citizens of Duluth. The building has accommodations for eighty-five girls, who are given good rooms and board at a very reasonable price. Provision is also made for transients. There is a fine gymnasium and swimming pool in the building, with competent instructors, and the physical welfare of the girls and women is as carefully attended to as the moral and spiritual.

The officers of the association are: Mrs. W. C. Agnew, president; Mrs. Robert Smith, recording secretary; Mrs. L. W. Kline, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Ella B. Claypool, treasurer. Secretaries of the association are: Mrs. Wesley Feetham, general secretary; Miss Margaret Stewart, general assistant; Miss Millie Older, office secretary; Miss Frances Pullar, director physical training department; Miss Helen E. Case, assistant physical director; Miss Ruth B. Patrick, domestic science and art; Mrs. Ethel D. Hardin, matron; Miss Althea Gift, travelers’ aid.

Sources:

  • Woodbridge, Dwight and John Pardee, eds. History of Duluth and St. Louis County Past and Present Vols. 1 – 2. C. F. Cooper & Company, Chicago: 1922.
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