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YMCA of Metro Atlanta photographs

Identifier: ahc.VIS266

Scope and Content

This collection contains photographs from Metro Atlanta YMCAs including portraits of members; a 1913 time capsule containing photos of a groundbreaking ceremony; photos from the Andrew and Walter Young YMCA in Southwest Atlanta; the creation of YMCA facilities; and YMCA camps and recreational activities such as youth basketball, soccer, and swimming. Also included are photographs of the exhibition at a YMCA in Georgia of the former USSR and the 1984 Olympic Torch Relay supported by the YMCA of Santa Clara Valley Youth Legacy Endowment Fund.


  • 1911-1990, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

This material is protected by copyright law. (Title 17, U.S. Code) Permission for use must be cleared through the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. Licensing agreement may be required.

Administrative/Biographical History

The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) is an international organization founded in London in 1844 as a mutual improvement society emphasizing the spiritual, moral, intellectual, and physical well-being of young men of all classes and conditions. The YMCA of Atlanta formed in 1858, but disbanded in 1861 due to low attendance resulting from the Civil War. Walter Richard Brown reestablished the organization in 1873 on Whitehall Street. Following the trend of other associations, the YMCA of Atlanta created its first branch, known as the "Railroad Department," in 1884 to better serve Atlanta's large population of railroad workers. With financial support from the railroad companies, this location provided a reading room, parlor, lecture room, and bathroom. Atlanta hosted the International Convention of the YMCA on May 13-17, 1885. The local organization used this attention to start the first in a series of successful building campaigns. The Butler Street YMCA, then known as the "Colored Branch," was organized in 1894 on West Mitchell Street with Dr. Henry R. Butler as President. Created to serve Atlanta's African-American community, the Butler Street YMCA broke ground on its first building in 1916 thanks in part to funds from Julius Rosenwald. The YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta, as it was then known, gained national recognition in 1946 for its effort begun four years earlier to decentralize programs and locations better to serve the sprawling city. Atlanta's YMCA branches desegregated between 1965-1967. A separately incorporated YMCA Board of Trustees owned the property used by the YMCA of Metro Atlanta and the Butler Street YMCA. It also provided leadership during building campaigns, but voted to dissolve in 1982. The Butler Street YMCA remained independent and continued to predominantly serve African-Americans until its closure from lack of funding in 2012. As of 2017, the YMCA of Metro Atlanta is led by a Board of Directors and a President/CEO.


1299 image(s) (483 black and white photographic prints, 250 black and white negatives, 315 color photographic prints, 136 color negatives, 73 color slides, six drawings)



System of Arrangement

This collection is arranged alphabetically according to titles supplied by staff.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Some of this collection is located in cold storage (CS) as indicated in the descriptive inventory. Patrons must allow 24 hours after retrieval of cold storage items before viewing material.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 2016

Related Archival Materials

YMCA of Metro Atlanta records, MSS 1108, Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center

Description Control

This collection was processed in 2017.


YMCA of Metro Atlanta photographs
Maeve Vitale and Shay Meredith
July 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305