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YWCA Special Collections Resources

Materials related to the YWCA in Smith College Special Collections

Search Special Collections

For tips on navigating finding aids and the library catalog, visit our Search Special Collections page.

Using YWCA record group finding aids

Finding Aids are collection guides for each record group. They list material in boxes, usually organized in series of like materials. Materials are most often described at the folder level, not the item level. If you would like to know more about the contents of a folder, you can email

It is essential to read the main page of each individual record group. There you will find descriptions of the topics covered in the materials, where you can find duplicate (and potentially digitized) material, as well as notes on what years you may find gaps in records.

The YWCA of the U.S.A records are organized into eleven record groups plus artifacts.

In each individual record group you can search the collection using the navigation bar on the right of the screen (or at the bottom depending on your screen size). You can search within that collection using the search bar or you can browse by expanding the different headings in the navigation bar.

One last option is to search associated names, events, organizations, locations, etc. in the main finding aid page for all Smith College Special Collections ( navigation bar and see what comes up.

Search Tips:

  • To search an exact phrase, use double quotes. (e.g. "Mountain Day" or “Smith College Class of 1922”)
  • Searches are not case sensitive.
  • To exclude a term from your search, put a minus sign in front of it. (For example, the search “social work” -school will find materials with the phrase “social work” but without the word school.)
  • A search for w*m*n will give you results with "woman" "women" "womyn" "wimmin", etc.
  • Create advanced searches by clicking the + button to add a new line to your search.
  • Use the sections in the top bar to browse repositories, collections, digital objects, etc.