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Young Friends Aid Association (New York, N.Y.)


Held at: Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Young Friends Aid Association (YFAA) began in 1873 in New York City to give aid to the destitute. Its membership was predominantly made up of Hicksite Quakers. Incorporated in 1890, it adopted a nonsectarian mission to "help those who help themselves." The YFAA quickly expanded its services from providing milk to the poor to raising money to help families and individuals through particularly hard times. The primary source of income for its work was an annual fair.

In the early days, the Association met in private homes. Joseph A. Bogardus was elected the first President and Mary E. Davis served as Secretary. John Cox edited "The Aid," an annual published for at least two years (1895-96). Other prominent individuals included Harry A. Hawkins, Anna M. Jackson, William M. Jackson, and Albert R. Lawton.

Evidence of repayment of debt serves as an indicator of the Friends' success as a catalyst for financial well-being. An African-American man, for instance, was given a loan for medical school; it was repaid in full following his graduation. However, some individuals did betray the Quaker trust. Only under special circumstances was aid meant to be carried on indefinitely.

The Young Friends Aid Association gave money to other organizations, as well, including consistent support of the Friends Employment Society, a New York area organization that provided sewing jobs for unemployed women. In return, the Employment Society accepted many recipients of YFAA aid. A close connection with the New York Colored Mission School is also apparent.

This collection contains continuous minutes from the organization's creation in 1873 to 1967, as well as committee minutes from 1891-1914. Also included are lists of members, financial records, and a scrapbook spanning the first fifty years of the Young Friends' Aid Association. Minutes deal with accession of new accounts and progress of current beneficiaries.

The collection is divided into five series:

  1. Minutes
  2. Register of Cases
  3. Lists of Members
  4. Treasurer's Books
  5. Miscellaneous

Donor: New York Yearly Meeting, 1997

The collection was given as part of the transfer of records of New York Yearly Meeting from the Haviland Records Room in 1997.

Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Finding Aid Author
POD assisted by RF
Finding Aid Date
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Some of the items in this collection may be protected by copyright. The user is solely responsible for making a final determination of copyright status. If copyright protection applies, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns to reuse, publish, or reproduce relevant items beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to the law. See

Collection Inventory

Minutes, 1873-1874.
Box 1
Minutes, 1874-1877.
Box 1
Minutes, 1877-1880.
Box 1
Minutes, 1880-1883.
Box 1
Minutes, 1883-1894.
Box 1
Minutes, 1895-1905.
Box 1
Minutes, 1905-1914.
Box 1
Minutes, 1914-1952.
Box 2
Minutes, 1952-1967.
Box 2
Directors' Committee Minutes, 1891-1914.
Box 2

Register of Cases, 1873-1883.
Box 2

List of Members, 1873-1883.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Includes a copy of the constitution, by-laws, 1887.

List of Members, 1873-1907.
Box 2
Members and Contributors, compiled at 50th Anniversary Fair, 1923.
Box 2

Treasurer's Book and Loose Enclosures, 1873-1885.
Box 3
Treasurer's Book, 1885-1897.
Box 3
Treasurer's Book, 1898-1920.
Box 3
Treasurer's Book, 1920-1953.
Box 3

Scrapbook, 1873-1924.
Box 3
Miscellaneous Receipts, Publications and Reports, 1890-1959.
Box 3
Incorporation and by-laws.
Box 3

Print, Suggest