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Archives & Manuscripts

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

Identifier: SFHL-RG4-097
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.


  • 1873-1967
  • 1873-1967


Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.


1.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes)


Founded in 1873 in New York City and incorporated in 1890, the Young Friends' Aid Association sought to provide the destitute with the temporary pecuniary or material aid necessary to support them into financial independence. Substantial aid was given to unemployed fathers, the homeless, and widows with children, although scholarships and student loans were also made available on occasion. The collection includes minutes, lists of members, financial records, and a scrapbook of activities organized by the Association.

Biographical / Historical

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.


The collection is divided into five series:
  1. Minutes
  2. Register of Cases
  3. Lists of Members
  4. Treasurer's Books
  5. Miscellaneous

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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.


An Inventory of the Young Friends Aid Association (New York, N.Y.) Records, 1873-1967
POD assisted by RF
Description rules
Language of description
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries

Revision Statements

  • 2016: This electronic finding aid was updated in Summer 2016 by Abdulrezak Kemal in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace, to conform to current markup standards and the ArchivesSpace data model.

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

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