Skip to main content

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

Identifier: SFHL-RG4-097

Scope and Contents

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.


  • Creation: 1873-1967


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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

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.


1.5 linear ft. (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



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.


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
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries

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 or requesting repoductions from Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA