The Archives is a depository for Y’s Men’s records which date back to the origination of our Movement in November 1922.
Its records have historically been deposited in many different places, starting with Henry Grimes basement in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the YMCA of the USA’s office in New York, and in the home of George Keitel, our first Historian, at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Subsequently, a decision was made to consolidate our history material and to forward it to the office of the YMCA of the USA in Chicago. In 1984, the YMCA of the USA and the University of Minnesota formed a partnership, establishing the Archives. YMI was invited by the YMCA to share space in the Archives.
When the material arrived in Chicago, Past Historian, Jim Mueller, and his wife, Audrey, travelled to Chicago where they spent one week in sorting through the boxes of YMCA and Y’s Men material. Eventually, the material was shipped to the University of Minnesota Archives which was located in an old warehouse in the Midway District of St. Paul, Minnesota. When a committee was selected to write the 1997 history of our Movement, it was determined that its members should reside near the Archives and the Y’s Men records.
In 1998 the University of Minnesota decided to build an Archives building on its campus. Because of a scarcity of above-ground campus property, it was determined to build the building under-ground for storage and three stories above-ground for offices. It was built in limestone which was surrounded by sandstone. 30 feet of topsoil and 30 feet of limestone topped two caverns, each the length of 2 football fields. The YMCA of the USA, which was granted storage space, kindly allowed YMI to share some of its space. The $41.5 million, state-of-the-art facility, called the Andersen Library, opened in 2000.
The History Archives Advisory Committee, which was formed in 2001, has sorted through many boxes of files, removing duplicative material and staples and re-sorting material according to the collection which covers 92.5 cubic feet of shelf space in 216 storage boxes. Because of limited storage space, we recommended that the Archives should mainly contain Canadian and USA material plus important documents from other Areas and International.