"Building Today for the Womanhood of Tomorrow": Businessmen, Boosters, and the YWCA, 1890-1930

Type of resource
"Building Today for the Womanhood of Tomorrow": Businessmen, Boosters, and the YWCA, 1890-1930
The author notes that women's organizations played an active part in the Progressive movement for the reform of North American cities in the early twentieth century. She explains that women reformers could and did cooperate with men but had their own distinct perception of the city and their own definition of urban reform. Lacking capital and political power, however, women were forced to depend on the support of male reformers and had to address themselves to the men's concerns. The author examines the relationship between the Young Women's Christian Association and Canadian businessmen as it was manifested in several successful fund-raising campaigns for YWCA buildings in Canadian cities, including Montreal, between 1890 and 1930. She concludes that YWCA women "sold" their building to the business community as a sound investment and an asset that would reflect well on the reputations of enterprising business leaders and a modern progressive community. The YWCA began in Saint John, NB, in 1870, and opened in Montreal in 1874 and in Quebec City in 1875. Organized by urban middle-class Protestant evangelical church members, the YWCAs were meant to aid the growing number of young immigrant women from the British Isles and Europe maintain moral standards.
Urban History Review / Revue d'histoire urbaine
Vol. 15
no. 3
February 1987
Pedersen, Diana. “‘Building Today for the Womanhood of Tomorrow’: Businessmen, Boosters, and the YWCA, 1890-1930.” Urban History Review / Revue d’histoire urbaine Vol. 15, no. 3 (February 1987): 225–242. https://www.erudit.org/en/journals/uhr/1987-v15-n3-uhr0781/1018017ar.pdf.
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