African-American Women and the Portland YWCA

Document 1

Document 2

Mallory Avenue Christian Church
Mallory Church

Williams Avenue Branch

Program at Williams, 1940s

Young Women at Williams

Document 1: Helena H. Harper to Cordella Winn, 8 June 1929, National YWCA of the USA Archives.

 
MRS. F. A. DOUTY, PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD   MRS. E. E. COLLINS, CHAIRMAN OF COLORED WORK
Williams Avenue Branch
Young Women's Christian Association
PORTLAND - OREGON
OFFICERS
CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES
MRS. JESSIE C. GRAYSON, CHAIRMAN MRS. ROSA S. NICHOLS, FINANCE
MRS. KATHERINE GRAY, VICE-CHAIRMAN MRS. EMMA STANLEY, HOSPITALITY
MRS. THELMA FLOWERS, SECRETARY MRS. KATHERINE GRAY, MEMBERSHIP
MRS. JESSIE EDWARDS, RELIGIOUS

MRS. MAHALA KENNY, HOUSING

MRS. PEARL C. STEWART, GIRL RESERVE
MRS. ELIA MORTON, HEALTH EDUCATION
Y.W.C.A.
274 TILLAMOOK STREET
HELENA H. HARPER, EXECTUTIVE SECRETARY

                  June 8, 1929

Mrs. Cordella Winn,
600 Lexington Ave.
New York City

My dear Mrs. Winn:

       Enclosed find the report for May by which you can tell somewhat how things are going. I might also add that we have had the building painted and it is all paid for and we have over half of the money necessary to tint the inside. We are expecting a check from a white lady and if it is enough we will have that work done now but if not I think I will wait till fall as the people have been somewhat drained. In September I want to have a big membership drive and get in a lot of new members. My membership chairman is a very lovely and very willing worker but I realize that I will have to keep right behind her all of the time. If you have any practical suggestions to give me as to just how to put on this drive I would appreciate them a great deal. This summer when I am in California I am going to get some ideas. Of course I wont let them know that I either have to get some ideas from them or originate some but I will get the information in some manner. I cant let anybody know just how ignorant I am of this whole Y.W.C.A. proceedure or my prestige would be lessened considerably. But they dont know how many times I just simply guess at the proper thing to do. I am getting more and more confidence now and feel that I know a great deal more now than I did last year.

       We have started a young girls club here now and it seems fine and that is going to mean some recreation for me. We have a very congenial group so far and we might go into the Federation. Most of them are married but there are several single ones in it.

       I am going to take my vacation in July and will spend it in California. I would like to get a few extra days and attend the Social Workers conference but I guess I went [illeg.] it and I will get in on the last day when I do arrive. At Berkeley they are giving a two weeks course from July 8th to 20th and the faculty will be some who are on the coast in connection with this conference. I think I will take some courses at that as I hate to see the summer go by and I not get any work at all as badly as I need it. I can take something along the line of Community Organization work or Child Welfare or something similar.

       I received notice of the Branch Conference in West Virginia and I would go to that only my sister is coming to California and I want to see her. Also I have to have some time for just pure rest and relaxation as I need it.

       Well, I have a busy three weeks ahead of me and lots to do. I made one big mistake with the Blue Triangle girls, and I have to get them out of it now. In May they started working on a big entertainment, vaudeville and one act play. Now they havent got far enough along in it to be able to put it on in June and it seems impossible to have it in July. There is a man training the chorus and I am coaching the play. I am afraid it is going to have a bad effect to have to postpone it till September but I dont see any way out of it. I should have realized that since they are all working girls and their time rather uncertain that it would have taken longer than six weeks to start and finish a big entertainment, especially when they are all terribly inexperienced along that line. Next year I will get them started in February or March.

       Well I hope that you are well and how is Miss Bowles? One of the ladies who was at the seminar, Miss Shaedler sent me a letter written by Miss Derricotte about her trip to India and it was perfectly grand. I would like to be where all you folks are some time and be invisible so that I could really watch you and see just how you are.

       Oh yes, I must tell you something funny. I have a most impossible voice but these white folks think it is grand absolutely insist that I sing for them all the time. The President of the Board thinks I sing lovely. I hate to be always saying no but I surely hate to sing before them. The Girls Work Committee and the Girl Reserve Advisors held a joint luncheon meeting and out of clear sky they asked me to sing and insisted on it. It fails to be funny to me sometime.

       Well I must close now and I hope that I have not bored you.

                Sincerely,
                  [signed] Helena H. Harper

 

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