Mabel Cratty Papers
Mabel Cratty was born June 30, 1868 in Bellaire, Ohio, to Mary (Thoburn) and Charles Campbell Cratty. Her father was a merchant and later an insurance agent. She attended Bellaire public schools, then spent one year at Lake Erie Seminary (1884-85), eventually finishing an undergraduate degree at Ohio Wesleyan University in 1890.
After college, she taught in public schools in Ohio and Delaware, and at the Wheeling (West Virginia) Seminary. She entered administrative work in 1900 when she was made principal of the Delaware (Ohio) High School.
Cratty's involvement with the YWCA, an organization she came to call "the home of her spirit," came through college friends who convinced her to join the Ohio State Committee of the American Committee of Young Women's Christian Associations in 1902. In 1904 she resigned from the Delaware High School and moved to Chicago to become Associate General Secretary of the American Committee.
When the American Committee merged with the International Board of Women's and Young Women's Christian Associations to form the YWCA of the U.S.A. in 1906, Cratty moved to New York City to take charge of the new organization's Home Department. After a year or so working out administrative structure, by-laws, motto, seal, and articles of incorporation, the YWCA of the U.S.A. appointed Cratty General Secretary, the chief executive staff member. She held this position until her death from pneumonia in 1928.
Cratty credited her Scots-Irish Thoburn relatives with a singular determination to "transcend a narrow point of view." As an administrator, she quietly worked to shape the YWCA into an organization with "prophetic vision and courage." A New York Times editorial following her death in 1928 called her a "seer among her sisters" citing her "exceptional foresight in anticipating the direction which social and economic development of womanhood would take" in the first two and a half decades of the twentieth century.
Mabel Cratty died of pneumonia on February 27th, 1928, in New York City. She was buried in the family plot in Bellaire, Ohio.