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Elizabeth Steel Genné Papers, 1952-2008 (Bulk: 1957-1980)
4 boxes (1.75 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 605

Abstract:
YWCA volunteer, Reproductive health advocate. The Elizabeth Steel Genné Papers are primarily related to her professional and public life. Types of materials include biographical materials, correspondence, minutes, reports, news clippings, notes, press releases, speeches, and memorabilia. The bulk of the papers date from 1957 to 1980 when Genné was a member of the National Board of the YWCA of the U.S.A., including a term as President, 1973-79. There are significant materials generated by Genné's committee work in the College and University Division of the YWCA in the 1950s and 60s. Genné served on the influential Committee to Study YMCA-YWCA Cooperative Experience (1959-60) which worked with Professor Dan Dodson to examine whether the YWCA should merge with the YMCA. There are also materials from the YWCA's Teen Sexuality Education Advisory Committee from the early 1980s.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Copyright ownership of Elizabeth Genné's writings is unknown. Copyright to materials authored by persons other than Elizabeth Genné may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Elizabeth Steel was born August 30, 1911 on a farm outside Albany, Oregon, to Charles and Winifred Steel. The family later moved to Portland, Oregon, where Elizabeth graduated from Washington High School. Steel's lifelong involvement in the YWCA began early at the Portland YWCA. In 1930 she attended the Christian Youth Conference of North America as President of the Portland YWCA Girl Reserve Club. There, she first met her future husband, William H. Genné.

Steel earned a B.Sc. from Oregon State College in 1935 and an M.A. from Teachers' College, Columbia University in 1936. She and William Genné were married in 1937. The couple had four children.

William Genné began a career as a college chaplain working at Michigan State University, Alfred University, and Pacific University over the next eighteen years. Meanwhile Elizabeth, who described herself as "primarily a homemaker and volunteer" worked in the Flint, Michigan, YWCA and as a teacher-counselor, teacher, staff in-service training lecturer, and Parent Education Consultant. During World War II she and her husband sponsored six interned Japanese-American students, making it possible for the students to complete college degrees.

Beginning in the 1950s the Gennés pioneered in the field of family life and sex education, working for the Clara Elizabeth Fund for Maternal Health in Flint, Michigan, and then the National Council of Churches from a home base in Montclair, New Jersey. They co-authored eight books and numerous articles and pamphletson family life, maternal health education, and sex education. The couple also gave joint presentations and organized workshops all over the U.S. and internationally.

In each of the cities where the Gennés lived, "Betty" was active in the local YWCA, usually serving on teen, college student, or young adult committees. Once the Gennés moved to New Jersey, she also began serving on national YWCA committees. Elected to the National Board in 1957, she continued as a member of that group until 1979, including a term as National President from 1973 to 1979. She is credited with helping the YWCA to make more effective use of its human and financial resources.

In addition to her volunteer activities for the YWCA, Betty Genné was active in the PTA, Montclair Civil Rights Commission, American Association of University Women, League of Women Voters, United Council of Church Women, and UNICEF.

The Gennés retired to Claremont, California in 1984. William Genné died in 1997. Three years later Betty married Stanley Conover, who died in 2006.

Elizabeth Steel Genné died on February 29, 2008 in Claremont, California.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Elizabeth Steel Genné Papers consist of 1.75 linear ft. and are primarily related to her professional and public life, dating from 1952 to 1984. Types of materials include biographical materials, correspondence, minutes, reports, news clippings, notes, press releases, speeches, and memorabilia.

The bulk of the papers date from 1957 to 1980 when Genné was a member of the National Board of the YWCA of the U.S.A., including a term as President, 1973-79. Genné served on a number of committees examining particularly difficult issues during turbulent times for the Association from the 1960s to the early 1980s. There are significant materials generated by Genné's committee work in the College and University Division of the YWCA in the 1950s and 60s. Genné served on the influential Committee to Study YMCA-YWCA Cooperative Experience (1959-60) which worked with Professor Dan Dodson to examine whether the YWCA should merge with the YMCA. The Committee's final report, known internally as the "Dodson Report," urged the YWCA to reaffirm its role as an autonomous women's organization. There are also materials from the YWCA's Teen Sexuality Education Advisory Committee from the early 1980s.

A small amount of material from Genné's work for the YWCA on the local and state level in New Jersey is also included.

The Speeches files include texts, programs, clippings, and correspondence about local arrangements, primarily from Genné's term as President of the National YWCA. They are filed chronologically.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Copyright ownership of Elizabeth Genné's writings is unknown. Copyright to materials authored by persons other than Elizabeth Genné may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Elizabeth Steel Genné Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

The Elizabeth Steel Genné Papers came to the Sophia Smith Collection with the Records of the YWCA of the U.S.A. in 2002. Elizabeth Genné donated them to the YWCA in 1984.

Processing Information

Processed by Maida Goodwin, 2008


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English
Sponsor
Processing of the Elizabeth Steel Genné Papers was made possible by the generous support of the National Historical Records and Publications Commission

Contents List
Biographical materials and miscellaneous
1952-2008, n.d.

Box 1: folder 1
Montclair (New Jersey) YWCA



Board of Directors
1968

Box 1: folder 2
The Right to Live Conference,
Nov 1969

Box 1: folder 3
New Jersey State Council of YWCAs
1974-84, n.d.

Box 1: folder 4-6
YWCA of the U.S.A.



General
1957-83, n.d.

Box 1: folder 7-8
Committees



Fleischmann Project (Leadership Development Center)
1979-83, n.d.

Box 1: folder 9-10
Leadership Development Goal Group
1980-82

Box 1: folder 11
Program and Budget Apportionment Committee
1968

Box 1: folder 12
Teen Sexuality Education Advisory Committee



General
1981-82

Box 1: folder 13
Site reports
1981-82

Box 1: folder 14
Utilization of National Volunteers Subcommittee



1978-79

Box 1: folder 15
1980-82, n.d.

Box 2: folder 1-2
Convention



1961-81, n.d.

Box 2: folder 3
1979

Box 2: folder 4-6
Learning Center X, Presidential Leadership and Association Committee Chairpersons' Workshop (faculty)
1979-80

Box 2: folder 7
Public Affairs



General
1973-81

Box 2: folder 8
Abortion
1973-80, n.d.

Box 2: folder 9
Gun control
1973, n.d.

Box 2: folder 10-11
Student/College and University Division



Anniversary (110th) Tea,
Apr 1984

Box 2: folder 12
Consultation on Future Relationships of YWCA to New York State Student Christian Movement
1958-59

Box 2: folder 13-14
National Student YWCA Administrative Committee



1957-59

Box 2: folder 15-16
1960-64

Box 3: folder 1
Proposal to Ford Foundation for Training Program for a Leadership Cadre on Urban Affairs Related to a National Student Assembly (NSAY) 1965-66
Dec 1966-Jan 1967

Box 3: folder 2
Regional Advisory Committee
1968

Box 3: folder 3
World YWCA Pre-Council Consultation on Work with Students
1967

Box 3: folder 4
YMCA



Committee to Study YMCA-YWCA Cooperative Experience ("Dodson Study")
1959-60

Box 3: folder 5
Consultation on YM-YW Relationsips
1971

Box 3: folder 6
"YWCA Looks to the Future" Year One meetings (convenor)
1979-82

Box 3: folder 7
Speeches



Miscellaneous
1968-80, n.d.

Box 3: folder 8
Burlington County (NJ) YWCA 50th Anniversary
Apr 1968

Box 3: folder 9
New Castle County (DE) YWCA Annual Meeting
Apr 1972

Box 3: folder 10
Philadelphia (PA) YWCA Friendship Fete Luncheon
Apr 1975

Box 3: folder 11
Nashville (TN) YWCA 75th Anniversary
Apr 1975

Box 3: folder 12
Knoxville (TN) YWCA and Travelers Aid Annual Meeting
May 1975

Box 3: folder 13
Memphis (TN) YWCA Annual Meeting
May 1975

Box 3: folder 14
Savannah (GA) YWCA Annual Meeting
Jan 1976

Box 3: folder 15
Detroit (MI) YWCA Annual Meeting
Feb 1976

Box 3: folder 16
Charlotte (NC) YWCA Annual Meeting
Feb 1976

Box 3: folder 17
Buffalo and Erie County (NY) YWCA Annual Meeting
Feb 1976

Box 3: folder 18
Roanoke Valley (VA) YWCA Annual Meeting
Mar 1976

Box 4: folder 1
Sioux Falls (SD) YWCA Leader Luncheon III
May 1976

Box 4: folder 2
High Point (NC) YWCA Annual Meeting
Jan 1977

Box 4: folder 3
Southern Methodist University Symposium '77
Feb 1977

Box 4: folder 4
San Antonio (TX) YWCA Dedication of Recreation Center
Feb 1977

Box 4: folder 5
Canton (OH) YWCA Annual Meeting
Mar 1977

Box 4: folder 6
American Association of University Women, Indiana State Division Convention
Apr 1977

Box 4: folder 7
Fort Wayne (IN) YWCA Annual Meeting
Apr 1977

Box 4: folder 8
St. Louis (MO) YWCA Biennial Dinner
Jan 1978

Box 4: folder 9
Columbia (SC) YWCA Annual Meeting
Jan 1978

Box 4: folder 10
Mountain Lakes Women
Jan 1978

Box 4: folder 11
Danville (VA) YWCA Annual Meeting
Feb 1978

Box 4: folder 12
York (PA) YWCA Annual Meeting
Feb 1978

Box 4: folder 13
Bethlehem (PA) YWCA 50th Anniversary
Apr 1978

Box 4: folder 14
San Francisco (CA) YWCA Centennial
Jun 1978

Box 4: folder 15
High Point (NC) YWCA Women in Society lecture series
Nov 1978

Box 4: folder 16
Dallas (TX) YWCA Sustaining Membership Campaign Kickoff
Feb 1979

Box 4: folder 17
Salt Lake City (UT) YWCA Annual Meeting
Apr 1979

Box 4: folder 18
Summit (NJ) YWCA Annual Meeting
Feb 1980

Box 4: folder 19
Durham (NC) YWCA Annual Meeting
Apr 1980

Box 4: folder 20
Plainfield and Westfield (NJ) TWIN Dinner
Jun 1980

Box 4: folder 21

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Genné, Elizabeth
  • Young Women's Christian Association of the U.S.A. -- History -- Sources


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