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Sarah Scudder Lyon Papers, 1867-1966 (Bulk: 1923-1944)
1 box (.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 609

Abstract:
YWCA executive. Papers are primarily related to her work in the Foreign Division of the Young Women's Christian Association of the U.S.A., 1923-1944. Types of materials include correspondence, photographs, reports, a scrapbook, speeches, travel notes, and writings. A large portion documents Lyon's overseas travels for the YWCA through reports and more informal "diary letters."

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 Sarah Lyon's writings is unknown. Copyright to materials authored by persons other than Sarah Lyon 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

Sarah Scudder Lyon was born November 8, 1884, in Summit, New Jersey, to Sarah Johnson Wood and Phoebus W. Lyon. She prepared for college at Ivy Hall School in Bridgeton, New Jersey (1898-1902). Lyon attended Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, from 1902-06, earning an A.B. in biology and Latin.

Her long career with the YWCA began in 1905 when she took a job as a Secretary in the East End Branch of the Bridgeport, Connecticut, YWCA. She attended the American Committee's Chicago Training Institute in 1906, then went to work as an Industrial Secretary in the YWCA of Akron, Ohio (1906-07). She returned to Mount Holyoke for one year as Student Secretary (1907-08) then became General Secretary in Akron (1908-1916) and Field Secretary at the College of Wooster, in Wooster, Ohio (1916-17).

Lyon joined the YWCA of the U.S.A. national staff in New York City as Executive of the headquarters staff of the Overseas Committee of the War Work Council late in 1917. After the reconstruction period, Lyon was made Association Executive of the Foreign and Overseas Department (1920-23) and then Executive of the newly re-named Foreign Division, a position she held until her retirement in 1944.

In this capacity, Lyon traveled extensively, conferring and consulting with YWCA leadership and staff in more than fifty countries. She also often represented the YWCA of the U.S.A. at international meetings, including World YWCA Councils and three world meetings of the Executive Committee of the International Missionary Council, as well as its significant Jerusalem Conference in 1928.

During her years with the Foreign Division, Lyon completed an M.A. (1932) and did coursework toward a Ph.D. in international relations at Columbia University. Her thesis, "The Connection of the Foreign Division of the Young Women's Christian Association with Governments," drew heavily on her work experience. "When she did graduate work in international relations at Columbia, one wonders whether Sarah Lyon or the instructors profited more," wrote Emma Bailey Speer in a retirement tribute.

After retiring from the YWCA, Lyon served as Executive Director (1946-53) of the Vellore Christian Medical College Board, a group of twenty Canadian and U.S. mission boards that served as the "home base service agency" of the missionary Medical College and Hospital in Vellore, South India.

In 1961 Lyon moved to Mt. San Antonio Gardens, a retirement community in Pomona-Claremont, California. She died there on February 5, 1981 after a long illness. Lyon's ashes were placed in the family plot in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Sarah Scudder Lyon Papers consist of .5 linear ft. and are primarily related to her work in the Foreign Division of the Young Women's Christian Association of the U.S.A., 1923-44. Types of materials include correspondence, photographs, reports, a scrapbook, speeches, travel notes, and writings.

A large portion of the Papers documents Lyon's travels all over the world for the YWCA through both official reports and more informal "diary letters." A scrapbook with many photographs presented by the YWCA of Manila, Philippines, when Lyon visited there in 1932 is included.

Other materials of note include a set of circular letters (1929-44) sent several times a year to American YWCA staff stationed around the world. These letters are full of news about Foreign Division colleagues, the doings of the national association, and life and events in the U.S. There are also copies of articles Lyon wrote for the YWCA's general magazine, Association Monthly/Womans Press, 1919-45.


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 Sarah Lyon's writings is unknown. Copyright to materials authored by persons other than Sarah Lyon 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:

Sarah Scudder Lyon Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

The Sarah Scudder Lyon Papers came to the Sophia Smith Collection with the Records of the YWCA of the U.S.A. in 2002. Sarah Lyon donated them to the YWCA in 1979.

Processing Information

Processed by Maida Goodwin, December 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 Sarah Scudder Lyon Papers was made possible by the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission

Contents List
Biographical materials,
1900-circa 1981

Box 1: folder 1
Mount Holyoke College,
circa 1906-56

Box 1: folder 2
Photographs,
1862-1917

Box 1: folder 3
YWCA of Akron, Ohio,
1911

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



General,
1920-80

Box 1: folder 5
Articles for <title render="italic">Association Monthly</title> and <title render="italic">Womans Press</title>,
1919-45

Box 1: folder 6
Foreign Division



General,
1923-44

Box 1: folder 7-8
Report of summer in Europe,
1935

Box 1: folder 9
"Report of Miss Sarah S. Lyon's Visit to the Orient,"
Aug-Nov 1933

Box 1: folder 10
"Report of Miss Sarah S. Lyon's Field Trip,"
Jul-Dec 1936

Box 1: folder 11
Circular "pastoral" letters to overseas staff,
1929-44

Box 1: folder 12-13
"Diary Letter" travel notes



1920

Box 1: folder 14
Dec 1922-Jan 1923

Box 1: folder 15
Mar-Jun 1928

Box 1: folder 16
Jul-Nov 1933

Box 1: folder 17
Jun-Dec 1936

Box 1: folder 18
Scrapbook presented by YWCA of Manila,
1932

Box 1: folder 19
Speeches



"Trends and Problems of the Foreign Division,"
Feb 1930

Box 1: folder 20
"The Newer Concept of a North American Missionary Program as a Part of the World Project," Foreign Missions Conference,
1938

Box 1: folder 21
Writings



General,
1917-74

Box 1: folder 22
Book reviews,
1965-70

Box 1: folder 23

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
  • International relations -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
  • Lyon, Sarah Scudder, 1895-1966
  • Young Women's Christian Association of the U.S.A. -- History -- Sources


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