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Odile Sweeney Papers, 1961-1982 (Bulk: 1982)
1 box (.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 616

Abstract:
YWCA worker. The Odile Sweeney Papers are almost exclusively related to her work with the Young Women's Christian Association and include correspondence, conference materials, financial records, flyers, newsletters, newspaper clippings, notes, press releases, and reports. Included are materials from Sweeney's years working for the Student department and on the western region staff of the YWCA of the U.S.A. and a complete packet of preparatory materials for the National Conference of Black Women in the YWCA in 1970. The bulk of the papers are related to Sweeney's work in 1982 as a National Volunteer Consultant to the New Harlem YWCA in New York City. In this capacity, Sweeney concentrated on membership and financial development.

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:

Copyright ownership of Odile Sweeney's writings is unknown. Copyright to materials authored by persons other than Odile Sweeney 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

[Myrtle] Odile Sweeney was born on July 8, 1913 in Bains, Louisiana. As a student at Hampton Institute, she first joined the YWCA. After earning a B.A. at Hampton in 1937, she spent a year serving as the first African-American chair of the National Student YWCA and studied at the Pendle Hill Graduate Center for the Study of Religion and Social Sciences.

Sweeney took a job as Executive Director of the Montclair, New Jersey, YWCA in 1938. She joined the national YWCA staff in 1949 in the College and University Division, working as an Associate in Administration until 1965 and then Associate Executive. In 1967 Sweeney went to Ghana, Ethiopia, and Kenya as an Advisory Secretary for the YWCA's International Division.

Upon her return to the U.S., she joined the YWCA's regional staff, working as Correlator of the Western Region, 1968-71, and Director of the Eastern Region from 1971 until her retirement in August of 1978.

In addition to her work for the YWCA, Sweeney also served on the Metropolitan Association of Fair Housing Committees for New York City, Northern New Jersey, and Lower Connecticut from 1954 to 1967.

Hampton Institute presented Sweeney with its Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1962.

Following internal struggles, the uptown branch of the YWCA of the City of New York decided to establish itself as a separate organizational unit, the New Harlem YWCA. Beginning in January 1982, Sweeney worked as a National Volunteer Consultant to this YWCA, advising on membership and financial development.

Later that year Sweeney moved to Pilgrim Place, a religious and cultural center for retired Christian workers in Claremont, California. She died there on July 15, 1984.

At its October 1984 meeting, the YWCA of the U.S.A. National Board established the Odile Sweeney Memorial Fund to provide funding for leadership development for college and university students in the YWCA.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Odile Sweeney Papers consist of .5 linear ft. and are almost exclusively related to her work with the Young Women's Christian Association, dating from 1961 to 1982. Types of materials include correspondence, conference materials, financial records, flyers, newsletters, newspaper clippings, notes, press releases, and reports.

Included are materials from Sweeney's years working for the Student department and on the western region staff of the YWCA of the U.S.A. and a complete packet of preparatory materials for the National Conference of Black Women in the YWCA in 1970.

The bulk of the papers are related to Sweeney's work in 1982 as a National Volunteer Consultant to the New Harlem YWCA in New York City. In this capacity, Sweeney concentrated on membership and financial development.


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:

Copyright ownership of Odile Sweeney's writings is unknown. Copyright to materials authored by persons other than Odile Sweeney 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:

Odile Sweeney Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass

History of the Collection

The Odile Sweeney Papers came to the Sophia Smith Collection with the Records of the YWCA of the U.S.A. in 2002. They were a given to the YWCA by Jean Whittet in 1989.

Processing Information

Processed by Maida Goodwin, 2009


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 Odile Sweeney Papers was made possible by the generous support of the National Historical Records and Publications Commission

Contents List
Young Women's Christian Association of the U.S.A.



College and University Division/Services to Student Associations
1961-78

Box 1: folder 1
National Conference of Black Women of the YWCA: preparatory materials
1970

Box 1: folder 2
Western Region newsletter
Jun 1970

Box 1: folder 3
Tributes to Celestine Smith
1976

Box 1: folder 4
Retirement
1978

Box 1: folder 5
New Harlem YWCA: National Volunteer Consultant



General
1977-83

Box 1: folder 6
Awards luncheon
1982

Box 1: folder 7
Board of Directors
1982-83

Box 1: folder 8
Committees



General
1981-82, n.d.

Box 1: folder 9
Financial development


Box 1
General
1981-82, n.d.

Box 1: folder 10
Grant proposals
1975-82

Box 1: folder 11
Solicitation samples
1981-82

Box 1: folder 12
Membership
1982, n.d.

Box 1: folder 13
Program



General
1964-83

Box 1: folder 14
Juvenile Justice Program
1979-82, n.d.

Box 1: folder 15
Notes for report to YWCA of the U.S.A.
1982

Box 1: folder 16

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
  • African American women -- Biography -- Sources
  • Sweeney, Odile
  • Young Women's Christian Association of the U.S.A. Harlem Branch (N.Y.)
  • Young Women's Christian Association of the U.S.A. -- History


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