These records document the work of the Student Young Men's Christian Association primarily during the period when Bruce Maguire served as the Executive Secretary, 1955-1970. They provide insight into the activities and thought of American college students during this turbulent era and provide detailed information about the operations and policy of the Student YMCA as it sought to define its role in a changing society.
The material in Series I provides much evidence of the interrelations between the national administrative bodies. Other series further detail their cooperation as they jointly sponsored, organized or participated in various YMCA committees, seminars, conferences, programs, and college activities, or merely supported each other's efforts. In contrast, Series I also reveals the ongoing quest for the administrative independence of the bodies. This is evident in significant communications and policy records which state the scope of authority of the bodies, as well as in less substantial matters such as designating the privilege of using letterhead stationery to certain groups and individuals.
Commissions, Committees and Personnel, Series II, detail the policies set up by designated subgroups of the YMCA administrative bodies. This series offers valuable insight into their procedures for realizing the goals of YMCA projects. Of particular interest are job descriptions in the personnel files which itemize the various duties of YMCA positions.
Series III, IV and V offer interesting information on the variety of activities sponsored by the YMCA all over the world, such as YMCA internships, Career Try-Out program, Urban Field Study, and the Young Voters' Task Force. Pamphlets and brochures highlight these activities with photographs and slogans.
Series VI was created for subjects of special interest which relate to the YMCA in general. Substantial material on the Lay Movement, National Student Caucus, National Student Christian Federation in the process of becoming the University Student Christian Movement, Religion in Higher Education, the student strikes against racism and Vietnam, and YMCA/YWCA relations is available in this series. A poster and newspaper article regarding the Japanese during World War II are of particular interest. Material collected from related organizations shows their relationship and cooperation with the YMCA.
While every series contains material by, about and collected by Bruce Maguire, his role as Executive Secretary of the YMCA is probably best revealed in Series VIII. This is a compilation of his personal correspondence, biographical information and notebooks.