Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)YMCA/K
TitleFirst World War Green Books
DescriptionThe National Council of YMCAs created a sequence of records known as the 'First World War Green Books' which were compiled retrospectively to illustrate its activities and work principally during the First World War. It appears that these records were so-called because of the green coloured binders and/or the green coloured paper into which the various materials were bound and mounted. Many of these sequences of records were listed, numbered and captioned by the YMCA, evidence of the importance the association attached to documenting its war work. Some of the records - particularly the photographs - were reproduced in the YMCA's magazines for publicity and fund raising purposes.

The majority of the First World War Green Books relate to the YMCA's war emergency work, both at home and in the war zones, principally in Europe but also in Africa, India and elsewhere and they provide very valuable evidence of the YMCA's role as the largest civilian welfare organisation to work with the British army during the First World War. There are some records relating to the YMCA's work with the army in its military camps from the early 20th century and to other spheres of its work such as assistance with emigration and the unemployed which span more than the war period. There are also some records relating to YMCA's involvement in the immediate post war reconstruction including albums of Sir Arthur Yapp's visits as the YMCA's General Secretary to France & Flanders in the three years following the Armistice.

These Green Books include a wide range of materials including photographs, copies of YMCA publications and publicity materials, copies and transcripts of reports and extracts of correspondence of YMCA workers, typescript transcripts of records relating to YMCA war workers and its centres and huts and other papers.

They are an immensely valuable record of the YMCA's wide ranging activities including the provision of rest huts, overnight hostels and other facilities for men on leave, the association's kitchens and canteens in its centres at home and at the front, the organisation of entertainments and recreational facilities and of educational and employment opportunities both for troops and for munition workers, as well as its religious work. They also provide evidence of the association's work with prisoners of war, its work with the wounded and with families of the troops and the role of women in its work at home and at the front under the aegis of the Ladies' Auxiliary Committee (subsequently the National Women's Auxiliary) under the presidency of Princess Helena Victoria.
ArrangementArranged into the following sub-series, largely based on the YMCA's own organisation of these records

/1: Photographs illustrating war emergency work of the YMCA (YMCA/K/1)
/2: Printed reports, pamphlets and other printed literature, etc relating to YMCA war work (YMCA/K/2)
/3: Correspondence, printed material, photographs relating to YMCA Military Camp Work (YMCA/K/3)
/4: Photographs of official visits to France by Sir Arthur K. Yapp (YMCA/K/4)
/5: Compilations of typescript records relating to the YMCA's war work (YMCA/K/5)
/6: YMCA publications of the war period (YMCA/K/6)
/7: Printed reports, pamphlets and other printed literature, etc relating to other YMCA activities (YMCA/K/7)
/8: Miscellaneous (YMCA/K/8)
Access StatusOpen
Physical DescriptionMany of these sequences of records have been removed from the original binders for conservation and consultation reasons; the original order of the records and the YMCA's numbering has always been retained.