Thursday, January 16, 2014

Brooklyn Naval YMCA Library

The Brooklyn Branch of the Naval Young Mens Christian Association in Brooklyn, NY was established in 1899. It was the first permanent branch of the Naval YMCA and was located near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The establishment of the Brooklyn Navy Yard YMCA Branch grew out of the work of the YMCA in providing services to soldiers and sailors in the 1898 Spanish-American War. One of the services provided at the Navy Yard YMCA Branch was a library. The YMCA involvement in providing library services to the military dated back to the Civil War and the work of the U.S. Christian Commission (see previous post). The YMCA also provided library services to the military along the U.S./Mexican border in 1916 and during World War I. I have two postcards in my collection that show sailors using the Library. The postcard above was mailed to Iowa on January 4, 1910. The postcard below was mailed on September 26, 1904 to Germany, and the message on the postcard is written in German. The message on the 1904 postcard was written on the picture side of the postcard. Prior to March 1, 1907 only the address could appear on the address side of the postcard. A third postcard (shown below) depicts the Naval YMCA building which was located on Sands Street in Brooklyn. The building which was a gift of philanthropists Miss Helen Miller Gould and Mrs. Russell Sage included a full range of services in addition to the Library. The Naval YMCA Branch was closed in 1964. The building has been converted into condominiums.

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