Space to Grow
To meet the needs of Princeton’s growing population, YWCA Princeton relocated to 202 Nassau Street in 1931. The new space, which is known as Viburnum Designs today, was rented at $200 per month and provided an office, meeting space for recreational and educational purposes, and a basement where children played games. Our membership had nearly tripled in the span of one decade, and there was a great need for social, professional, and recreational programs amidst the economic challenges of the 30’s.
Although YWCA Princeton and the Witherspoon Branch operated separately during this decade, there was significant overlap in the services provided. Both branches were mostly run by volunteers, and were truly for the community, by the community–but this was particularly true of the tightknit Witherspoon neighborhood. Children looked to the Witherspoon YWCA and YMCA as not only a space for recreation, but also mentorship and guidance from adults who looked out for them.
Mrs. George C. Wintringer, Chair of the Finance Campaign also noted a similar sentiment, sharing in a letter that was published in 1932, “…But if character-building is worth anything at all, it is most worth while in times like these. If our community is to come through this period without a downward step in standards and morale we must continue to provide for our young people the same leisure-time activities of a character-building nature. this the Y.W.C.A. does through its clubs and educational programs.”
Youth Programs during challenging times
You may be wondering, what did our youth programs look like 90 years ago? At minimum, YWCA Princeton offered 14 clubs for all ages, including:
- Blue Triangle (a nod to the logo used from 1918 – 1991)
- Business and Professional Girls
- Delta Girls
- Merry Makers
- World Fellowship
- Young and Married
In addition, classes in clay modeling, cooking, glove making, tap dancing, and typing (and other professional development courses) were offered. Special events and collaborations with other organizations became more common throughout the decade, as well as fundraisers and guest lectures.