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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1113

Papers of Winnifred Wygal, 1887-1972


Writings, diaries, photographs, and biographical material documenting the life of Winnifred Wygal, author, theologian, and lecturer.


  • 1887-1972

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Winnifred Wygal is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1.25 linear feet ((3 file boxes) plus 1 photograph folder)

The papers of Winnifred Wygal consist of a writings and diaries by Wygal as well as photographs, clippings, and the program of her memorial service. In her diaries, Wygal discussed race relations, current events, social justice, peace, philosophy and theology, including Marxism and the beliefs of Gandhi, Tillich, and Niebuhr. She chronicled her travels and work for the YWCA, office politics, and several intense friendships, including a long-term love relationship with another woman. Also included is one diary by Helen Elizabeth Price, apparently a lover of Wygal. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online. Folders are arranged alphabetically.


Author, theologian, and lecturer Winnifred Wygal (1884-1972) graduated from Drury College (1906) and did graduate work at Columbia University, the University of Chicago, and Union Theological Seminary, where she studied with Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich. Her paid and unpaid work for the Young Women's Christian Association began in 1911; she was a member of the YWCA National Board's professional staff from 1919 until 1944, in the student and community divisions. She traveled around the world; during a 1928 trip to England and India she met Mahatma Gandhi. Wygal was a founding member of the Fellowship of Socialist Christians and active with the worldwide Student Christian Movement. She had a romantic relationship with Frances Perry that began in the 1910s and lasted into the 1940s and perhaps beyond.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 94-M100

The papers of Winnifred Wygal were given to the Schlesinger Library by her niece, Olive W. Humble, in July 1994.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College; see Winnifred Crane Wygal Papers, 1918-1972 (SSC-MS-00617).

Processing Information

Processed: February 2021

By: Johanna Carll

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Jeannette Ward Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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