Men and Women Adrift: The YMCA and the YWCA in the City

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The YMCA and the YWCA have been an integral part of America's urban landscape since their emergence almost 150 years ago. Yet the significant influence these organizations had on American society has been largely overlooked. Men and Women Adrift explores the role of the YMCA and YWCA in shaping the identities of America's urban population. Examining the urban experiences of the single young men and women who came to the cities in search of employment and personal freedom, these essays trace the role of the YMCA and the YWCA in urban America from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The contributors detail the YMCA's early competition with churches and other urban institutions, the associations' unique architectural style, their services for members of the working class, African Americans, and immigrants, and their role in defining gender and sexual identities. The volume includes contributions by Michelle Busby, Jessica Elfenbein, Sarah Heath, Adrienne Lash Jones, Paula Lupkin, Raymond A. Mohl, Elizabeth Norris, Cliff Putney, Nancy Robertson, Thomas Winter, and John D. Wrathall.