Sarah E Pence and the YWCA

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Sarah E Pence and the YWCA - -wp J.:.,-.;.X.;.y, . ' .' Mrs. William R....
-wp J.:.,-.;.X.;.y, . ' .' Mrs. William R. Thompson and Mrs. Holmes raised $500,000 in 10 days. 1 11 fn yi III .011 P J V-V fl it I fi S i1 Onee Again, After Almost n Half Century In a "Seeure- Location, Pittsburgh's Central YWCA Must Seek n Quarters, II ut Its Program of Serviee Will Xever He Interrupted By George Sivelnam Press Staff Writer -T'S moving time for the Cen tral Young Women s Christian Association these days. With the Crosstown Boule vard spelling the doom of the old Chatham Street structure, the organization has taken temporary quarters in the Woodwell Building. Later on, everyone hopes, more adequate quarters will be built nearby on Wood Street Such crises, with the YWCA "all dressed up and no place to go," used to be frequent, before the Chatham Street building opened in 1910. There aren't many members of the "Y" organization who remember the group of those days. But one who remembers very well indeed is Mrs. George L. West, president of the YWCA Board. Her father, John Hastings, not only was one of the first donors towards the "new" building. He en-rolled his daughter as a life member the day she was born. There is always someone who Is outstandingly helpful in any great effort. And as Mrs. West looks back through the years, she sees the towering figure of one YWCA leader here above all the rest. "There were many prominent women here who helped build this place," Mrs. West said, looking around on the doomed structure. "Among the most outstanding were Mrs. W. R. Thompson and Mrs. J. G. Holmes, who raised the $500,000 for the building in 10 days. "But the Central YWCA owes most of all to a woman whom many might not remember Miss Sarah E. Pence." Miss Pence was president of the YWCA for eight years, about the turn of the century. But that doesn't begin to tell her true importance to the movement here. She found it a small charity carried on by a group of prominent Pittsburgh women; she left it an agency which had won the recognition and respect of the city. That was in large measure because Miss Pence was one of the rare women of that day who could command the business as well as the moral respect of businessmen. N Qy She could talk to them, and instead of giving her the bored and polite' sml!' customary in that day, they wouid listen. "My father used to say that Miss Pence 'had a miml like a man,' " is the way Mrs. West phrases it. Her ability to make herself heard, and her Interest in the YWCA movement both stemmed from the fact that she was a businesswoman. "She was originally a country girl," recalls Mrs. West. "I think she was born in Clarion County, and came to Pittsburgh to work as a seam tress " Back Jn those days, a seamtress wasn't either well paid or Influential. .Usually, women did such work on a day to day basis, eoing to the homes of her customers. It wasn't long, however, until Miss Pence was working for the best families of the city, and at the best pay anyone got for such work. Then she became an executive. She and Miss Kate Irwin formed a partnership, and opened an exclusive women's shop on Penn Avenue. She got the trade of the Thaws and Thompsons and Scotts and Holmeses and other, important families. Soon hardly any woman Mrs. George L. West, remembers the old days, plans for the new. Page 8 Tlit Pittsburgh Press, Sunday, September 9. 1956

Clipped from
  1. The Pittsburgh Press,
  2. 09 Sep 1956, Sun,
  3. Page 138

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  • Sarah E Pence and the YWCA

    jenny_oja – 06 Oct 2017

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