Jesse Alexander photograph collection

Collection History

This digital compilation was developed in support of the NYPL website, "The African American Migration Experience," a sweeping 500-year historical narrative from the transatlantic slave trade to the Western migration, the colonization movement, the Great Migration, and the contemporary immigration of Caribbeans, Haitians, and sub-Saharan Africans.

Related Resources

NYPL. "In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience."(2005) <>

Collection Data

The Jesse Alexander Photograph Collection documents the history of the African-American and Non-White YMCAs. Portraits include founders and leaders in the African-American YMCA community. Portraits also include YMCA Administrators with whom Jesse Alexander worked. YMCA Branches documented are those that serviced the African-American Communities. Branches are documented in Kansas City, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Branch photographs consist of ground breaking ceremonies, dedications, parades and exterior shots. Several exterior photographs are of Julius Rosenwald Buildings. One photograph is of Theodore Roosevelt at a dedication ceremony (1908) for the Anthony Bowen Branch, Washington D.C., formerly known as the 12th St.Branch. Photographs of programs and events document the scope of the YMCA's involvement in African-American education, employment, and youth & young adult programs. Education photographs depict scholastic and religious activities such as bible reading. Employment photographs document work assistance programs, African-American YMCA employees, and vocational training programs. Youth & young adult photographs show leisure, recreational, atheletic, and extra curricular activities sponsored by or supported by the YMCA.Included here are photographs of several YMCA Camps attended by African-American youth and young adults. Military/YMCA War Effort photographs depict African-American men and women in World War I., World War II., and the YMCA's efforts to support and provide assistance to Black troops, as they were denied priviledges equal to those of White troops. The bulk of the works that deal with World War II. document the the United Service Organizations (USO) outreach activities for African-American servicemen. Several of the Military/YMCA War Effort photographs depict African-American women in numerous war effort roles, such as nursing, educating troops, and coordinationg or participating in USO entertainment programs. Military/YMCA War Effort photographs also include works specific to the education of African-American service men. General YMCA programs covered include social services, community affairs, and YMCA events. Events include banquets, campaigns, receptions, conferences, etc. Absent from the collection are photographs of Jesse Alexander's personal life.
Alexander, Jesse N. (Collector)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1850 - 1980
Library locations
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division
Shelf locator: SC Photo Jesse Alexander Collection
YMCA of the USA
African Americans -- Societies, etc
African American soldiers
Statement of responsibility: Collection contains photographic work by Howard Cox, E. F. Joseph Studios, Cecil Layne, Scurlock Studios, and others.
Physical Description
Gelatin silver prints
Photomechanical prints
Extent: 301 prints : 23 x 29 cm. and smaller.
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b11922866
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 7f02b4f0-c6cd-012f-9a5a-58d385a7bc34
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