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Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis Records

Identifier: MSS037

Scope and Contents

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis Records are organized into four series: Association Records, Club Records, Photographs, and Videos. These records create a broad view of its activity since the club's founding to the present and its role in the lives of youth throughout Indianapolis. The collection consists of administrative records, publicity, events and awards, affiliated groups, and photographs.

Association Records, 1895-2002, contain minutes, correspondence, publications, awards, reports, and news clippings that are related to the organization as a whole. This series contains information that deals with the overall operation of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis. Although incomplete, the Board of Directors minutes and the annual reports provide information about operations, finances, and activities. The administration records contain the founding papers of the clubs, executive director's ledgers, fund raising, and history through the centennial publication and clippings. Clippings files contain newspaper clippings from the Indianapolis Star that document the organization through its leadership and activities in the community from the 1920s through the 1990s. This series also contains documents the events and activities of the Alumni Association, the O.K.I. (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana) Chapter of the Boy's Club Professional Organization, and Women's Auxiliary. Other records in this series include program and awards information. Programs of the Boys and Girls Clubs include National Boy's Club Week, camps, fairs, sporting events, and annual plays from the early years of the organization.

Individual Club Records, 1900-2001, contain minutes, brochures, publications, awards, and correspondence related to the individual Boys and Girls Clubs in Indianapolis. Some of the most beneficial records in this series include the board minutes for all but three of the individual clubs. This series documents the efforts of individual clubs with membership lists, correspondence files, and photographs. Also included in the records are event brochures and programs specific to each club.

Photographs, 1910s-2001, contain photographs of camp, individual clubs, the alumni association, publicity, and leaders of the organization. The early photographs help document the earliest activities of the club where paper documentation is unavailable. The photographs, especially from the camp and individual clubs, are a good representation of the activities and services offered by the Boys and Girls Clubs to its members. The photographs include various sports teams, classroom and outdoor activities, and major events. The camp photographs include group shots with advisors and counselors, swimming and fishing, and images capturing learning experiences. These photographs are almost exclusively of the children and youth who were members of the clubs. Also included in the photograph series are pictures of early leaders, club buildings, and publicity photographs using famous people.

Videos, 1988-1997, consist of 14 video cassettes documenting programs, awards, and public service announcements for the organization. These videos document the public face of the organization while providing information about events such as the Boys and Girls Clubs Invitational Games and Bike Your Boys On.


  • 1895 - 2002


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Biographical / Historical


The Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis, a member club of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, is a social service organization for youth. The Indianapolis club started in 1893 as the Newsboy's Home for the purpose of getting youth off the streets, providing them with a sense of belonging, and encouraging values and skill development. Founders Thomas C. Day; Caleb S. Denny, three term mayor of Indianapolis; Carrie Lowe Denny, his wife; and M.V. McGillard, a local philanthropist, were influenced by the women of the Dashaway Club in Hartford, Connecticut. The Dashaway Club was the first Boys Club in the United States organized in 1860.

The Newsboy's Home became the Boy's Home and Employment Association after the first year, then the Boy's Club and Employment Association in 1898. The club was one of 53 charter clubs of the Boys Clubs of America, incorporated nationally in 1906. In 1910 the State of Indiana incorporated the Boys Club Association of Indianapolis as a member the Boys Clubs of America.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis maintain programs in the inner city areas to serve at-risk youth. From its earliest years, the organization invited children to participate in educational and recreational activities in a safe environment with adult mentors available to offer counsel when necessary. Programs offered by professional staff and volunteers include counseling and career development, cultural enrichment, social recreation, citizenship and leadership development, individual and team sports, and a camp located northwest of Noblesville, Indiana. The organization presents the Youth of the Year, Horacio Alger and Outstanding Alumni awards. In 1991, the association became the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis in accordance with the name change of the national association. Although girls had unofficially participated in the clubs throughout the organization's history, this allowed them official membership status.

The Women's Auxiliary and the Alumni Association are two groups created to fulfill a need within the larger organization. The Women's Auxiliary was established in 1944 to give the children who visited the clubs adult supervision, morale building, and financial assistance. The Women's Auxiliary evolved into an important force in fund raising for the organization with its flower sales and fashion shows. Another important fund raising force for the organization is the Alumni Association. The Alumni Association, beginning in the 1970s, sponsored a horse show and later scholarship award programs.

Further income support comes from endowments, the corporate community, service organizations, membership dues, philanthropists, individual volunteers and the United Way. In 1993 the 100th anniversary year, the organization completed a $4 million capital campaign, initiating major expansion of the clubs and the Noblesville camp. Today, the Boys and Girls Clubs operate nine clubs throughout the city serving 12,000 children annually. Programs offered focus on five specific areas of development that includes: leadership, education, health, the arts, and fitness.


Since its founding, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis attempted to locate clubs in areas with the greatest need. Throughout its history, the organization has included several clubs operating under various names. Early clubs met in rented basement rooms until 1897 when heirs of John Maurice Butler donated the first clubhouse at Madison Avenue and South Meridian Street. The Butler Boys Club burned down in 1924 and was replaced by the English Avenue Club at 1400 English Avenue in 1926. The club offered arts and crafts and special classes in cooking, sewing, and air rifle shooting. The English Avenue Club's name changed to Gorman Boys Club in 1965. In 1996 the Lilly Club, named for the Lilly Foundation, opened at 801 South State Street replacing the Gorman Club.

A donated building at 1309 West Market Street on the city's westside served as the home of the Lauter Memorial Boys Club from 1913 to 1969. During its 56 year history, the Lauter Club provided activities in sports, a recreational room with games and television, vocational development, and a library. After serving over 40,000 youth, the club closed due to changing patterns in neighborhood development in the area. When Lauter closed in 1969, its members moved to the Atkins Boys Club. This club, named after William Atkins, opened in 1966 at 3131 West 16th Street. Atkins serves the area near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Haughville area. It has game rooms, a gym, meeting room, swimming pool, wood shop, and library.

In 1955 the Benevolent Association of Marion County Sheriff's Employees purchased land at 4900 West Raymond Street for the construction of the Salk Park Community Center to serve the Mars Hill-Drexel Gardens area on the southwest side of town. In 1958 after a merger with the Indianapolis Boys Club Association, the center became the third Boys Club in the city. The club served an area with high juvenile delinquency. Programs it offered included team sports, carnivals, and leadership development through group clubs that allowed the boys to elect officers and conduct business meetings to plan activities. Salk Park operated on Raymond Street until 1971 when it closed and its membership moved to the LeGore Club facility.

The Southside Boys Club organized in 1965 in a barn on Hanna Avenue to serve as a place for boys to participate in activities and receive mentoring. It became a member of the Boys Club Association of Indianapolis in 1970 and eventually moved into a facility at 1949 East Troy Avenue. The club later changed its name to the Keenan-Stahl Boys and Girls Club after two former board members.

The following year the LeGore Club, named after former board member Dan LeGore, opened at 5228 West Minnesota Street. LeGore serves the far westside of Indianapolis by providing sports, arts and crafts, tutoring, and computer terminals to its members.

The Wheeler Boys Club, named after Clark Wheeler, opened in 1972 in the old Blue Bird Pie factory at 2310 East 30th Street. It was the 1000th Boys Club to open in the United States. Wheeler promotes sports including basketball and swimming as well as educational, arts and crafts, and mentoring activities.

The Concord Village Club operated between 1990 and 1995 at 3125 Concord Court. The club opened in cooperation with the Indianapolis Housing Authority to provide services to children living in Concord public housing. Part of a nation-wide effort to reach children living in public housing where drugs, crime, and alcohol prevailed, the clubs opened to offer alternatives to at-risk youth.

Beginning in 2001, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), and Warren Township Schools formed a partnership that would create new clubs in the city's schools. These school-based clubs combine traditional club activities with tutoring services and career planning. The school clubs include: Emma Donnan Middle School at IPS #72, , Coleman Middle School at IPS #110, Francis Scott Key Middle School at IPS #103, Liberty Park Elementary School, and Raymond Park Middle School.


7.5 Cubic Feet (7 cartons and 2 flat boxes)

14 Cassettes


The Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis is a social service organization focusing on youth in Indianapolis. The organization started in 1893 as the Newsboy's Home. Founders of the home were Thomas C. Day; Caleb S. Denny, three term mayor of Indianapolis; Carrie Lowe Denny, his wife; and M.V. McGilliard, a local philanthropist. Today the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis operate ten clubs: five in clubhouse facilities and five clubs based at Indianapolis Public Schools. These clubs are strategically located in the city to serve the most at-risk youth. Programs offered by the organization's professional staff and volunteers include counseling, career development, cultural enrichment, social recreation, citizenship and leadership development, and individual and team sports.

The records consist of association and individual club materials and include board of director's minutes, events and activities, fundraising and publicity, annual reports, individual club files, record books, photographs, and videos.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented by Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis Board of Directors, March 1995, A95-20 A1998/99-024, M111, A2002/03-23.

Related Materials

Boys Club Federation. The Boy Situation in Indianapolis: Indiana and Recommendations for the Improvement and Extension of Boys' Club Facilities. New York: The Club, 1931. Call Number: HS3321.I4 B69 1931

Boys and Girls Clubs of America website:

Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis Website:


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Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis Records, 1895-2002
Processed by Debra Brookhart.
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Philanthropic Studies Archives Repository

IUPUI University Library
755 W. Michigan St.
Room 0133
Indianapolis IN 46202 USA