Document 28: Cordella A. Winn to Mrs. John L. Hitchens, 18 August 1922, unprocessed collection of YWCA of Greater Baltimore, 128 W. Franklin Street.
Cordella (sometimes found as Cordelia) A. Winn served as the secretary for Colored Work, Cities in the New York City office of the National Board of the YWCA in the 1920s. As such, she had responsibility for training and supervising secretaries assigned to work in colored branches across the country. Formerly a teacher in Columbus, Ohio, during World War I she had worked for the YWCA in its War Work Council of Colored Women. She clearly made a career of work with the YWCA as she continued to be employed in the National Board office in 1929 (see a letter to Winn from a staff member at a black branch YWCA in Portland in the Portland YWCA project, also on this website). In this letter one can see that Winn was called upon in her work to mediate between white and black local leaders when "the relationship between the [black] branch and the [white] central association is not what it should be."
August 18, 1922.
Mrs. John L. Hitchens
1530 McCulloch Street
My dear Mrs. Hitchens:
Your letter of July 23rd to Miss Bowles and to me came while we were away from headquarters. It was not possible to get you an answer by the time you asked. It is not always well to write hastily, but to weigh things a little before taking any hasty step.
I know you are very anxious about the work, as it is very likely that you will be without a secretary for a little while, but this is often good for the women, for they will have to assume a greater responsibility to see that the work is carried on. Sometime in June, I recommended for the Baltimore work, Mrs. Louie Love who at the present time is employed in Houston, Texas. I have heard nothing whatever as to whether you considered her. If you did not get the digest, I will have another one sent on. I would suggest to you, if you have no secretary the first of September and you still have the same house secretary you had last February, that she be asked to answer telephone calls, and that the committee of management and the women on standing committees be asked to volunteer to be present at every activity that is carried on in the building. With the large group of women that you should have by this time, each person volunteering at various times, the work could be covered. Don't get discouraged when you hear the women say that they are busy because they are busy, and yet it will prove whether they are vitally interested in the Association if they will do this.
I am sorry the relationship between the branch and the central association is not what it should be. In fact, it has not been thoroughly understood by either the white or colored women, but we feel we must have patience awhile longer and in time it will work out.
Your membership drive did splendidly, but you must plan to put those members to work, for if they pay their dollar only and are not educated as to the purpose of the Association, the work will not grow. While Baltimore needs their dollars, it also needs the people in a larger way.
We will try to find someone else in the near future if Mrs. Love does not accept.
Sincerely yours, Mrs. Cordella A. Winn, Secretary, Colored Work, Cities