Founder of Youth for Understanding, teenage exchange program. Papers include correspondence, newspaper articles, and subject files relating to Youth for Understanding; also photographs.
Call number: 89475 Aa 2 Language: The material is in English Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave. Ann Arbor, MI
email@example.com Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Linda Wojtanik, 1989
Access and Use
Papers were acquired from Ada Rose Loebe (donor no. 7688) in 1989.
The collection is open to research.
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[item], folder, box, Rachel Josephine Andresen papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan
Rachel Josephine Andresen, founder of Youth for Understanding Teenage Exchange Program, was born in Deerfield, Michigan on April 8, 1907. She was the daughter of Reverend Earl R. Mills, a Methodist minister, and Josephine Mills.
Rachel was educated at Adrian High School and took special training at the Detroit Conservatory of Music. She married Henry C. Rose on July 27, 1927. He died six years later and Rachel was left to raise their three children alone.
Rachel continued her education and received a B.S. in Education from Wayne State University in 1937. Further studies earned her a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan in 1943. During the mid 1940s, Rachel worked in various capacities in group counseling, as a camp director and as race relations and social action director for the Michigan Council of Churches. She married Arvid Andresen, a landscape architect, in 1947 and they settled in South Lyon, Michigan.
In 1951, while serving as executive director of the Ann Arbor-Washtenaw Council of Churches, Mrs. Andresen was asked to assist local Rotary clubs in locating homes for 75 German teenagers. These youngsters were selected by the U. S. State Department in an effort to counteract the bitterness and disillusionment of youth in post World War II Germany. The program's purpose was to acquaint students with American family and community life by having them live with an American family and engage in general high school studies.
Mrs. Andresen was asked officially to supervise the program in 1952 by the Rotarians and the State Department. Later, the project was adopted by the Michigan Council of Churches. The program was expanded to include students from other countries and also to provide for American students to go abroad for study, making it truly an exchange program.
As director of the program, Mrs. Andresen traveled abroad extensively, visiting host families and overseeing the supervision of all students. In 1964, Youth for Understanding was legally separated from the Council of Churches and was incorporated under the laws of Michigan as an independent, non-profit corporation. Mrs. Andresen was elected by the new Board of Directors as director of the program. She held this position until her retirement in 1973.
During her lifetime, Mrs. Andresen received numerous awards and citations which included honorary doctorate degrees, citations from U. S. presidents, governors, the State of Michigan, foreign governments, the United Nations and many other organizations. In 1958, she was presented the Knights Cross of the Order of Merit by President Heuss of the Federal Republic of West Germany. In 1964, she was presented the Order of Merit of the Lion of Finland by President Kekkonen. In 1968, the Ministry of Education of Brazil awarded Mrs. Andresen the Grand Cross of the Order of the Albatross and the Gold Medal of Marechal Rondon.
In 1974, Mrs. Andresen was appointed by Governor William Milliken to the newly-formed Commission for Volunteers in Michigan. Later, that same year, Mrs. Andresen won the Republican nomination for Supervisor in Green Oak Township.
Mrs. Andresen held the position of Honorary International President of the Youth for Understanding Teenage Exchange Program until her death at 81 on November 3, 1988.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The papers of Rachel J. Andresen cover the years 1948 to 1986, primarily 1955-1970, and measure two linear feet. Papers include correspondence, newspaper articles, and subject files relating to Youth for Understanding; also photographs.
The files are arranged alphabetically and divided into subject headings. Included is background information on Youth for Understanding, the Michigan Chorale, and the Wind Ensemble, correspondence, photographs, publications, newspaper articles and newsletters.
The papers focus primarily on Youth for Understanding (background, publications, newsletters, bylaws, and guidelines). The most extensive papers include student placement lists. These student lists include names of American and foreign students that have participated in the program and host families in the United States as well as abroad.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.