Guide to the Dora Andersen Uniform Collection (1941 – 1945) – History – Dora Andersen

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Dora Cecilia Andersen (1901-1995) was born in 1901 in Diamond Bluff, WI. In 1907 she moved with her family to California where she graduated from Selma Union High School, completing the Teachers of Elementary Schools Course at Fresno State College. She went on to attend the California College of Arts as well as a school for teachers in Santa Cruz, CA. Dora’s introduction to Santa Crus began when she was a girl, visiting her uncle Christian Knudsen who had a home at 213 Seabright Ave. After Uncle Knudsen passed away in 1936, this home became Dora’s permanent address. Dora taught at several elementary schools in the Fresno County and King City areas until the advent of World War II. In 1943 Dora enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). While in the WAC Dora served in the U.S. and in Italy where her typing skills gained her work as a communications clerk. Dora also received training and worked in motor transport. After returning to the U.S., the Army, recognizing Dora’s skills with crafting leather and working with metal, assigned her to teach the craft. Dora was a skilled crafts-person in the areas of lapidary and silver work and was a member of the Sequoia Mineral Society of Fresno and the Santa Cruz Mineral and Gem Society. Eventually she was assigned to assist with occupational therapy in the Hospital at Camp Carson, Colorado. After being released from service in 1948, Dora returned to Santa Cruz and attended San Jose State College where she would receive a B.A. degree and later an M.A. at Stanford University. Dora would also attend the University of Hawaii, and University of Alaska. In the 1950’s Dora taught at Herlong High School until she retired in 1963. After retiring, Dora lived for a year in Denmark, and traveled throughout Europe, Asia and Australia before settling in Santa Cruz as her permanent home. In Santa Cruz, Dora was a President of the Santa Cruz chapter of the American Association of the University Women and a member of the Santa Cruz County Chapter of Retired Teachers Association and was a volunteer at the Santa Cruz Museum. She also gave talks at local schools about rocks, minerals and fossils, and helped tutor English as a second language (Source: MAH Donor File).