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Gernes, Elizabeth Anna, 1907-1996



  • Existence: 1907-1996

Elizabeth Anna Gernes, educator and Red Cross leader, was born in 1907 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When a child, she moved with her parents, William H. Gernes and Anna Philomina Deutscher Gernes, to Winona, Minnesota. Gernes graduated from the College of St. Teresa, a Catholic women's college in Winona, where she majored in physics and mathematics. After college she taught science and math in high schools in northern and southeastern Minnesota.

During the 1930s Gernes worked briefly for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in Iowa as a Director of Training. She helped people develop skills needed to become trained health care workers.

By 1943 Gernes had earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in secondary education at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Around this time, Gernes also began work with the Red Cross as a General Field Representative in the Midwest. By the spring of 1955 Gernes had been named Director of the American Junior Red Cross in Western Europe and was based in Stuttgart, West Germany. She traveled extensively in Western Europe and North Africa to promote youth participation in Junior Red Cross programs. Two and a half years later, Gernes returned to the United States and worked as Director of Training for the American Red Cross in San Francisco, coordinating chapters in twelve western states.

Gernes retired from the Red Cross in 1972 but remained active in relief and other volunteer work. In the late 1970s the Shah requested Gernes by name to organize Junior Red Crosses in Iran. The International Red Cross subsequently requested a report from Gernes on humanitarian conditions there. In 1983 Gernes returned to Iowa and moved to Johnston, Iowa.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Elizabeth Anna Gernes papers

Identifier: IWA0270
Abstract Educator and Red Cross worker.

Arrangement Two folders, shelved in SCVF; one audiocassette [AC341] shelved in audiocassette collection.
Dates: 1929-1996