Anne Anderson '64

  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: My name is Margaret Anne Brineman Anderson, otherwise known as Anne Anderson for short. I live in Washington D.C. I have since 1964 when I graduated from Grinnell.
  • Willa Collins & Anne Brineman Anderson
    Willa: So, what were some of your best memories while you were at Grinnell?Anne: Oh, boy. Some of my best memories include things like... I hadn't seen snow, not real snow. And the-- my first year, my freshman year, it snowed two feet before Thanksiving, and I had no idea that there-- that snowflakes actually looked like those crystalline structures that you could see in books.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: I thought that was just, you know, like, "Let me paint a picture of a possible snowflake." And so I would stand out in the snow with my dark coat, holding my arm up, waiting for snowflakes, real snowflakes, to land and people would go by like, "Uhh, Anne?" That was fun. That was fun.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: I also loved playing bridge in the old student union. That was the... quonset hut kind of thing that... that was all-- I mean, it was about to fall down. It had been the barracks for the G.I.'s that had come back after World War II, and there was this big influx of G.I.'s and so they built some barracks there. And it'd been turned into the student union. That was what we had for the student union, not like now. Whoo!
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: But, I played bridge. Bridge, bridge, bridge. It was great. It was really fun to play bridge there. You could always get up for bridge.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: Yeah, the other things that I'm thinkin' about are about things that are no longer here. The... I took the most jockey class for women, because back then, you know, you weren't supposed to be very athletic, you were just supposed to be very ladylike. Remember, this is 1960-64.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: And... So, but-- Anna May Wack did offer a class where you had to be able to run a mile to pass the class, and I did that. And I did that in the old women's gym, that-- where we played half-court basketball, because women couldn't run the whole court back then-- according to the way people thought.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: And... and so, you know, running a mile was really quite something, and I actually did that. I was very pleased with myself, to actually make it a whole mile. Now my kids regularly run marathons, so... both my boy and my girl.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: And then of course, I was a-- I was actually a competitive swimmer in high school, and so the other thing that I'm not missing-- I wouldn't say I was missing it --but, I certainly remember it with some fondness, the 20 yard pool, where I could do the length in eight strokes, turn, eight strokes, turn, eight strokes, turn...
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: But... that was a-- we did some good intermurals there, and that was a fun thing to do.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson & Willa Collins
    Anne: So... I don't know where to go next.Willa: Mhm. So, describe something that was meaningful to you while you were on campus, whether it's still in place or it was while you were here.Anne: Hmm. Meaningful. Well, you know, I really... I mean, I often describe myself as having majored in extra-curricular activities. So-- I mean, I was a Non-western History major, so I took a lot of History, but....
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: The... the meaningful parts... I mean, I was also on the Board of Religion. There was a Board of Religion. It was sort of an inter-- an ecumenical board where they made sure they had different religions, and... And we did things like take care of the Chapel signboard, make sure that the current thing that was gonna go on in the Chapel was up on the signboard, and...
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: And we-- we held occasional, sort of, little forums and stuff like that. And so that was a-- that was a good group. I think, when I think about meaningful, I think about... working with people, you know? It was fun to have some good people to work with, whether it was on the Board of Religion, or... on the AWS Board.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: I was president of James, and so that group of women-- Remember, this is back when it was women's halls on South Campus, men's halls on North Campus. Loggia closes, curfew, etc., etc. "In loco parentis."
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: But it was a nice group of women that I was on the board with. That was very cool, to be that... to have that work that we did together.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: I don't know. I mean, I guess maybe the other-- the last thing that I wanna talk about is about coming back to campus to get the Wall Award. The... I went on to... Well, I had a number of different careers, and ended up being the coordinator of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, which is a little non-profit-- it's still a little non-profit --and it basically is working to build cultures of peace with justice using psychological tools and knowledge and skills.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: And so I worked for some 22 years for them as their coordinator, and I was their coordinator during the outbreak of the Balkan War: Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, and all that mess with the breakup of Yugoslavia.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: And so our board said, "Oh, I wonder--" We would have loved to have been able to intervene before all the violence broke out, but since we couldn't, what we were hoping to do was to intervene after or during, and try to help people understand the way that people might... might experience trauma.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: Because there were horrible things going on. And what we understood from this role of-- the way the cycle of history goes is if you've had a traumatized population, then when the next-- when they grow up, and the next bit of conflict comes along, that trauma is gonna come back up again, and then we're gonna have another set of wars.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: So we were hoping to do some public education, mental health education on the effects of trauma, and help people deal with the trauma right as it was happening instead of submerging and having it rising up in another 30 years.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: So we developed this, sort of, the best-- 'what do we know about trauma', and we made it into a little brochure. That was because people who were traumatized can't sit down and read a whole book. It was a little three-- you know, three-fold brochure, and I had a Croatian colleague who helped me translate it into the different languages. And we go the SEIU, the union, to help us print it, and we were doing all kinds of networking with NGO's that were going there so that we didn't have to try to deliver it on our own, but we could deliver it to NGO's.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: But, we also needed to be able to get it further out, and we also needed to be able to contact psychologists in other countries who could use it and translate it into their languages. And so, about that time the Wall Award was established, and so the second run-- now, I wasn't in the first run --but the second run, the Wall Award-- that's the Joseph A. Wall Alumni Service Award --is $25,000 to somebody who's helping make things better.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: And so I applied, and I asked them to-- I asked the committee to help us distribute this brochure more widely, and also to help build our international network of psychologists, because one of the critical things had been that we had a colleague that we already knew who could help us translate, and we needed to be able to-- there were plenty of other hotspots in the world, so we needed to be able to find a psychologist before they blew up so we could work with them, and maybe even intervene in more specific ways.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: We didn't know, but we knew we didn't-- and at that time I think I had like... maybe there were 12 psychologists not in the U.S., and most of them were in either English speaking countries or Spanish speaking countries, 'cause I speak Spanish too. And that was it!
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: And so.. they provided me with $25,000 to help me do this! Well, the first thing that happened was that we got the brochure translated into... let's see... Portugese, Spanish.... Let's see, what else? There was an African-- I don't-- I'm not remembering now. This was back in the 90's.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: An African language, the-- we had gotten into Croatian and Bosnian. We didn't have it in Serbian yet. I mean, they all speak the same language, but the importance of small differences was critical. And so we needed to get it translated into there.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: And so all of that happened, and then we were able to-- I was able to use my time because I was getting paid through the Wall Award to do-- to expand, you know, do more of the social networking and that kind of thing.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: And by the time I had used up that money, which was about a year and a half later, on this project, we had 85 new psychologists in our network from places like Uzbekistan, and... and we had-- Well, we had had Australia, and we had South Africa...
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: We had... well, we had Kosovo, or Kosova, depending on which you're working with. And... we had some Russian psychologists. We had German psychologists. I mean-- it was a wide, much wider range of people that we could contact.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: And so it really made a difference. It really made a difference. I... retired from that position after 22 years in 2006, and Psychologists for Social Responsibility has continued to expand, and now there are actually-- there's an, actually, a network of international Psychologists for Social Responsibility groups around the world.
  • Anne Brineman Anderson
    Anne: And I don't know exactly how many, 'cause I wasn't planning on talking about this, so I didn't go check... But it's clear that it was from that base that the Wall Award helped me establish that we made a big difference, so...
  • Anne Brineman Anderson & Willa Collins
    Anne: So I think that's what I want to say.Willa: Thank you so much!
Alumni oral history interview with Anne Anderson '64. Recorded May 31, 2013.
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