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Anne Olson oral history interview, April 22, 2005

 Item — othertype: Oral History

Scope and Contents note

Interviewed by Amanda Brown. Olson cites one of her earliest influential events as being the time she “…got a bicycle. I must have been 10 or so. I then had access to the public library. That’s when I started reading and becoming a really avid reader.” One of only three women of her University of Oklahoma pledge class who graduated instead of leaving to marry, she describes being frustrated with her work in dietetics, and so went on to get a graduate degree in Dietary Administration. Soon after graduating in 1962, she was married with two children and living in Atlanta. It was at this time, she says, that Virginia Wolfe’s books became important to her, and, in an effort to “get out of the house” she joined the League of Women Voters, and got onto the Board of Directors in DeKalb County. Through the League of Women Voters’ Voter Registration Drive, Olson says she became involved with the Voter Education Project and the Civil Rights Movement. Olson recounts that her interest in the Equal Rights Amendment was piqued while she was chair of the Public Issues Committee at the Unitarian Universalist Church. She discusses the democratization of her church and her push for removing sexism within the church, and encouraging women-centered curriculum. Olson states that at about the same time as her 1974 divorce, she became involved in Charis Circle, and began reading and discussing the feminist texts which led to a deeper understanding of her place in the world. This, combined with her earlier civil rights work, and work with the Unitarian Church led to her growing interest in human rights issues. She talks about her involvement with various human rights groups, including the Georgia Citizens’ Coalition on Hunger, the Atlanta Living Wage Campaign, Amnesty International and the Gustav Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights. She believes feminism is alive and well, and that we now need to also consider racism and classism.


  • Creation: April 22, 2005


Restriction on Access

Oral history available for research in the Special Collections and Archives Reading Room.

Biographical Note:

Anne Olson was born in Madison Wisconsin in 1934. She received a BS in nutrition from the University of Oklahoma (1956), completed a dietetic internship at the University of Michigan (1956-1957) and earned her MS in dietary administration from the University of Kansas (1962). From 1962 to 1967, Olson was an instructor in nutrition at Emory University's School of Nursing, as well as, in 1965, serving as nutritionist for Quaker House's Project Headstart. In 1974, she became a marketing consultant for the Florida Department of Citrus and from 1974 until her retirement in 1999, she was an administrator in School/Community Nutrition for Georgia's Department of Education. Olson has had a long-standing interest in feminist and human rights issues: She has been an active participant in a number of community organizations, including the Dekalb League of Women Voters (1966-1968) and The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (1969-1972). She belonged to the International Association of Religious Freedom and the International Association of Liberal Religious Women (1987); was a founding member of Atlanta’s Charis Circle (1996-1998); and served as the co-chair of Human Rights Atlanta (1998-1999). Currently Olson is involved with the Georgia Living Wage Campaign, as well as the Atlanta Living Wage Campaign. Olson has enjoyed a long relationship with the Unitarian Universalist Association, beginning in 1971, when she served on the Board of Directors of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta. She was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation (1983-1989), and has served in various positions for the Thurman Hamer Ellington Unitarian Universalist Church, Atlanta (1994-1999).


2 item(s) (transcript (33 pages) audio)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

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