Eldri Dieson Papers
Eldri Louise Dieson was born March 31, 1905, in Dell Rapids, South Dakota. After earning a B.A. from St. Olaf College in 1927, Dieson briefly studied sociology at the University of Minnesota and worked for the Lutheran Welfare Association in Minneapolis before joining the staff of the YWCA.
In the summer of 1927 Dieson participated in the YWCA National Student Council's Students in Industry Project, known as "a summer course in reality." College graduates spent six weeks working in factories "as part of an experiment and to gain first hand information for social work."
Between 1927 and 1942 Dieson worked as an Industrial or Business and Industry Secretary in YWCAs in Minneapolis, Minnesota (1927-30, 1936-42); Canton, Ohio (1930-32); and Allentown, Pennsylvania (1932). Dieson attended the New School of Social Work in 1935-36.
During World War II Dieson moved to the national YWCA staff, working in the Community Division in the fall of 1942, then becoming an Industrial Secretary, 1943-48. During the summer of 1944 she worked in Maine with the Women's Emergency Farm Service of the Women's Land Army.
After the war Dieson moved to the staff of the Foreign Division as a Program Consultant in Japan from 1948 to 1951. On her return to the U.S., she joined the staff of the United Community Defense Services staff of the YWCA helping new residents in rapidly growing cities and towns adjacent to defense industries. The aim of this work was to fill gaps in services for a relatively brief period until the cities and towns were able to do so.
In 1955 Dieson went to the YWCA of Chile. She returned to the States in 1960 to help develop YWCA's Latin America United States Exchange Project. The Project provided opportunities for women from YWCAs in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and the United States to share inter-American concerns and resources. In 1960 she received St. Olaf College's Distinguished Alumni Award.
Dieson went back to Chile the following year as director of the Latin America United States Exchange Project. From 1962 she also worked closely with the YWCA-Peace Corps project in community development in Valparaiso and Santiago.
In the fall of 1965 Dieson took the post of Field Consultant for the Southern Region for the YWCA of the U.S.A. In this capacity she advised YWCAs in thirteen southern states on all aspects of program and administration. Dieson retired from the YWCA circa 1971.
Eldri Dieson died in Hennepin, Minnesota in 1994.